Sunday, April 14, 2019

[CUSTOM] Bandai HGUC 1/144 RX-98 "Manticore" (Customised Build)

Model Number: RX-98
Designation: EFSF Single Production Psychoframe Equipped Attack Use Mobile Suit

The psychoframe, fully weaponised.
The RX-0 Unicorn Gundam and its brethren machines not only caused considerable mayhem during the closing years of the first Universal Century but also proved to the world that the psychoframe was the closest thing humanity had developed to playing God. Indeed, the highly versatile and volatile material could be put to use in a great number of ways, whether on mobile suits or as the weapons wielded by mobile suits. Indeed, the events of Operation: Phoenix Hunt rekindled the Federation's interest in weaponising the psychoframe, and spared no expense to create the ultimate embodiment of a psychoframe weapon.

The RX-98, codenamed Manticore, was developed based on all available data on all three of the Unicorn Gundam units, even the elusive Phenex. Reflecting its namesake, the Banshee's ornate V-Fin and the Phenex's distinctive backpack were mounted onto the Unicorn's body, giving it the appearance of a chimeric winged lion. The Manticore's psychoframe also blazed a brilliant gold, adding to its near-mythical status especially with its legendary colour scheme. 

The Manticore was intended to make use of the psychoframe for combat, eschewing all conventional weaponry with the exception of its head vulcan cannons and four beam sabers. To this end, it was equipped with a pair of Armed Armor DEs, the most formidable psychoframe-equipped weapon in the Federation's cavernous arsenal. Theoretically, the Manticore was able to generate and fire off psychowaves similar to the ones produced by the Phenex, but no enemy unit ever forced the Manticore to play this card.

The Manticore was typically deployed already in DESTROY MODE alongside a pair of RGM-96Xs Jesta Type-S escorts against high priority enemy targets, usually Newtypes or Newtype weapons. The Jestas, similar to their role with the Unicorn Gundam, were to create situations for the Manticore to bring the full extent of its psychoframe abilities to bear. With the Jestas taking care of the non-Newtype enemy units, the Manticore could soar unchallenged to the enemy Newtype.

Once in range, the Manticore had a few engagement options. The power of the NT-D lies in the ability to take control of enemy psychoframe weapons: bits, funnels, mobile suits, etc. The Manticore's refined NT-D system allowed it to forcibly wrest control of any psychoframe weapon from its original users from great range and turn it on them. This was particularly effective against Zeonic funnel weapon systems and could effectively turn the tables on a numerically-superior enemy force. The Manticore has been recorded activating funnel weapon systems when the funnels were still on the enemy mobile suits' recharge racks, taking them out of the fight even before the fight began.

The Manticore could also, using the high mobility bestowed by the NT-D system and its own powerful thruster banks, perform supersonic beam saber attacks against enemy targets. As evidenced during the final battle with the II Neo Zeong, the Phenex successfully used such quick attacks to prevent destructive attacks from the giant Newtype weapon. Excessive use of this engagement tactic however proved detrimental to the Manticore's pilot due to the extreme G-forces involved with such a maneuver.  

However, the most devastating attacks that the Manticore could inflict were with the Armed Armor DEs. Taking a page from the Unicorn Gundam and the Phenex, the DEs were deployed as gigantic funnels, zipping around the battlefield and decimating targets with their built-in mega particle cannons. The DEs moved far too quickly for standard mobile suit weapons to shoot down, and the Manticore's expanded range - thanks to the Banshee's V-Fin - allowed control of the DEs as though they had always been an extension of the pilot's own body.

The DEs also performed well as shields, completely nullifying beam weaponry up to mega particle cannon intensity and provided adequate defense against solid projectiles including and up to heavy missiles. The DEs could also be directed as huge melee weapons, used to crash into the bridge of capital ships and fire off a blast from the mega particle cannon thereafter. The Manticore could also mount the DEs onto its arms for higher defensive strength and close combat. The DEs could still be fired in this position.

In the age of the psychoframe, the Manticore's blazed brilliantly.

Build Notes
The base model kit for this build is The Gundam Base Limited Bandai HGUC 1/144 RX-0 Unicorn Gundam [DESTROY MODE] (Painting Model). The set comes with all parts to create any version of the RX-0, but does not include open hands or beam saber blades. Going towards the RX-93 Nu Gundam's colour scheme, the following colours were used:
  1. Tamiya Metallic Black
  2. Tamiya Gun Metal
  3. Tamiya Light Gun Metal
  4. Tamiya Semi-Gloss Bright Gun Metal
  5. Red Fox Flat Black
  6. Red Fox Bright Silver
  7. Bosny KT Gold Effect Sparkle Gold
  8. Bosny Gold
  9. CT7 Gold
  10. Nippon Pylox Pearl White
  11. Nippon Pylox Deep Grey
  12. Nippon Pylox Haier Grey
  13. Mr DIY Sparkling Black
  14. Mr DIY Grey
I also wanted to replicate the multi-textural treatment found on Metal Build figures. Instead of my usual build process of prepping, painting, assembling, applying decals and finally topcoat, I prepped, painted, applied decals, topcoated and finally assembled the kit. In total, the kit has five different texture treatments: gloss, semi-gloss, flat, matte and metallic.


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