Four months have passed since the release of the RG GAT-X105B / FP Build Strike Gundam Full Package which means we are due for another one. Ironically, the newest one is a variation using a previous RG kit’s design just like the Build Strike did. How does this one fare? Let’s find out as I review the RG Gundam Astray Gold Frame Amatsu Mina.
Overall Look: 10/10
It looks like a giant bat, maybe.
I’m not sure how I would categorise this thing. While you can see the Astray Frame in there, in some ways you have to look pretty hard to find it. Sure that one arm is from Astray Frame.
But the other is all new!
The shoulders also look nothing alike.
The feet are completely different form the normal Astray feet.
But in a good way. If you’re going for ‘over-the-top’ then having spikes at both ends of your feet is a good thing.
While head continues the Mina’s spikey theme.
And then there are the Maganoikutachi (those are the wings).
The more I look at it, the more I like it.
Black on black? Not quite, but yes. You’re given two different blacks. According to the manual, which now has English (except inside where the weapon descriptions are?!) the glossy parts are 100% black and the matte looking parts are called Dark Gray. It’s tough to see the distinction in most areas but you can see it on the legs more easily than in other places.
(Look at the knee area).
The red trim found throughout the MS breaks up the black really well and the purple is also a subtle enough colour it doesn’t distract. Probably the only complaint I would have is that some of the gold parts are what we in the biz (aka, me) call ‘lame gold’. There are actually two tones of gold there (very RG) but the gold runner from the E runner (the reused Astray runner) differs from the new O Runner. I would have preferred they use the gold colour found on the new O runner for the whole kit.
Remember when we were excited the RG Astray came with a sword? Look at what the Amatsu Mina comes with!
I’ll start with the simple stuff and work up.
You have two swords that come on the Q runner. Simply cut them off and place them in Mina’s hands or, even better, attach them onto the new side skirts using the tabs in the handles.
With all those crazy weapons I can’t see myself putting using these much so it’s good to have a place to store them.
Next up, Wolverine’s claws. Also known as the Tsumuhanotachi.
These are quite cool and feature three independently moving claws. Lift up the purple hand guard.
Slide out whichever claw(s) you wish. (When you read that who out there immediately thought of giving the middle finger claw?)
It attaches to the underside of the normal Astray Arm using one peg.
In your face!
Then there is the Okitsu no Kagami.
This javelin like weapon can extend.
And features a tip that can open so you can use the orange effect parts.
Time to go spear-fishing.
You can open the tip completely to attach the larger orange effect part.
That end can rotate 360 degrees as well.
And bend 90 degrees.
Unfortunately, it can only mount to the same arm the Tsumuhanotachi mounts to so you can’t wield both at the same time.
That other arm, the new right one, is meant for the Triceros-Kai.
Those three spikes in there look deadly.
This fits in the right hand with a tab on the handle going into the opening on the palm of the hand however getting a good angle to make that connection can be tough so I suggest pulling the handle off the gun and putting the hand on that way.
A peg near the end the weapon fits into a whole on the outside of the right arm.
You’re also given two cables that you can use to make those spikes on the inside of his wings shoot out.
That’s a cool gimmick but one I never really use so I didn’t attempt it when taking the pictures for this review.
Here is what I wrote for the review for the Astray Red Frame,
“With minimal armour you would expect the Astray to have good articulation and I’m happy to report that is the case. With nothing hindering the knee joint the leg bends completely.”
Being the same frame the articulation is still there in the Mina however, somewhat expectedly, with the additions the Mina can’t reach the articulation range the previous Astray could. The legs experience no loss of articulation.
The arms as well maintain most of their movement however, the addition of those two large wings on the back mean that it’s not going to stand in the same way the Red Frame did. When I first played with the kit it held up pretty well in natural standing poses, but the more I played with it and the resulting loosening of the RG frame meant that it began to suffer balance issues rather quickly.
At first the rigid ankle joint was enough but then that loosened up to much and all was lost.
His balance struggles made me think of turtle that can’t turn over.
Hang in there!
It may sound like I’m down on the wings but that actually isn’t true. When speaking of articulation there is quite a lot of movement to them.
You can swing out the top portion as well as the purple sections underneath.
They can go from hanging down to being parallel to the floor and more.
They remind me of the wings on the RG Wing Zero EW. The Wing impressed with what it could do even with those large wings however the black, glossy parts and the size of the Maganoikutachi can spell doom for standing action poses.
Build Design: 9/10
The Amatsu Mina follows up on the Red Astray quite well. The much different look means new things are found all over this model. For example, the flap on the backpack move.
There are some issues with the kit, however. One of these is the front leg armour may tend to come off if you’re handling the leg.
This also applies to the part for the back of the foot.
And even the small part for the back of the head.
The more you handle it, and you will because of the balance, the greater the chance one of these could pop off.
But perhaps the most impressive part of the design is the wings. Not only can the spread out and tilt but they can elongate as well. Here is what it looks like in its shorter form.
Pulling sideways on the lower portion, pulling down on the bottom section and tilting the tip make it look much larger.
These things are crazy.
Interestingly, they seem to be designed to fold up a certain way with the manual stating that the left side goes outside.
Given the weight of the wings it would have been preferable to have some more support in the frame but that would mean designing a whole new frame and for the RG line that’s not something we see often if Bandai can avoid it.
Fun Factor: 9/10
I admit I was quite excited to be building this kit but maybe a part of that came from feeling a bit disappointed with the previous Real Grade model. That this kit is based on a previous one shouldn’t be a blemish on its record. The feeling that you’re just building something seen before goes away pretty quickly when you start trying to attach those spikes to its feet. When you get through building the body, with all its asymmetrical differences, you then tackle the wings and weapons. Really this kit packs so much more in the box over the regular Astray that you’ll be busy for quite some time.
And there is a lot of extra stuff here too!
The orange effect parts I’ve already mentioned.
A pilot figure.
A new hand for that new arm.
(And you couldn’t give me Sinanju closed-fist hands?! Triggered.)
The cables for the projectiles.
All those RG stickers.
I think this kit will look amazing once they are on.
And a stand, like that which came with the Qan[T}.
Considering that this kit will need to spend almost all its time on an action base this included stand for the weapons is very welcome.
And let’s not forget you’re given the parts from the original Astray kit that just aren’t used here.
Including, I believe, enough parts to make an entire arm.
There’s a lot to really like in this kit even if you may not be excited about Bandai’s choice of MS for Real Grade #24. It’s nice to see them getting away from the main protagonist MS. Of course, there are a few main suits we all would really love to see.
Unicorn for Real Grade #25?
We’ll find out soon enough. Until then, I’m going to be playing with the Amatsu Mina.