I picked up the "High Grade" Strike Gundam kit pretty much on a lark. For a while the gimmicky nature of the Gundam Seed designs simply repulsed me: but after a while a few of them, particularly the Strike and Duel, really started to grow on me. So when I picked up this kit I decided to build it for the CMC's Gundam Seed month, November 2003. However, I'd chosen some fairly elaborate modifications, and as a result I missed the original deadline: I tried again for the 1:144 month (January, 2004) but missed that one as well. Third time's the charm I suppose.
One of the things I really like about the Strike is that the different add-on parts can give the machine a whole different personality. In particular, the launcher pack appealed to me, as it gave the normally-fanciful Strike a bit more of a ground-pounder sort of look. In the end, however, I decided to start with the sword pack, because the sword is a much more interesting prop for posing the robot. I did feel at-odds with the Strike's normal color scheme, however: the red, white, blue, and yellow were once described as "clown colors" and that description really struck a chord with me. I've always favored slightly subdued color schemes, so for a while I toyed with the color saturation levels of the original scheme, but eventually decided to just do a scheme of my own. I took some inspiration from the Nu Gundam color scheme, which is primarily black and white. I thought this was fitting for the Strike's existing gray and white coloring on the arms and legs, so I experimented until I found a scheme I was happy with. The resulting scheme is also a lot like the Duel Gundam, also from "Gundam Seed"... that's a bit awkward, but I like the Duel a lot, too, so I guess it all works out.
The rejointing was done somewhat on a whim: I did a lot of similar rejointing work last year on my Glaug, in which I used Bondo and various option parts to replace nearly every joint in the kit, and I enjoyed it a lot. The elbows were a fairly obvious modification I'd wanted to do to various kits for quite a while, but in the past I didn't have a good idea what parts to use to make such a thing. The shoulder modifications started simply: fairly late in the construction process I was debating whether to add a ball joint or something to give the shoulders more mobility, but it didn't seem there was enough space. After some consideration I decided to go for it. I'm very happy with the design I chose, as it also allows the ball joints to slide in and out from the chest: the extension there gives the dual-joint a lot more range. From there it took quite a while for me to figure out how to handle the shoulder armors: I needed them to move around more than they were originally designed to, both to allow the arm more range of movement, and so the shoulder armors could cover up the joints that I didn't want people to see. The final solution got the job done pretty well, and I was able to coerce the arm into some very fun poses with the sword as a result.