Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: S.H MonsterArts Mechagodzilla & UX-01-92 Garuda

Introduction: December of 2011 was an interesting time for the S.H. MonsterArts line; two figures were released, preorders for the first web exclusive shipped and preorders for the second web exclusive closed. The second release, Mehagodzilla, was expected to be a far better release than Godzilla, and even had an effects pack was planned for release in the coming months. Tamashii Nations seemed to have a lot of faith in the mechanical dinosaur... but did it pay off? Read on to find out!

*NOTE* Due to the nature of this review and the items being reviewed, the normal Import Monsters review format will be changed. The portions applicable to each figure will have [brackets] before the topic indicating which figure is being evaluated if indication is needed.

[Mechagodzilla] Package (4/5):  Overall, the packaging for Mechagodzilla helped to set the standard of the superb display of S.H. MonsterArts boxes. As typical of the line, the box actually feels as if one is purchasing something of high value and quality, the likes of which are not found in other lines. The front contains a nice shot of the suit's face, and the back contains various blurbs about the character and movie it is from.
Note the sticker on the window indicating the first release

 [Garuda] Package (4/5): There is not too much to say for the Garuda box , aside from noting the stylish foil treatment of the box. As typical for a web exclusive, it does come with the Tamashii brown box for mail order items. Overall, it is simplistic and a deviation from the normal S.H. MonsterArts boxes.

[Mechagodzilla] Sculpt/Paint (5/5): Simplistic. Cold. Even. Right. Mechagodzilla is indeed criticized by some for a few drawbacks that will be covered later, but this is something the figure does totally right. Every line on the figure is precise and the shading is amazing in the respected areas. The cheeks, thighs, eyes, mouth, fingers, metal joint coverings, everything looks right on this figure. Also, the diecast portions in the feet, ankles, and joints look almost flawless.

[Mechagodzilla] Articulation (3/5):  C'est la vie, everything cannot be perfect.

Mechagodzilla is an interesting figure in terms of articulation. What exists is fitting for the mech, but one cannot help but feel more could be done.

Starting with the head, the jaw works on a hinge joint, and the neck is on a swivel. Aside from a different neck piece, which will be covered later, Mechagodzilla cannot look up or down. Also, Mechagodzilla works with an interesting double ab crunch fixated on ball joints, allowing for interesting displays of... bending over. The arms are attached to the body with a ball joint, and the joint itself is connected to a joint that allows for the arms to be moved around on the shoulder (note: this concept is very difficult to describe and can be difficult for some to actually use. Unfortunately, without a clear video example or owning the figure, this cannot be accurately communicated ). The arms havea hinge joint at the elbow, and the hands are on a swivel/hinge combination that acts as a ball joint. Note there is no bicep swivel at all.

The legs are quite interesting. They are attached to the body on a double ball joint system, with a double hinge joint in the knee, a ball jointed foot, and a hinge joint for toe articulation. While this seems standard for almost any figure, the bulkiness of the sculpt hinders articulation. Also, as discussed later, the figure tends to have balance issues due to this.

[Garuda] Sculpt/Paint/Articulation (3.5/5):  Similar to Mechagodzilla, what is there on the Garuda is great, though it is nothing to call home about. The paint detail looks just fine, and the sculpting for the small parts is well noted. However, due to the nature of the design, not much can be done, but credit is indeed given for being able to, effectively, pull everything off on such a small figure.

For articulation, the cannons, cockpit area, and jet boosters* move in a very predictable way.

*Though this reviewer has heard these boosters move, he has not been able to move them himself.

[Mechagodzilla] Accessories (3/5): The first production run of Mechagodzilla includes everything one would need for Mechagodzilla outside of what is included with the Garuda except a plasma grenade effect or eye beams. It comes with a Mega Buster effects piece, Stage ACT 4 arm, a custom base for the effects piece, interchangeable hands, neck joint, and tail for flying mode, and additional abdomen piece to represent the plasma grenade. Everything that comes with Mechagodzilla is great, thought there is a lot that should have came with the figure, as covered in the next section.

Synergy between releases (5/5): If one is looking to complete Mechagodzilla, the Garuda is a recommended purchase at a reasonable price. It comes with the ship in question, shock anchors/G-Crusher cables, effects parts for the cannons of Garuda, interchangeable part to equip on to Mechagodzilla's back, and a special base for the stand. Overall, this piece is fantastic and really adds to the display value of Mechagodzilla.

The cables are made of a bendable wire. Though they can be bent into almost any position, do take care to not overextend them.

[Both] WATCH OUT!!!!!: Unfortunately, there is a decent amount to take into consideration with Mechagodzilla and Garuda.

1. The material they are made out of is a hard plastic. Because of this, breakage is extremely easy if either figure takes a shelf dive or if a piece of the sculpt is forced in a way that provides stress. For example, one common problem with this figure is that some people put the Mega Buster beam in the mouth, accidentally knocking teeth out. One should take serious caution and go by the promotional picture and should place the beam outside  of the mouth, as shown below. Also, shelf dives are... harmful to Garuda. One of the contributors here has experienced this first hand. Finally, the tail is held on by a clip made of hard plastic. Though this reviewer has not heard of this clip breaking, the hard plastic appears to be worrisome if one were to change the tail multiple times.

2. The legs can present balance issues on Mechagodzilla. For some reason, the legs tend to cause the figure to not seem secure while standing. This reviewer was able to fix this issue by coating a loose leg on his figure with one coat of clearcoat nailpolish one the joint, though.

3. The default pegs in Garuda's cannons are a part of the figure!!!!! This reviewer has seen COUNTLESS individuals throwing these clear pegs away! These pegs are meant to represent the cannons when they are not firing. Look at the beam effects if one has them; one will notice a similar sculpt near the base of the beams.

Conclusion: Despite a few drawbacks and showing its age, Mechagodzilla earns a 3.5/5 by itself, and a 4.5/5 when coupled with the Garuda set. While the figure is a fantastic display piece, and can be picked up for cheap on Amazon, there is not much one can do with the figure aside from posing and leaving it. Fiddling is not a big option, since one can only achieve so many poses with it, and even then, it can be difficult for the figure to hold a particular pose thanks to some balance issues. However, when coupled with Garuda, the figure has more options for display and it helps to complete the overall look. In conclusion, though, this reviewer would recommend this figure to collectors that like the design or want a Mechagodzilla in their collection.

Now, if you'll excuse Mechagodzilla, it has a score to settle with a big birdie.

Head featured here is an accessory to the S.H. MonsterArts Fire Rodan

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