Welcome to my dry fit review of the Max Factory minimum factory 1/20 PLAMAX MF-25 VF-1 Super/Strike Gerwalk Valkyrie. Just rolls off the tongue doesn't it?
Allow me cut to the chase. The Hi-Resolution Model Astray is an astounding "meh."
I'm going to start off this review by saying I don't know who exactly made this kit. I got this kit from Samuel Decal (I don't always buy third party kits, but when I do it's usually through him). He's referred to it as being from E-Model and Model Principle. The product itself says it's the result of a collaboration between Dimension Studio and Eastern Model. There's also "Kokoro Link" mentioned all over the place... based on context maybe that's something to do with this version of Ultraman specifically? I'm also unsure whether this is official or not. I've seen sites selling them as officially licensed, and there's copyright marks for Eiichi Shimizu, Tomohiro Shimoguchi, and Tsubaraya Productions all over the place... but that the same time this came out of China, the manual is in English and Chinese, and isn't one any of the 100% legit sites (eg HLJ, AmiAmi). Assuming it is unofficial, it's one hell of a nice original kit.
What I do know is that this a 1/6 scale Ultraman model based on the new Ultraman manga that came out a few years ago written by Eiichi Shimizu and drawn by Tomohiro Shimoguchi. There are two releases of this kit, apparently, one with plated chrome silver and red, and one lacks the coating. When I placed my pre-order way back when I went with the regular because I didn't know the quality of the coating and whether or not they were going to undergate the parts. Good news for anyone seeking the plated version, yes, pretty much everything is under-gated. It's not always perfect though. There will be visible nub marks but I feel like they did a lot of smart design to hide most of them. Quite a few of the undergated parts but up against connection pegs or are on curved surfaces so it's one of those "bring your hobby knife" builds. From a complexity standpoint, if you can handle that, you can handle this build.
While I'm fairly opinionated about many things, including Gunpla, I always wondered what the general consensus was about the best and worst kits of the line. I can answer pretty easily for MG and PG kits, but because I've decided to focus my collection with those grades I can't say much about HG while most of my RG thoughts are all second hand. Thus became the impetus behind the Great Gunpla Census of 2018. While planning things out I decided to add a few more questions to get a general idea of what the franchise fan base was thinking. After a few weeks of being called out on r/Gunpla and r/Gundam the census was completed as best possible by 839 fans. While parsing numbers and fixed answer questions is easy, trying to produce simple takeaways from open ended questions not so much, so I didn't want to go crazy and find myself with a 15,000 collection of answers to sort through.
Here's a clever and dynamic opening paragraph that gets you interested in reading what I have to say about this build instead of skipping to the photos.
After my MG Deep Striker got put together I wanted to mix things up and go for something that could be played with just a tadddd more. Where the Striker is a static kit, very little movement, zero poses, the MG Cat is a world apart. I’ll get into it a bit more in a second but wow, is this kit an absolute joy to play with.
For those who are unfamiliar, the N3K-0 Cat, specifically the first numbered varient, was originally designed by Kunio Okawara as a late-season upgrade for Char in the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Unfortunately Sunrise insisted that the use of Char’s iconic red colouring did not work with the design, feeling that it would negatively affect merchandize sales. Together with Tomino, Okawara developed a purplish colour as an alternative. Again Sunrise rejected the colour scheme. Rather than work in another colour, Okawara substituted a yet unfinished design, the MSN-02 Zeong. Due to the rushed production Okawara would not add legs to the Zeong until after production and the Cat would be lost in obscurity until its release as a MSV design. Since then it’s become wildly popular and the subject of many memes and running jokes, especially in Japan. Hell, it just recently got a lot of attention by franchise fans petitioning for it to replace the Zeong in the upcoming Origin reboot of the original series. But I digress...