I don’t ever buy 1/144 Gundam models because I always think to myself “just a little more and I can buy the 1/100 or another MG”. I also don’t like how they lack (reasonably) considerable amount of details for the most part… but I’ve been outdated though. My impressions of 1/144 scaled models were of that in 1999-2001 when all I could afford were 1/144s and they do sucked back then. Times changed and so have I. The 1/144 Exia (from Gundam 00) is the first 1/144 model I’ve bought in over 8 years.
Going through the runners and manual, I was expecting a lot of small parts to be lacking in details but was pleasantly surprised that most pieces are generally in the correct colors so there’s no need to paint. Only small spots (such as the face vents and other tiny areas) needed detailing but they are so minimal that not doing anything will still be more than okay for the model. multiple hands are included to hold the weapons and a single left-hand that is wide open (why no right hand?). Mono-color weapons (including the beam saber which is a solid white plastic toothpick) are to be expected and damn do they look bland… but it’s not so bad since it’s at least in its closest correct color. Clear orb parts are included for the body which made the kit look a bit more high quality. Lastly, there’s also quite a bit of foil stickers to put on (they’re mainly dark strips you place all over its limbs and inside the clear pieces).
Building the model is pretty easy with a psuedo-inner frame to it. The pieces are really small but that’s because they actually make up the correct color details of the Gundam. The structure of this 1/144 is truely deserving of the “HG” rank since it is like a miniature 1/100 in terms of pieces and construction methods. I could say there’s even some hint of MG design put into it like construction of the hip, sliding parts in the knees and shoulders. This kit was actually interesting to assemble.
The completed model moves like a dream. It can stand with no problems and it can pose in different range effortlessly. I actually went ahead and push its joint to the limit, twisting the arms and shoulders as far as I can, bending its knees into acute angles, and stretching its legs wide apart and amazingly… it still holds out! Only barely though because then it would be only supported by the edge of its feet and could easily tip over. This model poses just as well and maybe even better than most recent 1/100 Gundams and definitely a few notch better than older 1/100 and MGs that could only stand. Proportions are slender and not a bit bulky. As a matter of fact, this 1/144 is actually better looking and better proportioned than its 1/100 counterpart.
Problems with this model is that the GN daggers/blades stored on its hips can pop off easily if you try to be dynamic with adjusting the legs. The front ankle plate is also a bit easy to knock off. I can’t think of anything negative to say other than these two for the model. Other little annoyances are minor details such as the vents on the face and the “gap” between the white and red pieces of its feet. I corrected this by painting the vents with a yellow Gundam marker and painted the gap black. Easy Fix.
This is definitely a fun little kit to play around with and if you like Gundam Exia, then you should pick the 1/144 over the 1/100 because its bigger counterpart looks bland and weird with its not-as-sleek proportions.
Gundam Astraea Conversion
Fact: I never thought about buying the 1/144 Exia… and I actually bought its Astraea conversion parts first when I saw the Dengeki Hobby magazine at Kinokuniya. I was going to sell the Astraea parts on ebay since I know it’ll become rare but then seeing in the magazine, I was intrigued by Astraea’s design so I went ahead and bought the 1/144 Exia to convert it.
I didn’t like how Astraea’s v-fin is so tiny so I stuck Exia’s v-fin back on and it looks 10x better with the big “ears”. I was also disappointed that I have to remove the clear orbs on its arm and legs to put on some of Astraea’s parts so I only did half. The overall design are straightforward and simple and gives the model a cleaner look. I like that Exia’s cone-shaped “backpack” is swapped for a tri-something thingy (haha, don’t know what to call it) which looks better. No weapons included which sucked.
The Astraea grew on me so I kept Exia that way.