This is not exactly recent, but Gundam model kits (the good ones anyway) are timeless really. Today we review the Master Grade Freedom Gundam from the Gundam Seed series. It is piloted by the main character, Kira Yamato, and pretty much owns throughout the first season.
The proportions are pretty Katoki-esque, so it is pretty slim. It definitely looks good in any pose. The pieces come molded in white, black, blue, red, gray, and yellow. Almost all the proper colors are accounted for, as expected from a master grade. The only foil stickers are for the eyes, a triangle on the backpack, and the blue part around the top of the beam rifle. The kit comes with a sheet of clear stickers and dry transfer decals, which are actually pretty cool and really fit the model when placed appropriately.
I really like the head design, it is nicely proportioned and detailed. All the colors are accounted for with separate pieces. The gray and red on the face are all separate pieces. All you really need to do is panel line the necessary details for a complete look.
The shoulder shield can move back and forth and is pretty loosely fit for freedom of movement. There are no polycaps used, so the joints for the shoulder and elbow are extremely sturdy, they actually take a fit of force to move. The hands have separate pieces for the thumbs and the pointer finger for holding the beam rifle, and the other three fingers are molded as one piece. They are nicely reinforced and sturdy, so weapons are held pretty well.
The torso has a very basic construction. The top of the chest where the red part is opens up to reveal the cockpit. It is basically the only gimmick on this model. The backpack fits into the back via a rectangular soft plastic peg. It looks very small, but it actually fits very snug and will not fall out even with the weight of the wings. Each wing has five separately movable wings that open and close for posing. The beam cannons are fit between the two sides of the wings and fold out for posing. The no grade version could only deploy the cannons with the wings folded back, but of course this is the master grade, so the wings can stay spread while the cannons are out.
The legs are rather long and slim, but they are also quite sturdy. The knee joints are very tough and require a bit of force to move. Articulation is very good, as the black part of the knee slides out when the leg is bent back. The feet have free 360 degree movement. The knees to a good job proping the model up when standing (the wings are heavy and will pull the body back when not posed correctly). The beam cannons on the hips fold out for its firing position. Beam sabres can be stored at the top of the cannons. The back skirt is one very large piece, and has a small peg at the top of it to prop the torso up straight to keep it from sagging from the weight of the wings, which is a very important thing.
Weapons are limited to beam rifle, two beam sabres, and a shield. The shield is pretty basic, it has a handle that folds out for the other hand to hold. There is actually a boomerang on the side of the shield that can be taken out. The beam rifle is pretty basic stuff, it is gray with a white shield that goes over it. The scope is a clear piece, which I painted with metallic green. The beam sabres are clear pink, and can be connected at the ends to make a darth maul double sided sword. Finally, the model kit comes with a custom stand for aerial poses (which it really looks best in)
Overall, this is one of the better master grade models out. Proportions are sleek and cool, articulation allows for dyanmic posing, and the joints are extremely tough for sturdy posing. Details are all accounted for with limited use of foil stickers. This is a respectable model, and should really be in every modeler's collection.