Friday, June 1, 2018

Code Geass Guren Type-02 Review



Usually I have some form of knowledge on the things I buy, but this is an exception. I have not seen Code Geass nor do I have any knowledge about it besides the overall plot and how popular it is as a mecha show, which is extremely respectable, and had some cool mechs of it's own. However, that alone is not the reason I bought this kit, instead it is because a good friend of mine was curious about these Code Geass kits, and there don't seem to be an enormous amount of information on them on the internet. With that in mind, I ran into this kit while hunting for Gunpla, and soon decided to buy it to help my friend learn more about this line, as well as learn how these kits are myself. So this review is dedicated to my friend Spencer, hope you find this useful!

Now on the actual KF itself, the Guren Type-02 (or Mk II), is one of the few KF from this show that I was aware of before I starting digging deeper into it's mechs. It always stood out with it's asymmetrical build, which is something I always enjoyed, and it's red colorscheme. It was an intimidating machine, and I can respect that. I've got no proper knowledge on the mech's feats and it's pilot, but I can say right away that it does leave an impression.


Box:



The box is your typical Code Geass kit box. You have the Guren-Type 02 on the box doing a Shining Finger to you, and the pilot Kallen on the bottom right corner.


Parts:




I'll use this part to mention that this kit actually has a gloss injection, just like some Gunpla like modern Qubeleys and the RG Sinanju. This means that the plastics look shiny and reflective, but are also harder to cut and scuff way easier, expect nubs and don't sand this kit.

As for the parts, you get two of the same maroon runner, a dark pale red...




...a multi colore dunner including orange, more maroon, normal injection white, and normal injection grey...




...a silver runner, another normally injected grey runner, a generic stand runner that you get with a lot of HGSEED Gunpla, and a black runner made of super floppy rubber instead of hard plasty.




You also get a set of red polycaps, a wire...




...and a beautifully small sticker sheet with a single sticker on it.


Manual:



The manual is what one would expect, it contains instructions to build the kit, info on the pilot, some specs of the KF...




...it's development, and the godlike color guide that most of us can't read.


Completed Product:



The completed kit looks absolutely fantastic, with one exception, but first the positives. The kit itself is a perfectly accurate representation of the Guren Type-02, with basically perfect color separation in all areas on the main machine. The parts separation is insane here, there is one single sticker, and it's only used for the eyes on the head, everything else is a part and the resemblance is fantastic. The gloss injection plastic just elevates that look a ton, to make a really nice looking kit even with it's relatively simple engineering, age, and price. As I've said before in he parts section, this kit has bits that are made out of rubber, those are the belt straps in the waist and the wheels. They both look fantastic and work well, giving the kit a more genuine feel due to the areas used, and the former allows for a bit more movement, however, these parts do tend to collect dust easier, so keep that in mind.

However, as I've alluded to, there is one problem with the looks, and those are the nubs. They are the price you pay for the gloss injection, and the silver plastic in the arm, they are not friendly and will nub. This is especially apparent on the silver, as the way the plastic is injected, it leaves black marks where you cut, so no matter how good your cleanup may be, the nub will be there unless you use paint to get rid of it. As for the gloss injection, just do your best with your knife, don't sand, and hope for the best. Regardless of the nubs though, this kit looks fantastic regardless.


Articulation:



The head itself is on a ball joint with excellent range, it looks in all directions very well due to the design, and there's no real worry for it's reach. It's also on a neck hinge, which allows for even more movement.




Both arms go up reasonably high, the left one more than the right due to the design.




Forwards reach is on a hinge joint that stretches out, and it's about the same.




For the left arm, there is a swivel at the bicep an a single jointed bend that has a perfect 90˚, while the wrist is on a ball joint.




The right hand though, is a bit more complex than your average arm.




It also has a swivel at the bicep, and due to it's joint system, it can bend a double easily.




However, the real thing about the joint is that it can unfold for reaching out.





It's overall arm stretch is quite insane.




The hand itself is on a peg and a hinge, meaning it can swivel and bob up and down, but can't go side to side.




Each of the individual fingers are on ball joints, and are thus poseable, meaning you can get a lot of grabby poses with this kit's poseability. The great parts separation can also be seen here, as the Radiant Wave Surger is a separate piece instead of a sticker like most HG Gunpla would likely do.




It has a bit of an ab crunch, not an insane amount due to the design, but it's there.




There is also a torso swivel, always an appreciated joint.





The hips are on ball joints so they don't spread out very far due to the design. Overall movement is fine, and the rubber belts allow for a lot of clearance.




The legs reach up a lot and have a nice 90˚ bend.




The toes themselves can reach far, and pivot quite well, although it's only the front part of the feet that have the pivot due to the design.


Accessories:



In terms of accessories, the kit comes with a decent amount, yet only two are actually used with the KF itself.




First you get a 1/35 figure of Kallen, and it's neat, paint it if you want.




Next you have the Guren-Type 02's only handheld weapon, a knife. It's molded in with the hand and paint is required, still, I don't think it's that big of a deal since you won't display it out of the hand any time, although it is backhanded, so you have to display it as such. Not sure if she ever holds it non-backhanded, but if so, then this might be a shame to some.




Still, she can pose with it well.




Next you get the Slash Harken activated, and you can probably guess how this works.




First, remove the part on the chest that covers a socket...




...and stick it in.




Usually the wires aren't strong enough to hold the stuff on it up, but due to the Slash Harken's small size and weight, there is no issues posing with this thing whatsoever, go wild. 




Finally you get a stand, which should be familiar to any fan of HGSEED kits. This is generic budget HG stand #1 for Gunpla and is occasionally packed in with HGSEED kits. The Guren Type-02 specifically has an extra part for it that allows it to be used in another angle, but asides from that, it's your standard stuff.




Instead of plugging into the crotch, you actually plug into the cockpit of the kit.




Now it can do aerial poses, wheeee!


Gimmicks:



For gimmicks, first off, the lower wheels on the feet can fold up if you want them to. I also want to mention that despite it's backheavy design, the feet can hold the entire kit up well even with the wheels retracted, so heavy props the the balance. With the wheels in used with the rubber and the overall surface area, this thing can pull almost any pose with insane balance. It's seriously a surprising thing, an having a figure with exemplary balance like this just makes posing so much fun and so easy. 




You can also remove a panel of the cockpit to reveal a figure of Kallen in the cockpit piloting, she has a nice ass.




There is some detail in the cockpit itself as well, a nice inclusion if I say so myself.


Size Comparison:



It's a bit bigger than your standard HG Gunpla, which is to be expected. The kit overall is very similar to a HG Gunpla kit, but also a bit different in some respects.


Verdict:

All in all, I gotta be honest, I gotta say that this kit is fantastic, especially for it's time. Yes, it has severe nub issues, maybe you think it's thigh poseability, elbow poseability, and knee poseability could've been better, but honestly those are the only problems I can think of. With those sacrifices in mind, what do we have? Well, we have a fantastic looking kit with stellar parts separation that gives MG Gunpla a run for their money, with only one single sticker that's barely noticeable and completely understandable. I never mentioned this directly, but the kit is very solid, it feels light, but it doesn't come apart and feels like a good nice kit to handle with fluid joints, amazing balance due to the feet designs, and good poseability, all which make for a very fun and enjoyable posing experience. It has small details like the cockpits and rubber parts, and even has some neat gimmicks to boot. 

If it isn't apparent by now, this kit really surprised me with how great it's engineering was, and compared to Gunpla, this was definitely a step up to your average HG, especially against Gunpla made around it's time period. If you're a fan of building good kits, think about it, if you're a fan of Code Geass, definitely consider it, and if you're a fan of the Guren Type-02, go out and buy one right now (but don't overpay too much), because this is one kit you definitely won't regret having on your shelf.

Pros:

- Part separation is absolutely amazing, even small details like the cockpit and Wave Surger are parts. (!)
- Gloss injection for armor parts, looks really nice and shiny. (!)
- Feet design and rubber wheels allow for fantastic stability and balance making holding poses super easy. (!)
- Sturdy build, it won't break easily and the parts fit well together for the most part. 
- Only one sticker used for the whole build: eyes. 
- Articulation is pretty good, not perfect, but definitely more than serviceable.
- Rubber waist straps allow for a lot of clearance despite being in a pivotal joint area. 
- Comes with a basic stand.

Cons:

- Gloss plastic and injection silver mean the nubs are extremely bad, and scuff marks are very apparent. (!)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Figma Sae Review



Why do I have this figure? I haven't seen Hidamari Sketch, I have not heard of the girl named Sae before owning this figure either, nor do I find her really attractive (although she is kinda cute). Maybe it was the glasses that drew me? The simple yet effective and iconic design? The blue hair? I dunno, but I don't know why I bought this figure at the time of reviewing this, and that was the same mindset I had when I actually held the box in my hands for the first time. Regardless, I have this now, and I'll review it to the best of my ability despite my lack of knowledge on anything related to Hidamari Sketch or this character.


Box:



The box is your average modern figma box. With colors that match Sae's hair, it looks clean, formal, and displays the figure through a clear plastic.




On the back we get some product shots showing off the figure and the things it does.


Product:



After googling how Sae looks and the show she's from, I gotta say that figma once again pull off her appearance spectacularly. Her plain appearance is captured well, and the most distinguishable part of her appearance (her face) is printed as well as figma always print them. The sculpting is also pretty good in the dress, there's a folded, asymmetrical sculpt on the apron and even the sleeves which makes it look like a proper wear, otherwise there's really nothing to say about the figure. It's plain and that's the point, nothing wrong with it, but nothing else to say either other than the fact it portrays the character well.


Articulation:



Her head is on a ball joint as average figma have.




Shoulders go up decently but not a lot, same can be said for the inward movement.




The swivel joint on the shoulder doesn't do a whole lot which is a bit disappointing, but the elbow joint has a bit of swivel so you can try to use that. Bending is also quite decent, but also nothing amazing.




Hands are on the old style peg and hinge style joint, not great but they work.




She doesn't have much of an abcrunch or waist mobility at all due to her apron.




Her skirt is flexible so it doesn't hinder movement much at all, and her knee bend is also pretty damn good.




Feet are a bit tricky (sorry for the bad photo), they don't really rock or move back that much, but they work decently well. Overall poseability is pretty average for a figma with some small limitations due to age and design.


Accessories:



For accessories, we really don't get much aside from the standard figma stuff.




You get a plastic bag for storing the accessories like always.




You get a stand on 3 joints like always and it works like a charm.




You get an adaptor for some reason which is really not needed when you already have a stand like that.




You get 5 pairs of hands. Widespread open hands on the figure, fists, holding hands, victory pose hands, and relaxed open hands.




You also get an alternate face expression, but only one. Asides from the default smiling expression, there's also an embarrassed expression you can use by pulling out the hair fringe and swapping the faces like all figma. On top of that, Sae actually includes two pairs of glasses that fit onto two notches in her hair fringe piece. One of them is see through, and the other is opaque to represent the lens for the types of poses where you might want to see her eyes from certain angles.




You can even take the glasses off if you choose to.




Sadly there aren't any real ways you can get a proper pose for adjusting glasses, so this is the best I could do.




The final accessory is an alternate head part which allows you to change the character to Nori. Yes, this figure is a 2 in 1 technically. Personally, I would've preferred more accessories and facial expressions instead of this, since you'll only display one in the end, and if you want both, you need two figures anyways, so there's no real point in the end.




Still it works, and while the face is swappable, there are no other faces to use it with.




Her pigtails are also moveable, but fall off really easily.


Size Comparison:



Average figma size, not too big, not too small. Just under the size of a standard 1/144 Gundam.


Verdict:


Reviewing and messing a while with this figure, and I've come to the conclusion that really this is just a barebones figma release for the fans of the anime and characters of Sae and Nori, absolutely nothing more. Poseability and appearance are average for a figma of it's time, and while the factors don't do anything too wrong, it doesn't do anything really amazing either. Accessories are a bit lacking, and while it can be argued that it's because she comes from a SOL show where not much happens, I feel like some art tools like a paintbrush or notebook could've done nice. Adding to this, Nori's head is pointless and should've been a separate releases, because in the end you'll be displaying only one, and in any case, you'll just be buying one figure unless you want both, in which case, you need to buy two anyway. If it weren't included, we could either have an extra accessory, or just a cheaper figure, no loss IMHO.

In the end, I bought this figure for little reason, and in turn, I got an average figma by the definition. It doesn't do anything bad, nor does it do anything good. It has little things to offer, and doesn't stand out from the rest. So why did I buy it? I think it was just mild interest and a cheap-ish price that pushed me over the edge to buying this, but also a mixture of wanting to review more stuff of larger variety and experiencing more figma. In any case, I still have no solid reason to why I bought this, as this figure really isn't anything special. I only really recommend this to fans of the character, because really, there aren't any alternatives. But for anyone else, you're better off buying a figma that has a more exciting design or even accessories.

Pros:

- Details are well sculpted and character is well captured. 

Cons:

- Little to no accessories included.

Neutral:

- Nori head is included, despite the fact there was no reason for it to be so.
- Everything else about the figure.