Greetings! For today, I'll be featuring a very special unit to me. Firstly, if you ask me what's the best looking Gundam and I answered something that is NOT either S Gundam or Ex-S Gundam, then I'm a lying bastard and deserves to be shot.
I first saw the Ex-S Gundam on the Model Graphix novel, with all the maintenance crew:
It was one of the rare time that I really am awed and taken by the design, that it becomes an iconic mobile suit for me. It's a winning combination of streamlined, fierce face, large blocky shoulders, massive backpack and ends with supermodel sleek legs. Not forgetting that behemoth of a beam smart gun that makes most other Gundams hide their small beam rifles in shame.
Anyway! It was only recently that I bothered finding the translated English novel version of Gundam Sentinel, that I came to appreciate the suit more, or specifically, the ALICE system. That AI feature alone and its learning potential was much more intriguing to me than the battle between the New Desides and EFSF.
I felt that ALICE added a new depth of character growth, and felt feasible among other "performance boost" features such as Zero System, SEED, Newtype or Trans-am. The S Gundam couldn't multi-lock grunts like the Strike Freedom, or do insanely fast maneuvers like OO Raiser but the ability to do the best possible moves and bend the beam direction is quite a remarkable feat.
Nonetheless, I'm not going to bother you about the Sentinel storyline cause if you're interested, you would have read it but I just wanna repeat that I think all the S Gundam variations is impressive, especially the Plan 303E Deepstriker.
S Gundam is just another example of early released HGUC, thus the articulation is nothing to be proud of; cause it can't kneel, the head is not going to move much and the torso is a large combined block although the lack of skirts makes leg motion decent and the hands are surprisingly nimble with many degrees of freedom.
But then, with the bulky shoulder, long pointing knees and the sizeable side skirt railguns, you might as well just leave it standing. Take a look at MG Ex-S and you'll get what I mean. This guy looks best just standing still and it CAN stand on its own because the weight is well-spread out even though you might think it is top heavy.
One thing to note if you're not sure about getting either HGUC S Gundam or Ex-S, it might help to know that if you purchase the Ex-S Gundam, you still get all the parts to make an S Gundam [Though I don't know why you want to make an S Gundam after buying an Ex-S kit, maybe you're just too rich or an absolute idiot, of which none concerns me] and if you actually purchase a mixture combo of both, you can also get the MSA-0011 (BST) S Gundam Booster Unit Type.
Keep in mind too that the color separation is actually quite bad. Case in point being the vents located on the side of the face. The whole head is actually white and you have to paint it in. Same goes for the forehead gem [Default yellow like the V-fin], shoulder wings [Comes as a single white piece], forearms lacking black surface as it is totally white and the upper feet is actually a single white piece. What I'm trying to say is, to make it accurate like the manual, you sadly need to paint since stickers aren't provided for these parts.
Overall, with such a massively overwhelming, impressive and powerful looking unit, not even the bad articulation or lack of coloured details is going to stop one from enjoying this kit. It is well proportioned, easily stands as one of your tallest HGUC collections and has sufficient armaments.
With the various color schemes you can try, such as the red version, it is not surprising to see more than 1 S Gundam or its variations in one's collection. Hell, I even encourage that people purchase multiple HGUCs of this and Ex-S and also get the accompanying GFF figures.
However after all that raving, I can only give this kit a 8.5/10 because despite its positive points and good looks [Which is a massive contributing factor], it does have its major flaws such as the articulation, color pieces and lack of action base support.
PS: I hate that Bandai does not have the license for the Sentinel series cause it limits the reproduction of the line's kits. God damn it, I would love to have the FAZZ and MK-V Gundams in plastic kit form.