Thursday, 8 October 2015

Assault Kingdom vol. 9

It has taken an unusually long time for the AK9 review to hit the blog. Volume nine appeared already in late July, but it isn't until now that I have finally managed to get my hands on a complete set. Unlike previous sets, set nine has had a very low presence online, when it showed up it was typically piecemeal or in the distribution style ten-boxes. Some sellers that did offer sets would also only include one of the two Kämpfers.

At times the waiting was coloured by a bit of anxiety. Could Bandai be changing their distribution deals, were prices going up too much for distributors to bother, could it even be the end of the line? I am still not fully convinced that the Assault Kingdom series is doing well enough to avoid being axed; with only two regular figure sets this year (this being the second) and a couple of expensive special figures, it does look a bit grim.

Anyway, here we are finally, with a set of entertaining figures to examine. My figures came from a seller in Hong Kong and as such they contain no Bandai chewing gum which seems to be par for the course for items distributed outside of Japan these days.

33 : First out is the titular mobile suit of the oddly titled anime Reconguista in G, the YG-111 G-Self. This is also the first appearance of a mobile suit from this series. As you can see from its appearance it has quite a bit of both Universal Century and Cosmic Era in its bloodlines. It is a nicely painted figure, more painted detail than I would normally expect from an Assault Kingdom figure, notice especially the pattern on its feet.

The figure comes armed with a beam rifle, a shield and one of the many backpacks it utilizes in the series, the Atmospheric Pack. Other accessories include two sets of hands and the now standardized Assault Kingdom multi part action base. Although the inventory is quite good it would have been nice to get at least one beam saber/toothpick with the figure.

The Atmospheric Pack attaches to the G-Self's back through a simple but sturdy peg. The backpack wings can be folded 90 degrees and the engines can be titled up and down for some additional posing.

Since Assault Kingdom figures with back packs tend to get rather back heavy the action base comes in very handy. I think the G-Self figure is particularly successful, though its appearance in a minor Gundam franchise will perhaps mean it gets less appreciation than it deserves. Like all slim mobile suits it articulates extremly well and you can have a lot of fun with it, trying out new poses and stealing some interesting weapons from other AK figures.

34 : I must admit I never expected such a complex design as the RX-139 Hambrabi would be making an appearance in Assault Kingdom. This wonderful oddity from Zeta Gundam is a highly unique looking transforming mobile suit which can alter its appearance into what resembles a gigantic manta ray.

Accessory-wise there isn't a whole lot going on here. Apart from the iconic Fedayeen rifle and two sets of very tiny hands, we get no other equipment. The original Hambrabi also features a beam saber and the signature Sea Serpent paralyzing weapon, two pieces of rather uncomplicated plastic that I wish would have also been included.

The Hambrabi is the first truly transforming mobile suit in the Assault Kingdom line. This is accomplished by bending the legs backwards across its back so that the feed extend from its shoulders. A two jointed tail can be extended to resemble the manta's tail and with that you are pretty much done. Simple but efficient, and the result is quite convincing. The large fins and tail are made from soft, durable plastic, the best armor a small figure can get.

Although the overall articulation comes across a bit lacking due to the odd design of the mobile suit itself, the Hambrabi is still a tough as nails design and a successful figure. Here's hoping that it will pave the way for more Titans mobile suits in Assault Kingdom.

37 : Before we continue with the two Kämpfer figures let's get the RX-178 Gundam Mk-II out of the way. The reason I neglect this very fine A.E.U.G. mobile suit is that I am beginning to be a bit fed up with seeing it in Assault Kingdom.

Pretty much a clone of the original RX-178 figure that appeared in set 2, the most recent incarnation features the exact same loadout, a beam rifle and s shield. Come one Bandai, isn't it time you guys developed a bazooka for it by now? At least we are getting a useable action base with this one, as opposed to the odd parts that were used as bases for the early AK sets.

On the photos above you can see the two incarnations of the RX-178 in A.E.U.G. colours. To the left is the original figure from Assault Kingdom vol. 2, and to the right the new reissue. Notice that the newer figure has a more toned down colour scheme and is more bulky. It also adds an attachment point on the back, and loses the nice colour on the backside of the shield.

And here they are with the Titans coloured RX-178 which appeared in AK volume 6 in September last year. Three Mk-IIs featured in nine sets, pretty good, that beats even the ol' RX-78-2 which has only managed two appearances this far. Of course, the RX-178 cannot compete with the Unicorn which is up to five variations by now.

35 : Last in this set I wish to focus on the two MS-18E Kämpfer figures, this being Version A. This is another novelty in Assault Kingdom, a dual release of two variations of the same mobile suit. Before the set appeared I was very curious how they were going to do this, I had my suspicions they might have gone down the "secret character" route, but luckily two distinct figures and boxes were created for them which is very nice.

The Kämpfer A figure has the more exotic weapons, and I would have expected this gear to be the B version rather than A but there you have it. The Kämpfer A comes armed with one shotgun, two Sturmfaust RPG-style weapons and a multi-segmented Chain Mine assembly. The figure also features the typical open/closed hands as well as a standardized action base.

36 : The MS-18E Kämpfer (Version B) on the other hand is perhaps the more iconic of the two. The base figure is exactly the same as the one found in the Kämpfer A box, the only difference being the accessories included.

The Kämpfer B figure comes armed with the same shotgun as the first figure, but then instead features a reasonably good looking beam saber and a pair of giant bazookas. Both the bazookas and the shotguns feature little holes which allow both types of weapons to be stored on the two hardpoints on the figure's back.

Let's face it; Assault Kingdom 9 belongs to the Kämpfer, so let's play around with them some more. The total anime-authentic armory consists of no less than eight different weapons to fiddle around with; this is the aspect of Assault Kingdom that I always like best. Finding new combinations and poses for the various weapons adds a lot of character to the figures.

Although it has some bulky components the Kämpfer figure has surprisingly good articulation. It feels a bit light on its feet though, with a penchant for falling over on its back, but the action base helps with that issue. Again the painting of the figure is surprisingly good, with some tiny details like the white line on the antenna and both grey and metallic areas where previous AK-figures would have just have remained in the base color. This is a welcome change.

The many weapons of the Kämpfers also aren't just for show, they actually display well in many different poses. The bulky arms sometimes get in the way when messing with the shotguns in particular, but there is usually a way around it. Sometimes it helps to use the open hands instead of the closed fists for example.

"Always wanted me a Fedayeen rifle..."

Mikhail Kaminsky is coming for you...

The Kämpfer has been released in other 1/220 scale figure lines as well. Here we see the Assault Kingdom figure (center) flanked by the STANDart Kämpfer (from volume 3, released in September 2008) and the FW Ultimate Operation variant which was released in FWUO volume 8 in December 2004.


Although we didn't see that much of Assault Kingdom in 2015, what we have seen has been very good. AK9 adds to this trend with five top tier AK-figures. I can easily recommended all of them (with the possible exception of the new RX-178 if you already have the original version) as they will add a great deal of variation to your collection.

Bandai still haven't announced a wave 10, which could mean that they plan something special for it, or that they simply wait and see. Meanwhile there are three large figures coming up next, the extra large Psyco Gundam which will be tall like a 1/100 scale figure (and which I will probably pass on, if I wanted large figures I wouldn't collect Assault Kingdom) followed by another two Zeta-era profiles; the Qubeley and the Hyaku-Shiki. The Psyco Gundam will be released around Christmas, and the other two will follow in early 2016.


  1. Where do you buy these figures online? I can't seem to find most

    1. I had an unusual amount of trouble finding a seller who sold the entire AK9-set myself. I would say your best bet is monitoring eBay daily as things tend to pop up there when you least expect it. There are some individual AK9 figures available right now. You can also check who usually sells these figures by the box (i.e. 10 figures). As for older figures they quickly become progressively harder to obtain, especially if the figures are particularly popular. In general, always consider grabbing the most recent figures first.