I’ve read some Five Star Stories, but not enough to claim myself an expert. Led Mirage is supposed to be the strongest mirage in Five Star Stories (or so its name claims), and is capable of great destruction with the flame launcher. Prince Sarion’s version has a different head and markings. While the normal Led Mirage head is pretty cool on its own, Prince Sarion’s is mean with all its teeth on the “head blade”, and a “scarred eye”. Whatever 🙂 Prince Sarion killed his parents when he was young, and he’s really cruel and his Led reflects that. FSS purist will probably notice the markings are not quite accurate, but I didn’t find the references to get an accurate marking scheme. I saw in Hobby Japan Ex issue on FSS that Sarion Led with F.Launcher is supposed to have a “IIII” marking on the head and “III’ marking on the body, with an orange square flower marking beneth the “III” in the right shoulder. Too bad the Wave kit didn’t have that flower, so I couldn’t duplicate the scheme. Eventually I just went with “IV” everywhere; Prince Sarion has Led Mirage #4, and the extra decals from the F.Launcher comes with the “IV”. “IIII” may be cooler tough, heh.
I had this kit for a long time but didn’t have the heart to build it until now. Five Star mechs are ultra detailed and the panel lines are really painful to fill in. But it really felt like an accomplishment when it’s all done…
This is not a bad kit, but when compared with Bandai’s it requires more work. Part fits can sometimes be quite bad and lots of puttying required. Some joint parts are also quite loose and some are way too tight, and they needed to be adjusted accordingly.The worst feature of this kit is the puke green plastic of the pieces. It takes a lot of coats of base white to cover that up. I wouldn’t have spent 2 cans of base white on the Led if it was in white! Later I found that a coat of light grey first would do better than spraying base white directly on the puke green, but it still takes 3 coats to get a pure white color.More in the next section.
Head: Prince Sarion’s head is not much of a problem, but if you choose to include the chin guard, it’s pretty difficult to fit the face/neck assembly into the head because of his “side burns”. Mine is loose, but it stays in place due to the pressure of the sideburns. It is also quite scary to fit the head into the body… some pressure is required and you never know what’s gonna break…
The tiny support rods extending from the chest to the reflectors (the two flaps on the sides of the head – thanks to Sammy for the romanized name) that comes with the kit are so fragile, they actually broke during shipments. I replaced them with pins dremeled into appropriate shape, and don’t have to worry about them breaking.
Body: Underneath the chest are 2 support panels. The Wave instructions didn’t clearly point out how it goes together, nor does the pictures on the box give any clear indication. The bad thing about it is that these panels don’t snap fit in place. There is also some trouble getting the waist into the chest, should you choose to assemble them separately.
Legs: The legs requires the most sanding and puttying, and it’s a bit difficult to get pieces aligned due to the lack of alignment pins (well I grew up on MG kits so I’m spoiled.) It’s also quite difficult to paint. The Flame Launcher set comes with extra decals for the legs’ red/black areas so that you don’t need to paint it, but I ruined one of them and eventually I painted the whole thing. The thigh’s area is tougher though, since there’s no engravings and I had to rely on masking to get straight lines. There’s some indication that the thigh’s strips are not retangular, but I don’t care anymore…
Arms: The should joints fits way too tightly… and with my paint on the axes it just wouldn’t move at all… I chose to paint the inside on the armor purple + navy blue (color of the waist) so that it looks deeper. I don’t know if the suppose to work back and fro, the mechanism is there but it’s really loose, and the freedom of movement is very small (though noticeable.)
Flame Launcher: The head of the Flame Launhcer can be extended to twice its length, but after the extension shaft is painted, pulling it on or off will scratch off paint, which is a real shame. Oh well. So I have it extend half way. Overall the launcher is really fun to build and is pretty impressive. I just don’t know what those two shafts at the end are supposed to be, and they look fragile since they don’t fit snugzzly in place. The damn gun is held by a special hand to the body, although initially I couldn’t believe it would work, it does, by some sort of lever mechanism. However, all those armors on the arm are in the way of the gun, making it very difficult to pose it holding the gun straight. Finally I have it in the position as shown in the photo; it’s not too great since the wrist armors are facing upwards, but at least the gun is held straight now.
The other cool thing is the handle to the launcher can be folded into the launcher itself, like the diagram above.
There’s an error in the instructions; the “shield” on the side of the launcher is connected to the launcher itself via a shaft, and the shaft’s connection to the launcher is an upper crescent rather than a lower one depicted in the instructions… but this is nothing compared with the Boomerang unit version of the kit, which left out a step for gluing an engine block at the bottom of the reserve unit!
Reserve unit/Back pack: This thing is really big and massive. I chose to paint the top half white and bottom half silver, for some variation (that’s how the Volks folks paint theirs.) I like Mr. Color’s Silver, it’s more like Aluminum, and brushes well if you really need to hand brush with it. It fits the Led pretty well, for a giant robot you probably don’t want it to be too shiny, otherwise it looks like a toy. I tried super silver, but it didn’t turn out too well, too grainy, and finger prints. The worst part of the back pack is the 2 connectors that wraps around the base of the head to the front. You wonder why they never show picture of the kit with Sarion’s head and the Flame Launcher… that’s because they don’t fit together! Learnt it the hard way… didn’t test fit ;_; The solution is to cut off considerable amount of plastic off those connectors, and now it barely fits. I don’t think however that I’d ever try to pull off the backpack again…
I heated the bottom line of chains and bend each of them slightly to get some movements out of them, otherwise they all align in parallel and it looks dumb 🙂
Veil(Shield): I could’ve used the giant red cross decal for the veil, but I somehow didn’t and paint it in. I think it looks better, but it’s a lot of work, and my sloppy masking results in oversprays that required more time to fix. The back of the shield has these white veins around the green crystal at the bottom, when I found out about this it was too late… oh well. I have to say the claws on the veil are mean looking but slightly out of place…
I used a Busendo brush 5/0 with ink to fill the panel lines. It works really well, the brushes hold their shapes and doesn’t run out of ink easily, and the ink flows. My only regret is I used black ink instead of a dark grey, and the panel lines are not very subtle in some places. Overall it’s less pain to fill in panel lines this time than for my GP-02A.
Most people don’t weather their FSS mechs – afterall they’re supposed to be “beautiful” mechs. I couldn’t live with myself if I don’t weather though, it just look cheap. This time I used Tamiya smoke (= clear black) mixed in some ink for shading. Rough handling of parts results in some of these smoke color being scratches off at the edges, and looks like drybrushing 🙂
Overall I’m really pleased with the build up, worried too, since it’s not a very stable kit to pose. The veil and reserve unit are quite heavy and they tilt the kit. The knee joints weren’t tight enough to hold the kit in position, so even though I didn’t like the support rod that comes with the kit to put at the bottom of the reserve unit, I think for long term durability of the kit I’ll use it 🙂 I haven’t spent so much time on a kit for a long time!