Fate/Grand Order: Archer (Altria Pendragon) by Furyu

If there was any area where I dropped the ball in 2017 it was with Anime Saturday. There just weren’t enough of them. Now, in my defense, I already do at least four days of content a week, but then excuses don’t make my backlog of anime figures get any smaller. I honestly doubt I’ll have time to do any more this year, but I wanted to squeeze in just one more, so I can feel a little less worse about my lack of initiative. One thing I can say is that I’ve looked at a handful of figures from Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Extra this year, but today I’m venturing into the uncharted territory of Fate/Grand Order. It’s a phone app game that I will never play, but I still enjoy following the characters and lore. This version of Archer, Altria Pendragon, was a limited Servant, who could only be summoned during the game’s 2016 Summer Event. The character originally caught my eye as a limited Figma release, which quickly rocketed beyond what I was ever willing to spend on her.

And so it’s cheap JAMMA prize figures to the rescue! Altria comes in an enclosed box, which is typical of these prize figures. The box is nice and colorful and features a fair amount of English copy, including the character’s name. I’ll note here that this is basically a budget prize figure version of the exact same figure that was released as a proper scaled figure by Max Factory. Another figure that I would have loved to pick up, but I just couldn’t justify spending what she cost. I will, however, still point out some of the differences based on the pictures I’ve seen. The figure requires a little bit of assembly. You just peg her left foot into the base, peg the tip of Excalibur into her left hand, and tab the water gun into her right hand.

And here she is all set up and ready for a game of Water Blitz and looking pretty good. Altria is the perfect poster girl for the Summer Event, posing with her right leg kicking up behind her and leaning on Excalibur with her left hand, as she turns to fire off a blast from her water gun. And of course, since it’s summer, she’s wearing very little, just a skimpy white bikini with blue bows and ribbons, and a pair of white sandals.

Overall, the paint is pretty clean on this figure, although she obviously lacks the premium work of Max Factory’s version where the blues are more vibrant and the whites are actually pearlescent. Her skin tone here is also a little paler and flatter, while the skin on the better version features a warmer hue. I think that’s probably my biggest quibble about the figure, because everything else is pretty damn solid for what you’re paying.

The portrait is pretty good, with perfectly printed blue eyes to match the bows on her bikini, and a very nice sculpt for her hair. She’s got a big blue bow on the back of her head and the ubiquitous ahoge sprouting from the top.

Excalibur is an extremely nice looking accessory. The blade is painted silver and the hilt is a combination of blue and gold. The peg holding it into her hand is also fairly unobtrusive, so you could actually use this as an accessory for a similarly scaled figure.

And because you can’t always rely on your legendary magic sword in battle, it helps to take a water gun! The water gun looks great and it’s such a fun accessory. The wetting weapon is cast in translucent plastic with both a yellow and pale blue tint and it tabs very securely into her hand.

The easiest difference to spot between this piece and Max Factory’s scaled figure, is found in the bases. Max Factory’s version features a detailed beach base, this one gets by with just a a simple white disc, which is serviceable and doesn’t take up too much real estate.

I’m delighted that I was able to add this figure to my collection without breaking the bank. But make no mistake, if I only collected anime figures, I would have picked up the fully scaled figure in a heartbeat. But anime figures happen to be only a fringe part of my collection, and at around $140, I just couldn’t justify it picking it up. On the other hand, $12 shipped for a JAMMA figure and I still get to put the character on my shelf? Hell, yeah. Why not? I can’t stress enough that the difference between the two in terms of quality and polish is like night and day, but then with a $120 spread, that’s to be expected.

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Strike Witches: Perrine Clostermann 1/8 Scale Figure by Furyu

It’s another beautiful Anime Saturday here at FFZ and while I’d like to say I’ll be spending it split between anime watching and video gaming, the truth is I’ll be working most of the day. But at least I can still enjoy a little of the morning by having my coffee and checking out an anime figure. This time I’m going with another of Furyu’s “High Quality” Strike Witches.

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The package design is similar to the Charlotte Yeager figure I looked at quite a few months back. The figure comes in a colorful box with windows on the front and top. There’s very little in the way of English here, but at least it tells you who the character is and the name of the series. Although, if you didn’t already know that, I don’t know why you’d be buying this. While the packaging is collector friendly, the cardboard on these boxes tends to be really flimsy, so I don’t know how well these will hold up to storage. The base requires some very simple assembly before Perrine is ready for display.

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And here she is all set up and looking fantastic! If you aren’t familiar with the anime, Strike Witches follows the adventures of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, comprised of young women who cast magic, have animal ears and tails, and fly around with pants that look like WWII fighter jets. They’re also our last line of defense against an alien invaders.

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Perrine is smartly dressed in her military-style blue tunic with gold buttons and striping on the sleeves. Her outfit consists of a fairly simple sculpt, but you do get some appropriate wrinkles, pockets, and the aforementioned buttons. The top features a slight billowing effect to suggest that she’s flying up high in the air and adds a little energy to the piece.

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The portrait here is pretty good. I like her surprised expression and they did a wonderful job with her glasses. The bright yellow paint on her wild, windblown hair is a bit splotchy in some places, but it’s not terrible. Her eyes are perfectly printed with an unusual yellow shade that matches her hair. Perrine’s familiar is the French Chartreux cat, so she has black cat ears popping out from her hair and a long cat tail protruding from under the back of her jacket. The tail is tastefully done, which is surprising when you consider how much fan service is in this series. Seriously, if you ever want to die of alcohol poisoning just play a drinking game called shot for panty shot. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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Perrine’s Striker Unit is modeled after the French Arsenal VG-33 light fighter. It’s not an aircraft that I’m all that familiar with, certainly not as much as Charlotte’s P51 Mustang-inspired gear, but it looks great. you get some deep cut panel lines, details in the engine, and a grey and olive green camo deco. The props are cast in a clear plastic and they do spin.

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When not casting her formidable lightning based magic attacks, Perrine is partial toward wielding a Bren machine gun. The weapon is recreated here with a very detailed sculpt and nearly perfect paint job. It’s also easily removable from her hand so you can inspect it all over or even let a similarly scaled figure borrow it for a while.

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The base here is pretty much identical to the one that came with Charlotte. It uses a cup to cradle one nose of the Striker Unit and a clip to hold it further up. Oddly enough, I find the figure stands a little better if I don’t actually clip it to the leg, but rather just rest it there.

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I don’t know why it took me so long to come back to this line. I was very pleased with my Charlotte Yeager figure and this one makes me just as happy. In addition to enjoying the anime a lot, I really dig the contrast on these figures between the cute girl designs and the hyper realistic military hardware. The sculpt and paint on this figure are both remarkably good, especially for a piece in this price range. Yup, at $25 shipped, I’ll buy figures like this all day long and worry about where I’m going to find room for them later.

Strike Witches: Charlotte Yeager 1/8 Scale Figure by Furyu

It’s been a bitch of a work week for me, but now it’s Saturday and that means I get to open another anime figure! Today I’m trying to mix up the nearly unending flood of Kantai Collection with some Strike Witches. Because what’s better than a bunch of chicks with warship parts stuck to them? A bunch of magical chicks with animal and fighter plane parts stuck to them! OK, not really better, but still plenty cool! There’s a fair number of companies that have done Strike Witches merch, but today I’m checking out Charlotte Yeager from Furyu.

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The packaging is pretty typical for this kind of thing. You get a window on the front and top panels and shots of the figure on the side panels. I particularly enjoy the 501st Joint Fighter Wing / Strike Witches insignia on the bottom. Alas, my box is really beat to hell. Apparently good packing is a trade off for bottom feeding on the price. But, so long as it’s authentic and not a bootleg, I don’t care. Charlotte comes between two plastic trays and there is a little bit of assembly required on the base as well as putting her Browning Auto Rifle in her hand. I’ll confess, I was pretty surprised at the size of the box and figure when I got her. At $23, I wasn’t expecting a full 1/8 Scale figure of this quality.

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And what a beauty she is! Shirley dons her brown jacket, green tie, and very little else besides her Striker Unit, which is based on the P51D Mustang. She poses proudly with her left hand on her hip, her Browning Auto Rifle resting on her right shoulder and her chest puffed out. Little details like her belt buckle, the wings pinned on her chest, are nice touches. The girls of the 501st don’t believe in pants, which helps facilitate the copious amounts of fanservice shots that pepper every episode. I’d suggest a drinking game based around that, but it would probably kill me, and I ain’t no lightweight when it comes to booze! The M1918 BAR is a separate piece that fits in her hand. It’s not easy to get in there, so I doubt I’ll be taking it out again. It is a nicely sculpted and painted piece, but the barrel is made of pretty soft plastic that is prone to warping.

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Her portrait is solid, although the skin tone on her face and elsewhere is a little pale and flat. It just doesn’t have that soft and realistic skin coloring that I see on a lot of better statues. She does have perfectly printed eyes and a cute little smile. I think they did a very nice job on her hair, which blows off to her side, and is, of course, topped off by her rabbit ears. I never did quite understand why she doesn’t sport a little cotton tail instead of the rather long bushy one she has, but to be honest, I’m willing to suspend a lot of my questions while watching an anime like this one.

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The paint on the upper body isn’t terrible, but there are a few flubs here and there. There’s an obvious spot on a couple of her blowing strands of hair, the necktie could be a little sharper, and there’s a little bit of spray here and there on her jacket. These things would be unacceptable on a higher end piece, and to be fair companies like Taito and SEGA can pull off better paint at this price point, but I’m still really picking at things.

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Down below, the Striker Unit mostly impresses with sculpted and painted panel lines and rotating propellers. In fact, there’s only one area where the paint lets me down and that’s the black and white stripes on her left knee area. They’re notably fuzzier than the ones on the right. Other than that I love what they did here. The silver paint looks particularly nice and shiny and the registry numbers and star emblems are sharp, as is the yellow and orange deco near the props. I like the fact that they went with actual propellers, rather than the clear discs to make it look like they’re spinning fast. I just prefer it this way. The base is clear plastic and designed to hold the figure and be noticed as little as possible. The simple disc cradles the left tip of her Striker Unit in a little cup while an arm holds the inner leg. It works well and allows the figure to be removed and held fairly easily.

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While there are a few areas for improvement here and there, it’s hard to complain when you’re talking about a fully scaled 9-inch figure for under twenty-five bucks. And as far as the few areas of problem paint, well that could admittedly just be on my piece. It’s not like I can go into a store and scrutinize three or four different ones and choose the one with the best paint. The truth is this is a great looking piece and she has definitely encouraged me to continue collecting this line. I don’t have the budget right now to be hunting down the Bandai or Figmas of these characters, but Furyu’s line will do quite nicely.

KanColle: Abyssal Fleet Airfield Princess By Furyu

Anime Saturday has become a trend around FFZ as of late and I think I’m going to keep that going because I have a ton of these gals to look at. Today I’m taking a little break from Sword Art Online and turning my attention to KanColle, short for Kantai Collection, or if you prefer… Fleet Girls Collection KanColle Animated Sequence! That’s a mouthful! Originally a Japanese web-based browser game, KanColle has also produced a rather entertaining little anime series that I has quickly become an object of my obsession. It ran for 12 episodes and chronicles the adventures of the Fleet Girls, girls with the souls of warships, who skate over the ocean surface into battle with bits of ships attached to them and fight against a horrific race of ocean going demons called Abyssals. The animation is great, the characters are endearing, the battles are really cool, and the series takes time out between them to chronicle dorm life and curry cooking contests. And yes, they even find time to for the ubiquitous fan service swimsuit episode. I’m kicking things off with the Abyssal Fleet Airfield Princess from Furyu. I don’t usually start out with the villains, but I just love the crazy designs of the Abyssals. These things are like a cross between Hellraiser and The Blue Meanies from Yellow Submarine.

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The figure comes in a squat window box, which is most definitely not Western friendly at all, as there’s hardly any English on the package. That’s not a criticism, just an observation. What is a criticism is how boring the box is. The red grid and circuitry pattern doesn’t really makes sense and aside from a small KanColle logo and a small piece of character art on the back, there’s nothing at all reminiscent of the series. And to make matters worse, my box arrived in pretty poor shape, like it was kicking around a shop in Japan for a long while. But it’s what’s inside that counts. And seeing as this is my very first figure from Furyu, I’m pretty anxious to find out what we’ve got.

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Oh yeah, this is some fine nightmare fuel here and I love it. The Airfield Princess measures about 4-inches tall, but she’s reclining, so I’d say she’s roughly a 6-inch scale figure. She also comes out of the box all ready to go with the figure permanently attached to her base. You do get a little transparent cube to put under the jaws of the gun to prop it up, but it really isn’t at all necessary as it balances just fine on its own. The Princess reclines on her “throne” encircled by an airstrip and with twin cannons jutting out from the armrests. Beside her is the behemoth gun… with teeth…. three sets of them. I really dig the way the figure rests her head on her arm as if the calamity of war and killing bores her. Also, those piercing red eyes are superbly printed and are really freaking me out.

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She has two devices on her head, which I’m going to assume are some kind of radar, because the Fleet Girls where similar headgear to receive signals and detect enemy fleets. The Airfield Princess’ copious white hair spills out behind the base and check out those spikes on the bottoms of her boots.

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The gun to her right practically overshadows the figure itself. It’s mounted on what looks to be the prow of a warship with open jaws and several rows of human-like teeth. The whole jaws and teeth motif is pretty big among the Abyssals, as both their aircraft and surface warships all look like demonic sharks with guns coming out of their mouths. The designs in this series are just awesome.

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In terms of quality, this piece is very solid but not exceptional. This would still be considered a Prize Figure, so it’s far from a high end piece, but the sheer size and heft along with the complexity of the base makes it feel like something more. And as such, it’s possible I had higher expectations. The sculpting is perfectly serviceable, particularly for the gun and its giant teeth, but the sculpt breaks down in relation to some of the finer details, like her right arm, which looks fine from a distance, but pretty rough as you get in close. The same could be said for the paint. The gradient red on the gun’s teeth looks amazing and I really dig the way the gun itself looks like its hot from being fired. The airstrip markings are sharp as well. But the figure itself could have used some sharper lines and the white could have been cleaner. Of course, this is all just nitpicking for a piece that cost me less than $25. It’s also possible that I’m a little spoiled by how great the Asuna Taito Prize Figure was that I looked at last Saturday. Truth be told, I’m extremely happy with this one for the money and I’d certainly consider picking up some more of Furyu’s figures in the future.

Next Saturday, I’m sticking with KanColle, but it’s back to Taito!