Standing by the hill-side gazing over the Cool Culture of Otakuism!

Defining the Resolution of a Crimson Frame

Jokes on resolutions of digital outputs like 1080p or 4K aside, the Hi-Resolution Model line (Henceforth referred to as HiRM) of Bandai’s successful Gunpla model kits is one of the newest entry in the 1/100 scale, introduced back in late spring of 2016. 

The HiRM line comes with a pre-assembled inner frame complete with die-cast parts, much like a ready-made action figure similar to Metal Build, but also include runners of the outer armour for Gunpla builders to work on, much like any other kits. As such HiRM can be categorised as a tween of action figure and a kit, albeit with a higher price range than the usual Gunpla kits available around… 

The first 2 entries to the line, Gundam Barbatos and Wing Gundam Zero Custom, drew a slew of criticism due to the looseness and brittleness of the outer armour pieces, most likely due to separate production process of the inner frame assembled in China while the runner produced in Japan, causing incompatibility between the two.

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However, the 3rd entry to the series, the HiRM Astray Red Frame, pretty much rectified many of the flaws present in the previous entries, slowly gaining praises and renewed interests from builders all around.

When first announced, many builders including myself condemned the idea of a super-buffed Astray, due to its overall design getting a lot of beefy parts, along with more muscle mass added to the inner frame. It appears the design principal of the kit is based upon accurate depictions of how muscle move around on a human body.

As time went by, I’m beginning to accept the HiRM line as it is, an alternate depiction of your standard design that amplifies the beauty of the original. Although the original design of a Gundam Astray is supposed to be a barely armoured unit with agility boosted to the extreme, the idea of it being a down-to-earth, highly skilled and experienced samurai in Mobile Suit form, is a welcome thought.

And thus I’ve decided to procure one for my own, adding it to my still growing collections of various Astray Red Frames of difference scale and line.

Along came C3 AFA 2018, the HiRM Red Frame kits were available at the Bandai booth. However, due to the calling price (SGD 198 / MYR 603), I ended up shied away from buying it on site.

Immediately after settled back to my daily life after the event, I stumbled upon a local online store selling it for MYR 460, a price even lower than the MSRP!

Without any hesitation, I immediately jumped to land a kit on my hands in 2 sleeps…

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Clad in a premium-looking outer cardboard shell filled with wonderful photos of the kit itself, the HiRM Astray Red Frame box resembles that of the package design of a high-end Chogokin figure.

The pre-assembled inner frame comes in a separate box within the main package, the frame itself along with the back pack connector arm clamped within the plastic coffin.

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As expected, the inner frame looks very bulky indeed, featuring two-toned red plastic along with a small number of die-cast parts and white armour pieces, with its eyes and head sensor pre-painted in metallic green. 

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Testing the inner frame’s articulations with extreme poses I can think of, including the in/famous superhero landing pose. www

The joints are incredibly tight and are able to withstand a lot of repeated movements, but do take care while posing as the plastic seem brittle and soft when I randomly moving them about. Several parts feature inter-connected sliding gimmicks as well, enhancing the aesthetics of the body.

Thanks to the die-cast parts, the centre of gravity is much lower, allowing stable standing pose even with just a single leg. Overall, I’m thoroughly impressed with the articulations.

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All the outer armour pieces as well as accessories laid bare in front of the inner frame. The numbers of parts and runners are significantly fewer than your usual Master Grade kit, thanks to the pre-assembled inner frame.

Similar to the two-toned red on the inner frame, the armour pieces are presented in gloss white and matte grey, as well as shiny gloss black.

Included with the kit are a total of 5 pairs of different hands (Karate chopping hands, Beam Saber holding hands, Beam Rifle holding hands, open palms, and the pre-assembled fists) available for different expressions of posing.

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Just like the original design, the back pack on Red Frame can move downwards to reveal its sexy back. and muscle details.

Unlike its previous incarnations though, there is no connector port here to secure the back pack onto the spine area. The die-cast back pack connector arm is also just a single piece, unlike the Master Grade version which features a sliding rail for extension.

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HiRM Red Frame’s armament is bare minimum, which include the signature Gerbera Straight, a Beam Rifle, and a Shield.

New (?) to this kit, you can remove some parts on the Beam Rifle and call it Short Beam Rifle… Really, Bandai? ^^;

When not in use, the Beam Rifle can be stored behind the rear skirt using a dedicated connector piece…

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Of course the Beam Sabers are included along with the blade effects… XDc

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Astray Red Frame is not Astray Red Frame if it is without its signature katana named Gerbera Straight A.K.A. Kiku Ichimonji. ^w^

The HiRM version is much shorter when compared with the Master Grade version, and the whole blade is wider as well as curvier.

The sheath reflected this design changes as well, but unfortunately the peg of the sheath that connects to Red Frame’s side skirt is an eyesore when being displayed detached from the side skirt…

Although pretty much unnoticeable to naked eyes, Gerbera Straight do have a slight matte coating that shows the wavy patterns of the sharper end of the blade… 

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Here comes the challenger!

The Master Grade version of Red Frame, when compared to the HiRM version, the former is of course sleeker in design, and comes with a second katana named Tiger Pierce A.K.A. Kotetsu. 

However, judging by the extra parts of a second set of katana-side skirt connector pieces on the HiRM kit, Bandai will surely P-Bandai a Kai version or even Red Dragon version for the HiRM in the near future, not to mention other colour variations. :P

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One of the disappointment I had with the HiRM is the usage of the standard seal stickers instead of Master Grade’s vastly superior rub-on dry transfer stickers…

The stickers for HiRM tend to undo itself after application (As seen on the left collar-bone part)… :/ But without them the kit will look uninteresting… I especially like the Sakura theme design on the right shoulder pad.

Speaking of flaws, just like HiRM’s previous attempts, there are still several loose pieces on this kit. To name a few example: the Beam Saber hilts, the white armour pieces on the upper arms, and the back pack… Perhaps a super glue solution is on its way as I speak…

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I’m kind of surprise as to how much I really have taken a liking to this half-breed of an action figure/kit.

A pity variations will definitely come out as P-Bandai in the near future… However if they are released as option parts, such as the Tactical Arms IIL or the Flight Pack, I’ll consider getting them to upgrade this HiRM. A Tiger Pierce to complement Gerbera Straight would be nice.

The steep pricing aside, you should get this one if you still haven’t own any Red Frame. This is a nice substitute to the even more expensive Metal Build version…

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