I wasn’t sure what to think when I first heard there would be a Real Grade version of the Strike Freedom Gundam. On the one hand, it’s one of the most popular Mobile Suits in the Gundam universe so an RG version was inevitable but, conversely, they would need to do an RG version in gold and as Bandai hasn’t really evolved past the ‘lame’ gold we’ve seen on recent kits, this suit could immediately take away from the level of quality we’ve come to expect from the Real Grade line. So which is it? Maybe it’s a little of both.
Overall Look: 10/10
Who doesn’t love the Strike Freedom. Okay, not everyone. Many will admit that the SF is a little overdone but it sure looks good. And the RG kit of it looks really good as well but I’m torn here. The lame gold is lame, but the plated gold is plated.. I mean awesome. Maybe I’ll talk about the colours in the next section but let’s look at the gold right now.
Leaving aside talk of the gold for now, the proportions of the Strike Freedom are fantastic like the other kits in the RG line.
The RG frame cannot be molded out of that nice plated gold we see on the Dragoons and that is understandable. However, I can’t understand why they did not mold the E runner out of the same gold they used on the inside of Dragoons. Even that would have been a significant improvement. With the armor on the gross gold is, thankfully, less noticeable.
Except for the hands. Those stand out too much for my liking and this would have been remedied by molding the E runner out of the other gold.
What? Just two rifles? Well, you do get two beam sabers and a shield (not pictured) that is really only one piece of plastic. I’m fine with what they have done with the shield, as I wrote in the RG Destiny review, though in this case there are six stickers to put on instead of four. It does seem a little scarce when it comes to weapons but remember the Strike Freedom carries those giant railguns on his hips so he doesn’t really need anything else when it comes to firearms yet Bandai does include the rifles and also designed them to fit together through some simple changes.
The RG version of the Strike Freedom Gundam has some good articulation but the big problem is that you’ll probably not be able to use it. While he can pose a bit without the dragoons on that is really not the point.
Unfortunately, (and this is a big negative) the dragoons are so heavy compared to the rest of the suit that it is difficult to get this guy to stand up. Each time I successfully did so he was hunched over looking like an old man.
I think this mostly comes down to the design of the RG frame in the ankle. You have the small peg that fits into the hole in the foot.
But, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, that hole does not allow the whole foot to support the weight of the kit. Most often it is the front of of the foot supporting all the weight leaving the heel out of the question, or not touching the ground whatsoever, and this leads to having to lean the kits forward. Most RG kits are light enough that leaning them forward is not required but you can’t escape it with the Strike Freedom. Oddly enough, if you open up the dragoons the weight is better balanced and he is easier to stand up.
Build Design: 9/10
I think I won’t be too incorrect if I were to state that the Strike Freedom is all about the Dragoons. Bandai couldn’t have done this kit if they didn’t get the Dragoons right and they did a great job with them here.
The assembly incorporating the plated gold pieces is well designed and well implemented. The blue assemblies fit snugly into the dragoons when they’re resting but appear to extend out when you ‘transform’ the dragoons. Instead of using a design that pushes out the blue assemblies like on the PG version of the kit, they instead have you pulling the darker armor parts away from the frame and moving the light blue assemblies only slightly which gives the same effect as the PG.
The dark blue parts attach to the shiny gold frame part using a rod snapped into a semicircular hollow. This means you just need to pull up on the end of the dark blue part to open up the wings.
This also means that you need to be very careful because you’re dealing with very small part in particular the long narrow dark blue part. When you’re popping that into place when assembling the suit be careful not to press to firmly in the wrong direction.
After opening up the dark blue armor parts the lighter blue assemblies are then only pulled out slightly.
If done correctly, they will sit there in place, though the sweet spot is very small so you’ll likely have one or two come off as you’re going through this transformation. One you’re done, though the Dragoons look pretty sweet.
That right there is the reason people wanted this and after the contraption that was the PG Dragoons these are refreshing in their simplicity.
And they do look awesome.
Other areas worth mentioning are the rail guns which, of course, extend.
And to accommodate those rail guns the back skirt assembly was redesigned for this RG. Using a couple swivels the back skirts can drop down.
This moves them out of the way and allows the rail guns to move to the back.
You then can use the original side skirt connectors found on the RG frame to attach the rifles if you so wish.
One area that was a source of frustration were the shoulders. While they can open in a simpler version of what we see on the PG kit they tend to, more often than not, just fall off as you’re playing with the kit, or for this RG, trying to get it to just stand up.
They are easy enough to put back on and there’s no risk of breakage so this is only a minor grumbling here.
I was worried that maybe the Dragoons and backpack in general would be similar to what we saw on the RG Freedom Gundam. While those wings looked good and were light enough to allow the suit to stand up easily they tended to come to pieces when you were moving them around. With the Strike Freedom Dragoons, they won’t come apart like the Freedom’s wings, thank goodness, though they often pop off of the main backpack assembly when you’re moving them. Luckily, they are easy enough to put back on.
Fun Factor: 8/10
I actually quite enjoyed building this guy and comparing him against his RG brother, the Freedom, and also the PG version of the suit and once finished it is beautiful to behold. Now if it would just stand up. After building so many kits I’ve come to understand that there are two types of Gundam Model Kits, those you can play with and those which are better suited to being displayed like works of art. The RG Strike Freedom is definitely the latter. In a way, I belong to both camps in that when I modify, paint, and decal a kit I want it to be considered a work of art and be displayed somewhere I can see it and appreciate it often but I also think that any Gundam Model kit out of the box should be one you can play with. It is articulated after all. They aren’t fixed figures like we see with anime statues and so the RG Strike Freedom was a little disappointing to me in that regard, but if you’re not one to play with your kit and instead are content to bask in its radiance then you’ll have no problem enjoying the SF.
Lots o’ decals. Yes, this is standard for RG kits but I still am impressed each time I look at an RG sticker sheet the first time. The most important ‘extra’ in this kit; the stand adaptor! You need this thing!
Having been focused on SEED suits for some time Bandai had to build an RG version of the Strike Freedom. Not doing it would have left a hole in the line. Bandai did do a great job on the kit aesthetically and in the function of the Dragoons but it would be much more enjoyable to me personally if it could stand up. I still think it’s beautiful, though.