HG 1/144 is the second Gundam to come from the 00 Second Season line up. Whilst a direct continuation of the first season line, these latest kits boast certain improvements.
The head is constructed like most HG Gundams, with a two part helmet, a face and a v-fin. Cherudim adds in a set of extra antenna, which connect via a tab and slot to the left side of the head. Further, the sniper Gundam's trademark target scope is sculpted as detail in the centre of the V-fin. Although usually hidden by the trademark red piece, you can remove that and stick it on to the top of the head in order to display the sniper scope. It's a nicely done effort which gets the kit off well from the word go.
The torso has rather blocky feel, losing the more circular aesthetic of the previous season. This is partially due to Dynames' optional armour cloak instead being directly built on to Cherudim's cockpit. It's clear evolution of previous ideas and looks somewhat like the Gundam is wearing a bullet proof vest. Ideal for the team's star sniper.
On the back is a fairly generic Gundam backpack, in stark contrast to the previous cones/domes. Though far from just providing thrust, it also holds Cherudim's pair of GN Pistol II's (simple 3 piece constructions with rotating handles) and the Trans-Am use holoscreen. To mount this, two roughly rectangular shapes fold out about 180, so they're surrounding the head. You then plug in a single clear piece. The detail on the holographic scope is nice and sharp but is sadly lacking any colour, so you'll need to paint it to make it show accurate.
The arms of the kit use one of the best innovations of the season 2 kits- new wrist articulation. Before, most Gundams basically had a simple balljoint wrist. Not bad but not really much use, especially for posing with larger weapons. Here, the balljoints are still present but connect into a slightly smaller block which extends slightly into the forearm with vertical movement. This allows for much better range and posing, especially with Cherudim's rifle. I've struggled to get Dynames into a sniping pose but the combined arm articulation allows Cherudim to easily pull this iconic pose off.
For hands you get two generic weapon holding hands a spare left hand with fingers sculpted in a curved grasp. Ideal for poses craddling the rifle.
The legs are perhaps the oddest part of the kit, kind of reminding me of Transformers Animated rather than Gundam. The feet have long fin on the back of each, rationalised as folding down to provide support from recoil when Cherudim is firing. Obviously there's no call for that on a plastic model, but the accuracy is appreciated and they do give the kit a little extra balance.
Sadly, the rifle itself is less strong. Combination and transformation is the big theme of the season 2 Gundam weapons, a direct reference to how CB are no longer an unchallenged force on the battlefield. Cherudim's rifle can be built as a traditional long rifle or fold up to make a shorter gun. The problem is that rather than create a joing to allow the rifle to fold, you have to pull the front section off, turn it upside down and slide a chunky peg into a slot in the back half. It's not the worst design choice ever, but given recent 500/600 yen SD Gundam kits can have the same gimmick on a sword, it'd be nice to see a more expensive HG kit pull off likewise. The Cherudim doesn't have any sabers, but it's folding GN Pistol II's have a blade on the underside of the barrel. These pistols can transform via a simple folding joint from pistols to close combat weapons pretty well. They fit snug into the Cherudim's hands.
Extending from Cherudim's butt in a slightly questionable practice is the unit's GN Drive, covered by several GN Shield Bits. The Bits are the main gimmick of the kit, a more defensive variation of the GN Fangs used by Zwei and Arche. These consist of nine identical panels, which are mounted on various places across the body; 2 on the left shoulder, 1 on each knee and 6 covering the GN Drive. A transparent plastic stand is provided, allowing you to display the Bits in hovering defensive action. Some variety is possible but you're pretty much stuck with them as floating shields, not the flying mini-guns Lockon can also use them for. Still, the thought is appreciated.
This is a decent kit. I'll admit I probably like the basic design of Dynames more, but Cherudim is far from the worse design out there and alot of the well handled kit engineering helps smooth things over for doubters like me. I don't think this is a must have kit, but it's a strong representation of the Cherudim design. Be sure to lock it on to your shopping basket.