Thursday, 26 February 2015

Gundam Converge EX 03 : MSA-0011 (Bst) "PLAN303E" Deep Striker

This figure has been sitting on the to-do list for quite some time now. I guess mostly because I haven't really made up my mind on what I think about it. So I decided to just get it out here with a minimum of opinion.

The Deep Striker is the third in a line of exclusive ( = pricey) Converge releases where a single figure is kitted out with an unusual number of components. So far, all the EX-figures have been designed with two different poses in mind, and the Deep Striker is no exception. The figure was released in June 2014 with a Bandai suggested price tag of ¥2400, which equals the price of no less than six standard figures.

Opening up the box we find a healthy number of pieces, Bandai even saw it fit to include an assembly instruction. This looks very promising from the get go. Notice also our beloved Shokugan chewing gum, which is probably absent from export versions of this kit.

Thank goodness for the instruction sheet; this would have been kind of messy to work out from scratch. Using the instructions we can piece together two configurations; the first one being the...

Deep Striker Mode

The Deep Striker configuration is the main mode of this figure, and it is one of the more outlandish designs as far as both Gundam in general, and Converge in particular are concerned. Hailing from the Gundam Sentinel storyline, the Deep Striker is a development of the S-Gundam Booster Type, which in turn is a modification of the S-Gundam type (which is featured in Converge as figure number 75). The compact nature of Converge figures enhances the off appearance even further, taking what little sleek lines the original design has and chopping them in the process.

The Deep Striker compared to its ancestor the S-Gundam.
If you are looking for something less quirky the Bst can also be displayed in unaugmented mode. The Gundam then retains the large booster pack on its back, but the large Beam Smart Gun is removable (though the figure looks a bit silly with its index finger on an imaginary trigger).

Due to the unusual nature of this kit, articulation is pretty much non-existent for this figure. At least it stands well on its feet despite the heavy weight added to its back. The rest of the kit can be broken down and stowed on the action base to create the secondary figure mode, which is the...

Hangar Mode

Well, whatever you wish to call it, in this mode the Gundam figure stands on its own two feet like any other Converge figure, with all the extra gear resting on top of dedicated pegs on the action base. This is a very smart piece of engineering although the depth of the backdrop means you'll most likely not be able to see much of it if displayed on a shelf. The pieces do not snap into slots or so, so each time you touch it you can be sure some small piece will fall out of place. Actually I find it better just to chuck all the extra gear into a ziplock bag and stow it in the box the figure came with, and just display the Gundam itself with the rest of the figures.

Comparative size display between then EX02 Unicorn Gundam and the EX03 Deep Striker. Both figures feature display modes where their respective gear is stowed as a backdrop.
When the Deep Striker was first announced I was a bit skeptical about its appearance, an impression that hasn't really changed much with the kit in hand. As usual with these things, it is an ingenious piece of engineering, although it was probably more fun for the engineers to design it, than it is for me to actually display it. In its basic form though, the standalone figure is excellent, but I don't really feel that impressed with the extras. I've parked the figure next to the S-Gundam and chucked all the Deep Striker gear back into its box...

I get the feeling that Bandai is steering more and more towards these pricey kits rather than developing the standard Converge figure line, where there is still a lot of potential. I assume it is all about the final line in the spreadsheet after all. In conclusion, I'd say the EX 03 figure is one for the Deep Striker aficionados only, although if you have the money to spend the standalone figure does looks really great.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

The discerning collector's size reference guide...

Space... a bleak and infinitely expanding void; a void that Bandai seems hellbent on populating with little plastic figures. Just how many Gundam figure sets are there out there? I've seen many comparisons between all the Real Grades and High Grades and MSIAs and whathaveyous, but I figured it was time to do a little comparison of our own here in the Shokugan end of the world. I invited over some gashapon figures for the family photo as well, but this line up is still only a first hint of the many figure lines out there.