In the relative peace that followed the Second Neo Zeon War for Independence in UC0093, the Federal Forces decided to scale back mobile suit designs in such a way as to keep up military strength, while lower operating costs. In order to meet this end, the Federation created it's own in-house mobile suit development group: the Strategic Naval Research Institute (SNRI). Under the 'Formula Project', SNRI was tasked with building smaller and more efficient mobile suits, the first of which was the F90 Gundam, which was rolled out in UC0120. After a brief conflict with the Oldsmobile Army (a Zeon remnant group), one F90 was rebuilt as the F90II. This F90II Gundam would be used as a testbed for SNRI's revolutionary 'Bio-Computer', which could relay tactical information from the suit's sensors directly to the pilot's mind. SNRI's greatest achievement, however, was Gundam F91, which was completed in UC0123. The most technologically advanced suit of its day, the F91 featured a bio-computer and a beam shield, as well as Variable Speed Beam Rifles (VSBR). VSBR's, as it's name suggests, allowed the pilot to adjust the speed at which the mega particles were fired. This allowed for shots ranging from wider, lower-powered beams for maximum damage effect, to concentrated pin-point blasts which could even break through some beam shields. Two were mounted on the F91's back and got their power directly from the suit's reactor. The F91 also featured the ability to leave after images of itself, by shedding excess heat while pushing itself to maximum speed. The F91, while in the final stages of it's production, was trapped on the Frontier Side when the Crossbone Vanguard attacked in March of UC0123. With few actual pilots available, it wound up in the hands of Seabook Arno, the son of the bio-computer's creator.
Mobile Suit Gundam F91 was originally intended as the fourth full-length Gundam series, but for various reasons the idea was scrapped and it was decided that the first half of the series would be re-tooled as a feature length movie. Unfortunately, this left Gundam F91 with too much story and too little time, and it wound up rather poorly edited and hard to follow. Despite its flaws, the conflict in which Gundam F91 was set managed to spawn a few fairly successful spin-offs such as the model kit design series Mobile Suit Gundam F90 and the manga Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam. Due to F91's limited screentime and my lack of desire to watch it over and over again, I never really got a good handle on its design, which is one of the reasons I picked up this figure. It's actually quite a bit cooler than I thought it was, what with the wing-like VSBR's, the heat sinks in the shoulders and legs, and the overall roundedness of its armor. It really does strike you as a more futuristic Gundam. F90II's coolest feature is the giant rifle it comes with (nearly twice as tall as the F90II itself), which folds up for storage. Its classic RX-78-2 Gundam color scheme is kind of cool, at first, but after a while I started to find it a bit garish. Unfortunately, some of that extra red armor doesn't fit incredibly snuggly or, indeed, well. Its left lower leg piece fits especially poorly, no matter what I do it always winds up with a large gap between it at the rest of the leg (the right fits much better, though not perfectly). For those reason, I prefer to display F91 instead (I like F91's design better, anyway). All the F91 pieces fit pretty well, though the VSBR's are sometime a bit tough to move, Fix Figurations are definitely not play figures. Like many Fix Figuration, there are only a few poses you can get out of its legs (mostly due to the ankle ball-joint), but overall it seems quite a bit more flexible than my GP04. With the VSRB's and that extra long rifle, you can get some really cool looking poses out of the thing anyway.