Friday, 26 May 2017

Banpresto Ichiban Kuji Figure Collection : Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt - Gattle

As cool as mobile suits are, I've never really enjoyed the idea of them being superior to everything else. To me the suit represents a specialized cog in the military machinery and I subsequently hold just as much interest in models of ships and vehicles and other types of miniatures. Mobile Suit Gundam is blessed in that regard in that there is a rich fauna of vehicles designed for both planetary missions and space. Here we will take a closer look at one such mini - the antique Zeonic Gattle fighter spacecraft.

This particular miniature was produced as a prize item for the Ichiban Kuji lottery which is run by the manufacturer of the figure; Banpresto. Banpresto items are typically one-offs in wildly varying styles and sizes but can sometimes complement other figure series when the scale and size does not vary too much. I wasn't sure just exactly how big this thing was going to be but after having had my eye on it for quite some time I decided to take the plunge. As a prize item it does not have general retail distribution and the price also reflects that. I picked mine up for ¥1500 from Mandarake.

This Gattle figure is rated as prize item class F. Above you can see the figures produced for the other classes that also belong to this Thunderbolt mini-set. For some reason Banpresto did omit the second class-F type prize item in the photo; there is also a FF-S3 Saberfish fighter out there (which I will eventually also end up purchasing as well I'm sure).

The Gattle fighter comes in a rather large box measuring 20 centimeters on its widest side, mainly because the figure also comes with a diorama piece in the form of a segment of a space colony cylinder. Each figure in the Thunderbolt set comes with a wall segment and they can be interlocked to form a cylinder (see the instruction sheet in the image below as I won't be going into this feature any further).

As you can see the instruction leaflet is common to all the figures belonging to this set so you can get a basic idea of the composition of the other figures by looking at it. I have considered picking one or two of them up but I suspect they will not pose very well with Converge and considering their high prices I guess I'll just have to wait for Bandai to give Thunderbolt some more love in Converge.

The Gattle spacecraft comes fully assembled with a multi-piece stand which will send it high into the air. I guess to make it sit nicely above the other mobile suits or perhaps the colony cylinder.

As mentioned earlier the colony wall segment occupies most of the space in the box (and I will continue to keep it packed up in there). The wall will look really plain and boring without modifications. A lot of panel lining, drybrushing and/or washing will be needed to give it a decent look. The four small pieces that act as its "legs" do not lock in place in this mode and you end up having to balance the large piece on those legs - a frustrating experience that I do not recommend.

The Gattle spacecraft itself also looks very plain like a really cheap Gashapon. It has a lot of nice detail in the sculpt but the entire thing is made of soft plastic and the first thing I noticed was the bent landing gear and bent wings.Apart from the crew bubble is features no other painted detail. This thing can probably look really good but first it needs to have its anatomy straightened out and then it needs a lot of make-up on top.

Size-wise the Gattle actually poses quite well with the Converge Thunderbolt FA-78. it has some defects but I really look forward to having it tuned-up a bit as I am sure it can end up looking quite good in the collection. I wouldn't really recommend it to Converge collectors though, as it is quite expensive for what it is. Still, it successfully manages to scratch my spacecraft itch and I am sure the Saberfish can't be that far behind.

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