The hunt for Metal Build Red Astray that was released in 2016 has led me to search all available sources for it. I thought I hit the jackpot when I saw a bootleg version of Metal Build known as Metal Club and placed my order. To my dismay, the seller decided to pull the product off the shelf and cancelled my order. Then the search went on and I found Metal Club Red Astray but it is without the flight pack.
I finally gave in and ordered Daban Red Astray with flight pack as Daban had first started with this copy of the Metal Build version before the 8814 Red Astray with Powered Red & Gerbera Straight.
When the order arrived, I realised the size of the packaging was incorrect and confronted the seller who told me that I had not read the listing properly and the red frame is not included. Even so, it is the wrong flight pack and frankly, I would have 'suck thumb' and accepted the item if the flight pack is the correct one. The Metal Build version is designed by Akatsu Junichi and has a very distinct look.
Good thing, there is a return policy and I ordered another one which was more expensive but at least it's the right one.
Then came the usual process of building the kit and this time, I just needed the flight pack. This is Daban's earlier model kit and so it is a direct copy of what Bandai would offer in terms of packaging and the inclusion of the instruction manual. The picture of the Red Frame on the packaging is Metal Build and definitely looks better.
My suspicion earlier when building 8814 that some runners are reproduction from this set is confirmed when I found most of the flight pack parts on the 8814 runners. To achieve the metallic look of the diecast parts used in Metal Build, the silver paint pen is the solution and I also panel-lined it although the Metal Build one would not have that detail.
After a few hours of work, the flight pack is done.
Generous articulations are provided and the pack could be folded when not in flight mode.
This being the earlier production, Daban did not pay attention to details such as orientation and therefore all 'ORB' pieces seen here are right sided.
Good thing that the previous decal purchased for 8814 included water-slide for the flight pack and the decals are with slightly more details compared to the Metal Build version. The final complete item looks legit enough but keen eyes would spot the differences.
The connector of the flight pack to Red Astray is a tad too small and the use of super glue to thicken the connector solved the issue. I have also replaced the original Gerbera Straight with the one from the kit and of course, Tiger Pierce would be paired too.
I am very impressed with the outcome of the final product. It's now customised with two shields and two blasters and it looks simply awesome!
By the way, Tamashi recently released Gundam Astray Red Frame Kai (Alternative Strike Ver.) and I'm glad I bought it. No need to search for bootleg again.