Overall this is a fair kit at best. It's proportions are good and has very good poseability for a pre high grade. Yet is has one very major flaw and if you don't want to take the time and effort to fix it then this is not a kit for you. Why Bandai even went ahead with production on this model is still a question bouncing in my head. For those of you who have this kit, then you know about the head hitting the cannons problem. For those of you that don't have the ikt I will fill you in. The F-71, has the unfortunate problem of not being able to turn its head at all, for fear of hitting the cannons to either side. This required a great deal of work to fix as you will see.
The most important thing to do with this model was to space out the cannons so that the head would have a greater range of motion. To do this I cut the backpack supports off and built them back with plastic sheet. Since, in the original design, the backpack came over the shoulders and into grooves in, I had to fill these grooves with epoxy putty so that they would be flush with the rest of the shoulder. I then made the backpack come up over the newly formed shoulders. These new pieces are farther back on the shoulder than the original so that the head had a greater range of movement. In the original kit the cannons were secured to the backpack by peg to polly caps. This didn't look realistic and was not practical for my modifications, so I scratch built a base for the cannons and secured them with brass rod through the base and the bottom of each cannon. Now each cannon has an axis to elevate. I then made hydraulic supports for added realism. I used a thick aluminum rod and a hollowed out piece of sprue for the cannons hydraulics. Again fixed to the frame by the smaller brass rod for movement. I added Wave G-Tanks to both cannons, along with spare pieces from a helicopter model that I had. I then drilled holes along the length of the cannons on the top for ventilation. Thin yellow wiring was added to the backpack and attached to both cannons for realism. A thin Wave G-Tank was cut in half and fitted to the bottom of the backpack to give the MS more range and firepower. A rod frame was added around the G-Tank to give support.
The head was modified slightly. I filled the sensor hole in the forehead to give it more of a "classic" look. I then drilled holes for the guns in the head. The base of the back of the head was grinded down by 2mm to give the head the ability to look skyward. A ball joint was added to the neck to make this possible. I cut the peg off and fit a spare ball joint into the neck. Now the head can look up, down, and left and right without a problem.
The shoulders on the F-71 are very plain, with only a small vent on the sides of the shoulders. So what I did was grind down the vents and place a piece of plastic sheet in the gap at the bottom of the shoulders to fill it in. I then placed Wave vents onto the plastic sheet. I then added support bars to the top of the shoulders, which are 24 gauge wire.
The chest is pretty much stock other than the the two sets of sensors I added for a little more detail. The forearm guns are a nice added feature to this kit, but the only problem is that the housing is hollow on the underside, and when looking at the model from behind, you could see this. So I fill the housings with epoxy putty and sanded them flush.
The torso and skirt armor are all stock as well as the upper legs. The lover legs, where the knee joint is located was very open. You could see all the way through the leg down to the foot. So I cut a piece of plastic sheet and covered the opening. Now it looks solid. For added detail I took two pouches I found on some McFarlane Metal Gear Figures and put them onto the bottom of the leg. They look like personnel supplies. Again, for realism.
The feet are stock pieces with a lot of new panel lines etched into it. The feet were too plain. I also drilled small holes throughout the entire model to simulate rivets. I think it turned out nice.
As for the paint job. I went with the classic red guncannon colors, with the white head. I used the Max technique on the entire thing. I wanted a really subtle feel to the technique so I sprayed the red on quite heavily. After, I sprayed the model with a very light coat of black to get a really grimy, dirty look. After that I washed it with Pastel powder mixed with water, for a very flat and dirty paint job. I wanted to make it look like it's just returned from an urban assault mission and has been fighting in a city with crumbling streets and concrete. The Bull's head is my custom decal that is in the Decal section, but the emblem on the model was painted on. I cut a stencil and airbrushed it on.
Overall this kit is a little disappointing. With all the problems that this kit has, it's really more trouble than it's worth.