Saturday, 17 June 2017

Banpresto Ichiban Kuji Figure Collection : Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt - FF-S3 Saberfish

We recently looked at the Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt Gattle spacecraft produced by Banpresto for the Japanese Ichiban Kuji lottery (review here). Today we will examine its E.F.S.F. counterpart, the FF-S3 Saberfish fighter. Basically it is the FF-3 Saberfish aircraft with a couple of additional thrusters slapped onto it for use in space. This is as far as I know the only figure produced of the Saberfish and I have been throwing longing glances at it for quite some time now.

Being a lottery prize item these things aren't exactly common but I've seen it pop up here and there from time to time. After picking up and enjoying the Gattle fighter it was of course only a question of time before I would turn my attention to the Saberfish as well.

The Saberfish figure is released sometime in 2016 in the Banpresto Ichiban Kuji Thunderbolt line as a class F prize. This is apparently the lowest ranked item in that series, class A being the Full Armor Gundam, class B the MS-06R and so on. Those pricier figures go for around ¥3000-4000 at the moment while I picked up this particular Saberfish from Mandarake for ¥1200.

Just like with the other figures in this set the packaging format is standardized to allow for a huge segment of a space colony cylinder to fit in the box as well. These cylinder components are identical in the Gattle and the Saberfish box leading me to believe that all figures recycle the exact same cylinder segment which is reasonable from a cost point of view if a little bit bland.

The meat of the package as far as I am concerned though is the actual miniature Saberfish itself. it comes preassembled as a single soft plastic figure, the wings on my figure are almost perfectly straight but the tail fins are a bit bent just like was the case with the Gattle.

Just like all the other figures in this Thunderbolt series the Saberfish fighter is proportionally deformed, not entirely unlike the style used for the Gundam Converge figures. I have found that both the Gattle and the Saberfish are excellent companions to a Converge figure display.

The Saberfish sitting atop a custom action base pieced together from leftover Assault Kingdom parts.
The Saberfish figure actually has a lot of nice detail but it is hard to see any of it due to the bland factory paintjob. Just like the Gattle this thing needs a good repaint or touch-up. If done carefully I think this thing has potential to look really spectacular.

Below you can see the two colony wall components from the Gattle and the Saberfish interlocked and creating a rather nice backdrop. Again, the basic detail is here but the parts require some love with a brush. These two components are just huge and a full circular colony section would be a monstrosity for sure.

Overall the Saberfish is something of an acquired taste. I imagine most Gundam Converge collectors won't be that interested in it but if you feel only the slightest temptation I say try to pick one up if you have a good opportunity. Like so many other Gundam miniatures these days the Thunderbolt figures are quite overpriced for what they are, but they are a solid foundation if you feel up to completing their paintjobs.

Formation flight with some Gundam Converge G-Sky units. As usual I've ended up with multiples of what is a unique unit and just the one of what should be a massproduced fighter deployed in swarm tactics...

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