After literal months, the High Grade Messer is done. Complete. Finished. Painted. Detailed. Everything.
Now let’s put it through its paces.
How Does it Look?
Pretty good! Once everything is assembled and properly detailed, it all stops looking cheap or tacky. There’s now a sense of heft and weight to this model, perfect for a mobile suit of this size.
I’m really glad I painted the grills on the inside of the rear skirt armor. You can see them from most angles, and they look a lot better with a bit of color.
The more I look at it, the more I appreciate this design. It’s like the souls of the Federation and Zeon were cast to the underworld, tortured, and fused together into some sort of demonic Hell Knight. The vents on its chest look like a skeleton’s ribcage, and the tubes in its face and shoulders make it look a bit like Darth Vader or Nemesis, like it’s a corpse being kept on life support. It’s these little touches that make it stand out compared to its sibling, the Geara Doga.
I’m not expecting this to be the articulation king. The armor is too big and chunky - even if the joints were amazing, they’d get blocked real quick.
With a model like this, it’s hulking nature does most of the talking. All you need is a bit of movement, and you can still imply grand, sweeping gestures.
Starting with the head, this is the best you are going to do within its normal limits:
It moves and tilts slightly to the left or the right. You cannot move it up or down.
If we pop the head off, we can reattach it so it is noticeably further to either side:
It actually rests comfortably in this position, so it’s a nice option.
The MonoeyeYou can adjust the monoeye, but unlike other models, you actually have to take apart the head to do so. Thankfully, it’s only one piece, and it comes off easily.
For certain poses, it’s definitely worth it to move the eye to keep it visible in the shot.
Moving on to the arms, you can lift them up far enough for a T-pose:
And you can get this much of a flex:
Onto the torso, this is as much of a rotation as you’re going to get:
It’s so small that it’s hard to tell if it even moved at all.
However, the Messer has a trick up its sleeve. There is a gimmick where its torso can stretch upward and forward, giving it an impressive ab crunch:
This makes that tiny bit of torso rotation look a bit more hulking and menacing:
If we change our perspective a bit, we can see that the torso can also swing forward just a bit:
On to the legs, we don’t get much of a lift, at least not without removing the skirt armor:
And you’re also not going to get much of a split:
Though the ankle articulation means that you can get a very wide stance:
All in all, I think the articulation is probably good enough. The wide stance and the ab crunch help to emphasize its big, hulking nature. That’s the kind of thing a mobile suit like the Messer is made to do, so while the overall articulation may be subpar, it has it where it counts.
Or at least I think it does. Let’s try some action poses and see.
Broken ArmI ended up breaking the left arm. After the build, both arms were very loose, specifically in the peg joint that connects them to the shoulders. I used some super glue to tighten them up, but I guess I used too much. The left arm was extremely stiff, so I started twisting it left and right to help get it on. I guess that somehow created enough torque to twist off the tip of the peg.
It fell into the joint, and I tried to fish it out in hopes I could glue it back on, but instead it got stuck deep inside.
Thankfully I was able to reattach the arm for long enough to take most of the photos, but by the end of the first night even more of the peg came off. I ended up permanently gluing it in place, and then worked around it while I took some additional photos the following afternoon.
The arm can still move up and down, swing out to the sides, and bend at the elbow. It just can't pivot any more. You don't realize how useful that is until you can no longer do it.
If you see a photo where the left arm is turned a little too bit inward, you'll know it was from the second day, after the arm was glued into place. It wasn't actually that hard to work around, though from now on I'll probably keep it in a basic standing pose!
I quickly discovered that the beam saber blade is a little too long for this model (and that’s saying something). It made it hard to frame the entire model within the shot.
I’ve never tried a pose like the one below, but it worked perfectly:
Some model kits look natural with a beam saber in hand, and some don’t. Surprisingly, this one doesn’t. Or maybe I was just too conservative with my poses on account of the broken arm.
(Here’s a close up of the same pose)
It may be hard to see, but this is a beam saber pose:
Let’s move on to the beam rifle. I expected not to use this very much, but with the beam saber feeling so awkward I had not choice.
I still don’t love it, but I suppose the beam rifle is a bit better than I gave it credit for. If I had it my way, a mobile suit as large as the Messer would have something a bit bigger and more menacing. But this looks easy for it to wield, which I suppose is appropriate given its role as an “urban combat” unit.
Here a few more beam rifle shots. Might as well show them:
Here’s a shot from the backside. Sometimes I hae to remind myself to capture these kinds of angles:
I mean, why go to all the work of painting the feet if you never show them off?
I’d be remiss if I didn’t try and reproduce the scene where the Messer drops in from the sky:
And rounding it all out are a few more poses that I thought were particularly cool:
I think a couple size comparisons are in order, just to see how the Messer really stacks up next to the High Grade competition.
First, here it is next to the Gramps, the baseline upon which all other mobile suits are compared:
Keep in mind that the Messer is leaning and kneeling just a bit here, so the size difference is slightly more pronounced than it looks even in this shot.
Now here it is next to the Jesta Cannon, which I once thought of as a tall, bulky mobile suit …
… but next to the Messer, it comes up a bit short.
Lastly, here it is next to a miniature mobile suit:
But don’t let the size fool you. The Victory Gundam would probably make short work of it.
A mobile suit this large pushes the boundaries of what is possible with a High Grade.
Case in point - consider the leg armor. If this was a Master Grade kit, that one piece would be made out of several pieces. But because this is an HG, that was never going to happen.
The problem, though, is that once you get to a model this large, all these big, single pieces are going to start looking fugly, especially without any panel lining. This is a kit that 100% needs some extra TLC, moreso than others of its ilk.
On a related note, when an HG is this big, every little flaw or cut corner becomes magnified. All the interior mold lines and cutouts, all the massive joints and pegs - all of it is easy to see from the proper angles.
For the most part, I think it largely gets away with it. It does a decent job covering up most of its interior flaws, and it tres to compensate with some better than average parts separation in some places. But during the build I was having some serious doubts. This thing could have easily gone sideways, and a future model of similar size could very well do so instead.
All of which is to say that I think the Messer works in spite of itself. Put in the work, and find the right angles, and you can make this into a masterpiece. But if you don’t, the final product may end up feeling too much like an oversized toy.
Note from the future! This build ended up being spread out over several months. Here are links to all the posts, so you don’t have to go searching for them: