[Editor’s note: James’ kit rings a chord with me likely due to that metallic red he’s used which I may have tried at one point myself. So once again, I’m proud to be able share another fantastic piece with my readers. Enjoy!]
I’ve been a collector of Gunpla for the better part of one decade, beginning with the old school SD kits before moving on to more advanced grades. There is just something therapeutic and cathartic about building Gunpla, marveling in amazement as the tiny pieces come together to form a mobile suit that is able to give form to the outlandish poses I constantly have. I used to only do straight builds as I had neither the patience nor the time to customise my kits, save for switching weapons and equipment. But as I grew deeper into the hobby, I realised I wanted to have kits that are unique, different and most importantly special to me. Thus began my customisation journey, and I’ve never stopped since.
The Akai-Shiki is the latest culmination of that mentality, encapsulating everything that I ever wanted in this hobby.The idea for the Akai-Shiki came about when I spotted my old Hyaku-Shiki languishing in my display cabinet, remembering that a certain Char Aznable piloted that famed mobile suit. A what-if scenario then developed: what if Char Aznable existed in the universe of Gundam Build Fighters (cameos aside)? What Gunpla would he use?
The most obvious answer would be one of his famous mono-mobile suits: the Zaku II, Z’Gok, Gelgoog, Sazabi, Nightingale, etc, which I didn’t want to do because they have been largely done to death. I was looking to create a sleeker, more agile Gundam-type mobile suit for Char, instead of the bulbous shapes of Zeon mobile suits. Thus, when the HGBF Mega-Shiki became available, I knew this was the unit I was looking for, complete with subtle refinements to the base mobile suit.
Developed from the Delta Gundam, the Mega-Shiki features a return-to-roots approach, incorporating more of the Hyaku-Shiki’s features into its design, particularly in those oh-so-awesome high-heeled feet as well as the shoulder armors. The side skirt armors also become more ornate and complex, the entire visage invoking images of Japanese samurai: stoic, swift and deadly. And that’s was the theme I went with.
Using spray cans, I gave the Mega-Shiki a complete recolour, using three tones of red for the primary colour (Sazabi Red, Character Red and Metallic Red in that order of volume). Red also makes any mobile suit go three times faster. To complement the red, I decided on Char’s next favourite colour, gold, using a combination of 22KT Chrome Gold for the main body with a darker-toned metallic gold for the wings.
The last of the colours included metallic black, gun metal, light gun metal, metallic gray and metallic silver for added detail. Purple sensor gems were also added to the head and main body, while the Mega-Shiki’s stock beam rifle was replaced with the Sinanju’s, complete with grenade launcher. The Mega Ride Launcher backpack was largely unmodified (save for painting), since I like the Knights of Sidonia-vibe it was giving. Finally, I added a crimson katana to reflect Char’s preference for close-quarters combat, preferring to get up close and personal with his foes.
Overall, the finished product turned out well, a nice first custom for 2015.