The amount of plamo Japan has is nigh unfathomable: just when you thought you've seen it all, something totally unexpected makes its appearance and takes your money.
The Konami ModeLock series is one such product of ubiquitous Japanese imagination and supreme engineering.
Combining the two great Japanese loves of Mecha and Loli, Sky Girls is a franchise that doesn't try to pretend to be something it ain't: it's really about Lolis who are piloting transformable Mecha. The designs are pretty good, giving off a slight Evangelion feel to some, while others have mentioned that the mecha reminds them of Aldnoah.Zero as well as the Linebarrels of Iron. With the amount of mecha that Japan has, it is little surprise that some design convergence will occur, not that it matters.
The ModeLock sets are quite difficult to find, being released in 2008 to a lukewarm reception, although HobbyLink Japan still has some Fujin sets in stock. These kits are priced extremely cheaply, coming in at less than 300 yen for each. For the price, don't expect a lot, as they are closer to aircraft models than Gunpla, with joint systems that remind me of Stikfas.
However, even with just two runners, a single colour scheme and about 30 parts, the Fujin still manages to surprise. The finished product - though a little fragile and rickety - is roughly the same size of a Bandai 1/144 scale model kit. In fact, any RG pilot figure will be able to stand comfortably in the Fujin's cockpit (located at the crotch, please don't ask why).
The detail contained within such a simple kit is quite astounding, with numerous grooves, panel lines, mechanical details and other paraphernalia that serve to augment the mecha look of the Fujin. The level of detail actually puts some HGs to shame, and a paintjob will serve to bring out those details and further accentuate the Fujin's visage. Articulation and stability wise, the Fujin leaves some to be desired, as the ball joints can be quite tight and parts tend to fall off upon more dynamic posing. The Fujin can also transform to a flight mode using a similar method as the Union Flags from 00 Gundam.
Lastly, arguably the most interesting gimmick of the Fujin is the runner-stand. Yes, the Fujin makes use of a leftover runner as a makeshift action base, which actually works extremely well considering that the Fujin's wing-legs make standing on its own two feet near impossible.
For a kit that is cheaper than Gunpla Builders Parts, the Fujin holds tremendous potential for proper building into a stellar model kit.