The two new Strike Gundam figures are priced at ¥ 2000 a piece which follows the trend of recent CORE figures. I picked mine up on the secondary market at a price of ¥ 2500 per figure, suggesting that these will not be so easy to come by in the future.
Both figures come with a fair number of components as well as printed assembly guides which are welcome as there are a few pieces in each box that left me a bit mystified upon first inspection. As Japan-only Shokugan items they of course also feature the iconic Converge chewing gum.
CORE 007 : GAT-X105+AQM/E-YM1 Perfect Strike Gundam
Out of the two Strike Gundam figure variations this is definitely the meatier one. The Perfect Strike Gundam belongs to the "let's cram all the accessories onto one figure" school of design, and is actually an amalgamation of the three variations in which it appears in the original Gundam SEED anime. The idea is that the GAT-X105 Strike Gundam is able to carry different equipment loadouts for different mission specifications. We saw three such "striker packages" in the series, one aimed at improving speed and maneuverability, one adding heavy fire power and the third centered around melee fighting.
Come Gundam SEED's sequel SEED Destiny, someone thought it a good idea to chock all this gear onto a single frame, creating the ultimate (or "Perfect") package. Suffice it to say that opinions differ on whether this was a good idea or not, but for Converge figure collectors it is definitely a jackpot!
As you can see from the images and component parts list below the Perfect Strike Gundam is chock full of gear choices, and features a new back pack to which most of it can attach. Somewhat surprisingly, the figure has no trouble standing up in spite of this mighty arsenal lumbered onto its back.
|The multitude of components grouped together per Striker Pack family.|
Although not technically accurate, it is quite possible to display the Perfect Strike in up to four different configurations. This is possible due to ingenious engineering on part of Fusion Works, but mainly because we have been given a pair of replaceable shoulder pieces. This makes it a quick job to whip up some alternate versions of the Strike, and this is also what makes this kit so much fun to mess around with. At the same time, a word of warning seems in order. Many of the components have pretty loose fits and will probably begin to degrade quickly so as always with these figures it pays to avoid unnecessary parts swapping.
GAT-X105 Strike Gundam
|CORE Strike Gundam (left) compared to the original Strike Gundam (right), which appeared as part of Converge Vol. 6 back in February 2012. How time flies.|
Above are some customizations that I made by stealing accessories from other Converge figures. The original GAT-X105 mobile suit is armed with two Armor Schneider knives. Although not exactly fashioned in the same style it is quite possible to steal the combat knife from the ECOAS Jegan to represent this weapon. Next up you see the shield from the old Strike Gundam figure applied to the CORE figure. The pegs are not of similar size though, so the shield will only stay in since I am leaning it against the arm of the figure. The last image shows the old shield in conjunction with the Aile Strike configuration, which brings us to the next figure mode:
GAT-X105+AQM/E-X01 Aile Strike Gundam
Arguably the most commonly seen configuration of the GAT-X105 is equipped with its Aile Striker flight pack. This conversion is only partially successful since the flight pack for the Perfect Strike is quite different. While it is possible to remove the hardpoints for the Launcher and Sword Strike components the new battery back arrangement in between the thrusters changes the look drastically.
GAT-X105+AQM/E-X02 Sword Strike Gundam
GAT-X105+AQM/E-X03 Launcher Strike Gundam
MBF-P02 Gundam Astray Red Frame integration
As if all this weren't enough, we also get an extra connector piece that allows the Astray Red Frame figure to carry the Perfect Strike pack. So, if you own this figure (Converge EX 10) you can also exchange its flight unit as shown below. A nice touch which increases playability even more.
CORE 008 : MBF-02+P202QX Strike Rouge I.W.S.P.
MBF-02 Strike Rouge
|Strike Rouge and Perfect Strike backpack swap; both figures are fully compatible.|
MBF-P03 Gundam Astray Blue Frame integration
The Strike Rouge features the same Astray compatibility as the Perfect Strike. Here we are instructed how to attach the IWSP pack to the Astray Blue Frame figure (Converge EX 11) using a separate connector piece.
There is just so much integration going on between the Converge Strikes and Astrays, it makes for a lot of fun to be had once your Cosmic Era mobile suit armory starts filling up.
I think the general message has been received by now. I am very much endeared by the two Strike units, easily the best figures to have come out of the CORE line thus far. They are also somewhere in the top tier of the Converge figure line, not just in the strong year that was 2016, but at least the Perfect Strike Gundam could well aspire to an entry in the Converge all-time hall of fame.