Ex-Gear (Alto Saotome)
Review by Atom
Armor Plus is a new line of action figures by Bandai. It appears to be a mix of everything they have learned making Saint Cloth Myth and S.H. Figuarts figures over the past few years. Pulling from different series, Bandai is setting out to make a line of armored action figures. The first two out of the gate where this Alto Saotome from Macross Frontier and Rekka Ryo from Yoroiden Samurai Troopers. I am taking a look today at Alto.
The ladies of Macross are turned into sexy, fixed pose statues while the guys of Macross are being made into action figures. Bandai kicks off a new line of figures called Armor Plus and the first in the series is Alto Saotome and his ExGear.
What the heck is an Ex-Gear you might ask? In a nutshell, it's the Macross equivalent to a Mospeada (Cyclone), an emergency survival mecha but instead of transforming into a motorcycle it transforms into a cockpit?! Sort of...
It is basically a powered-armored suit that forms the cockpit of the VF-25 Messiah's and provides the pilot's interface to the ship. When the pilot must eject, this suit equips to the pilot allowing them atmospheric flight for up to 15 minutes and survival in space for up to 3 days.
The package is the usual Japanese window-box with lid decorated with four-color art and images of the toy. Nothing dramatic here, it's basic and utilitarian.
Surprisingly, the inside lid features a lot of detailed information about the mecha in English.
Inside the box we get:
- Alto Saotome figure (with un-helmeted head)
- Helmeted head
- Ex-Gear Parts
- Display Stand (includes parts for flight and the cockpit display)
- 6 alternate hands for the Ex-Gear mecha
- 6 alternate hands for Alto
Alto Saotome is the main character of Macross Frontier. Born in space in the Frontier colony he dreams of being able to fly in an open sky and to get out from under the shadow of his father's legacy. Alto was a popular Kabuki dancer until he left it behind to pursue his dreams of flying.
The figure is more akin to an S.H Figurearts style figure with over 40 points of articulation. Paint detail is excellent and applied with precision with no over or under-spay anywhere. The only complaint about the figure is the ankles. They're a wee bit spindly. The figure is all plastic with no die-cast metal anywhere.
The Ex-Gear itself assembles easily and can be attached to the provided stand in its cockpit mode. Again paint detail is excellent with no signs of under/over-spray.
Of course, you can actually sit Alto into the cockpit.
It is primarily plastic with just the front panel of the leg armor being made of die-cast metal. Ironically this ends up working against it when you put the suit on Alto. But more on that in a moment...
Transformation is pretty straightforward but is a bit fidgety particularly with the arms. You have to make sure the arm piece lines up correctly otherwise you will pop the hands off when closing the arm parts.
The fully transformed Ex-Gear is beautifully done here. Sculpt detail is very good and everything sits well on the figure. Parts stay on and do not fall off leaving it with a nice solid, toy-like piece that can be picked up and flown around.
The Ex-Gear can be displayed on the stand to mimic flying poses but the lower legs weigh just enough to keep them from staying where you pose them. The weight weighs them down over time. Not a huge complaint, I may have just gotten a figure with looser hip joints.
The leg thrust panels do rotate on the unit.
The wheels on the bottom feet do not roll.
The figure remains fairly pose-able even with the Ex-gear equipped and looks good on the shelf. While I do like this I'm not overly excited about getting any more of these. One is kind of enough... unless they do Luca's and include a Sheryl with removable panties... (you'd have to have seen Mac F to get that.)
|Posted 16 December, 2009 - 16:06 by Atom|