Thursday, 12 August 2010

Takara-Tomy figure review: Tetsurou Kai in type 61 JGSDF armour!

I wrote up this review some time back for Michael Crawford's toy review website, and do go check the site out if you havent already, its a goldmine of information and photos!

This is the Ground Self Defense Forces (GSDF) member Kai Tetsurou in type 61 reinforced protect gear
This is the 7th Kerberos release from Takara Tomy (after the three versions of Midori Washio, and the three male Panzer Cops: Koshiromaru Chuichi, Kouichi Todome and Souichiro Toribe, which i will post about later) and in my opinion it is the best so far!
Before I go on in this review, I just have to say that this figure is designed to be modified. Yes, it is designed with customising in mind!
The armour is sculpted fantastically. It is clean, crisp, precise work, with smooth surfaces, sharp lines, varying angles, lots of grooves and details and perfect symetry. Amazing work.

The head is nice too. while staying true to the anime feel, it still has some great work on the hair, while the ears and nose have alot of character. The many hands are also very detailed, with some very natural poses and realistic creasing.

There isnt much to paint on this figure, but where it is, it is good.

The armour has only one painted part, the left shoulder armour flap. The paint lines are clean and crisp, no smudging whatsoever. The head is not particularly detailed paintwise, but it works well especially for the slightly anime look. It has painted lips, which actually look very nice, not like some figures where it appears as if they are wearing lipstick.

The eyes are glossy, and centered very well (he isnt looking in odd directions) while the brown hair has some little highlights that help bring out the sculpt.

The 'GenX Core' body is absolutely amazing, maybe not the best, but right up there! in particular, i like the natural elbow bump that so many bodies dont have, which helps to avoid that bendy arm doll look...

The body is pretty darn articulated HOWEVER, the uniform does restrict movement somewhat, though that is kinda unavoidable as some areas have multiple layers, such as the arms for instance, where there is the sleave of the jacket, the pleather wrist glove, and the straps for the wrist gauntlet. This results in some loss of articulation, but with a little fiddling you can still get many interesting poses. A uniform swap might allow better articulation, particularly since the german officer pants tend to prevent movement, while the pleather material lacks stretchiness.

The uniform is where most of the small issues lie (restricted movement being the main one).

The pleather material is very nice, but doesnt look quite as durable as the male Panzer Cop or Midori, and it feels a little thinner, so keep and eye on it, as breakage may be an unfortunate possibilty (I havent had any breakage so far despite frequent handling and posing). However, it's the armour, vest and boots where this figure really scores! The armour is fantastically well sculpted to fit the body. Some parts such as the chest/collar/back armour are multiple parts that clip together perfectly to fit right on the body, not too tight, not too loose over the uniform. The boots are fantastic also, as the soft pleather looks and functions very well, allowing natural articulation of the ankles. The shin/foot armour is very nicely done too, fitting well together without impeding movement much at all.
There is also the vest, which fits nice and snug on the figure, and straps together with velcro.

how about accessries? This guy is loaded. Not counting his armour, mask, helmet or helmet plate, he has: 7 spare hands (thats 9 in total!), 14 plugs to put in unused attatchment holes, 4 removable stick grenade clip holders, 4 stick grenades, 2 ammo holders for rifle bullets, 1 attatchment frame for said ammo boxes, 4 sets of 4 rifle bullets, 4 individual bullets, Walther P38 pistol, holster, PZB 39 rifle, PZB 39 rifle holder clip, breathing tube, antenna, backpack and spare dummy head. I may have missed something out there......

Basically he is loaded. Having a total of 9 hands is just great! This figure has a serious loadout!

The rifle itself is very detailed, and has folding stock, slots to put the spare ammo boxes, folding carry handle, functional bipod and loops to put a strap.

This figure is interestingly customisable. There are 18, yes 18, attachment holes located on the body armour, with some on the shin armour (2 each side) hip armours (4 each side) belt/waist boxes (1 each side) and wrist gauntlets (2 each side). This allows you to mix and match attatchments such as grenade holders, ammo boxes, tubes, the antenna and whatever else takara makes with plugs. The backpack also has 2 holes either side, while the mask has 1 hole each side (two of the plugs are breathing filters), and the back armour has two holes for the breathing tube. So in total, thats roughly 26 holes! you can if you wish, attach 22 grenades or whatever else you want to add!!!!!!

The PZB 39 rifle holder can be put either side of the backpack, as can the antenna while the tube and mask filter cap can be switched to whatever side you fancy.

The backpack can be swapped with backpacks from the female and male Panzer Cops, or the ammo barrel from the male Panzer cops, or even the jetpack from the Cool Girl CG13 rocket girl 'Eris' figure. plenty of mix and match options basically. The rear belt box under the backpack has a removable cover with an attachment so you can attach the backpack to it, making space for (as example) the male panzer cop ammo barrel. you wont notice this function at first, so if you havent noticed it yet, take another look at your figure!

With the fully removable armour and uniform, interchangable hands and head, this is definitely customiser friendly.

No doubt the extra holes will be utilised by any future versions Takara will release, obviously at least one will include wrist shields.

The one draw back is that all this interchangabillity, removable parts etc makes this figure somewhat fiddly, and a little top heavy with the attatched rifle (though that is true of most high end figures), so take care, and do not give to young kids.

I like this figure alot, and hope for more from Takara. It's just so darn awesome that the small issues it has kinda seem to dissappear.

Want one? well, with no sign yet of variants or re-release from Takara, this is a tough figure to get, despite being barely 2 years old! the price on EvilBAY is over the $220 USD mark, and these are becoming a rare sight on Yahoo Japan also. Snap it up if you can, and don't feel guilty dropping $200 on it, it is worth the money.
Good luck tracking it down! I know I had a hard time. It was sold out in all but 1 store (out of over 50 stores I checked) in Hong Kong the last time I was there, and that one store had it for a ridiculous price, so I caved in and got one off EvilBay for about $120 USD at the time.

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