Monday, April 9, 2018

[Kit Insight] Bandai Pacific Rim: Uprising HG 1/550 Obsidian Fury (Painted Build)

Codename: Obsidian Fury
Designation: Unaffiliated Prototype Unmanned Jaeger System

The bad guy always looks more badass than the good guy!
There's just so much to like about the rogue Jaeger from Pacific Rim: Uprising: its entrance and introduction, its sleek techno-organic curves, the luxurious metallic black colour scheme as well as its immensely badass weapons complement. I'm sorry Gipsy Avenger, but Obsidian Fury is just more awesome, all things considered.

The movie didn't delve into the backstory for Obsidian Fury but enough information was surrendered to piece together some history of this unmanned Jaeger. Bearing remarkable resemblance to the Shao Corporation Jaeger Drones, Obsidian Fury is likely based on the same design blueprints most likely pioneered by Shao Liwen with counsel from Newton Gieszler, perhaps even the first working prototype from which the Drone Jaegers were developed. Upon corruption by the Precursors from his regular drifting with the Kaiju brain "Alice", Newton appropriated the plans for the new unmanned Jaegers to create his own in order to advance his new masters' endgame. Obsidian Fury was probably slated to be the leader machine for Newton's army of corrupted Jaeger Drones had it not been defeated by Gipsy Avenger, being the spearhead for the Precursors' invasion of Earth. 

Manufactured in secret at a decommissioned Jaeger production facility in rural Siberia, Obsidian Fury was more than just a Jaeger fitted with a Kaiju's secondary brain: it was a true Jaeger-Kaiju hybrid machine that combined the strength of mechanical parts with the fluidity and responsiveness of organic components. Kaiju biology was infused with the Jaeger's systems, not simply grafted on as an afterthought, creating a construct that was able to respond to stimulus much quicker than its PPDC-developed adversaries. Obsidian Fury moved differently from the other Jaegers of its time, maneuvering with an inhuman, alien-like grace and gait. While PPDC Jaegers are essentially humans multiplied by a thousand, Obsidian Fury was basically a Kaiju in Jaeger form.

Newton was also able to tap on decades of Jaeger research and tech, incorporating the best qualities of these gigantic machines into an advanced frame that was able to maximise the Jaeger's fullest potential. The result was an extremely high performance machine that was able to stand toe-to-toe with the flagship Jaeger of the PPDC's brand new Mark-VI fleet, even managing to best Gipsy Avenger during the incident in Sydney (granted, Jake Pentecost was rusty but still). The way Obsidian Fury caught Gipsy's first punch seemed to say "Not this time, tin can", as if it was payback for all the punches their predecessors took to their faces.

While Obsidian Fury was (presumably) made under the Precursors' influence as a weapon to be used against humanity's monsters, the Jaeger's weapons complement suggested that Newton still had some measure of control over his brain. 

Armed with a generous assortment of weapons, Obsidian Fury's armament however were ostensibly anti-Kaiju rather than anti-Jaeger. Granted: most of the weapons capable to killing Kaiju can also deal phenomenal damage to Jaegers, but an anti-Jaeger combat system would have incorporated some form of EMP weaponry, which was presumably still effective as an EMP Mist Launcher was equipped on Titan Redeemer, the most under-utilised Mark-VI Jaeger. 

Obsidian Fury's signature weapons are definitely the twin plasma chainsaws that deploy from the Jaeger's forearms: huge close-combat armaments bladed with a rapidly-rotating sheath of volatile plasma energy. In order to stem the spread of toxic Kaiju Blue, anti-Kaiju energy weapons such as the Plasmacaster have cauterizing properties to seal off wounds, stopping the flow of the noxious fluid. In this vein, the plasma chainsaws are perfect weapons to use against Kaiju, with the plasma serving to improve the weapons' penetration rate while preventing spillage of Kaiju Blue. However, it is worthy to note that the plasma on Obsidian Fury's weapons glow a bright angry orange as compared to the gentler hues of blue found on PPDC plasma weapons, suggesting a different wavelength for increased cutting strength.

Obsidian Fury also had retractable angular fin blades installed on the sides of its forearms, which it used to graze Gipsy Avenger's conn-pod after giving it an upper-cross. While it doesn't do much to Jaeger armour, it would - presumably - cause significant harm to Kaiju carapace.

Obsidian Fury was also equipped with Anti-Kaiju Missile (AKM) Salvo launchers in its shoulders, almost the exact same model as the ones mounted on the Mark-V Jaeger Striker Eureka. While the AKMs were ahead of its time when equipped on Striker, technology had advanced enough to mass produce AKM launchers as standard weapons, giving Obsidian Fury double the number of AKMs. As further evidence of the weapon's proliferation, Shao Corporation's Drone Jaegers were also equipped with shoulder-mounted AKMs, using them to devastating effect during the new Breach incident. Powerful as they may be against Kaiju, the AKMs did little damage to Jaeger armour, as evidenced in Sydney where Gipsy Avenger took hit after hit from Obsidian Fury's AKMs with no visible lasting damage. By comparison, Mutavore (a Category IV) went down after being struck by 4-5 of Striker Eureka's AKMs, by now antiquated models.

The rogue Jaeger also had a torso-mounted directed-energy weapon that is reminiscent of Gipsy Danger's nuclear vortex turbine blast. While the latter used the technique as a last resort measure, Obsidian Fury's energy blast was likely an anti-Kaiju weapon inspired by the success of Gipsy Danger's attack. In Siberia, Gipsy Avenger was able to tank Obsidian Fury's energy blast with nothing more than the Chainsword 2.0, suggesting that the wavelength of the beam was tuned to disrupt Kaiju molecular biology and was relatively harmless to Jaeger armour. Then again, the Chainsword 2.0 was sheathed with a field of plasma, perhaps allowing the weapon to counteract Obsidian Fury's plasma beam.

While Obsidian Fury's weapons loadout was ostensibly anti-Kaiju, it could be simply due to the fact that Newton took/ appropriated/ adapted whatever was available to the PPDC at that time, short of the plasma chainsaws as Nate Lambert specifically mentioned that those were "Fury tech".

The rogue Jaeger that is Obsidian Fury also represents a paradigm shift for Jaeger tech in general. From a costly-to-maintain and difficult-to-achieve two-pilot system of control, automated combat drones could mitigate many tactical difficulties on the battlefields of Pacific Rim. Drift-compatible pilots are hard enough to identify and train, while automated drones can always be produced as long as the core AI remains available. Removing the human element also eliminates risk from combat situations; no longer will human lives be lost due to crushed conn-pods or defeated Jaegers. Modern Kaiju are genetically programmed to go for Jaeger conn-pods, fully aware that those are quite literally the head of the entire machine. The Kaiju-controlled Jaeger drones were also observed tearing off the conn-pod of Omega Valour, while another stomped on the head of Titan Redeemer. 

Removal of the conn-pod allows for the control mechanism to be housed in another, more secure area of the Jaeger, such as the chest or torso sections. Without the need to incorporate life support equipment or escape pods, Jaegers can be fitted with a variety of other specialised machinery, such as a communications jamming array built into Obsidian Fury's spinal column. Unmanned systems could change the face of warfare, but also open up the possibility of hacked Jaegers, which happened during the Drone Jaeger's debut.

Obsidian Fury is a remarkable design, blending the best of both worlds into a single, fearsome machine.

Build Notes
As with the HG Gipsy Avenger, the HG Obsidian Fury is a marvel of modern model kit engineering, with a fantastic build quality and experience. The model will look great out-of-the-box, although a little paint would serve to cut through all that glorious black. The set comes with two pairs of plasma chainsaws: one pair molded in all black to represent the weapons in their inert form while a pair molded in translucent orange serve as activated ones. It was tricky masking the chainsaws' teeth in order to only paint the middle section, but I think I did okay.

For this build, I used the following colours to at once keep the spirit of Obsidian Fury while giving it a little more colour separation and depth:
  1. Tamiya Metallic Black
  2. Bosny Metallic Black
  3. Anchor Flat Black
  4. Fox Matte Black
  5. Nippon Pylox Black
  6. Tamiya Gunmetal
  7. Bosny Metallic Gold
While the Obsidian Fury does not have a waist swivel, it is still able to pull off most badass poses, although care would have to be given to the model kit's balance when posing.


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