Hexa Gear Governors – Rose and Zoanthrope – Review

INTRODUCTION:

We’re venturing into some more model kit territory for the table top this time around.  Here we have two figures from Kotobukiya’s Hexa Gear line – Rose and Zoanthrope.  The Hexa Gear line features different robotic style vehicles and figures that come in model kits that need assembly.  With most model kits these days, it’s possible to have completed kits that look fairly decent but to get the most out of the end result, you’ll have to apply paint and decals.

The two figures I have here are the Governor types, and they are the figures that can be used as pilots/drivers for the Hexa Gear vehicles.  These Governor figures have a certain “designated” vehicle that they can pilot, but they seem to be pretty interchangeable between vehicles which is nice.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

Don’t let the advertising/promotional photos fool you – these figures are tiny, even when compared to some of the other smaller figures in my collection.  Their scale comes in at around 1:24 which puts them at a much smaller size than GI Joe figures (around 1:18 scale or 3 ¾ inch size if you’re not familiar with that comparison).

You can really get a sense for how tiny these figures are when placed next to the trusty 375mL Drink Can of Comparison. While Zoanthrope is seen as a more bulky, beast-like style unit, Rose appears to be the more speedy/nimble cyber-ninja style unit. I get a real Briareos and Deunan (from the Appleseed franchise) sort of vibe with this pairing.

It’s also worth noting that although these figures are quite small, they’re proving to be lots of fun.  There’s plenty of detail to be had here and each figure has its own distinct style. They each have a sort of mechanical/cybernetic feel to them which is pretty cool.

Once completed, the figures look pretty good as is, but to get the most out of them, you’ll have to apply some paint. While most Kotobukiya model kits don’t require glue, I found that I did have to apply a small amount of glue to some of the more tiny/fiddly pieces to make sure they wouldn’t pop off during any routine movements.

You know, I thought this thing would be smaller.

ACCESSORIES:

While Zoanthrope only comes with his two large sword/cleaver things, the clear winner when it comes to weaponry here is RoseRose comes with a katana-style sword and two bladed handguns.  The sword and guns come as individual pieces as well as pieces that have been molded into a left or right hand.  This allows for Rose to have a gun/sword combination, as well as dual-wield her weapons.  With both of Rose‘s hands full with her molded-in weapons, it allows for her to lend her spare weapons to other figures which is a handy addition.

While Zoanthrope doesn’t have any molded-in weapons, he does have interchangeable sets of hands that consist of left and right weapon/item holding, open hands, and closed fists. Rose also has a similar set of plain hands, except that her open hands are more flat unlike Zoanthrope’s which are more claw-like which fits in with his more beastly appearance.

Each figure also has a hexagonal port in their backs that can be used for things such as extra weapon options, or to attach some sort of display stand (not included, unfortunately).

ARTICULATION:

I think this is where these figures really shine.  Despite their diminutive stature, these figures can be just as expressive as their much larger counterparts. The only thing that annoys me though, is that the hands like to pop off when you’re trying to move the arms around and in to position. It’s nothing too major and it’s not a definite deal-breaker but it’s something to be mindful of.

Both figures have a ball jointed neck which allows for full rotation, but only a slight tilt in the left-right and back-forward directions.  Zoanthrope’s spikes/mane tends to get in the way of his head movements, while Rose’s long ponytail can also get in the way of hers. While the ponytail connects to the back of her head with a ball joint which offers some degree of articulation, there’s only so much that you can do with it due to its shape. You can always replace the long ponytail with the pinned-up hairpiece instead if it gets too annoying.

What do you think?… Is it me?…

They both have ball joints at the shoulders, coupled with a bicep swivel and hinged elbows.  While Rose’s wrists end in a ball joint for her hands to connect to, Zoanthrope’s wrists have a socket for his hands to plug into. Their torsos have a dual ball joint system which connects to the upper torso and the hips. The legs connect to the hips with ball joints which offers a fairly decent range of movement (my Zoanthrope’s hip joints are a little bit loose but that’s an easy fix). They also each have a sneaky thigh swivel hidden underneath their armour which helps with movement and posing.

They both have hinges at the knees, but Zoanthrope’s ankles have a ball joint that plugs into his feet which helps him keep his feet planted for most poses, whereas Rose’s ankles just have a hinge which gives no rotation and no sort of ankle rocker to help with poseability which is sort of an odd decision considering that a decent ball joint would have been just as effective if not better. Again, it’s a minor thing and something that I wouldn’t consider as being a deal-breaker given the smaller size we have here.

CONCLUSION:

My return to model kit land has yielded a much better result than my last outing (looking at you, Ms. Siegfried!). It can be difficult to find figures this size with this much articulation.  Unlike other toys/figures in my collection (e.g. Transformers) the Hexa Gear range is more suited towards the model building fans, rather than the action figure fans.  They definitely have that desktop “pick up and play” feel to them (especially since they’re pretty much dwarfed by your average desktop office supplies).  Knowing what size these figures are also helps to roughly gauge how big some of their vehicles will be, which might be something for me to consider in the near future.

Check it out! I’m a plane!
Wheeee~~

I’m pretty happy with these figures, but again, given their small size I wouldn’t really consider them to be great value for money. I guess it all depends on how much you’re willing to spend on figures such as these, as well as your affinity towards model kits.  That being said, I’ve been having quite a lot of fun with these guys and ultimately, isn’t that what toy collecting is all about?

Rose and Zoanthrope can be found at the links below along with other figures in the Hexa Gear range.

Mind if I have a look at that?
Sure, here you go.
Not too heavy?
I don’t know what you’re worried about. It feels like there’s nothing there.
Oh…

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~~