Monday, May 21, 2018

[Kit Insight] Bandai HGAC 1/144 OZ-06MS Leo [Nightstalkers Division Colours] (Painted Build)


Model Number: OZ-MS06 Leo
Designation: Organisation of the Zodiac (OZ) Mass Produced General Purpose Mobile Suit 

The most grunt-looking grunt unit ever!
OZ's OZ-06MS Leo mobile suits changed the way war was waged. By saturating the battlefield with rows upon rows of cheaply produced mobile suits armed with adequate weaponry, most opposition would be swept away in a tsunami of Leos.

Apart from a more tactical colour scheme, the OZ-06MS Leo units from the Nightstalkers Division were also equipped with experimental heavy beam cannons, allowing the mass produced mobile suits to field devastating salvos of lethal beam fire.

The Heavy Beam Cannon fielded by the Nightstalkers Division was one of the most powerful mobile suit weapons equipped on a mass produced unit, giving it enough firepower to at least singe the armour of even a G-Unit. While its rate of fire is excruciatingly slow, the beam cannon makes every shot hurt.

Nightstalkers Leos also sortied with their standard issue 105mm rifles with 100-round drum magazines, used mainly for middle to close range engagement. For ultra close combat, a pair of beam sabers stored in the shield were deployed.


The Nightstalkers Division served as a sundown tactical sub-unit of the Specials, specialising in nocturnal combat operations. Deployed under the cover of darkness, Leos painted in the Nightstalkers' dark colours struck fear into the hearts of insurgents and rebels.

It would be a while before the Serpent Custom makes its debut and becomes the most powerful mass produced unit ever fielded in the AC universe, but till then, the Leo roars into battle.

Build Notes
The HGAC 1/144 Leo represents a new paradigm shift in snapfit model kit technology. All six colours found on the Leo are reproduced using parts: not a single sticker is used to achieve any of the colour separation (yes, including the iconic main camera which is a clear orange part). The main sections of the Leo are also their own assemblies: the ankle armour is separate from the lower leg with the knee armour popping onto the two-part knee joint that boasts great stability and fantastic articulation. 

The latest Leo model kit also minimises the use of polycaps, in fact, only the roundish PC-7s are provided to give the Leo some swivel in critical areas. Aside from the head unit which is pretty much fixed into place, the rest of the model kit has incredible articulation for a seemingly simple design.

To achieve the Nightstalkers Division's colours (which is basically a fancy term for "Titans"), I used the following:
  • Nippon Pylox Deep Blue
  • Nippon Pylox Deep Grey
  • Nippon Pylox Medium Grey
  • Red Fox Bright Silver
  • Red Fox Flat Black
  • Red Fox Primer Grey
  • RedWheel Grey
  • CT7 Gold
  • Tamiya Gun Metal
  • Bosny Metallic Black
The Heavy Beam Cannon is from the HGFA 1/144 MMS-01 Serpent Custom model kit that was released in 1998. Despite its age, the weapon is still a nice fit for a modern HGAC model kit.

The HGAC 1/144 Leo is a marvelous addition to the HG line, giving adult hobbyists a worthy model of the mobile suit from their childhoods.

Fictitious Backstory
Second Lieutenant Fernando Diaz marched into sprawling Hangar 16, back straightened, gaze stoic. It was his first day with the famous - or infamous, depending on who you ask - Nightstalkers Division, an elite sub-unit of the OZ's Specials taskforce that specialises in nocturnal combat. In fact, it was the only unit that had the experience and expertise to mount a successful military operation in complete darkness.
Lieutenant Diaz's combat record was storied, to say the least. The eldest offspring of a Romefeller Foundation bigwig, Diaz had blitzed through military academy and participated in enough military operations to become an OZ officer and mobile suit pilot in record time, the first in his entire bloodline to do so. Of course, he left a few broken hearts and heads in his wake, but as his father always told him, "Beat them, or else break them."
Diaz allowed himself a small chuckle at the memory as he gazed longingly at what was supposed to be his new personal machine standing tall in Berth 16-M2, an OZ-06MS Leo general purpose mobile suit painted in the signature dark colours of the Nightstalkers, complete with their scorpion insignia.
As the latest line of mass production type mobile suits to be fielded by OZ, the Leo is essentially a cheaper, simpler version of the legendary Tallgeese, the template for all OZ mobile suit designs. Diaz remembered observing the Tallgeese in action during one of its many test flights, recalling the intense thrust from its backpack boosters, its pure white visage and most definitely its grace, poise and elegance as it flitted through the sky like a gigantic ballerina armed to the teeth. Diaz would give anything to pilot the Tallgeese one day.
Just not today.
A mechanic came to Diaz, gave the customary salutations and pleasantries and went straight down to the technical briefing. Diaz never could get mechanics, they were too... direct. Nevertheless, the fate of the OZ war machine lies in their hands and if he wanted to make it out of his future engagements unscathed, it would be wise to pay attention.
The Nightstalkers version of the Leo was fundamentally the same lime-green one in use by the regular OZ forces, but with a number of changes both over and under the hood. For one, the main camera's electromagnetic spectrum has been expanded to detect more wavelengths, allowing the Nightstalkers to better acquire their targets in the dark. The main thrusters have also been "silenced", so to speak, to reduce their footprint, blast profile and energy signature.
While the Nightstalkers Leo retains the 105mm rifle, shield and twin beam sabers of the standard Leo unit, it is also equipped with an experimental heavy beam cannon for long range combat. A massive weapon that is almost as long as the Leo is tall, it is essentially a mobile suit portable beam projection platform, similar to the crew-served batteries found on OZ warships. Diaz listened with delight as the mechanic touched on the weapon's raw power - a single shot was able to gut a light frigate from stem to stern - and did not really absorb the fact that this power comes at the cost of an extremely low rate of fire: one shot every 60 seconds.
Diaz could listen to the mechanic drone on and on about the Leo's maintenance schedule and piloting parameters but alarm klaxons suddenly sounded, signalling an urgent deployment. A quick update from a corporal revealed a surprise attack on an OZ desert base in the dead of the night, with defenders failing to identify the assailants before being struck down. Diaz and the entire battalion he was attached to was ordered to sortie and lay an ambush for the attackers in the next OZ base in the region. They were to terminate the attackers with extreme prejudice.
A small smile flickered across the chiselled face of Lieutenant Diaz as he moved his Leo into position, beam cannon poised to fire. He allowed himself a moment to savour the responsiveness of his new machine, to gush over the spanking new control panels and posh cockpit furnishings. This moment ended when an alarm sounded on his instrument panel: movement was detected about three kilometres from his current position. Just as Diaz was about to call it in, a blinding flash erupted, then another and one more to his far right in rapid succession. He was experienced enough to know that those flashes were the result of detonating mobile suit reactors and he feared the worst.
He turned his Leo.
The smouldering wreckage of his squad lay before him, charred by a high power beam weapon. Diaz jumped his Leo backwards, almost tripping over its own cumbersome beam cannon as he pondered the cause of his squad's demise. Enemy action? A misfire from their own beam cannons? Before he could come to a conclusion however, the answer appeared before his very eyes.
A mobile suit in white and blue descended from the heavens, its huge mechanical wings spread out like a metallic angel. It would have been a beautiful machine, had it not been leveling a massive beam rifle at Diaz's cockpit. For the first time in his life, Lieutenant Fernando Diaz felt true fear.
The white mobile suit's dual optics pulsed green. Diaz did not waste any more time.
He fired.
The beam cannon's capacitors took a split second to wind up, connecting the particle reservoir to the firing mechanism. A lance of blinding yellow energy erupted from the barrel and raced towards the white mobile suit with blistering speed. Diaz struggled to maintain his Leo's footing to compensate for the weapon's massive kickback, gripping down on his control sticks until his knuckles turned white. The yellow beam engulfed the white mobile suit and it vanished, both from visual view and radar.
Diaz relaxed his tensed hands and slumped into his seat, breathing laboriously. A smile slowly crept onto his face as the realisation of what he just did sank in: he had managed to both beat his adversary and also broke it. He reached for his intercom to respond to his superiors rapid-fire requests for updates, and would have delivered a superb report that would have made his father proud.
But when the dust cleared and the sand settled, his radar chimed once again. The white mobile suit still stood before him, its glistening white armour completely untouched, save for a little charred section on its right shoulder. Diaz could not believe his eyes: that monster withstood a point blank beam cannon blast like it was nothing but than a paintball gun. He raised his beam cannon once more, intending to finish the job. He grinned and pulled the trigger.
An error message appeared on his screen.
The heavy beam cannon needed 10 more seconds for its capacitor to cool down enough before another shot could be fired, as briefed by the mechanic in Hangar 16.


10 seconds was all the white mobile suit needed to raise its massive beam rifle and pull the trigger. A wide yellow beam of energy washed over the Leo and Lieutenant Fernando Diaz ceased to exist.

Gallery