Masterpiece Soundwave VS Titans Return Soundwave – Review

INTRODUCTiON

It’s all about me!

It’s time to review one of my favourite Transformers, and that is everyone’s favourite Decepticon intelligence officer – Soundwave. Having recently acquired one of my grails in the way of Transformers Masterpiece Soundwave, I figured it would be a good opportunity to compare what is arguably the best incarnation of Soundwave with a pretty good runner up.  That runner up being Titans Return Soundwave (with Titan Master Soundblaster).  If you’re unable to get your hands on Masterpiece Soundwave, is the Titans Return offering a worthy substitute? Well, he may not be a worthy “substitute” as such, but he definitely has enough going on to tide you over until you can acquire the Masterpiece version (and some tapes 😉 )

Side by side

“Soundblaster is a master of cyber infiltration. He drops a backdoor code into the systems of any bot he unites with, giving Soundwave a way in. With that access, Soundwave raids their processors – completely undetected – and steals a constant stream of information.” With a name like “Soundblaster” he doesn’t exactly sound like a covert operative, and what bots is he uniting with to get any worthwhile information (unless he’s spying on his fellow Decepticons)? It’s not like he can run up and attach himself to any old Autobot. He even looks like a mini Soundwave.

Soundblaster… totally not Soundwave

For simplicity’s sake, I will be using MP and TR to refer to Masterpiece and Titans Return respectively.

FIRST IMPRESSIONs

The Masterpiece line prides itself on bringing us Transformers that are as show-accurate as possible, featuring flawless alt-modes and robot modes that look like they stepped right out of the screen and into our hands. MP Soundwave’s robot mode certainly fits that description. His appearance is definitely what you would expect to see in a Masterpiece. He’s very show-accurate and the design has been tweaked to give him more poseability over his G1 counterpart.

The Titans Return version also definitely looks the part. All the familiar design cues are there so you can instantly tell that this is Soundwave, although in a slightly lighter shade of blue. The tell-tale chest window is ever present and his face retains all his usual features. In true TR fashion, he has that “classic, but updated” feel. However, what the TR version lacks in cartoon/G1 accuracy, he makes up for in playability with an extra “base” mode.

ACCESSORIES

This is where all (most?) incarnations of Soundwave most certainly shine as a Transformer. In this case – it’s all about the “tapes”. Ever since he started out as a micro-cassette recorder in his G1 days, Soundwave has always had an arsenal of tapes (discs, objects, etc.) that can be called upon to do his bidding or to provide additional firepower on the battlefield.

At present I only have the one tape for MP Soundwave (Laserbeak), but it is possible to buy separate packs that have multiple tapes in them to fill out the ranks.  MP Laserbeak is very true to form in that he’s a very good representation of the character in both modes.

Laserbeak, prepare to launch

What is also great about this Laserbeak is that his weapons/boosters are incorporated into the transformation. They’re not separate and removable like in his original form.  It’s really very clever how they got that to work.

Scanning mode

The TR version is also no slouch in the tapes department. This time around the tapes are replaced with different portable electronic devices (tablets, phones, etc.) and each of these is a triple-changer in its own right.

Laserbeak and Ravage could have been handled better in this regard as each figure suffers in some way by becoming a triple-changer when it really isn’t necessary. The TR “tapes” would have fared much better if they had just retained their original forms, but with the modern twist that the TR line is known for. As much as I like the TR line, I’m not a fan of the tacked-on 3rd mode that some of the figures suffer from (Galvatron, looking at you).

My, what a big bird you have

Both Soundwaves come with the customary shoulder-mounted rocket pod.  The TR version’s rocket pod can be detached while the MP version has it fixed to his shoulder.  It can be stowed away in alt-mode form, but it can’t be removed.

Curse these closed fists!

MP Soundwave comes with his usual gun with its familiar cylindrical shape (that turns into a “battery” that can be stowed away in his alt-mode), whereas TR Soundwave comes with the same rifle that comes with TR Blaster, only a different colour.

While the MP version comes with one of his minions included in the package, the TR version comes with a “placeholder” that can be used to store the Titan Master Soundblaster when in alt-mode.

This placeholder piece can also be used in his “base” mode as a weapons platform/deck of sorts. MP Soundwave comes with a little box that connects to his chest to replicate the “energon cube creation” effect (and it has a “lid” so you can seal it up), and an alt-mode Megatron (because why not?).

ARTICULATION

While the MP version wins out in this regard (articulated fingers, anyone?), the TR version is certainly no slouch. The TR version is a tad bulkier than the MP version and is also slightly taller. There’s even a decent amount of solid ratcheting going on in both figures that enables both of them to hold some dynamic poses.

Soundblaster unmasked

Starting with the TR version, without the “mask” on, since the head borrows Soundblaster’s neck joint it can rotate fully but only has a very minimal tilt left and right as well as up and down.  However, once the mask is in place, the head can only rotate. At least it can rotate fully which is something.

The shoulders can rotate fully and the arms can only raise up to 90 degrees. The hinge at each elbow gives a 90 degree bend and the swivel allows for full rotation. Disappointingly, there’s no swivel at the wrists and the hands can only turn in due to the transformation.  There’s no movement in the waist area, but the hips have a fairly decent range of movement which is helped by the movable hip covers.  The thighs have a swivel in them and the knees can only bend to 90 degrees. The ankles can tilt left and right as well as up and down which really helps with stability. Despite his limitations, TR Soundwave can pull off some nice dynamic posing.

En Garde!

Now on with the MP version. The head can rotate fully, but can only tilt up and down. The shoulders have a good range of movement – they can rotate fully and the arms can raise up to around 180 degrees, although it looks kind of disjointed when he does that due to the nature of the shoulder joint. There’s a swivel in the bicep and the elbows can bend to a full curl which is pretty cool. And speaking of pretty cool – the aforementioned articulated fingers!

Each finger is jointed as you would expect which means you can open and close the hands at each finger.  While the fingers can open and curl like normal, they can’t spread out/splay. As cool as it is to have these articulated fingers, it makes it near impossible for Soundwave to maintain a proper grip on his gun.  The gun itself has a tab on the grip that slots into his palms, but it can be tricky getting it to stay in there. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means, it’s just something to look out for when you’re working with the hands. Oh, and there’s wrist swivels.

Unlike the TR version, there’s a waist swivel. The hips have a very good range of movement, helped along with some sturdy ratcheting. There are swivels at the hips and just above the knees. The knees themselves have some very strong ratchets, even though they can only bend to 90 degrees. There’s some funky engineering going on in the ankles and they have a combination of hinges to allow the ankles to tilt left and right as well as up and down to some degree.

There’s not a lot going on for both versions in alt-mode, it’s pretty much just the tape/device storage windows.  The MP version has some buttons that you can press, a slide switch and a dial that only slightly moves.

These little hatches open and I have no idea why…

One area where the MP version falls down in alt-mode is the back side of his tape deck mode. Since the back area is not closed in, it looks kind of untidy and not really convincing at all (and not what you’d expect from a “Masterpiece”). The front and sides are as well done as you would expect, but that messy back end is a bit of a let-down. It seems funny that the TR version makes for a slightly more convincing audio device overall – even if it looks a bit more “toy-ish”.

How do you do that?
Am I doing it right?

TR version’s base mode makes for an interesting option. The Titans Return range comes with lots of little Transformer figures and additional Titan Masters that can interact with all the new base modes that are being released.  You don’t need to shell out the big bucks to get the larger city/base transformers like Metroplex, Fortress Maximus or even Trypticon (awesome as they are) when you can get a few Voyager/Leader class figures together and create your own bases. Transformers fans are even creating base modes from figures that don’t even have an official base mode.

CONCLUSION

If you absolutely have to choose between the two, then the MP is definitely the one to go for.  Especially if you’re a Soundwave fan. But that doesn’t mean that the TR version is worth completely passing up. While the MP brings the G1 accuracy with modern engineering, it’s clearly aimed at the more adult end of the collector’s market. The TR version on the other hand, offers a G1-esque flavour with the added benefit of a 3rd mode that can actually be quite fun. Even more so if you have other TR figures that have base modes which means that you can create quite the miniature city with enough figures. The size and heft of the TR version means its more suited for fans of all ages, plus it’s a lot cheaper than the MP version so there is that.

There’s only one way to settle this…
Dance off, bro!
You there! Music!
You got it!
“You got the touch”
“You got the power~~”
“Yeah!!”
Stand back. I got this.
How’s this?
Or this?
And…
How you like me now?
If only more disputes could be settled with an epic dance-off…

Figma Leonmitchelli Galette de Rois – Review

Introduction:

Now it’s time for me to review something that I’ve been meaning to get on the table for some time. This time around we have Figma Leonmitchelli Galette de Rois as she appears in the anime series Dog Days.  The name “Galette de Rois” is actually the name of a French cake, and in the land of Flonyard there are a lot of people and places that share names with desserts and pastries.  After a while of hearing about the territory of Galette doing battle against the republic of Biscotti, you can’t but help but get a little bit hungry.  😛

Leonmitchelli Galette de Rois

The recent revival of Ninja Warrior to our TV screens reminded me of Dog Days and how the battles between different nations are fought. In the world of Dog Days, battles between the different animal nations are played out in a giant obstacle/assault course. The show’s main character Shinku gets summoned to the land of Flonyard because of his athletic abilities and his prowess with Ninja Warrior-style obstacle courses.  Due to the whole sports-like nature of these battles, no one ever gets seriously hurt or killed (downed opponents simply “pop” and turn into “beast balls”), and both warring factions display excellent sportsmanship towards each other, with both nations’ field medics offering aid to whoever needs it.

The whole event also features live commentaries from guests from both sides. Both nations pit their strongest armies and warriors in this competition, but it is the Lord and General of the Galette Lion Territory Army, Leonmitchelli, that is the most feared opponent on the battlefield.

Just as dangerous without weapons

First Impressions:

Leonmitchelli is decked out in her usual battle attire consisting of a blue top and short shorts under a hard plastic skirt. Her hair is long with a light blue colour and her characteristic cat ears feature prominently. She also features her armoured forearms and knee high boots, and also wears a large dark grey cape with a light blue lining.

Do your part for the glory of the Galette Lion Territory!

The cape is also made of hard plastic, but at least it has two figma joints in it so it’s somewhat poseable. The colour scheme consists of mostly blue and dark grey, with the armoured parts painted with a metallic finish. As usual the figma joints move smoothly and seem capable of holding a pose without too much trouble.

You must tell me, who is your stylist?

Funnily enough, she shares a few design cues with Subaru Nakajima from the Magical Lyrical Nanoha: StrikerS series, specifically the jacket, skirt and tank-top/shorts combination.

The Style Sisters – ready for battle!
The greatest warrior in the Galette Lion Territory – not so good on skates…

Accessories:

Leonmitchelli comes with an assortment of additional hands. They consist of left and right closed fists, left and right splayed hands and left and right weapon/item holding hands.

Leonmitchelli’s gear

Normally there would be left and right neutral/flat hands but not this time around. Instead there is an extra right hand for holding weapons, only this one is in a fixed position. Probably due to the fact that the great axe – Granvale– can be a little bit heavy and the joints in the other hands can be a bit on the loose side. Her only face options are her confident/smiling expression and her angry/shouting battle expression.

The National Treasure of the Galette Lion Territory: The Great Axe – Granvale

Also included is her standard battle axe and an effect part to represent her magical Emblem Art power. I think that a clear plastic and a lighter paint would have worked better for this effect instead of the translucent plastic. As it is, it kind of looks like a little blob that just attaches to her wrist. A poseable figma stand is also included and a snap-lock bag to store all of her accessories in.

Emblem Arts, Level One – Activated!

Articulation:

Her standard battle axe can be just as powerful

She moves quite well, but loses some movement around the hips due to the nature of the hard plastic in her skirt. It is possible to get a little more movement by hiking her skirt up slightly since it’s not fixed in place. Even though the cape is somewhat poseable, it is also removable due to a clear plastic pin/plug that runs through the cape and into her back. Luckily this pin/plug is easily concealed behind her hair.

This clear plastic part holds the cape in place
Luckily it’s easily concealed

Her head can only rotate slightly, but it can tilt left and right okay. She can tilt her head down to a decent degree, but can’t tilt up very far – if at all – due to her long hair and the nature of the sculpt. Her hair is also jointed to allow for some poseability.  Her arms can’t raise very high but they can rotate fairly well and her elbows can bend to about 90 degrees. The joints in the wrists offer a pretty good range of movement, but the joint that attaches the hand to the wrist peg can be quite loose and won’t be able to handle a lot of weight. There is a weapon holding hand that is in a fixed position that will help in posing with the heavy Granvale axe.

Come get some!

The hard plastic skirt really hinders articulation around the hips. With it on, she can hardly move her legs. It takes a fair amount of force, (please exercise caution if you intend to do this!) but the skirt can be removed once you separate her body at the chest.

Room to move

She becomes much more poseable below the waist once you remove the skirt. There is a decent range of motion at the hips and the knees can bend to around 90 degrees. The ankles can tilt and rotate fairly well to offer you some stability for the more dynamic poses.

The ankle joints allow for some nice balancing

Conclusion:

I quite like Figma Leonmitchelli, she’s one of my favourites in my collection. She’s not without her flaws, but I like the overall result.  I had actually bought her Figma before I even saw the Dog Days anime, since I thought she looked like an interesting/cool character. The anime itself is a lot of fun to watch too, as a light-hearted adventure series.  Besides, what’s not to love about a cute cat-girl warrior with a giant f*ckoff axe?

Figma Leonmitchelli Galette de Rois can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Figma range.



“You know you’re not a real cat, right?”

“What do you mean, ‘not a real cat’?”
“You take that back!”
“En Garde!”
“Hyaaa!”
An opening!
A swift attack!
“Now who’s not a real cat?”
“Time to get serious.”
“And I mean ‘serious’.”
“Wait wait! I’m not ready!”
A crushing blow!
“Impressive that you’re still standing after a direct hit. but you know…”
“…this is what happens when my opponents get defeated.”
“Why didn’t you tell me this beforehand?!”

Transformers Titans Return Quake – Review

Introduction:

The Titans Return line has hit the shelves in a big way and it’s good to see a lot of the old G1 characters have another go around, with updated designs and modern engineering. This time around it’s Quake’s turn to receive the Titans Return treatment. Quake has turned out to be a bit of a surprise for me since I wasn’t aware that he originally was a Targetmaster that was released in 1988.

Box front – and yes, his head has come loose inside the package.

Quake’s character is that of a berserker, where once he hits the battlefield, he won’t stop until everyone and everything is reduced to ashes. Now that he’s been paired with Titanmaster Chasm (who can create portals), we have the extremely dangerous combination of an unstoppable force of destruction with the ability to teleport enemies and objects around at will.

First Impressions:

Quake – unarmed

Quake shares a mold with Titans Return Hardhead (with Titanmaster Furos), and while he still retains his tank vehicle mode, he’s now adopted Hardhead’s “H-tank” format where the left and right treads are split into 2 separate sections. Like most Titans Return figures, his colour scheme is reminiscent of his G1 days, but now he’s sporting a slightly darker blue. Once out of the package, his robot mode feels sturdy despite all the hollow sections around his body. It’s understandable that some sections need to be hollow in order to facilitate the transformation but to see them on display is a bit jarring.

Sassy.

He’s quite detailed for a Deluxe class figure and his colour scheme consists of dark-blue, grey, and maroon, broken up with a large black piece that is the main cannon. There doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of paint apps here with only a few touches of silver on some vents, and his Decepticon badges with yellow lightning strikes. I like how the main cannon can be positioned over his shoulder, but the way that the tank’s cockpit hangs off his back can be slightly distracting. Like a lot of the new Transformers being released lately, he has that “action figure that also happens to transform” vibe going on which is nice.

Accessories:

Aside from his rifle, his main cannon can also be removed and used as a hand gun. The main cannon also has a neat feature where the back end can open up and form a seat for Chasm or another Titanmaster to ride in. There are not a lot of accessories here, but it works. Kind of like a “less is more” sort of arrangement.

Loaded up and ready for battle

Articulation:

In keeping with the “action figure” vibe, just about everything moves how you would expect it to. The joints are sturdy enough and he feels like he could hold some dynamic poses. There’s no waist articulation which for me isn’t really a deal-breaker, but it would have been nice. When Chasm becomes Quake’s head in robot mode, they share the same mini ball joint which makes the head feel a bit loose at times. It can still hold its position well enough but the whole thing feels a bit fragile to me. Chasm’s head mode can rotate fully but can only manage a slight tilt back and forth, and left and right.

Chasm himself has the standard Titanmaster range of movement. The ball joint in the neck offers full rotation and a slight tilt back and forth, and left and right. The joints in the arms give a decent rotation which is often hindered by the face hanging off his back. The legs have hinges in the knees and hips, but the lower legs are molded into a single piece. So basically all he can do is sit, stand, or fold up into a head.

The shoulders have a good range of movement due to the combination of the hinge and ball joint present there. The hinge allows the arms to be raised up at the shoulders past 90 degrees and the ball joint allows for full rotation and some twisting/tilting. At the elbows there is a double joint due to the transformation which helps the elbows bend to just past 90 degrees. There is also a swivel there to turn the forearms in and out which is handy. I was pleasantly surprised to find a swivel at the wrist. Too often I’ve come across a figure that could have really used a wrist swivel only to find out that there isn’t any. The wrists can turn in for the transformation, and it’s a simple thing, but the swivel really helps out with posing.

There’s no articulation at the waist, but the ball joints in the hips offer a decent range of movement. Good enough that he can do the splits in both directions. You’ll find a swivel in the thighs and a hinge at the knees that only gets about a 90 degree bend. The toes have a hinge but it’s mainly for transforming. Like some Transformers now, there are no ankle rockers. Instead the bases of the feet have been cut on an angle to facilitate a wider, or more natural stance.

In vehicle/tank mode, there’s not a whole lot of movement going on. Since the treads aren’t the functioning kind, we have to settle for little rollers underneath. With the way that it’s been designed, there’s no turret to speak of. The main cannon plugs in next to the cockpit, but there are a couple of hinges that can allow the cannon to tilt up and down. You can then pivot the cannon where it connects with the base. It’s not really a turret in the typical sense, but it’s still poseable.

“See that thing over there? Blow that up.”
Doomshot can’t resist a shiny new tank to play with.
“Can’t see a damn thing with this rifle in the way!”
“Wanna see me shoot down an Autobot plane with this cannon?”

Conclusion:

I’m quite pleased with how everything moves with Quake. He feels like one of those Transformers that you just want to pick up and play with. His joints are sturdy and he’s capable of some dynamic poses. The transformation is quite easy and everything tabs in nicely where you would expect it to. I missed out on Hardhead and Furos the first time around, so having Quake and Chasm in my collection make for an ideal replacement. With each new wave of Titans Return figures, it’s interesting to see which classic characters are given a modern update.

Also, like most Titans Return figures these days, it’s fun to try and find out hidden/alternate modes for your Transformers.  Here are some that I’ve figured out from messing around with Quake:

Gerwalk, because why not?
UFO Mode
UFO Mode
Alternate Vehicle Mode
Alternate Vehicle Mode

Quake and Chasm can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Titans Return range.

“Hey Warpath, I noticed that there’s not a lot of Autobot tanks.”
“As you can see, I have a small army behind me.”
“Well Quake, I don’t need an army when I have a…”
“…Hulk.”
“Would love to stay and chat Warpath, but I think I left an oven on somewhere…”

Revoltech Geno Breaker – Review

Introduction:

This time around we have something a little different on the tabletop. Coming up next, we have the Zoids: Geno Breaker by way of Revoltech. Courtesy of the Zoids Wiki: Zoids (Japanese ゾイド (zoido)), short for Zoic Androids, is a franchise based around a series of plastic toy models designed and produced by Japanese toy company Tomy (now Takara-Tomy). First released in 1982, the models resemble a range of creatures including mammals, dinosaurs, and insects. The majority are in 1:72 scale with a wind-up or battery-powered motor to power moveable features, and feature snap-together construction and precolored parts. The original line of toys was released in Japan, Europe, and the United States in the 1980s.

Geno Breaker base model

The Geno Breaker (EZ-034) is a Tyrannosaurus-Type Zoid, and one of over 200 species of fictional biomechanical lifeforms depicted by TOMY’s Zoids model, toy, and media franchise. Based on the Geno Saurer, the Geno Breaker was first released in 2000, and the Zoid plays a significant role in both the Battle Story and the Zoids: Guardian Force anime.

Roar!

First Impressions:

It does come in quite a large box and some assembly is required, but once completed it comes out to be quite a large figure – a bit larger (and longer) than most Revoltechs. The Geno Breaker is quite literally armed to the teeth. It seems like everywhere you look around its body you can find some sort of armament. The colour scheme consists of plenty of red and black, broken up with metallic silver and grey highlights . It feels a bit heavy, and the clicky/ratchety nature of the Revo joints mean that it can hold a pose, but since there’s a fair bit of give between clicks it makes it feel kind of floppy. The Revoltech Geno Breaker might not be as detailed as a model kit but it’s still a pretty good representation of the character.

Attack Mode

Accessories:

Apart from the standard weapons, also included in the package is a pair of Revo-pliers (to help with moving and removing Revo joints), 2 Revo coins/chips, a little storage box, and a rod that attaches between the forearm and a claw to mimic the claw being launched from the forearm. There’s nothing really interchangeable here. Everything attaches where it’s supposed to and I’m not sure how compatible the equipment is with other Revoltech Zoids figures – apart from the things that are attached with Revo joints that is.

Geno Breaker’s Gear

Articulation:

Now here’s where it gets interesting. Although the Geno Breaker is a bipedal figure it has the standard ranges of movement that you would expect. The head can rotate well and has a decent tilt left and right as well as being able to look up and down pretty well. The jaw can open and close and inside the mouth you’ll find a small particle cannon muzzle that can be moved around and adjusted. It’s a bit odd that the horn doesn’t swing into a forward position as it’s sometimes depicted. It’s an easy enough joint to do, it could have even been a simple hinge/swivel joint, it’s just disappointing that it wasn’t included. It doesn’t harm the overall figure itself, but it would have been nice considering all the other added features present here.

Loaded up and ready for battle

There’s small Revo joints at the shoulders and elbows that allow for a good range of movement and the claws can open and close. The wrists peg in to the forearms for easy removal to add the faux “cable” to show the claws being launched. The larger Revo joints in the waist and hips offer added stability and provide plenty of movement. The knees and ankles also have the larger joints and it’s here that the “clickyness” of the Revo joint may prove to be annoying when trying to get the legs into the “right” position. The large feet make standing easy and there are “stabilizers” that can fold down at the heels. The calves have panels that can open up to reveal more details behind the legs which is also a nice touch.

The large blades can stow away nicely behind the shields

The tail is pretty interesting in itself. The segments are connected by Revo joints and each segment also has additional joints for the “vents” to open, to mimic the effect of a charged particle beam attack being fired from the mouth.

Charged particle laser ready to fire

The “backpack” holds two very large pincers/claws and also a booster. The vents from the booster can lift up and down and the claws are mounted on two long arms that can move about pretty freely. The “clicky/ratchety” nature of the Revo joints is really useful here as it helps to keep the arms where you want them. The claw blades have a nice, sturdy swivel and are finished in a nice metallic silver. When not in use they can swing back around and be stored under the big red shields.

Shields up
Blades out, ready to pounce
Or you can have a combination of both

Conclusion:

The Zoids: Geno Breaker by Revoltech has been a welcome addition to my collection. I missed out on Zoids the first time around and it’s good to see action figure versions of popular Zoids being made. There are also non-motorized model kits available that sacrifice motorization for greater poseability.

The Revoltech Zoids: Geno Breaker can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Revoltech range.  You can also find more Zoids figures and model kits here.


Orichalcum is hunting a very dangerous prey
The Geno Breaker senses danger
Uh oh…
Orichalcum narrowly avoids a devastating attack
No choice but to try and create some distance
An ally enters the fray
Yes! Reinforcements!
We might have a chance if we join forces
To be continued…

Transformers Titans Return Triggerhappy – Review

Introduction:

Titans Return Triggerhappy

Triggerhappy first appeared back in the G1 days in the “Targetmaster” range (circa 1987) with his Targetmaster partner Blowpipe. I’ve heard some pretty good things about Transformers Titans Return Triggerhappy and now that I finally have him in hand I can honestly say that he lives up to the hype. It’s not very often that I come across a figure that I just can’t help but pick up and play with.

First Impressions:

Triggerhappy still retains much of his G1 design cues and while in typical Titans Return fashion, has a more detailed/updated look. His colour scheme is mostly blue and light-grey with some silver accents here and there. He also retains the metallic gold that features on the thrusters. His new fighter mode is quite comparable to his original fighter mode. He still has those forward-swept wings and the long double-barreled blasters, only now he’s more streamlined and sleek. His new fighter mode wouldn’t be out of place in an old-school arcade shoot-em-up game.

In flight
Classic colours with a modern twist
Ready for takeoff

His new robot mode is also reminiscent of his G1 days. I like how the long blasters fold up in pretty much the same way as in the original. One major difference however, is that instead of the fighter’s canopy taking up the whole front side of his chest/torso area, it now splits so that he has half the canopy making up his chest area while the other half hangs off his back like a hood. I’m definitely liking the articulation upgrade. It gives him that “action figure that just happens to be a transformer” vibe.

Accessories:

Triggerhappy’s gear

Blowpipe changes his role from Targetmaster weapon to Titanmaster (or Headmaster) here as he transforms from robot to Triggerhappy’s head. Blowpipe’s robot mode can also act as a pilot in Triggerhappy’s fighter mode.

My name is Blowpipe and I’ll be your Captain for this flight

There’s not a lot in the way of accessories here, and in this case I wouldn’t necessarily call it a bad thing (I think he has enough guns to go around). Triggerhappy comes with two additional blasters that he can hold in each hand or in the ports under his fighter wings or mounted on his shoulders. The handheld blasters can also combine to form a vehicle/weapons platform for Blowpipe to ride on. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere for the combined blasters to attach to fighter or robot mode which is a bit odd.

2 guns… not bad…
Now we’re getting somewhere
That’s more like it!

Articulation:

Triggerhappy’s head borrows the ball-joint in Blowpipe’s neck which allows for full rotation, but only a slight tilt left/right and forward/back. There are double swivels in the shoulders that offer a decent range of movement but some angles are hindered by the thrusters that stick out from the top of his shoulders. Unfortunately, he’s unable to swing his arms outwards when they’re in the forward position which can make some poses quite frustrating.  There are bicep swivels but their range is limited as long as the blasters are folded up. The wings can often get in the way when trying to move his forearms outward.  His elbows have a hinge and he can only bend them just past 90 degrees. Disappointingly, there is no swivel in the wrists.

I can shoot AND punch (but I’d much rather shoot)

Given the nature of the joint and its purpose in the transformation, they could have easily applied some sort of ball-joint to that area, or even some sort of double swivel arrangement. They’ve gone to all the trouble of upgrading/updating the articulation from the original release only to skimp out on a wrist swivel. It seems like a minor thing, but it’s something that can mean the difference between “pretty good” and “perfect”, much like the slightly disappointing shoulder movement.

Hii~

There’s not so much of a waist swivel, it’s more like a hip swivel (due to the transformation). The hips have a fairly good range of movement. The ball joints move freely and they feel like they’ll be able to hold some dynamic poses. His knees can bend to about 135 degrees (due to the transformation), and there’s a hinge in the ankles that allows the toes and heels to fold up but that’s it really. The base of the feet are cut on an angle to allow for wide stances.

Yaa!

As with all the Titanmasters, Blowpipe’s articulation is pretty limited. He has small ball-joints in his neck and shoulders which allow for some movement and hinges in his hips and knees. His legs are one piece from the knees down, so all he can do is sit (or fold up into a head).

Conclusion:

Triggerhappy and Blowpipe make for an excellent team. I’ve been really impressed with the fighter and robot modes and it seems like I’m finding out little things each time I pick him up and fiddle around a bit. I’m also hearing about all the interesting things that others are doing with their Triggerhappys like finding new modes or even doing custom paint jobs. I myself have stumbled upon a few modes within a short time of having him. He’s certainly proven himself to be a whole lot of fun for a Deluxe size Transformer.

Sassy
375mL Drink can for scale

Triggerhappy and Blowpipe can be found at the links below along with other Transformers in the Titans Return range.


 

Wings slightly folded
Wings folded down make for an alternate landing mode
“Chicken” mode
“Gerwalk” mode
“Armed Gerwalk” mode
“Fully Armed Gerwalk” mode
And here we have the Triggerhappy bird, perched high above the surrounding terrain.

Figma Zero Suit Samus – Review

Introduction:

Admittedly, I was pretty excited for this figure when it was announced. Samus’ other suit that appears in Metroid: Other M has been given the Figma treatment, and now it’s time for the Zero Suit to have a turn. Zero Suit Samus has been a fan favourite for quite a while now and to finally have a decent representation of the character (that’s not a statue) is a good thing indeed. Does she live up to the hype though… Let’s find out shall we?

Zero Suit Samus
Gun in hand.

First Impressions:

Samus’ Zero Suit consists of a full-body, skin-tight suit with different shades of metallic blue. There are some details and features that define the suit, and the only thing that stands out is the holster on her right leg. For such a small scale, Samus’ face is pretty well sculpted and her expressions are fairly subdued compared to what other figmas have. It’s a pretty good representation of the character.

Stand back, citizen!
I said stand back!

Accessories:

Samus’ Gear

Bundled in with Samus, you also get the usual array of interchangeable hands. Left and right closed fists, splayed hands, and weapon/handle holding hands. Also included is a gun-holding hand, a “thumbs up” right hand, and a slightly curved left hand that looks like it’s only been included to hold on to the helmet that comes with the package. She comes with 2 faces – serious/neutral and a smiling face, and she also comes with a second head that has short hair to represent her younger self, whereas she usually wears her hair long and in a pony-tail.

Back Shot
Sassy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The handgun that’s included doesn’t fit into the holster on her leg, instead you get a dummy grip that plugs into the holster. The helmet (that once belonged to her commanding officer, Adam) is a bit of an odd accessory to me. It’s just kind of “there”. It would have been nice if there was a hole for a Figma joint to be applied to the helmet so it looks like it’s being worn (by Samus or even another figure). A little Metroid accessory would have been excellent, but instead we get an empty helmet. Also, as standard, you get the articulated display stand, a spare wrist joint, a small folded sheet of instructions, and a snap-lock bag to store everything in.

What do you think? Is it me?

I do like Samus’ short hair though. It gives me a Deunan Knute (from the Appleseed series) vibe.

Better?
E-Swat’s Covert Ops

Come on Max Factory, where are our Deunan and Briareos figures?!

Articulation:

Due the skin-tight and minimalist nature of the suit, she has quite a bit of movement on display here. The pony-tail has a ball joint and is able to wiggle around a bit. Her neck is able to rotate fully, but only has a slight tilt left and right. She can look down okay but can’t look up fully due to her hair sculpt. Her shoulders move fairly freely and in a new twist, are able to be pulled out slightly to allow for more movement. Elbows can bend beyond 90 degrees and there’s a good range of movement in the wrists. Her upper torso can rotate and tilt to a good degree but there’s no articulation at the waist, most likely to maintain her overall shape.

Bring it!
Target acquired.

Her hips have a decent range of movement but it can be limited due to the sculpt. Much like the shoulders, the hips can be pulled down a bit to give a little more movement to the hips, but then it sort of creates a disjointed effect to her hip area. Her knees can bend past 90 degrees and her ankles can rotate and tilt up and down fairly well but not a lot of left and right tilt, so posing can be tricky. Her joints are sturdy enough for her to hold some dynamic poses, but with only 2 faces you may have to use your imagination in some cases.

Conclusion:

The Skin-Tight Squad welcomes a new member

Zero Suit Samus has turned out to be quite a solid figure in its own right, with the only letdown being a noticeable lack (or questionable inclusion?) of some accessories. In saying that though, having such a minimalist design to the character means that you can add your own accessories and create some pretty interesting scenarios. Even more fun if you also have her Varia Suit. Fans will no doubt enjoy Zero Suit Samus but casual collectors may be inclined to give her a pass.


Zero Suit Samus can be found at the links above along with other figures in the Figma range.

 

S. H. Figuarts Sailor Moon – Review

The 2016 Christmas break came with a glut of Transformers due to the new Titans Return range doing so well. I’ll eventually get around to reviewing some of the new stuff I got, but for now I’m doing something still “old school” – just not Transformers related. This time around it’s Sailor Moon by way of SH Figuarts!

Since originally airing in the early-mid 90’s, Sailor Moon has gone on to become a cultural icon that’s well known by anime fans and even non-anime fans alike. In fact, it was Sailor Moon that set a new benchmark for “magical girl” shows and since then the name has become synonymous with the genre.

Sailor Moon

A large portion of what makes the show so popular has often been copied, imitated, or referenced (I, myself, love a good transformation sequence 😀 ). To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sailor Moon anime, the show has been rebooted in the form of Sailor Moon Crystal (to mixed reviews) which follows the manga (or comic if you will) events more closely. I’m somewhat familiar with some of the names and terminology used in the original Japanese version, but I will be using names and terms used in the English version as that’s the one most familiar with me.

First Impressions:

Yay!

It’s a very good representation of the character and is instantly recognisable. She has that slender figure and her tell-tale extra long twin-tails that extend down from the buns on the top of her head. She’s decked out in her standard Sailor Scout outfit, the paint apps and decals are pretty good and she features a nice, clean sculpt. On closer inspection the paint apps may be a bit off, but not so much as to distract from the overall feel. Her hair is translucent in some places and her long twin-tails are somewhat movable. Her joints move freely and seem strong enough to hold even the most dynamic of poses.

Sailor Moon says: “Put ’em up!”
Or Karate style if you prefer.

Accessories:

Sailor Moon comes with an interesting array of accessories. Included in the package is her companion/mentor Luna the black cat. Luna’s head can rotate fully and tilt slightly due to a ball joint in her neck, but that’s as far as her movement goes.

Luna

There are interchangeable hands (left and right splayed hands and closed fists, right hand pointing finger and “peace” sign, right hand for holding her wand, a right hand with her Moon Tiara in attack mode attached, and a slightly open left hand).

Moon Tiara~~
Magic!

There are 2 Moon Wands – one with crystal and one without. A selection of 6 interchangeable faces is included – if you bought the 1st edition version that is. The 1st edition version features an extra “crying” face and a happy/winking face. The standard set includes a happy/smiling face, a shouting face, and 2 serious faces, one with tiara and one without (to simulate the Moon Tiara Attack). Also included is a custom display stand with “Sailor Moon” printed on its decorative heart-shaped base.

Moon Wand
I have the power!!

Articulation:

Her head has a fairly decent range of movement. It can rotate a full 360 degrees, can tilt left and right, and can tilt down okay but can’t tilt back very far due to the base of her hair. Her twin-tails have ball joints so they can move around a bit, but they might have a tendency to pop out if moved too far in one direction. The shoulders have ball joints which allow for a good range of movement – the collar can limit her range though. Her elbows can bend just past 90 degrees and the joints in the wrists offer some good movement.

Ka~me~ha~me~~
Haa~!

There’s a ball joint in her upper chest that allows for some decent twisting and tilting. There’s no joint in the waist, probably due to maintaining the sculpt, but the ball joints in the hips give a fairly good range. Her (teeny tiny) skirt is made from a soft plastic so it shouldn’t hinder her movement so you should be able to create or re-create some of her more dynamic poses. The knees can bend to about 270 degrees and the joints in the ankles offer some nice tilting and twisting.

“Fighting evil by moonlight!”

Conclusion:

Sailor Moon by SH Figuarts is a definite must-have for anyone familiar with the series. The figure itself is pretty good in its own right, and there are enough accessories to keep things interesting. It’s possible to collect all the Sailor Scouts now so you can build the full team. Even now prices are still reasonable, so building the whole team won’t be too much of a hassle. She’s lots of fun and would make a worthy addition to any figure collection.

Sailor Moon can be found at the links below along with the other Sailor Scouts and other figures in the SH Figuarts range.

The next generation of Magical Girls
It’s Tuxedo Mask!
Dynamic entry!
For you, my Princess
Hey, wait a minute!
Not quite the result she was expecting…

Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime – Review

With Transformers Titans Return hitting the shelves in a big way, it’s time for me to review one of the more recent additions to my collection. It’s time to review (deep breath) Transformers Titans Return Autobot Apex and Powermaster Optimus Prime (whew!). Like a lot of the new Transformers in the Titans Return range, Optimus here comes to us in the form of a triple-changer, much like his G1 counterpart (Powermaster Optimus Prime). Apart from his usual truck and robot modes, he also has a “city” mode in which Optimus can turn into a mini city/base of sorts, ala Metroplex or Fortress Maximus only on a much (much!) smaller scale. Does the extra mode bring anything worthwhile to the table? Let’s see shall we?

Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime

First Impressions:

Looking at Optimus through the packaging window, we can see that he follows the current trend of retaining most of his original style while becoming a lot more detailed. The red and blue colours with the silver accents are typical Optimus, but the flat light-grey that makes up most of the trailer now becomes incorporated into his robot mode.

Box front
Box back

In fact, this particular figure is a re-tooling of Transformers Legends Ultra Magnus. The way that the guns are mounted at the front of the trailer is a carry-over from his G1 days, also the way in which his trailer becomes part of his robot mode is reminiscent of Ultra Magnus. The panels definitely add a bit of bulk to his lower legs. With all the new bells and whistles that the new designs bring, you can certainly tell at a glance that this is Optimus.

Optimus Prime, upgraded.

He has his usual (but updated) face that acts as a “mask” that slips over the Titan Master head and funnily enough, Apex’s head mode resembles Orion Pax. It is Orion Pax that eventually becomes Optimus Prime so that makes this particular figure a real trip down memory lane.

Orion Pax

Accessories:

As with all the Titans Return transformers with detachable heads, would you consider the Titan Master head an accessory even though it’s an essential piece of the figure? You can still swap the heads around with other figures, but at the end of the day you still need a head for your bot.

Titan Master Apex

It’s not like a weapon or similar accessory that you can completely leave off if you want. Apart from the head figure, Optimus comes with 2 double barrelled guns that can each hold a ‘Master and 2 other guns that he can hold in his hands. His hands seem to be designed to only hold his hand guns. They can open and close, but don’t seem able to maintain a solid grip on other weapons. Still, the 4 guns are a lot more than what some figures are getting (looking at you, Galvatron).

Optimus doesn’t need weapons to kick ass.

Articulation:

With the mask on, his head can only turn left and right. There’s no tilt in any direction, but at least he has a full mask and not just a “faceplate” (looking at you again, Galvatron). The mask can be pulled back to reveal Apex, but he looks disproportionately small compared to the rest of the body.

Slightly disproportionate…

There’s a swivel and hinge at the shoulders which gives a good range of motion, and the swivel has a slight ratchet to it that helps with posing. At the elbows there’s a hinge and a swivel at the biceps. His wrists have no movement but his hands can open and close to hold his hand guns. It’s possible that they could hold other items/accessories but they might not be able to maintain a solid grip.


His hips offer a good range of movement and have a solid ratchet to them. He has a thigh swivel and a hinge at the knees. The knees also have a solid ratchet, and like the elbows, can only bend to about 90 degrees. There’s a hinge at the ankles so the feet can tilt forward and back, but sadly there’s no sort of ankle rocker so the feet can’t tilt left and right. Instead, his feet are cut on an angle in a poor attempt to offer some stability. It works when his legs are together (as close as they can get anyway) but apart from that it can be difficult to position his feet nicely when posing. His bulky lower legs can be a bit of a hindrance at times. It could be tricky trying to get him into some of the more dynamic poses.

Ground punch, because why not, that’s why!
Sassy.

Transformations:

The truck mode is still typically Optimus only this time the trailer doesn’t detach. His guns can be mounted in various locations over the trailer, and it can open at the back. It’s possible to carry another smaller vehicle inside (like Titans Return Blurr for example 😉 ).

Blurr inside

I don’t know if it’s a quality control or design issue, but the door at the rear of the trailer doesn’t quite tab together properly. Everything else comes together nicely apart from the rear door.


City/base mode is a bit of a pleasant surprise. Not having any experience with the G1 Powermaster Optimus Prime, I didn’t really know what to expect with this mode, but it’s actually turned out to be a lot of fun.

Base mode – tiny but mighty.

The Titans Return range now comes with lots of little Transformer figures and additional Titan Masters that can interact with all the new base modes that are being released. You don’t need to shell out the big bucks to get the larger city/base transformers like Metroplex or Fortress Maximus (awesome as they are) when you can get a few Voyager class figures together and create your own bases.

Alternate base mode.
Titans Return Galvatron laying down the siege.

Conclusion:

You can transport a Blurr
Or an Arcee
Or even a Jazz.
ComeonOptimusIcanwalkfasterthanthis. Let’sgolet’sgolet’sgo!

Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime (and Apex) is a welcome addition to my Transformers ranks. Apart from a few niggling issues, he has an excellent robot and truck mode. The city/base mode has been a pleasant surprise for me, not having experienced the G1 version. There are a few Titans Return figures out there that have an extra city/base mode and one that has an extra galactic battleship mode, so it’s possible to play out some epic battle scenarios with just a few figures. There are also smaller Titans Return figures and additional Titan Masters that you can get that are fairly inexpensive, so you can really fill out your ranks.
Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Transformers Titans Return range.

 

What happened to all your guns, Galvatron?
Quality over quantity, Prime. Quality over quantity.

Transformers Beast Machines Blackarachnia – Review

Coming up we have Transformers Beast Machines Blackarachnia. Beast Machines is the follow up series that takes place after the events of Beast Wars.  I never really got into the two shows, but since the release of the first Blackarachnia I’ve come to consider her as an interesting choice to add to my collection.  Apart from the original Beast Wars and Beast Machines versions, there’s also a Transformers Animated version.  I recently acquired Blackarachnia at a local Pop Culture Expo and have been meaning to do a review since then.  So here we go!

Package front
Package front
Paackage back
Package back

First Impressions:

The Beast Machines cartoon aired in the late 90s/early 2000s and I think it shows here.  For an expert saboteur she’s pretty bright and colourful.  There’s a lot of purple and green going on with some black here and there, and some clear green plastic covering some of her bio-mechanical workings.  I really like the paint work they’ve done here.  She’s a deluxe size, but with her leg span and posture in beast mode she could possibly be slightly bigger than that.  Even in robot mode she stands a bit taller than what would pass for a deluxe these days.  Her spider/beast mode is as spindly and creepy-crawly as you would expect, and her robot mode has that “dangerously feminine” style to it.

Beast Machines Blackarachnia
Beast Machines Blackarachnia
Come Get Some
Come get some

Accessories:

Sadly, she doesn’t come with any accessories.  Given how they’ve designed her “hands” it makes it a bit tricky for her to hold any sort of weapon.  She has two “claws” towards the end of each arm that can swivel in, so she might be able to hold on to something, but then it looks a bit weird with one massive appendage hanging out the end.  You could probably pretend that they’re some sort of scythes and call it a day.  Beast Wars Blackarachnia comes with a grappling hook and launcher that can be deployed in robot and beast modes, but unfortunately her Beast Machines version misses out.

Ready to Pounce
Ready to pounce

Articulation:

She moves pretty well in both modes.  In beast mode she has enough joints in her limbs to create most “spidery” poses.  She also has a neat feature in her spider head where if you pull the green and purple pedipalps apart, the mouth pieces move up and down.  It’s equal parts cool from an engineering viewpoint and creepy if you’re not a big fan of spiders.  The transformation process is pretty straightforward and it’s quite easy to repeat the steps.  There’s no instruction sheet here, instead the instructions are printed on the packaging.  Another neat feature is her “visor” that can move up and down to cover her eyes as well as reveal additional eyes on her forehead.

Laying in Wait
Laying in wait
On the Move
On the move

In robot mode she has a decent range of movement, apart from her head that is.  She does have a double swivel in her neck that allows for turning and tilting up and down.  However, due to her “hair” being a solid piece of plastic, she is unable to tilt her head back at all.  She can only look down slightly though.  She has ball joints in the shoulders and elbows that allow for a decent range of movement, and just past the elbows is a swivel so you can turn her forearms.  The aforementioned “claws” can turn in for grasping things (or create a massive “flipping the bird” effect).

Yeah, well, same to you, buddy!
Yeah, well, same to you, buddy!

She has a swivel at the waist and ball joints at the hips as well as hinges in the knees and ankles.  The elbows and knees can only manage a 90 degree bend though.  The legs tab together nicely in robot mode, but then she’s left with some overly long feet.  It would have been nice to have some sort of lateral swivel in the legs, but I guess it would have been too difficult to do due to the transformation process.  The really long feet do make her pretty stable though (her spider abdomen makes her a bit back-heavy).

Does this make my abdomen look big?
Does this make my abdomen look big?

You could try to pose her en pointe (with the “toes” of the feet separated slightly to give more surface contact points), but that requires a whole lot of patience to get her to balance right.  Even then there’s not a lot you can do from there.

Tippy toes
Tippy toes
Find you inner balance
Find your inner balance…
Or try a 3-point stance
…Or try a 3-point stance

Conclusion:

Transformers Beast Machines Blackarachnia is a bit of an odd duck in my collection.  I don’t have any other transformers from Beast Machines or Beast Wars, and I don’t have a lot of other insectoids/arachnids for her to hang with.  That aside, she’s proven to be quite an interesting figure.  I often find scenarios for her that I normally wouldn’t consider for other transformers or other figures in general for that manner.  Fans of the shows should be sure to pick her up if they haven’t already.  The lack of accessories and the issue with her head are just minor things really.

There are variations to her modes that can also make things a bit more interesting.  Her robot mode arms can be moved forward under her body in spider mode so that they face the front.

Alternate spider mode
Alternate spider mode
Alternate spider mode
Alternate spider mode

It’s also possible to have a sort of half-transformation where you can have her robot torso on top of her spider legs.

Half and half mode
Half and half mode

Transformers Beast Machines Blackarachnia can be found at the link below along with other transformers in the Beast Machines and Beast Wars range (and be sure to keep an eye out for the Transformers Animated version as well).

Excuse me, have you seen any giant spiders around here?
Excuse me, have you seen any giant spiders around here?
I think I saw one over there.
I think I saw one over there.
Keep looking~~
Keep looking~~
Boo!!
Boo!!
Byee~~ See you next time, Antman~~
Byee~~ See you next time, Antman~~

Figma Motoko Kusanagi (Double Feature!) – Review

Now that the internet is buzzing with news of the live action Ghost in the Shell movie, I think it’s time to review a figure of everyone’s favourite anime cyborg – Motoko Kusanagi.  This time around we’ll be having another double feature where I’ll be reviewing 2 versions of the Major.  Both coming from the Figma stable, we have Motoko as she appears in the anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig, and Ghost in the Shell Arise.  Although each figure represents the Major, they each have their own style.

First Impressions:

Motoko Kusanagi - Arise version.
Motoko Kusanagi – Arise version.

Arise Motoko comes to us in a mostly all black, skin-tight, special ops outfit which is broken up with various seams and other details.  There is a dark grey section that covers her arms and shoulders that is reminiscent of the jacket that the wears sometime later.  Her hair comes in a deep blue finish and the face is a bit different from the one that most of us will be familiar with.  The customary com ports that she has on the back of her neck are also present here.  This particular version is an earlier model of Motoko since the events that take place in Arise happen before the Ghost in the Shell movie that came out in 1995 (which has been given an updated remake in 2015).  She’s sporting a holster on her hip in which her sidearm can be placed which is a nice touch.

Stand Back
Stand Back
Freeze!
Freeze!

Stand Alone Motoko appears in a light blue outfit and it appears that she’s elected to put on some pants this time around.  Her initial outing in the Stand Alone Complex series has her getting around in pretty much just a body suit, tights, a jacket and boots (when she’s not in her tactical gear that is).  It also appears that her jacket had to be modified to allow for her “enhancements” in the chest area.  Stand Alone Motoko has more alike with the movie Motoko, only more anime styled. She also appears to be slightly taller and a little bit bigger than Arise Motoko.  Her “jacket” has slits near the shoulder joints to allow it to flex a bit when you lift her arms.  Be careful not to leave her arms lifted for too long or the plastic will keep its position.

Motoko Kusanagi - Stand Alone version
Motoko Kusanagi – Stand Alone version
Stand Back
Stand Back
Freeze!
Freeze!

Accessories:

Both Motokos come with the usual figma standards – display base, snap lock bag. And each has the usual array of interchangeable hands – left and right splayed hands, closed fists, and weapon holding hands.  In addition, they each have hands designed to hold their own sub-machine guns (Stand Alone Motoko’s sub-machine gun comes with a removable silencer), and they each have their own handgun.

Motoko's Gear
Motoko’s Gear

Stand Alone Motoko comes with two hair pieces – one straight and one to show a wind-swept look, and three faces – neutral/smiling, serious, and shouting.  Oddly enough, she comes with two different chest pieces.  I can see why they would include such a thing, but it just strikes me as odd that they would bother to go to that length for “that” specific detail (really, Max Factory…).

Motoko's Gear
Motoko’s Gear

Arise Motoko comes with three hair pieces – one plain and two with visors attached – one to show it being worn over the eyes and one to show it above the eyes.  She also comes with three faces – neutral/smiling, serious and “extra” serious.  Both figures also come with a spare wrist joint.  Something that I think all the newer figmas come with.

Mission Complete
Mission Complete

Articulation:

Arise Motoko’s head has a good range of movement.  She can look up and down as well as manage a decent left and right tilt, and turning is not an issue.  The shoulders move pretty freely and the joints are solid enough to hold poses well.  There’s a ball joint in the upper chest and the waist which allows for some nice twisting and tilting.  Her left hip moves freely, but the right hip is hindered by the holster.  It seems likely that the strap could be easily broken if it becomes over-extended.  The knees and ankles move well enough and are also solid enough to hold poses well.  It can be a bit tricky to balance Arise Motoko due to her “tactical heels”, but not impossible.

fisticuffs
Ready for fisticuffs…
kung-fu-style
…or kung fu style
Target Engaged
Target Engaged

Stand Alone Motoko’s head can look down a bit, but can’t look up very far, if at all, and can only manage a slight left and right tilt.  Turning is also not an issue.  The slits in the jacket allow the shoulders to move more freely without breaking up the overall shape.  The ball joints in the upper chest and waist also allow for a decent twisting and tilting motion.  There are no holsters or straps on Stand Alone Motoko’s hips so she’s able to move her legs around to a good degree.  Both figures are quite poseable in their own right and it’s not too difficult to get them into some dynamic poses/scenarios.

fisticuffs2
Ready for fisticuffs…
kung-fu-style2
…or kung fu style
Target Engaged
Target Engaged

Conclusion:

It’s a shame that there isn’t a Figma Motoko from the original Ghost in the Shell movie.  Maybe they might consider making one when the new live action movie gets closer to its release date.  At any rate, these two figures make a worthy addition to the collection.  Arise Motoko offers a glimpse into her past whereas Stand Alone Motoko offers us a glimpse into her future in regards to the original movie.  It’s interesting to see the same character presented in two quite different bodies.

stand-by2
Stand By
stand-by
Stand By
I can't see a thing with the blast shield down...
I can’t see a thing with the blast shield down…
375mL Drink can for scale
375mL Drink can for scale

Arise Motoko and Stand Alone Motoko can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Figma range.

 

 

tachikoma-battle
It’s time for After Hours Tachikoma Battles! Mikasa Ackerman stands in as referee
fight
And…. fight! (Arise Motoko quietly confident)
solid-hit
A lucky shot staggers the challenger!
follow-up-attack
The champion capitalises!
winner
We have a winner!
not-a-good-winner
Stand Alone Motoko is not always a gracious winner… (and Arise Motoko hates to lose)