#1660: Guardian Bravo

GUARDIAN BRAVO

ROBOT SPIRITS (BANDAI)

“Designed for combat at range, Guardian Bravo wields the Elec-16 Arc Whip: a proto-metallic successor to the chainsword, and brings a new sophistication to the chainsword’s whiplash move.”

When a problem comes along, you must whip it.  Before the cream sits out too long, you must whip it.  When something’s going wrong, you must whip it.  Now whip it!  Into shape!  Shape it up!  Get straight!  Go forward!  Move ahead!  Try to detect it, it’s not too late, to whip it.  Whip it well.  Yeah, I know it’s “good” in the song, but grammar is important.

Sorry, I didn’t know how to start another Uprising review, so I went all pop-culture on it.  Anyway, in the spirit of whipping it good, let’s have a look at the whip-wielding Jaeger, Guardian Bravo!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Guardian Bravo is figure 233 in the Robot Spirits line, the third, and final, chronological figure in the second series of Pacific Rim: Uprising-themed Jaegers.  The figure stands a little over 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  Guardian Bravo’s design calls back the most to the first film’s Coyote Tango, though perhaps not so much in color scheme.  He’s also got a lot in common with your average NFL football player, which I suppose is fitting for a Jaeger with a name as American as “Guardian Bravo.”  Guardian has the same basic construction as the other Jaegers in this line.  Obviously, he’s not quite as mobile as Saber Athena, but compared to the first series Jaegers, he’s actually a fair bit more posable.  That’s more a design thing than anything, though.  Guardian is a lot blockier and less advanced than his two series-mates, which helps offset him a bit.  If anything, he almost looks more at home with Bracer and Titan (that’s certainly not a bad thing).  The sculpt on this figure does a solid job of recreating the on-screen appearance in plastic form.  Guardian’s paintwork is some of the more complex of the Jaegers in this line, which on one hand is nice, but on the other hand, it’s actually not quite enough.  Guardian’s got some of the most complex detailing in the film, and the figure tries to handle some of that, but ultimately, a lot of details end up lost.  There are sections of red that should go on the white, and vice versa.  At least he gets all the identifiers and insgnias, though.  I can understand Bandai’s dilemma, of course, since Guardian done correctly really would require a lot more paint than any other Jaegers in the set.  It’s difficult to make that cost out.  As is, he looks reasonable on his own, provided you’re not making direct comparisons.  The figure makes out pretty well on accessories, with both gripping and open palm hands, as well as two Arc Whips to hold.  The clear plastic on the whips is particularly cool, and a very effective way of handling the energy effects.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed Guardian Bravo at the same time as Saber Athena.  Of the two, Athena was the one I was most looking forward to.  I liked Guardian, but I largely got him to fill out the set.  He’s got some paint issues, which are a little annoying, but the thing that surprised me most about this guy is just how much I like him.  Out of the three Series 2 figures, I think he may well be my favorite.  I didn’t see that coming.  As it stands right now, Guardian is the final figure in this sub-set.  I’m still hoping for a third series with November Ajax, Valor Omega, and perhaps one of the drones, but I may have to turn to DST for those.

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#1659: Saber Athena

SABER ATHENA

ROBOT SPIRITS (BANDAI)

“The sleekest and most elegant jaeger ever created, Saber Athena is the fastest in the fleet, wielding twin blades in hyper-acrobatic combat.”

Saber Athena was kind of advertised as Pacific Rim: Uprising’s equivalent to Striker Eureka, a secondary Jaeger that would get a lot of focus.  That was not the case.  Honestly, I was a bit shocked by how little Saber Athena there was in the movie.  The expected secondary Jaeger turned out to be Bracer Phoenix instead.  Nevertheless, Saber Athena, like all the Jaegers, did at least get her moment to shine.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Saber Athena was figure 232 in Bandai’s Robot Spirits line, as the second figure sequentially in the second series of Uprising-themed figures.  The figure is one of the shortest in the set, standing just shy of 6 1/2 inches tall and she has 35 points of articulation (the fins on her back provide for some extra mobility).  Saber has perhaps the most delicate and ornate sculpt of all the Jaegers in this set.  She uses the same basic style of construction as the others; a skeleton with armored pieces.  The sleek and slighter build of the armor means that Saber also gets the most range out of her joints of all the Jaegers.  She’s just a heck of a lot of fun to pose, especially deep running poses.  The detailing on the armor is sharp, clean, and very concise.  She’s a great recreation of the on-screen design, and melds accuracy with playability quite well.  Saber gets more paint than the other Jaegers; it’s still not a ton, but there’s some decent detail work, especially on the identifying numbers and insignias.  In addition, the slightly pearlescent plastic that was used for the majority of her armor looks really slick, and makes her one of the coolest looking of the Jaegers when the light catches her.  Saber is pretty well accessorized, including two sets of hands in gripping and flat poses, as well as her blades in both twin and combined configurations.  Compared to some of the other Jeagers, that’s pretty great, though I’d imagine it’s more to offset the slightly smaller nature of this figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After managing to find Obsidian Fury at Toys R Us, I was keeping an eye out for both Saber and Guardian, but not having much luck.  I’d pretty much resigned to have to order the pair of them online.  That said, a few weeks back, I was out with my family, and we decided to catch a movie (Isle of Dogs, for those curious; definitely worth a watch if you haven’t seen it).  We got to the theatre with about an hour to kill, so we decided to stop in the Barnes & Noble next door.  I wasn’t expecting to find anything, but I wandered over to collectibles aisle and boom, there was this figure staring right back at me.  I was actually pretty darn excited, let me tell you.  Saber was possibly my favorite of the new Jaeger designs (well, barring November Ajax, who is just boss), and it translated really well into an action figure.

#1658: Obsidian Fury

OBSIDIAN FURY

ROBOT SPIRITS (BANDAI)

“A towering mecha so powerful its origins are shrouded in secrecy, meet the deadliest Jaeger to ever walk the Earth.  With stealth chrome armor plating chainsaws and a chest-mounted AKM salvo-launcher, Obsidian Fury is ready to defend our world…or destroy it!”

Infinity War may have come along and blown everything else away, but before it came along, I was all about Pacific Rim: Uprising.  Though hardly a perfect film, it was certainly a fun movie-going experience, and, most importantly, it gave us a bunch of cool new robot designs!  One of the coolest was the dark rogue Jaeger, Obsidian Fury!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obsidian Fury is figure 231 in Badai’s Robot Spirits line, sequentially the first of the second series of Uprising figures, and fourth overall from the movie.  The figure stands the tallest of the new Jaegers at 7 inches and has 31 points of articulation.  Obsidian is the most advanced Jaeger we see in the film, so his design is a lot sleeker and made up smoother lines than all of the others.  This gives him a slightly more organic feel that goes well with his Kaiju-origins.  He’s also got a bit of a modern-BSG Cylon feel to him, which helps keep him appropriately sinister.  The figure’s sculpt is handled the same way as the others; there’s an underlying skeleton of sorts, with all of Obsidian’s armored bits placed on top.  It’s definitely a solid piece of work, though I do have one complaint, having to do with how the articulation has been worked in.  For the most part, the joints of the figure follow the natural points of movement from the movie, but Obsidian’s shoulder pads just sort of break right in the middle to allow them to move.  It doesn’t follow the flow of the design at all and can be quite jarring.  Like his three predecessors, Obsidian is mostly light on the paint, but the few bits he has work well.  I quite like the translucent orange visor; it looks a little off from some angles but when it catches the light just right, it looks pretty sweet.  The figure is packed with two sets of hands in both open grasp and fist positions, as well as his laser chainsaw attachments from the film.  Interestingly, the blades aren’t attached to a separate forearm like Gipsy, but instead require you to pop the outer plate off of the forearms and click the blade into place.  It’s actually a lot easier than swapping the arm every time, so I prefer this method.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up the whole first set from Toys R Us a week before they announced they were going under.  I wasn’t expecting to find any of this set there.  After the announcement of their closure, and the beginnings of the markdowns, I made my first stop at my usual store.  It was something like a wasteland, really, with things just in piles everywhere from people rummaging through (and this was when they were still only at 10% off, mind you).  After doing a few loops around the store, I had one or two things I was going to buy.  I was standing in line at the register, when Christian texted me about an Amiibo they had that he wanted.  On my way back to grab it, I happened to knock over something from a shelf near the front, thus revealing two of this bad boy.  I was surprised to say the least.  This is a pretty good figure, and a great counterpart to the first assortment’s Gispy Avenger.

#1615: Titan Redeemer

TITAN REDEEMER

ROBOT SPIRITS (BANDAI)

“Built for brute force and armed with a seismic morningstar, Titan Redeemer is the walking wrecking ball of the new fleet.”

Before Pacific Rim: Uprising hit theaters, there was a little bit of confusion about specifically which Jaegers would be making up the four ‘bot team seen in the big city shot from the trailers.  The source of the confusion?  Titan Redeemer’s seismic morning star weapon, which was prominently featured.  The catch was, it wasn’t actually Titan using the weapon, but rather yesterday’s Bracer Phoenix.  Titan’s role in the film is decidedly more minor, but it’s unique design does make for a stand-out design.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Titan Redeemer is part of Bandai’s Robot Spirits line, and is figure 230, making him the third of the three Jaegers in the first Pacific Rim: Uprising assortment.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  Size-wise, Redeemer falls between the other two in both height and bulk.  At first glance, Titan and Bracer seem a little similar in design, but they’re actually quite divergent in person.  Titan’s sculpt is on certainly on par with the other two figures, being a multi-piece sculpt over an underlying skeleton.  I think motion-wise, Titan’s the most restricted of the three figures, and it’s mostly due to the way his shoulder armor is designed.  Since, unlike Bracer, the shoulders are all one piece, there’s a limit to how far the arms can move in any direction.  Honestly, this is less an issue with the figure and more a design thing; I suppose the real Jaeger would have these issues too.  On the plus side, the actual sculpt quality is pretty top notch, and the details are the sharpest of the three figures here.  Literally in some places, most notably his morning star hand, which looks appropriately lethal.  Overall, the sculpt just looks pretty sleek.  Also pretty sleek is his color work.  Like the other two Jaegers, the actual paintwork is one the scarce side, with most of the color work being done with molded plastic.  The dark metallic green in particular is really spiffy looking.  It gives him a nice sense of polish, similar in a lot of ways to NECA’s Chero Alpha.  Titan Redeemer is somewhat light on the accessories compared to the other two Jaegers.  There’s a swappable open palmed hand for his right side, which is the only Titan-specific piece.  No extending chain for the morning star or anything, which is a bit of a bummer.  To make up for it, Titan is also packed with Scrapper, Amara’s one-man Jaeger.  It’s just a little unpainted, unarticulated figurine, but seeing as it’s one of my favorite parts of the movie, I’m glad it wasn’t totally overlooked.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with Bracer, I debated whether or not I should pick up Titan.  The announcement early on that Titan would be including Scrapper certainly swayed me, and seeing the figure in the store, I just couldn’t turn it down.  I wish there were more accessories, or that Scrapper was at least painted, but I can’t deny Titan is a very solid figure.  If I had one complaint, it would be that we’re getting Titan, who is quite minor, before we’ve seen any indication of a November Ajax, who is the first Jaeger we see.  But, that’s hardly Titan’s fault, and it really doesn’t actually impact this figure.

#1614: Bracer Phoenix

BRACER PHOENIX

ROBOT SPIRITS (BANDAI)

“A Mark V brute that can still run with the VI’s, Bracer Phoenix shoots from the chest, with a centrifugal vortex cannon that is as spectacular as it is deadly.”

Did you guys all go out and see Pacific Rim: Uprising yesterday?  I didn’t, because as I noted in my Gipsy Avenger review, I saw the movie on Thursday night, since there was no way I was waiting any longer than I had to.  While it was hardly the in-depth love letter to old Kaiju flicks that the original was, I found it to be an entertaining spin-off of the original, and hope they can get more movies to tell the stories they want with this new set of characters.  Anyway, I’m continuing my look at some of the toys from the movie, with Jaeger Bracer Phoenix.  Despite what merchandising and promotional materials might lead you to believe by sticking Saber Athena all over the place, Bracer’s undoubtedly the secondary Jaeger in the film.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bracer Phoenix is from Bandai’s Robot Spirits toyline, numbered 229, thus making it the second of the Jaegers sequentially.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  Bracer’s the shortest of the three Jaegers in the first round, but also the one with the most heft.  It appears that the scaling relative to the other two is accurate to the film, from what we see of the Jaegers together.  As a Mark V, Bracer has a number of similarities to Striker Eureka in terms of design, being shorter and wider than his compatriots.  His sculpt is handled very similarly to Gipsy: lots of individual pieces all built on an underlying skeleton.  This adds a lot of sharpness to the details, as well as creating a very realistic depth of detail.  It’s really great on the head, where the visor is a separate piece from the rest of the helmet, which keeps the whole transition very crisp.  As with Gipsy, the paint on Bracer’s actually pretty light, with most of the color work being handled via molded plastic.  Bracer’s color scheme isn’t quite as exciting as Gipsy’s, but it’s accurate to the movie and looks decent enough in plastic.  For this figure, more of the silver parts are actually painted, which looks a lot better than the molded stuff.  The identification numbers and safety markings are nice and sharp, and add a lot to the figure.  Bracer is packed with a spare set of hands in open poses, as well as both the front and rear vortex cannons, which can swap out for the corresponding torso plates.  The Morning Star hand attachment isn’t included, which is a shame, since Bracer doesn’t actually see any action with it.  However, if you have the Titan Redeemer figure (which I’ll be taking a look at tomorrow), you can swap the arms out at the shoulder (something I only actually figured out after seeing the movie), which works pretty well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t initially sure I would be getting all of the Jaegers from this set, and Bracer was one of the ones I was a bit up in the air on.  Upon seeing all of them in person, I had a hard time saying no, so Bracer came home with me.  After opening the figure up, I was definitely happy I decided to pick it up, and after seeing the movie, I was even happier.

#1613: Gipsy Avenger

GIPSY AVENGER

ROBOT SPIRITS (BANDAI)

“Gipsy Avenger honors the heroic legacy of her namesake as the flagship leader of the Mark VI Fleet.  More than just a jaeger, she is a symbol of hope to millions.”

One of my very favorite movies of the last decade is Pacific Rim, Guillermo Del Toro’s majestic throwback to the Kaiju flicks of the ‘60s and ‘70s.  After five years, it’s finally getting a sequel, Pacific Rim: Uprising, which is officially hitting theaters today.  By the time you guys read this, I’ll have already seen it (I got tickets for Thursday night, of course), but for now I’m writing this review with some blissful anticipation of the awesome that is to come.  The first film was a little slower with the rollout of the toys, since no one knew what kind of business it would be doing, but for the sequel several companies have already jumped on the gravy train.  Over the next three days, I’ll be looking at Bandai Japan’s offerings, starting with the main Jaeger Gipsy Avenger.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gipsy Avenger is part of Bandai’s Robot Spirits toyline, numbered as figure 228, chronologically the first of the Uprising Jaegers.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  Obviously, this figure’s not designed to scale correctly with the NECA figures from the first movie (the DST figures coming later this month will be better matched), but she’s actually a fair bit taller than I was expecting.  She’ll certainly look fine with Bandai’s various Ultramen, if you’re like me and just want a super awesome epic Kaiju killing force.  But hey, that might just be me.  If you’re used to the NECA offerings, this figure’s sculpt is going to be a bit different, since it uses the Bandai approach of assembling the figure from lots and lots of tiny little parts, similar to how the actual Jaeger might be built.  The end result is a figure that has a whole lot of depth to its sculpt.  The lines are sharp, and it’s a pretty solid translation of the design, at least based on what we’ve seen of it so far.  The multi-piece construction of the outer armor and such also allows for this figure to have maximized movement, so you can get Gipsy into some pretty epic poses, though if you go too extreme, some times parts are prone to pop out of place.  Gipsy is actually a little lighter on paint than you might expect.  The majority of the color work is rendered via molded plastic.  For the most part, it works pretty well, especially for the slightly metallic blue that makes up most of the figure.  I’m also quite a fan of the multi-piece, multi-colored way they handled the visor on the head.  The only downside to the molded colors is the silver; molded silver is rarely convincing, since you always get all of those little swirly elements, and it’s a bit dull.  But, that’s rather minor.  There are a few painted details, mostly for Gipsy’s identifying numbers and insignias.  They’re nice and sharply detailed, and add a nice bit of polish to the figure.  Gipsy is packed with a pretty decent assortment of extras.  There are spare open grip hands, as well as a plasma cannon to swap out for the right forearm, and a sword-bearing left forearm.  It pretty much gives you all of the essential Gipsy elements in one convenient package.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been waiting for these guys to hit ever since they were first announced, and I knew for certain Gipsy was at the top of my list.  Imagine my surprise when I walked into Toys R Us and found an entire rack of this figure.  That won’t be happening ever again.  Gipsy is an awesome figure, well worth the $20 price tag.  Here’s hoping the figure’s an indication of the movie’s quality!

Guest Review #0023: Glasgow

GLASGOW

BANDAI ROBOT SPIRITS

RobotA1

The following is a guest review by Tim Marron. For more from Tim, check outTimsical Thoughts and Tim’s Blarg.

I’m coming at this review from a slightly different angle. Just about every figure I own, I’m at least somewhat familiar with the source material on which it is based. Ethan kind of kicked this trend off with his review of the Gundam figure Nemo. Neither he nor I know anything about Gundam aside from the base concept of giant fighting robots. Pretty much the same can be said of another Japanese mecha title Code Geass, from which today’s figure comes. So, with with a vague understanding of the show gleaned from the Wiki page, let’s take a look at the Glasgow Knight Mare Frame.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

RobotA3After consulting the aforementioned Wiki, I’ve figured out that these Knight Mare Frames replace conventional tanks in the world of Code Geass. This specific model, the Glasgow, is a mass-produced general police/military use vehicle, an army builder of sorts. The figure was released as part of Bandai’s Robot Spirits line of figures and is about five inches tall, featuring 46 points of articulation (plus one on the gun). Going on the images I could find from the show, it looks like the figure is based on the version from the Akito the Exiled story arc which is just slightly different from the original look. The sculpt is pretty impressively well done and does a very good job translating the look from the show into a 3D form. The joints are particularly well handled, being as subtle as you can get on a robot while still allowing for a huge range of motion. As far as I can tell, the sculpt is unique to this figure. The paint isn’t anything to really go crazy over, given most of the figure’s color comes from the various hues of plastic the pieces are molded in. The paint that is there is good, though. Nice crisp lines pretty much throughout and while the pictures I found don’t quite match with the figure, the patterning on the torso, shoulders, and ankles still feels like it fits with the general aesthetic. The Glasgow comes with a machine gun, a pickaxe/hammer thing, a folded up pickaxe/hammer thing, an alternate head, a pair of relaxed hands, a pair of fists, a pair of gripping hands, a pair of trigger hands, and two sets of Slash Harkens (little grappling hook things) to show them either retracted or launched out.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Glasgow was a Christmas gift from my cousin who saw it on my Amazon wish list. I’d been interested in this and a couple other Code Geass figures for a while because they were cool fighting robots and they were made by Bandai Japan, a company I’d been impressed by after checking out Ethan’s array of Ultramen from their Ultra-Act line. Maybe I might appreciate the figure a little more if I was familiar with the source material, but honestly, coming in knowing nothing about it hasn’t detracted from my enjoyment of it. It’s still a very cool, very well made figure and a worthy addition to the mess that I call a display.

RobotA2