Sunday, March 17, 2019

[CUSTOM] Bandai HGUC 1/144 FD-03/FP-SWAT Gustav Karl (Special Weapons And Tactics)

Model Number: FD-03/FP-SWAT
Designation: EFSF Federal Police Force Mass Production Riot Control Mobile Suit

If the Jegan is a pistol, the Gustav Karl is an anti-tank recoilless rifle. 
The FD-03/FP-SWAT Gustav Karl (Special Weapons And Tactics) was adopted for use by the Federal Police Force around the same time as the regular EFSF main force. As a top-of-the-line mobile suit that was at the forefront of mass production MS technology, the Gustav Karl was meant to be a game-changer on the urban battlefield and expected to single-handedly hold back a whole platoon's worth of enemy units.

While the EFSF's regular Gustav Karls were relatively lightly armed with only the Jegan's beam rifle and its fixed armaments, the Federal Police Model carried a gigantic riot shield into battle. Taking into consideration tactical lessons learnt from the Neo Zeon attack on Dakar during the Laplace Incident, the huge shield was meant to draw away light arms fire - and beam weaponry to a limited degree - like a big sponge, allowing friendly forces to flank enemy units while distracted. The riot shield was however too heavy for regular mass production units to wield, although it can be lodged into the ground to be used as a temporary shield emplacement or a makeshift bunker.

The SWAT Gustav Karl's primary handheld armament is a 220mm cannon. Firing a self-discarding armour-piercing sabot round from great range assisted by the built-in targeting computer that linked up with the Gustav Karl's main sensors, the 220mm cannon minimised recoil through an assembly underneath the barrel, allowing the weapon to be effectively wielded one-handed. The cannon was more than deadly against standard mobile suits, with a single squarely-placed round enough to completely blow the torso off its frame. The weapon's only drawback was the small magazine capacity of 8 rounds along with a low cyclic rate of 2 rounds per minute, leading SWAT Gustav Karl pilots to be also proficient with the mobile suit's other weapons.

Along with the two-barrelled vulcan gun mounted on the left side of the head, the SWAT Gustav Karl retained the two-tube grenade launcher and twin beam sabers (stored on its side skirts when inactive) of the regular military model. Loaded with high explosive rounds by default, the grenade launcher can also fire off a variety of ordnance including smokescreen, tear gas and beam chaff.

The SWAT Gustav Karl could also be deployed with a 100mm handcannon, essentially a mobile suit-sized handgun used primarily for close quarters battle (CQB) engagements and/or fighting in built-up areas (FIBUA). Despite its diminutive size, the handgun packs a punch especially at close range, able to remove the head of a Zaku from its body with a single well-placed shot. When used in conjunction with the 220mm cannon, the SWAT Gustav Karl became a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.

The SWAT Gustav Karl towers over its contemporaries, which is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the added mass allows for more armour and advanced systems to be added to the Gustav Karl, but on the other hand, the increased size of the mobile suit makes it a much bigger target.

Deployed against Code: Red incursions in Federation population centers, the SWAT Gustav Karl was typically deployed with two Federal Police Tactical Unit Jegan Type-Ds. Drawing away enemy fire, the Gustav Karl pushed into enemy lines with shield raised while the Jegans executed flanking maneuvers to cut off enemy positions. The Gustav Karl would then conduct mop up operations after the bulk of the fighting had subsided.

The Federal Police Model of the Gustav Karl would have better luck than its counterparts with the EFSF regular forces.

Build Notes
The HGUC 1/144 Gustav Karl model kit is a thick, chunky boy, easily larger and more imposing than any of its contemporaries along the Universal Century timeline. In fact, it is larger than RE100 1/100 model kits from the Victory Gundam and Crossbone Gundam timelines. 

Despite its bulky appearance, modern model kit technology has allowed the Gustav Karl to be far more nimble than it should be. While the elbow bend is nothing spectacular, the extending gimmick in the legs allow for a beautiful knee bend that is almost 100%. The only annoying thing is that loose upper torso to waist connection: it pops off 90% of the time when doing twists. A little super glue works wonders (tried and tested).

The stock hands bundled with the model kit are too small for the Gustav Karl, making it seem like it has baby hands on a body-builder's physique. The Gustav Karl in its stock form (with Federal Police colour scheme) looks like this:

I switched out the stock HGUC-type hands for HGBC 1/144 Jigen Build Knuckles [Kaku] ones, finally being able to use the L-types. The expressive hands and closed fists really add character to the Gustav Karl, as opposed to an empty holding hand.

For weapons, the riot shield came from a HGIBO 1/144 Io Frame Shiden while the 220mm cannon and 100mm handcannon were sourced from Kotobukiya MSG Weapon Units MW03 and MW 24 respectively.

Colours-wise, I largely stuck to my largely established Federal Police palette, although I decided to throw in more blacks, especially on its big calves, to give the Gustav Karl a more "SWAT" feel. Additionally, I applied red to the inside of its many thrusters (three on each leg, three on backpack), as compared to my usual gold.

Colours Used:
  1. Red Fox Dark Blue
  2. Nippon Pylox Light Blue
  3. Red Fox Flat Black
  4. Mr DIY Sparkling Black
  5. CT7 Gold
  6. CT7 Deep Grey
  7. Nippon Pylox Deep Grey
  8. Nippon Pylox Medium Grey
  9. Nippon Pylox Naval Grey
  10. Bosny Aluminium Silver
  11. Tamiya Silver Leaf
  12. Tamiya Gun Metal
  13. Tamiya Semi-Gloss Bright Gun Metal
  14. Red Fox Signal Red

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