Friday, 5 July 2013

Assault Kingdom vol. 1

With the Assault Kingdom line Bandai unveiled a new line of figures in early 2013. The figures match the popular 1/220-something scale which was used for both the STANDart and Ultimate Operation lines, which makes them perfectly compatible. Where Assault Kingdom takes it further though, is in the extreme articulation of these figures, making these resemble action figures more than display pieces.

This is also true for their overall finish and level of detail. These figures look decidedly more spartan than their STANDart counterparts, though nothing is stopping enterprising users from adding some detail to the figures themselves. In addition the figures come with decorative supports which can be assembled together into something larger by collecting the entire wave. These supports are pegged and offer each figure a chance to be attached directly to the base, which enables them to pose in various creative modes. With a bit of manipulation you can have mobile suits displayed in flying mode in interesting poses.

Not terribly expensive these figures should be considered a cheap alternative to the more advanced action figures, and the small boxes are not much bigger than the once for Gundam Converge. Retaining its shokugan heritage, you will also find the same ol' blue piece of gum in each package.

Wanting to get the series a great welcome it comes as no surprise that Bandai has gone for some very iconic figures to launch the brand, we'll be taking a closer look at each of them below.

01 : Well, not exactly high odds that the ol' RX-78-2 Gundam gets to open the series, it would have been extremely surprising if it did not. Available here with a beam rifle and its iconic square red shield, the figure also comes with two sets of hands; open and closed. The beam rifle can be place inside either fist. With multiple joints and extreme articulation this figure will be happy to do the ballet for you. It features five places to peg it to a base, under the soles of the feet, on the butt and on each elbow. The figure is well balanced without support and generally delightfully poseable.

Note: The clear action base above is not included with this figure.

02 : The second hero unit is the all-white RX-0 Unicorn Gundam, seen here in its unicorn mode, armed with its Beam Magnum rifle and a shield which is decked out with a pair of massive gatling guns. You can snap the shield onto either elbow or why not peg it onto its back. Two sets of hands are included, open and closed, and the Beam Magnum rifle fits into either fist. The Unicorn has the same attachment points as the RX-78-2; soles, elbows and butt, as well as on its flightpack. It is worth noting that the Unicorn has also received soft PVC for its horn which makes it much more likely to survive play or drops than if it had been made from the same hard material as the rest of the figure. This feature is used for the other Gundam V-fins as well.

03 : And in the right corner, representing Neo Zeon, ladies and gentlemen the awesome MSN-06S Sinanju. This massive looking mobile suit carries a very nice paint scheme with fine black and golden detail, which makes the other figures in the wave look a bit plain in comparison. The Assault Kingdom version of this massive mobile suit comes off as a bit slim, not surprisingly considering its articulation would probably require some small sacrifices in this regard (it will be interesting to see how Bandai will deal with other massive figures). Equipped with its standard beam rifle and a shield, the figure also has a massive thruster pack on its back complete with two external fuel tanks. All this makes the Sinanju pretty back-heavy, and balancing him on his tiny, pointy unsupported feet is a challenge. The only way you'll get it to stand up without support is to let it slouch forward, which is not the most intimidating of looks. A dual set of hands, open and closed are included, and there are attachment points to base support under its feet, on the butt and on the elbows. A great looking figure though with some balancing issues.

Note: The clear action base above is not included with this figure.

04 : With many things similar to the Sinanju, the equally impressive looking GAT-X105 Aile Strike Gundam comes with a large set of wings on its flight pack It also features the nice pointy shield which pegs to either elbow and a small beam rifle which can be inserted into either hand. As usual you receive both open and closed hands for this figure. In spite of the large flightpack it is easier than it seems to pose this figure without base support, without giving a slouched impression. Its flight system has many delicate parts though, and these are not made from the soft plastic like its horns. Care must be taken to ensure that the figure will survive a fall if you intend to display it on a shelf or similar. Base support can be pegged into elbows, footsoles and butt, which makes it par for the course.

The image below shows the various base support parts you will receive with each figure. These do combine through snapping together into a cage-like mobile suit bay which you could place a figure inside as well as snap the remaining ones onto it. Personally I think this looks a bit silly but it gives many creative options for you to incorporate wildly gesturing figures into your displays.

To summarize, this is a great start for the Assault Kingdom line, though I am hoping Bandai will not take the easy way and pump out a myriad of slightly different looking white Gundams.

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