Review: HG Gundam Astaroth

Reviews

Gundam Astaroth hails from Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Gekko, a 2016 manga chronicling a side story from the Iron-Blooded Orphans anime. It’s one of the 72 Calamity War Gundam frames named after demons. Does it live up to its fearsome namesake? The Evil Prof builds the HG 1/144 Gundam Astaroth and offers his opinion.

Initial Impressions

The Astaroth is a kit that I’ve been excited to build for some time now. It has enough of an “old school” look to be familiar, but the asymmetrical design keeps it from looking generic. Like other kits in the Iron-Blooded Orphans lineup, this mech is armed with a significant melee weapon that does not disappoint. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Astaroth’s Demolition Knife, an impressive one-of-a-kind weapon, sealed the deal for me.

Design and Colors

From a distance, Astaroth looks like a classical Gundam. What sets the Astaroth apart is the asymmetrical design and the mismatched pieces of armor. The most notable difference is the left shoulder and arm. Besides being blue, the armor plating in this area has a different design. This asymmetry follows down to the left knee, also blue and uniquely plated.

The blue armor-plating complements the stark white on the majority of the body. The red highlights also really pop. The addition of striking bits of red lend to the idea that the armor and accessories on the Astaroth were not intended to be uniform.

While I don’t do a lot of modifications to kits, I did paint the blade of the medium gray Demolition Knife with a metallic silver paint to make it look like it has a razor-sharp edge.

Difficulty

The frame of the Astaroth is the same (or similar) to other Iron-Blooded Orphans HG Gundam frames. Thus, there were no surprises nor difficulties with assembling the frame. Armor assembly fit smoothly on top of the frame. While there were stickers to apply, they were not difficult to affix to the kit. All together, the kit was pleasant to build and did not have any issues.

Wielding the Demolition Knife. Both hands are required.

Articulation

Sub Knuckle in the higher position with free wrist movement.

The Astaroth has all of the expected points of articulation for a typical HG Iron-Blooded Orphans Gundam kit including ankles, knees, hips, waist, neck, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. Where the Astaroth differs is with its additional equipment. Both of the Boost Armor units on the hips can rotate as well as move up and down.

Additionally, the Sub Knuckle, an accessory hand specifically for holding accessories, has four points of articulation. It’s like a weird-looking Master Grade kit hand adjusted for High Grade—each of the fingers can move at the palm, while the thumb is on a ball joint. This allows the Astaroth to hold the Destruction Knife and form an intimidating fist. For extra flexibility, the entire hand on the Sub Knuckle can move up and down at the wrist.

Extras

The extras included with the Astaroth are a rifle, knife, and of course, the highly-anticipated Demolition Knife.

The Demolition Knife while not in use.

The rifle is only a couple of pieces and fits together easily. There is nothing exceptional about it nor was it difficult to put together. The standard knife has no assembly required at all. Just clip out one piece with your nippers to finish your Gundam-sized Rambo knife.

More difficult to assemble but far more worth it is the Sub Knuckle. It looks like a Master Grade hand with a bulky blue shield attached. The shield portion can be attached in two way: on the forearm or covering the wrist. The second option is what you see in most artwork of the Astaroth. But the first option allows greater movement at the wrist of the Sub Knuckle. The two different options are attained by two separate holes on the mount that the peg on to the shield. As a matter of preference I have left the Sub Knuckle in the first, more flexible position.

The Demolition Knife is the significant piece of hardware for this kit. It consists of a number of pieces to form a weapon that is taller than the Astaroth itself. For ease of storage, the Demolition Knife folds in half. The primary handle also folds in.

The downside: due to the size of the Demolition Knife, there is a secondary handle on the side that when deployed is perpendicular to the rest of the handle. It seems awkward to have a Gundam hold a sword in such a way, but it is necessary. Despite being hollow, the weight of the blade is enough that the joints on the Astaroth cannot support it without holding both handles. The extra details in the mold for the Demolition Knife keeps the weapon interesting.

Finally, the Astaroth comes with a small part that allows the Demolition Knife to be stored on the back of the kit. It has two rotational points that allow for the Demolition Knife to be adjusted while on the back. The part has a peg on either end with matching holes on the sword that corresponds to two on the back of the Astaroth. Since there is no storage for the other weapons, it’s nice to be able to store the formidable Demolition Knife when not in use.

Final Thoughts

The Astaroth has the feel of a “standard” Gundam, but the asymmetrical design coupled with its unique, enormous weapon help it stand out from the pack. The colors look good together and the kit went together with no problems. The Demolition Knife is not the easiest accessory for the Astaroth to wield, reducing some of the poseability. However, that is a very small flaw.

Overall, the Astaroth is a great kit with lots of character and a worthy addition to Iron-Blooded Orphans fans’ collections.


About the contributor: Despite the painful relationship he has with his hobby knife, the Evil Prof thoroughly enjoys building Gunpla kits. When not working on kits he can be found pursuing photography, distance running, obstacle course racing, and traveling as much as possible.

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