Weirdly, this was the only kit I came across at the London Expo which both took my
fancy and was within my price range. I loked, but there doesn't seem to be a review of it here yet.
In general, the standard Ahead is a very ugly suit. Somehow, though, with a few proportional tweaks and some other details, Mr. Bushido's samurai-cosplay version manages to look quite decent.
For this kit, I used the following paints from Games Workshop's line, since that's what I had access to:
Red areas: Mechrite Red foundation, Badab Black wash
Black areas: Chaos Black, highlighted with Shadow Grey
Yellow areas: Skull White then Sunburst Yellow
Orange GN-T areas: mix of watered-down red and yellow inks over clear plastic.
Fairly standard, comes in two halves with a ball-socket to connect into the neck. There are a few fiddly little parts to connect to the chin and forehead, a large samurai-style crest that fits on the back, and a long, flexible, rubberised cable that'll stay in pretty much any position you want it in without any hassle.
A couple of stickers are provided to block in the black areas and detail the eyes, but it's probably less fiddly just to paint these areas in. The eyes are raised enough that they can be picked out with a touch of yellow.
Embedded deep inside the torso is a clear plastic piece which is meant to match the beam sabers as an orange GN-T particle effect. As it's clear, though, you can paint it whatever colour you like, brighter orange, a fairly muted orange wash as I did, or even green if you want to make some sort of true-drive using custom suit. I don't know.
Sakigake's chestplate is another feature that sets it apart from the standard Ahead. Along with its shoulderpads, these complete its 'samurai' look. The front half of the torso is entirely moulded in black, so a few areas of it will need to be repainted red if you're being picky about colours.
The two vents on the back are attached to the central GN Drive cone by a little articulated limb each, but this doesn't have enough of a range of movement to make it good for anything, really. The vents come with stickers to colour them gold, or you can paint them. As with the in-universe explaination, having them vertical means the the arms have much greater freedom of movement than the regular Ahead's.
First up, one of this kit's main problems: the two cylindrical parts between the shoulders proper and the torso are held on by only a single loose ball-socket joint each. While this does a great job of making sure the double-jointed shouders are unimpeded, there's a good chance they'll dislocate while you're posing those arms, and they're a bit awkward to pop back in again. On the bottom of one of these fits the clip for the short beam saber, but there's a slot to attach this under the right arm if you really feel like it. Right-handed Sakigake, maybe?
The rest of the arms are fairly average: 360 degree rotation both above and below the elbow. The elbow itself is sadly restricted to 90 degrees. The shoulder articulation is superb, however, marred only by thos loose armour parts mentioned earlier. The impressive-looking shoulder pads have a very limited degree of movement- basically limited to 'I can shove this up a couple millimetres so it doesn't get in the way of the shield'.
Only one set of hands, moulded to grip the beam sabers. The shield [more on that later] fits into a groove on the right arm, but again, this is an ambidextrous feature, as the two forearms have identical slots.
Look at the following picture.
This is a single rubberised piece that needs to go somewhere deep in the bowels of my Sakigake's right knee. I'm an idiot. This now lives on the shelf next to the kit itself as a future reminder.
The legs are stable enough, however, that this doesn't prevent the kit from standing up at all. The knees are double-jointed, giving them the usual range of articulation, and the hips are frankly wonderful. The kit takes advantage of the large amount of space afforded by the Ahead's goofy wide-hipped design and lack of any real skirt armour to allow the hips to rotate 360 degrees along one axis and 90 degrees along another, so you can do whatever you want with the legs, really. The feet and the crotch are the only two other places, aside from the torso, that need colour correction.
A removable panel in between the legs exposes a hole for a display stand, but I don't own any, so Sakigake's forever landbound.
As with the shoulders, the clip where the beam saber attaches can be slotted into either leg, making your dream of a custom right-handed Sakigake a reality.
The beam daisho set comes with solid two-piece handles, and a third transparent piece on each for the blades. There's only one small picture on the side of the box to indicate that they're moulded in clear plastic rather than translucent orange or something, meaning I had to improvise a fairly horrible-looking orange wash. They are a little loose in the hands, but they won't fall out by themselves. Same with the clips on the armpit and leg; loose, but they'll stay in. They can be held in any pose, and the longer one can even be wielded two-handed, though it's a bit of an effort to get it into that pose.
The shield is quite tall, meaning you'll need to nudge the sholderpad up a little for some configurations. It has a slot on the back to store the beam katana, and has a plastic detail in the centre as a visual nod to the Flag's defence rod...
A good, solid kit that does the impossible and makes the Ahead design good to look at. A few poseability and component flaws, but compared to the other Ahead kits, the beam sabers are excellent. Stands up on its own without complaints even when you leave a part out of one knee and looks good on the shelf, and, importantly, very faithful to the design.
4 out of 5.