I really like Arios's design; it's incredibly sleek and dangerous. I also really like how they changed up the v-fin on Arios, because it looks seriously awesome.
Alrighty, articulation. Arios's head is on a double ball joint, and can move pretty far forward to make transforming it a lot easier. He's got some sort of weird shoulder joint that, frankly, is really loose. Arios's shoulders each have the 2-sectioned spikes that turn into flight modes's pincer. Right next to where the shoulder attaches to the body is where the arm attaches. It's pretty standard HG arm articulation [in terms of the newer HGs]: double jointed elbow, can rotate at the shoulder connection, there's a little bit of wrist movement, and the hand is ball jointed. The fake cockpit on Arios's back can swing back and forth, but in Gundam mode it's kept back. Arios has a multi-sectioned torso, but it can't quite move as much as it can on HG 00 Gundam. Now, for the waist, Arios only has a back skirt which can't move too much and two front skirt parts on PC ball joints that seem to enjoy popping out whenever possible. The legs can rotate at the waist connection [necessary for transforming], are double jointed at the knees, and the knee fins can move around. Finally, Arios's ankle armor can move up and down, and his very empty-looking feet [the front part, rather] can also move up and down, while the back part is on a very restricted ball joint. Oh, and the lower part of the lower leg can slide up [for flight mode].
I love Arios's design as a whole, and Bandai did a good job on the HG kit. HOWEVER, it really seems like they skimped out on the parts that matter. The shoulders are a pain to get into any sort of dynamic pose, the front skirts pop off far too often, and the hip connection [at least on this kit] was a tad weak, so the legs liked to fall off on occasion too. Maybe I'm just expecting too much from a HG ^_^;;
Arios doesn't really come with much in terms of accessories, but what he does come with is awesome. So let's start with Arios's beam gun.
It really isn't anything special, and at the same time it's such a great design. I really like that they made it a double barrel beam gun, but I seriously don't understand why one of the barrels can swivel o_o;;
And, of course, no Gundam would be caught dead without a beam saber or two!! Arios's beam sabers are stored under the front skirts [for easy access, I'd imagine].
Arios's flight mode is fantastically aerodynamic, and it looks so...awesome. I really don't have much to say about it though. Transformation is pretty straightforward, and then you pop the special stand piece onto Arios's crotch and put him on an action base!
In season 2 of Gundam 00, Archer really didn't impress me all that much. It wasn't until I had the finished kit in my hands that I truly appreciated it.
Archer's articulation is pretty impressive for being such a small HG. The head is on a double jointed neck, the fake cockpit can, like Arios, swivel up for flight mode, and Archer's massive boosters are on little arms similar to the GN Drive arms for 00 Gundam. The shoulders are pretty standard, and the arms can swivel at the connection to the shoulder. The elbows are only single jointed, but the wrists have some motion too, which is cool. Archer can turn side to side a little bit at the waist, and the hip connection is actually pretty good! The knees are double jointed, and the feet are on a PC ball joint but can fall off kind of easily because of the open backs =\
Archer is an awesome little kit for what it's worth. You can get some really dynamic poses out of it [in some cases, better than Arios] and it even looks awesome just standing there.
GN Archer comes with 2 beam guns as its only accessory. Honestly, I really like how they look, and they add to the dynamicness quite well~
Archer's flight mode is really something that I'm less than fond of. It looks awkward and bulky, and it's woefully obvious that underneath the massive boosters the actual Mobile Suit is curled up into a ball. To attach it to the stand, a part similar to Arios's is used. Clip it onto the stomach, then pop it on the stand.
[I apologize for the weird lighting, this was the only spot that I could snap pictures of Arios Archer without anything else getting into the picture =\ ]
Well, since these kits don't belong to me, I went and asked G to answer the standard interview questions for Arios and Archer, and this is what he had to say:
Baby TheEnd: What was your initial reaction after laying all of the runners out in front of you?
G: I was totally excited. Even though I built a 1/100 before, this is still my first 1/144. I decided to contain my excitement longer by building the action base first, then Arios, the Archer for last. I was really surprised Archer only had 3 runners, but it was probably the kit I was most excited for.
Baby TheEnd: About how long did assembly take?
G: The base took maybe 30-45 minutes. Arios took maybe 2 hours, and Archer took 2 hours. I started at around 4 and ended at 11 with a little break in between.
Baby TheEnd: What was something that frustrated you during construction?
G: For some reason, the action base plastic, even though I believe it is the same material, felt flimsy to me. Maybe it was my particular set, but I was kinda worried about breaking pieces while trying to get them off the runner. Luckily, it went smooth. Also, the stickers on Archer are kinda meh.
Baby TheEnd: Is there a specific aspect about this kit that you really like?
G: The Base - The color looks cool and the quality surprised me. The main base piece wasn't bending when I tried to flex it a bit.
Arios - The way the transformation of the legs is really amazing. They do this sliding motion and makes me almost want a real Arios. Arios's color also seemed very consistent as well.
Archer - It's Archer. Not much else except the fact THE BOOSTERS CAN ATTACH TO OTHER GUNDAMS! It's a small size, but it is well made. I really liked building this kit.
Baby TheEnd: Is there anything that upsets you about the finished kit?
G: The stickers on Archer are okay, but could be better (I figure that is just how stickers are) and the combination method could have been more creative. I mean, it's a bridge piece between the hips of Arios and the chest of Archer. Could have been more thought out. Although, the anime doesn't specifically show how it happens.
Baby TheEnd: Is this kit fairly priced for what you get?
G: THIS IS TOTALLY WORTH IT. You really have to buy both of them. The only thing disappointing is there isn't a 1/100 Archer. BANDAI, HOP TO IT!
And there you have it! ^__^
See you next week, everyone~ :D