Sunday, January 5, 2020

[CUSTOM] Bandai HGIBO 1/144 ASW-G-08 Gundam Barbatos Lupus [Mars Jacket]

Model Number: ASW-G-08
Designation: Tekkadan Single Production High-Performance Gundam Frame for Mars-based Close Quarters Combat

The red-hot first build of 2020!

Fictional Lore
Since the activation of the 8th Gundam Frame codenamed "Barbatos" by Mikazuki Augus on Mars, the Gundam Frame had been constantly upgraded, refined and improved with each battle. By the time of the Tekkadan Earth Branch, the Barbatos had been so extensively modified that it bore little resemblance to its original Calamity War visage.

The Barbatos Lupus was specially modified to suit its pilot's brutal but very effective combat style, its systems acutely tuned to Mikazuki Augus' preference for ultra close quarters combat. Tekkadan engineers - in conjunction with their allies at Saisei and Teiwaz - routinely developed specialised equipment for Tekkadan's trump card to address a variety of mission types. One such set was termed the Mars Jacket, a set of unique equipment intended for the Barbatos Lupus to fight on the crimson surface of Mars.

While Mikazuki Augus proved to be adequately (deadly) proficient with mace-type weapons, he actually excelled at using sword-types, as seen in the battle against the Graze Ein. With this in mind, Tekkadan engineers developed a set of three specialised bladed weapons for the Barbatos Lupus to fight effectively on Mars.

As Martian gravity was roughly 1/3 that of Earth's, the Barbatos Lupus - in theory - was able to perform devastating attacks with the large Buster Sword as well as the two smaller Slash Swords. The lighter gravity allowed the Barbatos Lupus to wield the Buster Sword one-handed with no tangible loss to damage inflicted (a feat it would repeat with the Helmwige Reincar's huge sword during the battle against the awakened Hashmal), and Mikazuki Augus could put up elaborate sword dances with the twin Slash Swords. This effectively enabled the Gundam Frame to take on multiple opponents at the same time with the Mars Jacket, slicing and shredding armour plating and flesh alike. The massive nature of the swords stemmed from ancient Calamity War-era designs harvested from the Barbatos' memory banks, presumably used to combat and dismantle towering mobile armors.

The Mars Jacket accorded Barbatos Lupus quite a fair bit of close combat tactical options but little in terms of ranged engagement instruments. While Mars' gravity allowed for the Slash Swords to be flung like giant daggers, accuracy was clumsy at best and the result often didn't justify losing an expensive assemblage of half-metal.

To somewhat circumvent this shortcoming of the Mars Jacket, a small hatchet was nestled just above the "pommel" of the Buster Sword, the latter of which was the preferred weapon of choice for Mikazuki Augus. Making split second calculations with the help of the Barbatos' onboard computer, Mikazuki Augus could throw the hatchet with pinpoint accuracy at the cockpit of a Garm Rodi from considerable distance, the force usually incapacitating the enemy pilot or instantly killing him.

Although Tekkadan had largely established itself as a paramilitary organisation that is not to be trifled with, the neo-feudalism of Martian society meant that there was no shortage of foolhardy militant organisations hungry to challenge Tekkadan for its spot in the food chain.

Lacking the resources for long drawn-out wars of attrition, Orga preferred to remove threats as quickly and as brutally as possible to deter future interlopers. Mikazuki Augus was more than happy to oblige in the Mars Jacket equipped Gundam Barbatos Lupus, swiftly ending whoever stood in Orga's way with extreme prejudice.

Build Notes
The idea for this build came along when the Marsfour Gundam appeared on the Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE animated series. The technorganic curves and overall design concept of the Marsfour Weapons blend very well with the rounded design theme of the roundish Gundam Barbatos, specifically the Lupus. The Martian nomenclature also plays well with the Barbatos' lore.

I initially wanted to use the included backpack for the Marsfour weapons, but the standard HG 1/144 connection points do not fit the ports specific to the HGIBO 1/144 series of model kits. A trio of 3mm rod connectors were fashioned out of leftover runners to mount the Marsfour weapons onto the Barbatos Lupus, two on the backpack and one across the rear skirt armour.

The following colours were used for this customised build:
  1. Tamiya Gun Metal
  2. Tamiya Metallic Red
  3. Nippon Pylox Mars Red
  4. Nippon Pylox Deep Grey
  5. Nippon Pylox Haier Grey
  6. Nippon Pylox Black
  7. Red Wheel Silver Grey
  8. Red Wheel Matte Black
  9. Bosny Aluminium Grey
  10. Bosny Gold
  11. Bosny Sparkle Gold
  12. CT7 Gold
  13. Red Fox Bright Silver
  14. Mr DIY Grey
  15. Mr DIY Sparkling Black

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