Good Smile Tachikoma – Review

INTRODUCTION:

The Tachikoma by the Good Smile Company had been a long term “Grail” of mine. And now that it’s in my collection I can most certainly confirm that it was definitely worth the wait. The Good Smile Company (along with Max Factory) are more famous for their Nendoroid and Figma  lines, so it’s interesting to see something a little different from them.

Box Front

The Tachikomas are a special type of A.I. controlled “spider-tank” (for want of a better word) that appear in the Ghost in the Shell franchise and this particular Tachikoma appears in the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV series. Although they pack some pretty serious firepower, the Tachikomas used by Section 9 tend to sound and behave a lot like children. The A.I. component of their design means that they can operate independently, or with a pilot at the controls. They have small wheels at the base of their feet which they use to get around with mostly, but they are capable of firing off tow-lines from either side of their “abdomens”/cockpits which they can use to climb walls and perform other spider-like functions.

Box Back

Among all the varying Tachikoma figures available, what sets this particular version apart from the others is the inclusion of a small scale figure of the Major, Motoko Kusanagi. The figure itself appears to be quite tiny (less than 1:18 scale approximately) and is pretty well articulated. Just like in the TV series, the abdomen/cockpit of the Tachikoma opens up for the Major to sit inside and operate the controls manually.

Not pictured: cup holder.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

Once you get the Tachikoma out of its box, the first thing you may notice is that it has quite a decent heft to it. This is due to the body, legs, and arms being made of a metal alloy. Only the abdomen is made of plastic, most likely due to all the moving parts in it. It’s a very good representation of the character, decked out in a metallic blue with silver accents and topped off with its characteristic white “bowling-ball” eyes (3 on the top of the body and 1 underneath the abdomen).

Everything moves fairly freely, and due the heavy nature of the body and limbs, the joints are extra “ratchety” to make up for this. As a side note: it’s typical for second hand figures to have weakened joints from having to support the weight of the body for extended periods of time. The wheels appear to be made from a hard rubber which may hinder standing because as the weight of the body presses down, the feet/wheels slide and the legs tend to splay out.

Walking on tip-toes so my feet don’t slide out on me!

The tiny (TINY!) Motoko figure that’s included is also pretty cool. This particular version of the Major is wearing her usual Section 9 tactical suit which primarily consists of shades of grey . It’s pretty well sculpted for such a small figure, even if it’s light on details. It’s also worth noting how fragile/delicate some of her joints appear to be. Although this figure appears to be quite poseable, I wouldn’t necessarily class it as an “action figure” (especially if you’ve had to pay a substantial “slow-poke tax” as I have). Great for posing and display, not so much for general play. The Major scales quite nicely with the Tachikoma and it’s nice to see them posed together.

Cover me!

ACCESSORIES:

Inside the cardboard box there’s a styrofoam piece that holds the Tachikoma, the Major, and an assortment of accessories. In the package you’ll find a set of interchangeable armour pieces that can be swapped out or re-arranged with the “lights” that attach to the abdomen/cockpit. Also included is an additional set of “feet” that have the wheels protruding slightly more so that the figure can roll around a bit easier. The armour pieces are plastic, whereas the extra feet are made of metal with a plastic wheel with the same hard rubber tyre.

There’s also a “mini-gun” attachment so you can replace the usual “cannon” main weapon for a “Gatling gun” variant. The Major herself only comes with 2 open hands and 2 right hands – one holding her pistol and one holding her trusty Seburo sub-machine gun. Unfortunately, the guns are moulded into her hands and therefore aren’t removable.

Also included is an instruction sheet and stickers that you can apply to the Tachikoma. It’s a bit of a shame that there wasn’t more accessories for the Major, but it’s kind of understandable given her small scale and that she’s technically the Tachikoma’s accessory.

ARTICULATION:

The Tachikoma itself moves as you would expect and the joints ensure that it can hold most poses pretty well. The joints that connect the legs and abdomen to the body feel a lot like the Revo joints that feature in the Revoltech line. They can offer full rotation around where the joint connects along with quite a sturdy click/ratchet. In this case it’s pretty necessary to have this ratcheting action in order for the legs to support the heavy weight of the metal main body.

Care to explain how tyre tracks got on the ceiling?

The legs and arms are also made of metal but aren’t as heavy. The “eyes” have a full 360 degree range of motion and can roll around similar to how a trackball works. The joints for the legs can rotate fully and have a sort of dual swivel system which allows the top of the legs to move up and down as well as backwards and forwards. The second joint in the legs also has full rotation, but the movement in and out is somewhat limited.

The arms are connected to the body with ball joints, but the range of motion is limited due to the body, legs, and the Tachikoma’s main weapon getting in the way. The end of each arm has a claw that can rotate and has articulated pincers that can individually open and close. The main gun can also move around a bit but its range is pretty limited. The “cannon” attachment also features a sort of “safety” muzzle cover that can be removed after its “pin” is pulled out (possibly a safety measure to ensure that a rogue Tachikoma would be unable to fire its cannon by itself).
The joint connecting the abdomen to the body allows for full rotation but can only tilt up and down slightly. The silver “spinnerets” on either side of the abdomen can also spin all the way around.

However, what makes this figure the definitive version is that it has an opening cockpit. Not just an opening cockpit, but also the inclusion of a little poseable figure of Motoko that fits nicely inside. The cockpit opens by pulling the top upwards and then opening the doors outwards. The doors also slide outwards slightly to allow them to open more. Inside is a fairly detailed rendition of what the interior would look like. It’s easy to see where the pilot would sit and how they would interact with the controls. Closing the cockpit is just a simple matter of reversing the process and having everything tab into where it’s supposed to.

What? I’m drivin’ here!

The Motoko figure that comes with this particular Tachikoma is pretty cool in its own right. It’s quite poseable and is a decent representation of the character given its small size. The head sits on a ball joint in the base of the neck which allows for a decent range of motion.

Her head can rotate fully and tilt forward to a fair degree, but can’t tilt backward very far, if at all due to the collar of her suit. The shoulders have a double ball joint and there’s a swivel just above the elbows.

The elbows themselves have a hinge that can bend to just past 90 degrees, and there’s a ball joint in the wrists. The ball joints in the wrists also allow for the interchanging of hands. The waist has a ball joint, as do the hips.

The joints in the hips allow for a decent range of movement, but it’s slightly hindered by the sculpt. There is a swivel just above the knees and the hinge in the knees allows them to bend to just past 90 degrees.

Her ankle area is surprisingly well articulated, with a ball joint just above the foot as well as a “rocker” joint in the foot which allows for a decent tilt left and right. All of this combines to make this figure of Motoko the smallest, yet most dynamic to date.

CONCLUSION:

The Tachikoma by the Good Smile Company is regarded as the definitive version of any Tachikoma figure based on the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV series so far. It’s the most accurate and most poseable given its size and the inclusion of the Major as a figure that can fit inside the cockpit makes it a worthy addition to any toy collection, especially for all you Ghost in the Shell fans out there. It must be said however, that this particular figure is only available at aftermarket prices, which can be pretty crazy at times. It’s these crazy prices that push this figure into “Holy Grail” status for many collectors, so if you want it, be prepared to pay a hefty price for it.

375mL drink can for scale.

That being said, once you have this figure in your collection, you won’t be disappointed (just make sure you find one with strong joints that can support its own weight 😉 ).  For a much (MUCH!) cheaper alternative, Revoltech have released their own Tachikoma figures.  Although they are much smaller than the Good Smile version, they still come with some interesting accessories and can be a lot of fun to play with.  Also worth mentioning is the Perfect Piece Tachikoma which sort of sits in between the Good Smile and Revoltech versions in both size and price.  It’s a fairly detailed figure and it has a metallic finish as well as an opening cockpit, but the pilot Motoko figure isn’t poseable, or as detailed (or as much fun 😉 ).

The Good Smile Tachikoma can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Good Smile range.



You ready to go and fight crime?

I’d love to… but there’s someone already at the controls…
Wha…? Who’s in there?!
Come out with your hands up!
Umm…. Hi?…
Oh for… Get out of there!
You can’t go around stealing Tachikomas just because your movie sucks.

 

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.

 

Revoltech Deadpool – Review

Oh yes.   Coming up this week is the Merc With a Mouth.  The one and only Marvel Comic’s Deadpool!  I must admit I was pretty excited when I found out that he would be getting the Revoltech treatment.  There have been quite a few Deadpool figures made, with varying degrees of quality, and this may be one of the best so far (keep an eye out for the Play Arts Kai variant version though for something a little bit different).

yay
Yay!

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

boxfront
Box Front
Box Back
Box Back
Box front/left
Box front/left
Box front/right
Box front/right

The figure itself features a nice, clean sculpt and feels quite solid.  His outfit comprises of mainly black and red with the occasional green belt or strap to hold weapons and pouches (sooo many pouches…)  It’s a pretty good representation of the character and he has the pointy hood, for those interested in that sort of detail.  The box art has that comic book feel and there are speech bubbles that you can cut out.  The figure itself has been sculpted by Yamaguchi Katsuhisa, who I feel has lent his sculpting and design talents to other Revoltech figures as well.  The pictures on the box show Deadpool in lots of different action poses so it’s pretty apparent where that Yamaguchi style comes into play.

2 guns! Twice as many bullets!
2 guns! Twice as many bullets!
He slices, he dices!
He slices, he dices!

ACCESSORIES:

Deadpool comes with his standard dual katanas and dual handguns.  There are also interchangeable eye pieces and a spare head with a downturned mouth to create various expressions.  There’s also a little tool to help with exchanging the eye pieces. The interchangeable hands that are included in the package are left and right splayed hands, closed fists, weapon holding hands, and “thumbs up” hands.  There’s an effect part that he can stand on for extra stability when posing, as well as an articulated display stand.  He has faux sheathes for his swords in that they don’t really hold his swords at all.  Instead, it’s  just the sword grips that detach when you want to show Deadpool with his swords drawn.  It would have been nice to have that sort of option with his gun holsters as well.  The Revo Mini Snake (in this review) figure had an empty holster accessory so why not Deadpool?  It’s not a deal breaker in any way, but it would have been nice, you know?  It also would have been nice to have some sort of storage bag ala figma to store all the bits and bobs in.

That's right. It's all about me!
That’s right. It’s all about me!

ARTICULATION:

Now that I have him in hand I can definitely say… yep… it’s a Revoltech alright.

That doesn’t mean that it’s a bad figure.  On the contrary, it’s a very good figure.  It’s a very good figure that is extremely poseable and comes with some really fun accessories.  What I do mean is that there are a few characteristics that define Revoltech figures, and (love them or hate them) one of the more contentious features is present here.

Stand back! I got this!
Stand back! I got this!

And that is – the clicky revolver joints that define (plague?) the Revoltech line.  Those clicky joints can make simple posing into a chore.  I’ve often considered replacing all the revolver joints in my Revoltechs for non-clicky ones but alas, I am lazy.

Deadpool can be quite easily distracted...
Deadpool can be quite easily distracted…

The revolver joints in the arms I don’t have issues with (usually) but it’s the joints in the legs that seem to aggravate me the most.  The way the joints click means that they are usually one click too short or too far from where you want them to be.  And when you’re spending a lot of time trying to get a pose “just right”, those clicky joints can ruin the experience and then you just have to settle for “close enough…” (ugh…).

Mixin' it up with a gun/sword combo.
Mixin’ it up with a gun/sword combo.

Enough bitching about the joints, how does he handle?  The joint in his neck allows for some nice turning and tilting forward and back, but not so much in the left and right tilt. He has a revo joint in his upper chest and waist areas which again allows some twisting and tilting back and forward and it takes a bit of effort if you want any left and right tilt. The ball joints in the hips give some nice range, and there is a swivel in the upper thighs.  The revo joints in the knees have a very solid click, as do the joints in the ankles.  It’ll most likely be these joints that you’ll have the most issues with if you want to pose him without his display stand.  The toe joints might help a bit though.  The effect part that’s included will definitely help in making Deadpool stable enough for some dynamic ground-based poses/scenarios.

SHORYUKEN!!
SHORYUKEN!!

He’s got something weird going on with his shoulders.  There’s a smaller double revo joint there that while creating some nice movement, creates a disjointed effect at the shoulders.  It really messes with his shape when he has his arms up and then it becomes all about finding the best angle where it’s not so obvious.  It’ll really test your creativity in finding a good pose while still minimising that disjointed effect.

What's the deal... with these weird shoulders?
What’s the deal… with these weird shoulders?

CONCLUSION:

Revoltech Deadpool is a definite must-have for all you Deadpool fans out there.  A lot of the Marvel figures don’t  really capitalise on his comedic side in the way that this figure does.  It’s going to be a lot of fun getting him into all sorts of scenarios and it’s a good excuse for me to expand on his armoury.  Two handguns and two swords is a good start though.  It will be interesting to see if we’ll get more Marvel Revoltech figures now that Deadpool is out there.  Maybe I’ll finally get that kick-ass Cyclops (Jim Lee version) figure that I’ve been looking for for a while now…

Deadpool can be found at the link below along with other figures in the Revoltech range.

Hey Hibiki, guess who's got two thumbs and a big...sword!
Hey Hibiki, guess who’s got two thumbs and a big…sword!
God dammit, Deadpool...
God dammit, Deadpool…
Didn't I tell you not to come back here after what happened last time?!
Didn’t I tell you not to come back after what happened last time?!
Somebody help meee!!
Somebody help meee!!
...they're so cute when they're angry...
…they’re so cute when they’re angry…

Play Arts Kai Bayonetta – Review

From the popular video game Bayonetta (available for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360), comes the titular character Bayonetta in Play Arts Kai form.  The sexy witch with a penchant for style and flair is here to battle it out on the tabletop (and look stylish while doing so).  There aren’t many figures of Bayonetta that aren’t statues, so it’s good to see her get the “action figure” treatment.

First Impressions:

The first thing you may notice about the figure is that she’s quite tall, even for a Play Arts Kai (or PAK for short) figure.  The fact that the game character has those looooong legs makes it all the more apparent here.  It can be difficult for some manufacturers to do glasses right, but I think they got it right here.  The tiny lenses aren’t much to work with, but you can see her eyes clearly through them.  They say that “black is slimming” and with Bayonetta’s mostly all black theme, it creates an even more slender shape (apart from the “wings” that drape down from her upper arms.  Makes her look like some sort of sexy Batman).  It’s difficult to say how tall she is compared to other PAK figures since they don’t really scale well with each other, even between figures from the same series.

Sexy and Sassy!
Sexy and Sassy!

Accessories:

Bayonetta doesn’t come with a lot of accessories here, given the amount of weapons that become available in the game.  She does come with her standard issue guns Scarborough Fair – so called since they are named Parsley (ever joyous), Sage (ever strong), Rosemary (ever reminiscent), and Thyme (ever courageous) – much like the old ballad says.  Also included are 2 sets of hands – left and right open/flat hands and left and right hands for holding 2 of her pistols (the other 2 (Rosemary and Thyme) can slot in behind the heels of her shoes).  Any of the pistols can be held in her hands, but only the smaller ones can slot in behind her shoes.  A bit disappointing that she doesn’t come with a stand given the amount of action that she gets into in the game.  It would be good to re-create some of her more dynamic poses and a stand would really help in that regard.  An extra face or two would have been nice also.

Bayonetta's Gear
Bayonetta’s Gear

Articulation:

Her head is connected with a ball joint which offers a pretty good range of motion.  Since she wears her hair up, it doesn’t get in the way of movement.  She can’t tilt her back too far but that’s due to the sculpt and not because of hair getting in the way.  Her arms don’t lift up at the shoulders very far but the swivel allows them to rotate all the way around.  She has a swivel in each bicep and the joint in the elbows allows for a decent arm curl – she can touch her nose or pull off a “glasses push” pose with the help of the joints at the wrists.  Ball joints in the chest and hips allow for some movement.  They have a good turning/twisting motion, but not so much in the tilting department.

"Glasses push", Bayonetta style
“Glasses push”, Bayonetta style
Ready for action!
Ready for action!

The legs are connected at the hips with ball joints which give a pretty good range of motion, and there is a double swivel in the ankles.  The knees, however, feature a type of double joint that allows for decent movement at the cost of looking kind of silly in its execution.  It’s often referred to as “peanut knees” due to the shape of the joint and is unfortunately a mainstay of the PAK line.  I’m only aware of one PAK figure that has “peanut elbows” as well (looking at you, Edward Elrich) but there may be others.  It is often this “peanut knee” feature that turns some people off the PAK line entirely.  For me though, I can look past it if it’s a character I really like or if the character has a robotic/cybernetic style which would make the “peanut knees” not as noticeable.  How visible the joint is also depends on your posing.

Stylishly dangerous
Stylishly dangerous

It’s also worth mentioning that the “wings” are also poseable.  They are connected to the upper arms with a double swivel, but they also have a bendy under wire running through the length of each wing and across the base as well.  This allows you to curl the wings a bit if you need to when you re-create some of her more dynamic poses.

The heel guns aren't just for show
The heel guns aren’t just for show

Conclusion:

If you’re looking for a good action figure of Bayonetta, then Play Arts Kai’s offering is a good place to start.  It might even be the only action figure option out there, apart from custom builds or dolls.  There are plenty of statues but they are nowhere near as much fun as being able to pose Bayonetta in lots of different ways.  The lack of accessories and a stand is a bit of a downer though.  She’s still lots of fun and is definitely worth considering picking up if you’re a fan of the game (or games, since Bayonetta 2 is available for Wii U), or if you don’t mind having a sexy witch with a penchant for style and flair amongst your toy collection.

Bayonetta by Play Arts Kai can be found at the link below along with other figures in the Play Arts Kai range.

Fighting angels is hard work
Fighting angels is hard work
Sam Gideon (from the PlayStation 3 game Vanquish) providing back-up
Sam Gideon (from the PlayStation 3 game Vanquish) providing back-up
What do you mean you only have one gun?
What do you mean you only have one gun?
375mL Drink Can for Scale
375mL Drink Can for Scale

Mafex Batman (The Dark Knight Trilogy Version) – Review

This time around we have Batman (ver 2.0) by Mafex as he appears in the Dark Knight Trilogy.  The batsuit itself didn’t get a whole bunch of variations over the course of the movies, which makes things easier from a collecting point of view.  There’s no need to complete a set of varying designs.  This particular suit is reminiscent of the suit that appears in Tim Burton’s Batman movies in that it sports an all black motif, but now it has some modern design cues.

First Impressions:

On the subject of the all black theme, it’s possible for this suit to be largely monochromatic while still able to show off its lines and fine details.  The skin tight suit from previous outings has been replaced with something more tactical and armoured.  There are splashes of carbon fibre distributed throughout the figure and it’s good to see a cloth cape being introduced in the mix.  The gold coloured utility belt and the open portions of the cowl are the only other coloured areas present.

The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight

Accessories:

The package includes left and right closed fists, left and right open hands and a right hand for holding guns and similar weapons.  He comes with 3 different heads – neutral, “serious” and without cowl.  Also included is his grapple launcher gun and an EMP gun.  It’s funny that Batman has a “no firearms” policy when all his vehicles are fully armed with guns and missiles.  The head without the cowl has a pretty good likeness to Bruce Wayne (in this case, played by Christian Bale) given its size, although the paint apps around the eyes may vary.

Batman's Gear
Batman’s Gear

Articulation:

Starting from the top, the head is connected with a ball joint as well as the lower neck which give the head a good range of tilting and turning movement. The arms connect to the torso with ball joints but have a swivel in the shoulders. The double joints in the elbows allow for almost a full bicep curl and the hands have a double swivel.

Ball joints in the chest, waist and hips offer a pretty good range of movement.  There’s a double joint in the knees and a double swivel in the ankles, and there’s also a joint in the toes that offer a slight pivot.

All these combine to allow the Dark Knight to pull off some dynamic posing.  Also worth mentioning are the strands of wire that run the length of the cape.  Having those wires means that you can also pose the cape in various ways too.  A bit disappointing that there’s no stand included, but with a bit of imagination (and patience) you can pull of some nice poses.

Combat Stance
Combat Stance
Ready for a quick exit
Ready for a quick exit
Bat-punch!
Bat-punch!
Bat-kick!
Bat-kick!
EMP stand by
EMP stand by
EMP Ready
EMP Ready
I am the Night
I am the Night

Conclusion:

Mafex’s Batman (ver 2.0) will make a worthy addition to any collection.  I love how the cape has those wires in it.  It’s something that a lot of caped figures should be having these days.  Batman features a nice, clean sculpt and poses very well.  The accessories included add a lot more playability to what is already a solid figure.  (It would be great to see if Mafex will come out with a Bane figure as seen in The Dark Knight Rises)

Mafex Batman can be found at the link below along with other figures in the Mafex range.

Batman Unmasked
Batman Unmasked
375mL Drink Can for Scale
375mL Drink Can for Scale
Why so Serious?
Why so Serious?

If you can, it’s also worth it if you could pick up the Batpod as well. 😀

The Joker doesn't always appreciate Batman's wonderful toys...
The Joker doesn’t always appreciate Batman’s wonderful toys…

Busou Shinki Lirbiete and Vervietta – Review

Coming up next is my review for Busou Shinki figures Lirbiete and Vervietta.  For those not familiar with Busou Shinki, its style is referred to as “mecha musume” or “mechanical girl” in that it combines mechanical designs with cute anime style girls.  Both of these figures are designed after the Vic Viper fighter ship that appears in the Gradius video games.  Since Konami makes both Busou Shinki and Gradius it’s quite fitting really.  It’s often common for Busou Shinki (or Shinki for short) figures to have a “sister” or “partner” set.  Such sets can carry the same theme (Vic Viper Girls), have parts/components that interact between sets (Lancamento and Espadia), or exist as counter-parts for each other (Angel Arnval and Devil Strarf).

Shinkis are available in full armour sets (like the Vic Viper girls), and they also come in “light armour” and EX sets.  Light Armours (like Werkstra) are just small sets that don’t contain a lot of large pieces, but they do come with a base body.  Whereas EX sets (like WaffeBunny) are similar to Light Armours, but they don’t come with a base body.  “Blank” bodies are available and come in different colours and styles.

Again, I will be doing a double-review since both of these figures share a lot in common.

First Impressions:

The Package:

box-front

box-left

box-right

box-back

This time around I have the package on hand.  It seems like a rather large box, but then again it contains a fair amount of stuff.  Shinki boxes this size are typical of a full armour set. The box features artworks of the girls in and out of full armour mode, and also has pictures of the various modes available (fighter, robot, full amour, etc).  A preview window is available so you can see the girl in the package along with some of the interchangeable pieces that come with the set.

The Girls:

Both girls have slender figures (typical among Shinkis and some other toys made through Konami) and appear to be quite poseable.  It’s clear when you put the two together that they’re meant to be sisters or partners or some sort.   Both feature animal style “ears” on top of their heads and each has its own distinct hair style (often necessary since anime characters often suffer from “sameface syndrome” :P).

The Fighters:

Fighter Mode
Fighter Mode
Fighter Mode
Fighter Mode

Once assembled, the fighters make quite an impressive pair.  Both ships have the split, two-pronged front end that makes the Vic Viper instantly recognisable.  Like the girls, the fighters share design cues and it’s apparent that they complement each other in some way. Lirbiete’s ship carries missile pods and a large sword, while Vervietta’s ship carries gun pods and a large laser rifle.  Each girl’s colour scheme carries over to each ship so it’s easy to see which ship belongs to whom.  They both have a “similar but different” feel about them.

Accessories:

Lirbiete's Gear
Lirbiete’s Gear
Vervietta's Gear
Vervietta’s Gear

The amount of accessories that come with a full armour set can be too many to list so hopefully my photos can do them justice.  Shinkis generally come with extra faces and an assortment of interchangeable hands.  Among the parts that make up the set are often additional weapons for the girls to hold as well as additional connector pieces so you can customise your set by mixing and matching with other Shinki sets as well as some other Konami toy lines.  Also included is a display stand – pretty handy for these two since they are unable to stand in their full armour mode.

Full Armour Mode
Full Armour Mode
Full Armour Mode
Full Armour Mode

 Articulation:

Shinki base bodies use the Multi Movable System (MMS for short) which allows for some pretty impressive movement.  How often do you see figures that can hug their knees (the slender figure really helps in this regard.)?  The separations at the bicep and thighs which are used for connecting set pieces also allow for movement in those areas.  A ball joint in the neck gives the head a good range of movement and the upper torso is able to move forward and back, tilt left and right slightly and twist slightly.  Due to the joint system in the hips, there is no joint around the waist.  I often see Shinkis posed with the feet at full point.  I know that the joint in the foot allows for that, but to me it looks unnatural and unnecessary.

The fighter is able to transform into robot mode, though because the joints mostly consist of pegs-in-holes, it’s easy for parts to work themselves loose by being rotated.  The overall effect works, but you will need the display stand due to the robot mode being “en pointe”.  There is a slight knee bend in robot mode which then becomes non-existent in full armour mode from the way that the front pieces of the ship attach to the girl’s thighs. All things considered, it’s not too difficult to get them into the right pose.

Robot Mode
Robot Mode
Robot Mode
Robot Mode

Conclusion:

Fans of the mecha musume genre will definitely be satisfied with the Busou Shinki Vic Viper girls.  It combines transforming robots/spaceships with cute anime girls – what’s not to love?  Even without all their mechanical gear, the girls still make a fun toy to have on your desk just to pick up and pose now and then.  Having a full armour set where all the mechanical components can operate independently from the base body is a real treat.

Lirbiete and Vervietta can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Busou Shinki range.

 

vervietta-full-armour-mode-2
Full Armour Mode
lirbiete-full-armour-mode-2
Full Armour Mode
You can make your own custom armours
You can make your own custom armours
You can make your own custom armours
You can make your own custom armours
The girls and their ships. 375mL drink can for scale
The girls and their ships. 375mL drink can for scale

S.H. Figuarts Iron Man Mk 45 – Review

Coming up next is my review for S.H. Figuarts Iron Man Mk 45.  This particular suit appears in the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron and it first appears towards the end of the movie during the evacuation of Sokovia.  Also of note is that this suit’s Artificial Intelligence system is not J.A.R.V.I.S. as per usual, but a new A.I. called F.R.I.D.A.Y.

First Impressions:  

Compared to Tony Stark’s previous Iron Man suits, the Mk 45 appears to have a much sleeker/streamlined figure.  If there was a sports car version of Iron Man, then this would be it.  Underlying a clean and anatomical silhouette is a collection of fine details and panel lines.  It features a nice and clean sculpt and is a very accurate representation of the character.

Shiny
Shiny
Sleek
Sleek

Accessories:

Included in the package with the figure are left and right closed fists, left and right open/flat hands, left and right open hands and left and right splayed hands.  Also included are effect parts that can be attached to his hands and feet.  2 different sets of repulsor blasts for his hands and 1 set that can only be applied to his feet to show flight.  An instruction sheet is also packed in the box.

Mk 45's Gear
Mk 45’s Gear

It doesn’t seem like a lot of accessories, but then again Iron Man doesn’t use a lot of other weapons or equipment outside of his suits.

Articulation:

The Mk 45 suit moves very well and has a good range of movement.  The joints feel solid and are able to hold poses as you would expect.

His head can look up and down to a good degree and has a good left and right turning range (the neck piece can limit this however).  He also has a good left and right tilt.

Shape up
Shape up
He can hold a high kick pose if you have the patience ; )
He can hold a high kick pose if you have the patience ; )

The arms are able to move freely and have double joints at the elbows to allow a fairly decent bicep curl.  The shoulders are able to come out of the torso slightly to allow for more movement and the wrists also have good range.  The shoulder pads are attached to the arms instead of at the torso.

Fire Repulsors!
Fire Repulsors!

He is able to tilt forwards and back slightly at the waist and is only able to turn a little bit around the upper torso.  The hips move well but due to the design it is easy to rub parts together which may damage the paint work.  Knees are double jointed to allow more movement and the feet (die-cast!) are flexible enough to allow for some nice posing.  The addition of die-cast metal in the feet is a nice touch, although the left foot on mine has become a bit wobbly while the right foot is still fine.  I’m not sure if it’s an issue inherent with using die-cast for joints or if it’s due to my Mk 45 having quite a bit of play time.  😀

Obligatory ground punch
Obligatory ground punch

This is what it’s all about.  Can he do “the pose”?  In a word – yes.  (The true sign of a good Iron Man figure)

Squaring off against Figma Captain America
Squaring off against Figma Captain America

Conclusion:

Iron Man Mk 45 by S.H. Figuarts is a very nice figure and will make a very worthy purchase.  It’s a nice, clean design, there’s enough interchangeable hands to suit most situations and the added effect parts are the icing on the cake.  On the subject of the effect parts though, I will say this – I don’t approve of the way that they’ve handled the attachment system.  I don’t like how the palms of the hands have a prong for the effect to plug onto rather than having a hole in the palms where the repulsor sits and having the effect plug into that.  It’s a waste of a set of hands that could have been used for something else since you’ve got 2 sets of open hands for the same effect.

Dude...
Dude…
I mean seriously... dude...
I mean seriously… dude…

However, if you can look past this issue then you won’t be disappointed.  Iron Man Mk 45 can be found at the link below along with other figures in the SH Figuarts range.  (I look forward to collecting the rest of the Avengers 😉 )

In flight
In flight
Mid-air combat
Mid-air combat
... so it turns out that the Hulkbuster sort of busts Hulks...
… so it turns out that the Hulkbuster sort of busts Hulks…

Figma Samus Aran – Review

Coming up next is my review for Figma Samus Aran.

From the Wiki:  “Samus Aran is the protagonist of the Metroid science fiction action-adventure game series by Nintendo. She was introduced in the 1986 video game Metroid.

Samus Aran is an ex-soldier of the Galactic Federation who turned into a Galactic bounty hunter, usually fitted with a powered exoskeleton with weapons that include directed-energy weapons and missiles. Throughout the series, she executes missions given to her by the Galactic Federation while hunting the antagonistic Space Pirates and their leader Ridley along with the parasitic energy-draining organisms called Metroids.

Samus has appeared in every Metroid video game and has also been featured in media outside of the series, including the comic book version of Captain N: The Game Master and the Super Smash Bros. series. She is well known as one of the earliest female protagonists in video game history and has remained a popular character over a quarter-century after her first appearance.”

The particular suit that she’s sporting here is the Varia Suit design that features in the game Metroid: Other M.  Now on with the review!

First Impressions:                          

The first thing that catches my eye is that the suit makes her a rather large figure – much larger than most female (and male) figures that feature in the figma line.  Some people prefer a flat finish over the metallic finish to her paint job seen here, whereas I don’t mind the metallic finish.  It makes sense to me since it is supposed to me a metal suit after all.  Despite sporting a large metallic suit, she is able to show off quite the feminine figure.  It’s not an overly intricate design, but it has nice clean lines and comes with the usual figma polish.

Here she is.
Here she is.
Yay!
Yay!

Articulation:

She has a fairly decent range of motion and is able to recreate some of her more iconic poses.  Her joints are sturdy and are able to hold poses well.  However, you won’t get a whole lot of range of movement from her head due to the helmet sitting so close to her torso.  Left and right movement is drastically hindered and there is very little up and down movement.  There is also very little in the way of a left and right tilt.  The shoulders move well, but care must be taken when posing to minimise the large gap that can appear between the torso and shoulder armour.  Having an extra joint in the feet for toe movement is a nice touch – something that a lot of the more recent figmas seem to be doing now.

Attack!
Attack!
Single Shot
Single Shot
Rapid Fire ACCESS
Rapid Fire

Accessories:

She doesn’t come with a large amount of accessories, but what she does come with is quite fitting for her character.  Due to having a gun-arm on her right side, she only comes with hands for her left (naturally).  She comes with an open hand, a closed fist, a splayed out hand, a “thumbs up” hand, and a hand that’s shaped to hold things, like staves/poles and other such items/weapons with a round handle.  She also come with an interchangeable part for her gun-arm to show her missile launcher power-up, and two effect parts for her gun to show single-fire and rapid-fire shots.

Also, most notably, included in the bundle is her iconic Morph Ball mode.  The package also includes the customary figma accessories such as the poseable clear plastic stand and a snap-lock bag to store all her accessories in.  The Morph Ball has a hole in it so that you can attach it to the stand to prevent it from rolling around if you choose to display the ball.  The gun effect parts are cool, but it would have been cooler if they included some sort of missile effect to go with the missile launcher mode of her gun.

Samus' Gear
Samus’ Gear
Missile Launcher Acquired
Missile Launcher Acquired

Conclusion:

In my opinion, this is currently the best Samus figure to date.  It’s a very good representation of the character and the accessories included add another level of fun to the figure.  Fans of the series should be sure to pick her up and passers-by should consider having a kick-ass bounty hunter in a powered suit (who happens to be female 😉 ) to add to their ranks.

She can be found at the link below along with other figures in the figma range.


Ready...
Ready…

Here we have figma Archer, figma Samus and figma Caro Ru Lushe and a 375mL drink can for scale.
Here we have figma Archer, figma Samus and figma Caro Ru Lushe and a 375mL drink can for scale.
"What a curious object..."
“What a curious object…”
"I think I can hear something..."
“I think I can hear something…”
"Oh my God, it's gonna kill me!!"
“Oh my God, it’s gonna kill me!!”