#1982: Ultraman – B Type



Hey, how about a look into two things I haven’t looked at in a long time?  It’s been over a year since I reviewed anything Ultraman related (the end of Ultra-Act and subsequent transition into Figuarts has been a rather major contributor to that), and three whole years since I’ve reviewed any model kits, but now I’m just throwing caution to the wind and looking at an Ultraman model.  I know, crazy stuff for me, right?  Just stepping way outside my comfort zone for this?


Ultraman (B Type) is the first in Bandai’s newly launched line of Ultraman-themed Figure-Rise kits.  They’ve previously offered kits for Dragon Ball Z and Kamen Rider, and it’s not a huge shock to see them move onto another immensely popular license.  So far, it appears this line will be taking its cues from the currently running Ultraman manga, which sequelizes the original show, while working in elements of its successors in a new timeline.  This figure is the main Ultraman from the series, Shinjiro Hayata, son of the original Ultraman, wearing his second set of powered armor (as noted by the “B Type” at the end of the name).  The kit is billed as 1/12 scale, so the final figure stands a little over 6 inches tall, meaning he scales pretty decently with the Figuarts stuff.  He’s got 31 points of articulation, so he’s not quite on the same posability level as most of those figures, but he’s not terribly far off either.  Of all the models I’ve built, Ultraman is definitely the most intense.  As in “took multiple sessions to complete him” intense.  He’s made up of a lot of small, little pieces, that all click together very carefully.  While this may be a little stressful on the assembly side, it pays off on the appearance front.  This is definitely a sharp looking figures. Details are well-defined, and he’s a good match for the source material’s very machined appearance.  If I have one complaint, it’s that the figure’s not quite as sturdy as I might have liked.  I’ve had no breakage issues, of course, but the torso assembly pops apart with regular handling (mostly by design, to be fair).  He’s more a pose and set figure than a mess around with him figure.  Paint’s a no-go on these sorts of sets, so there are a few different ways to handle variations of color.  For the most part, this guy goes with the “mold it in the right color” method, meaning there’s a lot of very precise part assembly.  However, there are also some pretty extensive decal applications mixed in with that.  Again, they can get a little stressful, but the end result pays off, and you’d be hard pressed to discern these decals from actual paintwork.  Of course, time will tell as to their longterm hold-up.  Ultraman is pretty well accessorized for a thing I built myself.  He’s got five interchangeable hands (fists, open, and a trigger finger for his right side), a Specium Ray effect, two Specium Slash effects, alternate forearm guards for use with the Specium Ray, alternate guards with Specium Blades deployed, the MARS-133 rifle, and a display stand.  Pretty much, he’s on par with a Figuarts or Ultra-Act release.  He has one more feature: he lights up.  There’s a battery pack with LEDs attached that’s installed in the torso (hence how easily it comes back apart).  Using the included tool, you can turn it on and off.  It illuminates his eyes and color timer, and with a push of the button you can even switch the color timer from blue to red, which is fun.


Is it allowed to be Max’s fault two days in a row?  This one’s a borderline example at the very least.  He wanted one of his own, and they come in cases of two, so he needed another buyer.  Well, hey, I like Ultraman, right?  Admittedly, I was looking to get back into the model building anyway, and I didn’t yet have a Manga-style Ultraman, so why not give it a try?  He’s an intense build, but I do really enjoy the final product, and I think he’ll slot in pretty well with the rest of my Ultras.

I picked up this set via All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#0862: Robot Soldier




Every so often, I like to take a look at a model kit. There’s a lot of cool snap-kits out there, which not only give me the fun of building a model, but I also get to have a fully functioning toy when I’m done with building. That’s one hell of an incentive, for me anyway. I’ve looked at three of these kits so far, all of which have been based on Gundam, a property I’m not super familiar with. So, I was more going for a cool looking toy at the end of the ride, without a whole lot of emotional attachment to any of the figures I was building. Well, today, I’m actually looking at a kit I got for the sole purpose of getting a cool figure of a character I really like, though the figure’s still a little outside of my usual area of expertise. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the Robot Soldier from Castle in the Sky, or as it’s known in Japan, Laputa: Castle in the Sky.


CitSRobot2The Robot Soldier is one of two Castle in the Sky-based model kits from Fine Molds (the other is the Robot Gardener, which is really just this set, but with different arms). The set was released in early 2011, in time for Laputa’s 25th anniversary. The figure is 1/20 scale, so he stands about 7 inches tall and fully assembled, he has 36 points of articulation. The articulation isn’t super flexible; he won’t be getting into many crazy poses beyond standing/walking. The shoulders are quite mobile, but the hips, for instance, don’t do anything but move side-to-side. What’s there is perfectly serviceable, so I can’t really complain. The robots from Castle in the Sky actually have a pretty neat heritage; they were inspired by the robot attackers from the Fleisher Superman serial “Mechanical Monsters,” a serial that would also inspire similar robot designs in Lupin III, Batman: The Animated Series, and the film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. As the Robot Soldier, he’s officially based on the first of the two main robots we see in the movie. It’s the harsher of the two designs, though it’s mostly just about the arms, which are all spikey here (in the movie, the spikes allow for wings, giving the robot the ability to fly). The sculpt does a pretty great job of capturing the design from the film, and making it look decent in three dimensions. The only real point of inaccuracy is the hips. In the film, they sort of round off into his waist, but on the figure, they end in a fairly straight line. In the figure’s defense, the hips of the robot in the movie are a classic case of cheating the angles. As they are shown in the movie, there’s no practical way for them to work, so they had to be tweaked. One of the best things about this guy’s sculpt is the texture work; the film is cel-animated, so the robots shown therein are mostly devoid of any real texture, just for the sake of easier animation. However, the shading and such of the ‘bots is done in such a way to suggest a slightly rough texture to them, were they to exist in real life. This figure has a nice, ripple-y effect on all of his pieces, barring the visor and neck. This gives the figure a visually intriguing look, and has the added benefit of hiding the imperfections and such caused by breaking the parts of the figure off of their mold trees. Also, it should be noted that, while many snap-kit figures tend to feel light-weight, and of a slightly lower quality than a mass-produced figure. This is not the case with this guy, who is easily the sturdiest kit I’ve put together, and feels not unlike a figure you might buy fully assembled. As with all snap kits, there there’s no paint on this guy. Some kits use stickers to make up for this, but this guy doesn’t, instead letting all the separate pieces be molded in the appropriate colors. This actually works really well, and he doesn’t feel lacking at all. The Robot is packed with a little scale figure of Pazu. He doesn’t have any articulation, and the lack of paint is plain as day here, but it’s cool to have gotten him. One thing I do feel is missing is some sort of an extra attachment to swap out for the lower half of the left arm. The main Robot Soldier we see in the movie is lacking said arm, so being able to showcase this look would have been nice.


Until the last two years, I had never actually watched a Miyazaki film. This changed when I started dating Super Awesome Girlfriend, who is a huge fan of Miyazaki’s work. Castle in the Sky was the third of Miyazaki’s films I saw, and I fell in love with it immediately. The awesome Robots therein played no small part in this. After seeing the movie, I made an off-hand mention of how I wouldn’t mine owning a figure of one of the Robots. Super Awesome Girlfriend showed just how much she pay attention, and presented me with this kit as a Valentine’s Day gift this year. I then spent an hour or two putting the guy together, with a bit of help from my buddy Tim. This is an awesome figure, and I’m super thrilled to have gotten him. Easily my favorite of the snap-kits I’ve gotten, and just a great figure in general!

#0290: GM Sniper K9




Hey, remember that time I reviewed a model kit? Yep, I’m doing it again. It also happens to wrap up the official entries in the Birthday Stuff Reviews, so how ‘bout that? Yep, I’ve gotten another of Bandai’s Gundam snap-kits, and I’ve finally got it all put together. Let’s see how this one went, shall we?


GMSniperWilsonToday’s figure is the GM Sniper K9, who is apparently “Build Fighter Renato Brothers Custom Made Mobile Suit.” He seems to be something of a basic suit, with a sniper flair to him. He’s figure #010 in Bandai’s HG Build Fighters model line, at least I think. I’m not incredibly well versed in Gundam, and the package is mostly in Japanese. The figure is in 1/144 scale, so he stands roughly 5 inches tall and he features 36 points of articulation. Going by the front of the package and a few of the images I’ve been able to find online, the figure seems to be pretty much accurate to the design of the suit from the various media. The sculpt is definitely clean and sharp, and the parts of the model all snap together really nicely, which is a huge plus, without doubt. The kit wouldn’t be worth much if it didn’t fit together. The figure doesn’t feature any paint. Instead, the details are conveyed through clever placement of a few different colors of plastic paired with the application of a small handful of decals. I did notice that the decals were a bit more tricky to apply here than on Nemo, but that might be more the nature of the design. The figure includes a nice selection of accessories, including several sets of interchangeable hands, two beam swords, a machine gun, a rifle, two pistols, a knife, a shield and a sniper K9, which the figure gets its name from. The K9 could almost be a figure in its own right, with roughly 16 points of articulation. That’s pretty darn cool!

GMSniper4 GMSniper2


The Sniper here was a birthday gift from my best friend Tim. I showed him Nemo, and how impressive a figure it was, so he decided to get me another one to go with him. I believe his exact words on why he chose this one were “It’s got a freaking sniper dog!” (okay, I might be paraphrasing the slightest). The Sniper has a pretty sweet design in his own right, and he offered a pretty fun building experience, so I’d call that a win-win.


#0228: MSA-003 Nemo




And now for something completely different. Previous reviews on the site have been based on finished action figures, purchased by me, fully assembled elsewhere, in processes unknown to me. Not today. No, today, I’ll be taking a look at a figure I built all by myself. Well, not all by myself. There were instructions, and the basic parts were supplied for me. But, I did most of the heavy lifting this time.

Today’s figure comes from Bandai’s line of Gundam model kits. They’re based on designs from the various Gundam anime and manga, and are made up a large assortment of pieces that can be snapped together to form a fully functioning action figure.


Nemo3The figure I’m looking at is the MSA-003 Nemo, which is apparently a “massed-produced mobile fighting suit.” From what I can tell, it’s an army builder. Anyway, Nemo is figure #150 in Bandai’s HG GUNDAM HGUC model line (I think I got all that right, but it’s a bit difficult to tell with most of the info on the box being in Japanese.) The figure is in 1/144 scale, which means he stands about 5 inches tall. He also features 35 points of articulation, which is certainly impressive for a model. From what I’ve been able to find online, the sculpt looks pretty faithful to the Nemo design, which is a good thing. It’s a nice and clean sculpt, with some pretty great details worked in. Above all, all of the pieces fit together pretty much perfectly, which is the most important part of the kit. The figure features no actual paint work, though it makes use of parts molded in five different colors in order to give the figure the proper color scheme. What can’t be feasibly handled with a solid molded piece is handled via decal. The decals go on without too much trouble (though I did have to put out the tweezers), and stay in place very well. Perhaps my favorite part of the figure is the combination of a silver decal and a piece of translucent orange plastic in order to create Nemo’s visor. It really gives it a great amount of dimension. Amazingly for a model kit, Nemo also includes five interchangeable hands, two beam swords, a machine gun, and a shield. All of these pieces can be used to great effect and offer a lot of variety in display choices.


I picked up Nemo from a local hobby store while on a trip there with my Dad. I’ve never been much of a Gundam fan, but I saw Nemo amongst the assortment of kits they had and he just called to me. I liked the color scheme, and I’m a sucker for a cool robot design. I had heard of the Gundam kits, but I didn’t actually have any experience with them. I figured I’d give this one a shot, and I’m glad I did. Putting this figure together was quite a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed getting the insights on how such a figure is assembled. And, at the end of it all, I get an awesome robot dude that’s fully poseable! How cool is that?