Sunday, May 9, 2021

[Kit Insight] Bandai HGCE 1/144 GAT-02L2 Dagger L - Painted Build

Model Number: GAT-02L2
Designation: Earth Alliance OMNI Enforcer Mass Production General Use Mobile Suit

One of the best model kit renditions of cannon fodder!The Bandai HGCE 1/144 Dagger L is a deceptively simple kit that packs a metaphorical punch. The no-sticker model kit has fantastic part and colour separation - only the chest CIWS are not colour accurate. A little paint serves to bring out the character of the mass production mobile suit but painting is really optional here.

This is indeed a marvellously fun, low-priced model kit. No wonder it is low in stock in Japan.

Fictional Lore

The successor machine to the Earth Alliance's true mass produced mobile suit, the Dagger L quickly become the EA's weapon of choice due to its low cost, ease of assembly/ maintenance as well as general high utility. Typically fielded with a beam carbine, a physical shield, two beam sabers, two kinetic penetrators as well as four onboard CIWS, the Dagger L saw much action in multiple theaters of war, with EA Commanders having the option to mount Striker Packs onto Dagger L units to exploit certain tactical opportunities or to curtail enemy gains. The simplified version of the Strike Gundam's frame also ensured reliability and replacement rates, with supply lines rarely taxed as the mobile suits do not require very specific mobile suit parts and equipment for optimal operability.

The Dagger L suited the massed attack tactics of Earth Alliance commanders, who preferred to overwhelm enemy positions with numerically superiority rather than tactical maneuverability. Although the beam carbine used by the Dagger L has a lower output than the Strike Gundam's beam rifle, the weapon was able of rapid fire and this setting was typically used to suppress enemy positions for flanking attacks. The small size of the beam carbine made it easy to wield and aim, suitable for pilots of all skill levels and combat experience although veterans could use the beam carbine with a finer degree control and pulsed their shots for greater accuracy.

While Dagger L units could be equipped with every Striker Pack used by the Earth Alliance's OMNI Enforcer, usage of Striker Packs required the express approval of the theater of war's commanding officer, which could take longer than the tactical situation allowed.

On-scene commanders hence equipped their Dagger Ls with a 180mm rocket launcher (produced by the same arms subsidiary that supplies similar weapons to ZAFT) to defeat heavy armour and fortifications. The weapon was clunky and heavy but extremely user-friendly: all a pilot had to do has to point the business end of the rocket launcher at an enemy target and the onboard targeting computer did the rest. Dagger Ls could dual-wield the rocket launcher and beam carbine, thanks to the latter's small profile.


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