The Gundam Astray Red Frame (aka 'red astray') is from the Gundam Seed series and meant to be a grunt suit, not an 'actual Gundam', yet somehow it's by far the most interesting and striking looking take on a new sort of Gundam and certainly moreso than the protagonist Strike Gundam and arguably more than the Freedom Gundam.
This particular suit armed with the massive Gerbera Straight katana is piloted by a happy-go-lucky salvager and inventor named Lowe. His story is in manga, not any show unfortunately.
I had the MG Astray Kai before I built this, and I could swear I was building the same kit all over again (gear differences aside). This isn't the case with other kits that I own and I count six that I have both in RG and MG. It is in fact so similar, that I forgot to put the exact same arm parts on this one, as I forgot on the MG.
I think it speaks to the amount of detailed parts on this model and that it was inevitable since the layered structure has to look a certain way.
It's not a bad thing.
The Red Astray is a rather interesting mobile suit as it is skeletal and not encased in armor as most mobile suits are. Not a lot of the actual inner frame shows through, but the parts are layered much more tightly on top of it than with other kits.
The head is also distinct in that the shape is much like the classic Robin Hood hat and at the tip the V fin goes in a sharp angle.
As the name implies there is a lot of red on this Gundam.
There's a ton of detail that I encourage you to use panel liner on, just be careful to check which plastic is which and not use it on ABS. The whole kit will pop very nicely when the details are outlined.
There is a large sheet of decals and many of them have foil, which looks very nice. Note that sticker decals don't look particularly nice on dark plastic and it's not great on the red either. I will say that there is so much going on with this model kit that you can put as little or as much on it as you want and it'll be fine.
Every RG before the Tallgeese uses the MS Joint System which is a premolded inner frame that is articulated straight off of the runner.
In theory it's an amazing technology and it allows for very small and fine parts to be used, which on this kit results in a leg that looks absolutely stunning when it bends the whole way, as it reveals a moving piston and sliding inner parts, as well as a splitting knee and thigh plate. The ankles that the ball joints of the feet are in, also move, giving the leg a little more range of movement.
The downside is that these limbs loosen up with time and repeated posing.
The frame that I got was very tight and I needed to bend/move all parts before building the kit. Note that there's an abdominal crunch feature in the waist section. Be sure to get this moving BEFORE you put the chest on.
A lot of people have snapped the slim peg that connects the torso to the waist because they've tried to get that part to move.
Besides the nice legs, you have an opening front hatch (not easy to open though) and a backpack that swings down (for attaching various expansion parts to the back, but I don't know of any that'd fit for RG).
The range of articulation seems good, nothing bad, nothing special.
1 Beam Rifle, which has a tab that can attach it to the rear skirt.
1 Shield with a handle and a part that attaches it to the back of the lower arm.
4 Beam saber hilts, attachable to the backpack (only room for 2). Two of them have tabs that go into the holding hands and the other two don't, they just look pretty on the back.
2 uniquely shaped beam effect parts, not your usual straight ones, these have spiky effects near the hilt.
8 hands, 2 fists, 2 holding hands, 2 articulated RG hands, one right trigger finger holding hand for the rifle and a left wide spread open hand.
1 big katana with a nice chrome blade (with grind marks). It has that ugly plastic gold, but otherwise it's a very nice looking sword and scabbard, attachable to the thighs or side skirts via an adapter (which blocks the leg, so it's kind of useless).
You don't get this kit for what it does or the basic equipment. You get it for what it looks like and for having a giant mech katana. The MG Kai version has two by the way, just sayin'.
Great kit if you want something that stands out color and shapewise to the more armored standard looking gundams.
I did have to shave down a few parts to make them fit, but rather that than loose parts, which are much harder to fix.