Action figures from The Robot Spirits line aren't not on my priority list as they are A) generally smaller than my usual 1/144 kits in scale, B) most of their offerings are also available as Gunpla kits and C) the high price tag doesn't really justify the tinier toys, although they usually come with a wealth of accessories.
When I first saw the first images of the Astray Out Frame D, I was a little smitten by it even if I was turned off by its hefty price tag. It had sharp angles, an ornate V-Fin as well as a unique set of equipment that differentiated itself from its other overdone Astray brethren. Nonetheless, the Out Frame does not - and probably will not - exist as a Gunpla kit of any grade. Besides, it is a Premium Bandai Online Webstore exclusive, which mean it is limited edition (one of my Kryptonites), thus an order for my very first The Robot Spirits action figure was placed.
I can't say I'm not happy.
The Astray Out Frame D (henceforth referred to as Outframe for the sake of brevity) is the repaired version of a previous Outframe model and only appears in the Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny Astray manga, a sidestory of the pew pew Gundam Seed Destiny universe. Piloted by a photojournalist, the Outframe was actually built by famed Red Frame pilot Lowe Guele using an incomplete ZAFT mobile suit frame. Therefore, it is not an Astray unit by its naming convention, but rather a customised mobile suit made from a combination of ZAFT, EA and Orb technology.
Following a convoluted plot that is typical of Japanese manga, the Outframe bears resemblance to its other Astray cousins with certain features modeled from the Strike-series of high-performance EA mobile suits. It's nimble, agile and is able to dish out a fair amount of damage with its arsenal of mostly close-combat weapons, although it was originally envisioned to be an observer and recorder of the tumultuous events that unfold in the SEED universe.
Being an action figure, there is nothing much about construction to speak off, although you'd have to assemble the Outframe into its full configuration, which is as simple as clipping the Back Joint backpack onto the Strike-esque hardpoint on the Outframe's back.
Action figures from the Robot Spirits line usually possess great detail, and the Outframe is no exception. Numerous lines and mechanical markings adorn the entirety of the Outframe, and certain parts are molded and/or finished with a metallic sheen. Although the level of detail is nowhere near traditional model kits with their decals and whatnot, the Outframe itself is as detailed as they come for a pre-assembled toy.
Surprisingly, the Outframe is actually 1/144 in scale! I might be wrong but the older action figures from the Robot Spirits seem smaller than their Bandai HG counterparts, so it could very well be an isolated case for the Outframe and its nemesis the Testament. I'm not complaining though, it looks great alongside my other kits.
The one thing action figures have over model kits is articulation. Not as fragile as completed model kits, action figures can take plenty of abuse at their joints and critical areas before exhibiting signs of wear and tear. Armor plating and components also stay secured in between poses, and not pop off like RG or MG armor plates.
The Outframe is capable of a wide range of human-like motion, but its feet are a tad small to support it when full equipped. Nevertheless, an Action Base would solve the problem and also enable it to strike more kickass poses.
The package comes with all the armaments and equipment for the Outframe as described in the manga: two Beam Signs which are really just regular beam sabers, two Armor Schneider assault knives that are different from those found on the Strike as they are shaped like machetes, a Beam Rifle that looks like a GINN's machine gun with an underslung grenade launcher attachment, the Gun Camera which is a high-tech looking MS-sized video camera as well as the Back Joint for the Outframe.
The Back Joint itself is worth a mention, as it is a versatile piece of equipment that is able to wield all of the Outframe's weapons like regular hands. This opens up a lot of posing options, although you'd have to find two more beam sabers if you want to do a quad-wielding pose.
The Outframe also comes with plenty of hands - closed fists, trigger hands, wrist-bent trigger hands, saber hands, open hands - for you to switch around, ensuring that you have plenty of fun with the Outframe before retiring it to the display cabinet.
The Gundam Astray Outframe D is a fine marvel of toy engineering, but its hefty price tag might turn casual hobbyists away.