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Skull Leader

Christmas present from the wife arrived!

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I'm aware of the issues of the kit but I'm still super excited to build it! Gonna buy the strike armor and a stand for it when I get a chance!

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Edited by Skull Leader

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Go nuts on that bad boy. Can't wait to see what you think of it, even with how bad I know it supposedly is, already.

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From the outset, I'm tempted to believe half the complaints are a result of rushed building while others are people expecting too much from a model. That said, I'm doing my homework first, and I'm pretty sure I will at least replace the hands.

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I think more of the complaints come from Bandai's apparent lack of care for the Macross franchise. Bandai has released better engineered and better functioning transformable Gundam kits for cheaper retail. As well, the proportions for Battroid mode are a little wonky for my tastes, but that's just because I prefer the look of Yamato's v2 1/60 as opposed to the broader chest look of the 1/48s. That being said, the kit has a lot of potential for someone with more modding/customizing experience. I'm no slouch when it comes to basic skills but I don't do much to alter the original kit, so take these statements in reference to a more traditional "out of box" build.

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I can't wait to see the first Armored GERWALK custom come out. That would be very very cool!!

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It's been a pretty pleasant build so far... lots of detail packed into a very small space.

I've already snapped the backpack hinge in two... I glued it back together but it's structural integrity is questionable. I'm trying to find someone with a junked kit I can salvage their hinge from.

I've glued some assemblies for stability... and all transparent parts are receiving glue to keep them from falling out.

It's a little fragile but I like it so far!

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Thanks for the update, I keep throwing around getting that kit!-MT

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The bulk of the work is done! Just gotta finish decaling it now and she's all set. With most of the process complete, I'll share some of my observations:

Pros:

- man, this thing is DETAILED. Even parts of the model you likely won't see (the interior of the legs) have detail!

- none of the joints seem to be loose

- the vinyl "stickers" burnish down nicely like decals... they can be pushed into panel lines and made to look "painted" on.

- the construction is pure genius... a *lot* of thought went into the layout of this model.

Cons

- omfg the hands... who came up with these? Who came up with this assembly process/parts layout? Easily the weakest point in the model for me and they will be replaced.

- while the joints feel very stiff, the entire upper body in Battroid mode is very "fiddly" due to it being not very secure. I know they took some measures with the Roy version to fix that (I'd be interested to see pictures of the modifications... maybe I can scratchbuild those mods into mine) but it definitely means you won't spend a lot of time working on the poses...find a good one and leave it there.

-the arms are scrawny. I think the FAST pack armor will help this a *little*, but it is what it is

- the price of all that fine detail is that parts of the model are just damn fragile... I could see the leg actuators being victimized after repeated use... and my backpack swivel has already broken twice (still need a replacement), you definitely don't muscle any part of this into place or you *will* snap it.

- the leg and nose "hatches" (to actuate the legs and waist) are damn hard for me to open without using a sharp object

These may seem like major gripes, but overall I'm very pleased with the model! It's highly detailed and looks great. I'm past the age where I fly these things around my room much,so it's gonna sit on a shelf in a pose and maybe get changed once or twice a year.

Bandai has come a long way since their earliest imai reissue entries. I took a pic or two next to my bandai HCM 1/72 for reference

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Looks great! So you didn't use water slide decals or the kit doesn't even come with them? Either way, very nice work!

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It comes with them, but I figured I'd give the stickers a shot first and see how they do

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That looks pretty darn good. Especially if those markings are vinyl stickers! I have to say that the head looks a little too big to me though. May be the angle of the picture. I definitely like the fighter mode. Great job on the kit.

You've got to give props though, that 1/72 HCM was about as near perfect as they could've come back in the day! Sure, the nosecone is a bit bulky and the posability is pretty stiff, but it blew the old 1/55 chunky monkeys away in proportion and detailing and still has pretty great durability for a transforming toy from the early 80s. Yours looks spectacular by the way. Looks like it is in fantastic condition. I wish I could find one at a decent price.

Thanks for sharing the pics!

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Actually, I believe the HCM was optimized with the fighter mode in mind... as my only real gripes about it have ever been the small head and the fact that the backpack sits way too high. To this day, it's the only valkyrie kit/toy to depict the dual tailhooks used during carrier landings (although I don't know if those were ever "official").

And thank you... I've had my HCM for a long while now, and it's condition is a testament to the craft that went into making it... I haven't been brutal to it, but it HAS been posed and transformed a lot over the years. I still have the box and everything too.

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