Figma: “Kantai Collection” Destroyer Fubuki (Anime Version) by Max Factory

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve done an Anime Saturday feature and I feel bad about it. Not least of all because I’ve got a lot of stuff piling up and waiting to be reviewed. What can I say, other than this is a crazy time of year for me, I don’t have as many weekends off, and time is more than a little tight. Nonetheless, I’m off today and had some time to enjoy a leisurely morning with a pot of coffee and time to open up a Figma. And wouldn’t you just know it… it’s another one of the Fleet Girls from Kantai Collection!

And it’s Fubuki! It’s crazy to think that with five or six of the Fleet Girls already on my Figma shelf, it took this long to get to the main protaganist of the anime. In this case, however, she hasn’t been sitting around waiting to be reviewed, but rather she’s a fairly recent release. I’ll also point out that this is the Animation Version, with a regular version releasing very shortly. I’ve looked at pictures of both figures and I can’t for the life of me see any difference. But seeing as how I’ve never actually played the game, I’m content with the version tied to my beloved anime series.

Starting out with the base figure, Fubuki features here school uniform, including her sailor-style white top with a blue collar and blue sleeve cuffs, and a perfectly sculpted neckerchief tied below her neck. The top is just short enough to show a little midriff, and below that she has a pleated blue skirt. The outfit is topped off with a pair of blue socks, each with a tiny white stripe around the top, and crisp white anchors printed on the sides. While you can strip most of Fubuki’s armaments from her, the leg straps for her torpedo mounts, and her rudder boots are permanent fixtures. This could be disappointing to some collectors who would have preferred the ability to display her completely off duty, but it’s not such a big deal for me. The boots do feature some really nice detail.

Of course, this is a Figma, so you can expect all sorts of extra facial expressions and hands. Fubuki includes three expressions, one normal, one extremely happy with eyes closed, and one serious battle face. Swapping them out involves the usual easy step of popping off the front of the hair. My little gripe here is that the normal face and the battle face are a little too close in my opinion. I think the fault lies with the normal face, which looks more surprised to me. I would have liked something a little more neutral there.

The collection of hands offers no real surprises. If you own any Figmas, then you should know the drill. Fubuki comes with fists, accessory holding hands, splayed finger hands, relaxed hands, and one pointing right hand. OK, let’s get our Fleet Girl all geared up…

For starters, Fubuki comes with her two 61cm triple torpedo mounts (oxygen powered, of course!) attached to her thighs with somewhat restricted ball joints and some sculpted faux straps on her legs to simulate holding them on. You can easily swivel each torpedo mount from pointing up when they’re not in use to facing forward for firing. There’s a little bit of motion left and right, but not a lot. As already demonstrated, these are easy to pop off the figure if you want to display her in her down time.

Next up are her 12.7cm twin gun mount and her backpack. The backpack attaches with a ball jointed peg, which keeps some space between it and her back to allow it to not interfere too much with her posing. Subsequently, there’s another peg hole on the back of the smokestack to plug in the Figma stand. It certainly helps, but I’m surprised to see that even with the backpack, Fubuki is balanced enough to stand on her own. The backpack itself is a nice piece of work with all the detail I’ve come to expect out of a Figma sculpt, right down to the twin anchors and antenna. The piece is cast in battleship gray plastic and there’s a little black and red paint added. I’ll note here that the peg for the stand is a tight fit going into the backpack. Normally, Max Factory includes an adapter piece with a narrower peg, but that wasn’t the case here. It does work, but not as well as if they had included the extra piece.

The twin gun mount is designed to hang on a shoulder strap at her right hip for easy access to it. The strap itself is a little bulky, but not too bad considering the scale. The gun mount attaches to it with an open ended clip, so it’s really easy to take it off the strap so she can hold it and then put it back on again. As mentioned, she does have a pair of accessory holding hands, but she only fires this thing from her right hand in the anime, so one would have been fine for me. The grip on it is a little loose, but for the most part I didn’t have much trouble getting her to hold it straight.

Fubuki isn’t the most complex Figma around, but she sure does hit all the right points and she’s a lot of fun to play with. But that doesn’t come as any surprise to me. The base figure is just about perfect and by now Max Factory has become experts in fashioning Fleet Girl armaments. The only kicker here is that with an original retail of around $60, these figures are approaching that ceiling where I’m beginning to think twice before buying. When it comes to the KanColle figures, I’m probably always going to crumble, but as for those franchises that I’m a little less enthusiastic about? I might have to start getting pickier. As for now… I can’t help but notice the two empty spaces on each side of her and wonder if Figma is planning on getting her fellow Destroyers, Mutsuki and Yuudachi out eventually.

Advertisements

KanColle: Aircraft Carrier Zuikaku Kai Ni “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

It’s been a couple of weeks since I did an Anime Saturday, and while I don’t have a whole lot of time this weekend, I thought I’d stop in with a quick look at another figure from Kantai Collection. Last time, I checked out the Aircraft Carrier Shokaku, this time I’m opening up her sister ship, Zuikaku. There are a lot of similarities here, so I’m going to try to keep this brief. Or at least as brief as my obsession with KanColle will allow.

Zuikaku comes in an enclosed box, just like her sister ship, with the same basic deco and about the same level of assembly required. It’s not a huge box, but as a “Super Premium” release, she is a 9-inch scaled figure, so it isn’t tiny either. There are several bits to attach, her bow needs to be strung, and there’s a quiver of arrows that need to be removed from a sprue and have stickers applied to their feathers. Everything goes together simple and easy, although I do have to restring the back of my bow, as it turned out looking awkward.

And here she is all set up and looking spectacular! Because Zuikaku is another Shokaku Class Aircraft Carrier, her outfit and gear are virtually identical to that of her sister ship. In fact, the only notable difference are her hip weapons. Shokaku had AA guns mounted on those points, whereas Zuikaku has 12cm rocket launchers. If you want to hear a more detailed discussion of the design, I’d refer you back to that review.

When I reviewed Shokaku, I gushed a lot about how amazingly detailed the sculpt was, and the same goes for this Fleet Girl. This design has so much going on, between the outfit and the ship armor and armaments. It feels like it should be way too ambitious for a prize figure to pull off, and yet SEGA really did the designs proud. Not only is the sculpt magnificent, but the paint is there to back it up, right down to the little white stitching on her skirt.

Now as much as I loved her sister ship, I have to give the nod to Zuikaku here as being my favorite of the two. Part of that comes from the pose, which is a little more action orientated. She’s balancing on one foot with her left knee pulled up. She has both her bow and her shield are both on her left side, while she clutches at an arrow in her right. Once again, the carriers in Kantai Collection serve as archers and the arrows they shoot turn into aircraft squadrons.

But ultimately, it’s the portrait here that wins me over. I just think this one has more personality and I really dig the way her pony tails are splayed in the wind. Her shorter hair also allows for a much better look at her quiver. Shokaku’s was almost entirely obscured by her hair. As usual, the eyes are perfectly printed, and I really dig her determined expression.

The base is more or less identical. It’s a simple white hexagon with her name printed on it. These tend to take up a lot of room on the shelf, but they don’t feel over-sized for the figure.

SEGA’s “Super Premium” line of figures continues to blow me away. These feel a lot closer to the $100+ fully scaled figures you get from Triple-A companies, only at a fraction of the cost. Indeed, Zuikaku is currently on Amazon for less than $20 shipped if you have a Prime Membership. You can’t beat that! The plastic is a little softer, the skin tones, a bit more waxy, but all in all, I’ve been impressed by every one that I’ve added to my collection. On the next Anime Saturday, I’ll try to get back to check out another one of the Figmas that are piling up, if not next week, than the week after that for sure.

KanColle: Aircraft Carrier Shokaku Kai Ni “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

After stiffing everyone on Tuesday’s content this week because of real life intrusions (sorry about that!), I thought it only fair to drop by this weekend for an Anime Saturday update. It’s a beautiful morning, I’ve got a generous mug of coffee, and I’m opening up a new Kantai Collection figure by SEGA. What could be better? How about the fact that the Blu-Ray of Kantai Collection Animation Sequence arrived at my door a little while ago and I’m going to spend a good part of this weekend binging it. Oh, yeah! But for now… let’s check out Aircraft Carrier Shokaku!

SEGA has gone back and forth between window boxes and enclosed boxes for their 9-inch scale “Super Premium” figures. Shokaku comes in a fully enclosed box and this tends to be my preference, as they’re easier to collapse and store. It also makes sense here, since there’s a fair amount of assembly required for this figure and she wouldn’t look complete through a window. The box looks good, has several photos of the figure, and virtually no English text. Inside, the figure comes wrapped in plastic, along with the base, and a bunch of pieces to attach before she’s ready for display. Just give me a few ticks, and I’ll get her all set up…

…I’m back, and ain’t she great looking! While she’s 9-inch scale, the large yumi (bow) gives this figure a lot more height. Shokaku is only my second Aircraft Carrier among the many Fleet Girls in my collection. The other is SEGA’s Akagi (I don’t really count Taito’s I-401 Carrier Sub, because that one is based off a really unusual boat). Shokaku is from the game, rather than the anime, and like all the Kancolle aircraft carriers, she functions as an archer who can fire arrows that transform into support and attack aircraft. I really enjoy these carriers because they’re costumes are based on the traditional Kyudo style and looks so unique when combined with the Fleet Girls’ usual ship parts. And because Shokaku is an armored carrier, she has a lot more of those parts than Akagi did.

The sculpting here is really top notch and very detailed. Indeed, I’d dare say that this is the most complex design of all my KanColle prize figures. The pleated skirt and billowing top contrast nicely with the cold gray steel of her chest armor and armament belt. All the little belts and straps are present and convincingly “hold” her heavy gear in place. She has armored plates coming off her knees and her rudder boots, and she has a pair of AA guns mounted on each side of her hips. The attachments to all of these guns and armor plates are sculpted to look like they can articulate, but they cannot. There are some great little touches with the paint, particularly the tiny stitches painted on the him of her skirt and the bow that’s tied around her waist.

In typical Fleet Girls fashion, Shokaku carries a very long shield on her right arm, which is designed after a carrier deck. She also uses this to recover any aircraft sorties that survive their missions. The detail on the surface is a pre-applied sticker and looks really nice. I love the archer glove on her right hand. In her left hand, she holds her yumi, which includes a piece of fishing line for string. Stringing the bow is part of the assembly, and it can be a bit tricky to get it right.

The horizontal tube slung across her back is made to resemble parts of the carrier and it doubles as a quiver for her arrows. This piece was a bit tough to attach and it’s even more difficult to see as it’s almost totally obscured by her hair. She comes with a total of six arrows, five for the quiver and one to slide into her hand. You get two styles of stickers for the feathers, I just mixed them up.

The portrait is solid, but the plastic used for her skin is a tad more waxy than I would like. Still, she has a nice, determined expression on her face and her eyes are perfectly printed. She has long gray hair that fans out behind her and with strands that fall down in front of her shoulders. She also has a long hair ribbon.

The base is a simple white hexagon, with her name printed on it. It’s a fairly big base that takes up a lot of room on the shelf, but the figure takes up even more, because of her long, angled bow.

Shokaku ran me $17 shipped from Amazon and I’m still marveling at what a great deal this was. Besides being the larger “Super Premium” format, the insane amount of detail that went into this sculpt and the quality of paint makes it feel like it could have been priced two or three times that amount. In fact, I was so thrilled with this figure, I’ve already ordered her sister ship, Zuikaku in SEGA’s “Super Premium” format as well.

Figma: “Kantai Collection” Battleship Nagato by Max Factory

I know, it’s been forever since I’ve done a proper Anime Saturday update. Well, time has been tight, but this week I was on vacation, so I had no excuses. Indeed, and to make up for it, I pushed my way through all the prize figures that have been piling up and went straight for a Figma. And since I’m going through some major KanColle withdrawal, I’ve decided to go with Secretary Ship Nagato from Kantai Collection. I have looked at a couple KanColle FigFix figures, but this is my first full blown Figma from their Kantai Collection line up.

Nagato comes in a traditional Figma window box. This is the larger style box to accommodate her armament rig. It’s rather bland when compared to some of the other Figma packages lined up on my shelf, but I guess it sort of suits the cold gray color of naval hardware. The window offers a decent view of what’s in the box, with all the pieces and the figure each wrapped in plastic. This is figure #232, which is really meaningless to me because I’m damn sure not a completist when it comes to Figmas, rather I just cherry pick the franchises that I enjoy. The box is collector friendly and I do hang on to my Figma boxes in order to have somewhere to keep all the goodies inside.

Here’s Nagato without all her guns, which is the way she spent most of the anime series before sailing out to kick some major ass for the finale. The Secretary ships, Nagato and Mutsu are among my favorite Fleet Girls and just looking at this figure reminds me why. Nagato is elegant, stately, and her drive and determination all conspire to make her just so damn sexy. The outfit doesn’t hurt either. She sports a cut-off top with some reinforced armor pieces and an exposed mid-riff (sending some mixed messages there, Nagato!), as well as a short, pleated skirt. Her black and maroon stockings, held up by adorable little anchor themed straps, have the white hash marks down the sides. The outfit is rounded out with her little rudder boots. The paint here is all smooth and clean and I got absolutely zero complaints about this gal.

Of course, Nagato comes with an array of extra faces and hands. The hands include a pair of relaxed hands, a pair of hands with the fingers together, a pair of gripping hands, and a pair of fists. As for the faces, the variations are very subtle, but include a happy face, a determined face, and an embarrassed face. Granted, this is probably a greater range of emotion than Nagato showed in the entire run of the anime series. She was all business, and spent most of her time planning strategies in the command room.

No matter which face you choose, Nagato has her very distinctive looking antenna angling out behind her head and jutting out from the sides. Also, her long hair is parted in the middle down the back and attached with ball joints. And now that we’ve seen everything about the basic figure… let’s gear her up!

Nagato comes with her iconic 41cm Twin Gun Mount, which plugs right into her back and makes her a force to be reckoned with! Each half of the rig is hinged on her back and can be closed in around her. The rear gun emplacements swivel and each barrel can elevate independently. The forward emplacements are on rotating hinges, so the entire assembly can lower and elevate as well as swivel, plus each barrel can also elevate independently. The sculpt on the rig is fairly simple, but it does feature some panel lines and sculpted rivets. The bulk of the piece is cast in battleship gray plastic with some red accents and a tan plastic used for the bases of the barrels.

The back of the rig features the two little AA guns and the smokestack rising up from the middle.

Obviously this beast of an rig makes Nagato a little back heavy. It does displace the weight fairly well, I have been able to get her to stand freely with it on, but for the most part, this is where the Figma stand can happily take over.

I’ve had my eye on Nagato for a long time and came close to paying some pretty ridiculous prices for her. In the end, I was able to bag her for around $65 and I’m pretty comfortable with that price, especially since most Figmas go up for pre-order in that price range, no matter how simple they are. Nagato is a beautiful figure on her own, but her gun mount goes a long way to justify the price. Granted, she doesn’t have the wow factor of my mammoth Super-Premium Nagato by SEGA, but then this one is actually articulated, which makes her a whole lot more fun.

KanColle: Destroyer Akizuki “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

Who’s ready for another Anime Saturday celebration of the amazing and wondrous world of Kantai Collection? I know I am! Today, I’ve got a new Fleet Girl cruising into port and it is none other than the Akizuki Class Destroyer. This lovely lady with a lovely name (“Autumn Moon”) is a bit bigger and badder than most of the Destroyers I’ve looked at before. Much like Fubuki, Mutsuki, and Yuudachi, Akizuki also has two sister ships, Teruzuki and Hatsuzuki, one of which will be showing up here on a Saturday in the near future.

SEGA tends to mix it up when it comes to the packaging for their Super Premium (SPM) figures. The original trio of Destroyers came in window boxes, whereas Battleship Nagato and Akizuki here come in fully enclosed boxes. I actually prefer these, because they’re easier to store and easier to keep from getting damaged. You get some nice gradient coloring with a hexagonal pattern and several shots of the figure inside. There’s virtually no English on the box at all, so here’s a situation where you really need to know who you’re looking at. Setting her up requires a little more assembly than usual, but she goes together nice and easy. It’s worth noting here that Akizuki is from the game, rather than the anime, but we won’t hold that against her. And, to quote her from the game, “Akizuki’s night battle, shall I show it to you?” Um… Yes, please!

And Wow… I’m in love! Akizuki is definitely a heavier Destroyer than I’m used to seeing as she has the dual gun emplacements that make her appear more similar to KanColle’s Battleships and Heavy Cruisers. I absolutely adore everything about this figure, but let’s just start with her outfit, which consists of a mostly white (with a little gray) sailor-style blouse and pleated skirt, short gloves, and a bright yellow neckerchief. What really makes her costume distinctive, however, is her armored corset and neck guard, designed after the ship’s forward bow. The coloring on her costume is nice and clean, and the bright white and yellow contrasts beautifully with the gray of her armor and armaments. She is a damn snappy looking figure.

The portrait is also fantastic. I love the depth given to her hair sculpt, and the mechanical look to her eyes. She has an Anti-AA Fire Detector Assembly perched on her head and a headband with “61st Destroyer Division” printed in Japanese. As I’m sure you know by now, I have quite a few of these Fleet Girls inhabiting my shelves, and I have to say this is one of my favorite head sculpts. The detail is just fabulous.

Moving on to her armaments, Akizuki features a 61cm Oxygen-Powered Quadruple Torpedo Launcher slung across her back, which if you haven’t seen the anime, make for a spectacularly cool looking attack maneuver when the girls launch these babies. Another really cool and unique aspect of Akizuki’s gear are the four replacement 10cm gun barrels that she has strapped to her right thigh, because those Type 98 guns were notorious for needing frequent replacing. I also really dig her rudder boots. They’re higher and more graceful looking than most of the other girls’ boots and actually resemble a pair of high heels. The crimson coloring also looks great with the matte gray.

Of course, the real star of this gun show are the Type 98 10cm Twin High-angle Gun mounts, harnessed to her hips. Not only do I love that these are fully articulated, but I really dig the split-prow design of her rig, which features some really nice attention to detail in the sculpt. And much like Shimakaze has her little animated gun buddies, called Rensouhou, Akizuki has her own gun-toting familiars, which are delightfully referred to as Chou-10cm-hou! These little fellas can be removed from her rig and allowed to wander about on their own. OMG, I’m dying!!

The base here is a white ovoid platform with her name emblazoned on it. She attaches to it by only one foot and leans forward while pointing to the target of her impending barrage. I love the balance of this piece, which really adds a sense of both style and excitement to the composition.

Akizuki scales quite well with SEGA’s other SPM figures, which means she’s a bit bigger than the Destroyers like Fubuki, but her armaments are still dwarfed by that of Secretary Ship Nagato’s.

Akizuki was about $25 shipped from a US Seller on Amazon, and holy hell is that a great deal! All of the SEGA SPM figures in my collection have been totally on point when it comes to quality, but aside from Nagato, which admittedly ran me three times the cost of this figure, Akizuki is without a doubt the showpiece of my SEGA fleet. Everything about this figure comes together so beautifully. She’s got a fantastic sculpt, solid paintwork, and the ability to remove both Chou-10cm-hou-chan figures is a wonderful little bonus. SEGA really outdid themselves here!

KanColle: 41cm Twin Gun Mount for Nagato “Super Premium” Figure by SEGA

Welcome to another relaxing Anime Saturday Morning! Back in February, I took a look at SEGA’s Battleship Nagato “Super Premium” Prize Figure. I loved the figure, but lamented the fact that the seller screwed me out of her Gun Mount. Well, after some hunting I was able to find a Japanese seller with reasonable shipping and after a little wait, I finally have Nagato all kitted out. So, consider today the second part of that feature, and if you happened to miss it the first time, I recommend checking out the figure review before reading this review for what is essentially an add-on piece.

To clear up any confusion, most of the KanColle prize figures put out by Taito and SEGA are not fully outfitted with their weapons, and I certainly don’t mind that. It makes the armed ones all the sweeter. But, SEGA’s SPM Battleship Nagato was one of the rare occasions where they gave collectors the option to buy her armaments separately and that’s what we’re checking out today. The kit comes in a fully enclosed box very similar to Nagato’s. Even with the slight amount of English copy on the box, they still do a good job of indicating what’s in the box. It’s also worth mentioning that this kit is designed so that you can display it on its own, without the figure, or perhaps beside Nagato. I’m not sure why anybody would want to do that, but I’ll start there anyway.

There’s a fair amount of assembly required here, but the rig goes together very smoothly and when you’re all done you have a pretty cool display piece that rests on its own stand. I like the fact that the stand doesn’t feel like an afterthought. Even though, I will likely never use this stand again, it’s clear that SEGA put some work into it, sculpting it in a smoked, semi-transparent plastic and giving it a gantry style look. There’s also a name plate (in Japanese of course!) and the entire gun mount tabs right into the stand for easy removal.

The guns are overall pretty clean, with only a slight degree of weathering here and there. There’s also some useful articulation, with each of the eight gun barrels are independently hinged and the all four turrets able to swivel. And that brings us to the moment of truth…

Awww, YEAH! The rig tabs right into Nagato’s back and holds in place very well. It also looks amazing on her. Sure, I can get this same look with my Nagato Figma (a figure I still need to review here one day), but this version is so much bigger and awe inspiring. The guns perfectly compliment her pose as she looks like she’s about to unload with all her weapons. There’s even a spot on Nagato’s stand if you want to transfer the little name plate.

This add on kit ran me $30 shipped, which was a pretty good deal considering I had to get it shipped from Japan. When you combine it with the cost of the figure, that brings the whole piece to about $70. It’s a lot to pay for a prize figure, but then this is no ordinary prize figure. She’s fully scaled and so far beyond what I tend to think of when I think of prize figures. SEGA absolutely outdid themselves with this one and she is most definitely the showpiece of my Kancolle collection. The only shame here is that SEGA didn’t do fellow Battleship, Mutsu in the same scale and style.

KanColle: Battleship Nagato “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

Hooray! Anime Saturday is back again! I’m having a lazy morning, sipping some coffee and opening up a brand new Kantai Collection “Super Premium” figure from SEGA. I last visited with this line back in May of last year when I looked at the three Destroyers: Fubuki, Mutsuki, and Yuudachi. These are technically still prize figures, but they’re also closer to fully scaled figures and I found them to be remarkable, especially considering how ridiculously cheap they were. Today, I’m checking out the big mama of them all, Secretary Ship Nagato! And what lies ahead are some choppy waters filled with both delight and disappointment.

spmnaga1

While the Destroyers came in window boxes, Nagato comes in a fully enclosed and very colorful box with lots of pictures and very little in the way of English text. It’s a pretty damn big box too! The Destroyers were large for prize figures and Nagato is similarly scaled, measuring in at a little over 9-inches tall. Between that and her wide stance, the box had to be considerably larger. Inside, the figure comes nestled between two clear plastic trays with the stand detached. All you have to do is plug her into the base and she’s good to go. But wait… that’s it? Isn’t there something missing? Well, that’s the disappointing part, and I’ll save that for the end.

spmnaga2

spmnaga5

…because everything else here is nothing but wonderful. Nagato is absolutely gorgeous and it’s hard to believe that she qualifies as a prize figure by any stretch of the imagination. The Secretary Ships, Nagato and Mutsu are my favorite two character designs from the anime and it’s awesome to see one of them get this Super Premium format treatment. The costume includes her sleek rudder boots, crimson stockings, which are held up by straps that attach to her armament belt, and secured by adorable little anchor snaps! She has a very short white skirt, and her cut-off top exposes her midriff and shoulders, and her long, finger-less gloves. I also love the simple but effective pose here.  She’s looks so damn majestic standing there with her right hand on her rigging belt and her left arm thrust out, about to issue the order to attack the cursed Abyssinal Fleet.

spmnaga13

spmnaga4

spmnaga8

The quality of plastic and paintwork on this figure are both exceptional. The colors are vibrant and the lines are so sharp, you really need to get in pretty close to see any imperfections. When you take a budget-priced prize figure and blow it up to this scale, I would expect to see plenty of opportunities for sloppy paint work, but there’s simply no evidence of that here. What’s more, the skin tones are soft and even and the plastic looks and feels great.

spmnaga7

spmnaga9

The portrait is spot on, with Nagato offering up a characteristically stern and defiant expression. I really dig the way her long hair crowns the head and blows majestically in the breeze and her big beautiful eyes are perfectly printed. Naturally, the head sculpt includes her radar and antenna array.

spmnaga6

spmnaga10

The simple black disc base is absolutely huge to accommodate her wide stance, but it looks kind of vacant. It also has a rectangular outline in the front. What could that be for? So, yeah… here comes the disappointing part. She’s obviously missing her 41cm Twin Gun Mount. This was one of the rare cases where the figure and armaments were sold separately. The Outfitting Kit included a second stand to display the gun mount independently, but you could also combine it with the figure and stand. I knew this going in, but the seller stated that both were included. When just the figure arrived and I challenged the seller, the response was ship it back for a refund. The truth was, I love the figure, and opted to take a hit and keep her.

spmnaga11

spmnaga12

Nagato set me back $40 shipped, which admittedly would have been an amazing price for both the figure and Gun Mount. But hell, even for just the figure, the price seems right. And besides, Nagato spent 95% of the anime without her weaponry, so she’s absolutely fine displayed this way. In that regard, it feels like a crime to come away from this beautiful figure with any sense of disappointment. She’s simply amazing in every way. But in the end, I couldn’t let it stand, so I’ve got her Gun Mount coming from another seller in Japan. Naturally, when it arrives I’ll get her all kitted out and we’ll take a second look!

KanColle: Shimakaze (Four Seasons of Chinjufu Naval Base) by Banpresto

Anime Saturday has been gone for a while, I know, but I’m really making an effort to bring it back. This morning, for example, I resisted the urge to stay in bed and read comics and instead, I got up and opened one of the many prize figures that I have stacked in the corner begging for attention. And since it’s been ages since I opened a new KanColle Fleet Girl, that’s exactly what I’m doing today. Let’s have a look at another Shimakaze!

bpshim1

Yup, I love me some Shimakaze, and this is actually my first Fleet Girl from Banpresto, all the others have been from Taito and SEGA. I stumbled upon this figure one night while doing a little inebriated Amazon browsing and was shocked because I had never seen her before. Yes, I do have most of these prize figures tucked away on a Wish List for easy ordering. Anyway, the price was right and there was only one available so I jumped on it! The figure comes in a fully enclosed box with virtually no English text at all, so this is one of those cases where you really need to know what you’re looking at. There is a familiar Kantai Collection logo on the box, but it too is in Japanese. Inside, the figure itself comes in two parts and needs to be tabbed together. The dock also requires the posts to be plugged into it. The assembly is easy-peasy and when you’re done, here’s what you get…

bpshim2

bpshim3

Lovely! Shimakaze relaxes on a dock about to start munching on a piece of watermelon while her faithful Rensouhou-Chan stands beside her and looks to be begging for scraps. Now, I’m calling this a dock, but I’ll concede that it might be intended as a table. I’m going with dock because Shimakaze has her trademark striped stockings and rudder boots off, so I’m assuming that she’s paddling her toes in the water. If this was one of Taito’s releases, it would probably have fallen under their “Day Off” series. Neither figure attaches to the dock, so you’re free to place them wherever you want.

bpshim5

The sculpt here is quite good, although maybe just a tad softer than what I’m used to seeing from the other guys. And while Shimakaze is partly out of uniform from the knees down, everything above that should be readily familiar to any fan of the character. She has her low riding blue pleated skirt, exposing her G-string, her cut-off sailor-style top, with big buttons and black necktie, and her long white gloves with blue and yellow cuffs at her biceps. And no figure of Shimakaze would be complete without her bunny ears hair ribbon. The paint is overall solid. It could be a little sharper in some areas, but there’s nothing overtly bad here when it comes to the paint quality.

bpshim6

bpshim9

bpshim8

The portrait is excellent. I happen to be a fan of Shimakaze’s more vexed expressions, but here she’s just clearly happy to be enjoying a little down time, and that’s cool. The large eyes are beautifully printed and her pale blonde hair is parted down the back and blowing off to the sides.

bpshim7

Rensouhou-Chan is as adorable as ever. This is one of the smaller Rensouhou from her retinue. His sculpt is complete with his little flipper arms and bright yellow propeller tail. His guns rise up from his head like antenna and he has an adorable little face painted on the front of his turret head.

bpshim12

bpshim11

One cool thing is that this Shimakaze fits almost perfectly into the life preserver base from my Taito figure. It’s crazy how well this works despite the two figures being made by two different companies.

bpshim10

bpshim4

There’s no doubt that this was an impulse buy. I hit that 1-Click Buy It Now the moment I saw it and I’m not disappointed. At about $21 shipped, it’s a pretty decent price. I’ve certainly gotten better Taito Fleet Girl pieces for less, but those were just ridiculously good deals, so I’m not going to hold it against this gal. I’m a sucker for Shimakaze, and I’ll pretty much buy her figures no matter who puts them out.

KanColle: Myoko Class Heavy Cruiser Ashigara Kai II by SEGA

What, What? You want more KanColle? Of course you do! Everyone surely must share my borderline obsessive love for collecting figures from a browser game-slash-anime series, right? Well, that’s a good thing because I do indeed have more Kantai Collection love coming your way on this beautiful Anime Saturday morning. Today I’m checking out another character exclusive to the game and it is indeed The Myoko Class Heavy Cruiser, Ashigara, in her second upgrade, and oh boy is she a beauty!

ashig1

The figure comes in a fully enclosed box with perforations on the sides to make handles. It’s pretty standard stuff for a prize figure, but it’s also quite attractive. You get some lovely shots of the figure as well as some gorgeous character art. There is, however, precious little in the way of English on the box. Practically none, in fact, so this is one of those situations where you really need to know what you’re buying. And since Ashigara is a full 1/7 scale figure, the box is pretty tall. The back panel features a picture with simple instructions on assembling Ashigara’s rather large gun mounts. Besides that, you just plug her into the base and she’s good to go.

ashig2

ashig5

And check her out! Most of the KanColle prize figures I own are the smaller ships, basically destroyers and below, which makes sense based on their size and complexity versus the relatively low price point of these figures. But here, SEGA tackled one of the big mamas and brought us a full on Heavy Cruiser in her most powered up form. This is definitely one of the most complex figures I own in either SEGA or Taito’s KanColle lines and she is absolutely splendid.

ashig3

ashig6

ashig4

Ashigara’s final form, so to speak, sees her wearing a regal purple blouse with white piping, an extravagantly patterned neck tie, a short black skirt, white gloves, white stockings, and a pair of ankle boots. There’s a little bleed through on her white piping and the patterns on her tie could be a little sharper, but I still think the paint on sculpt on her outfit are fantastic for a figure in this price range.

ashig7

Her portrait is simple, but attractive. Her long brunette hair shows some stray strands blowing in the wind and she looks off to the side as she is about to unleash the full force of her guns on her hapless adversary.

ashig8

ashig9

And my, what guns she has! As a heavy cruiser, Ashigara is armed to the teeth! Most notable are her two arm assemblies, patterned after the prows of ships. The right contains three turrets and the left two, and each of those turrets are equipped with twin 20.3cm guns. These are harnessed to her back and she clutches the handle on one with her left hand while the other hangs free.

ashig11

Next she has two tiny guns hanging off her belt. I’m going to assume these are anti-aircraft guns, but they aren’t called out in her in-game character stats, so I’m not certain.

ashig10

ashig12

Finally, Ashigara features two 61cm quadruple oxygen-powered torpedo mounts, one strapped on each of her thighs. All of her weapons are cast in gray plastic and feature simple, but effective use of detail. The gun barrels are soft plastic, but all the guns on my figure are pretty straight.

ashig14

ashig13

The base is a simple white hexagonal piece with her name and class printed in blue. I really appreciate that her name is properly orientated on the base to the angle that I’m most likely to display her. That was a minor quibble I had with last week’s Sword Art Online figure by SEGA.

ashig16

While Ashigara is a full 1/7 scale figure, she isn’t perfectly sized to go with any of my other SEGA KanColle girls. She’s about the same size as the Super Premium Destroyers (Fubuki, Yuudachi, and Mutsuki) but those are supposed to be younger girls and smaller ships, so Ashigara should be a little bigger. On the other hand SEGA’s Carriers, like Akagi are scaled smaller and closer to Taito’s prize figures. It’s not a big deal for me, as I’m just as happy having each character different, but it’s bound to irritate those looking for a more uniform display for their Fleet Girls.

ashig15

And here comes the best part of collecting these prize figures. How much was Ashigara? $18 shipped. Yes, Amazon continues to be a rich source for these imports with many of them shipping from inside the US and also qualifying for free Prime shipping. It’s such a treat not having to deal with long overseas shipping times and currency conversions when buying these imports. If it weren’t for Amazon as a resource, I probably would never have even realized this figure existed let alone have her standing on my shelf right now!

KanColle: Destroyer Shimakaze by Taito

It’s been more than a few Anime Saturdays since I last tortured you all with my Kantai Collection obsession, so let’s visit with another one of Taito’s Fleet Girls. This time, it’s the adorable Shimakaze! Yes, for a change I’m actually looking at a character from the anime series and not just the video game!

shimtube1

We’ve seen Taito’s packaging many times here, and there isn’t much different here. You get a fully enclosed box with some striping on the bottom half and lots of pictures of the figure inside. Despite Shimakaze kicking back in a life preserver, this release is not classified as one of Taito’s “Day Off” figures. I’m guessing that’s because Shimakaze is dressed in her uniform and not a swimsuit. Then again, some of the other “Day Offs” were in uniform. I’m so confused!!! Also, I know what you’re thinking. Hey, that looks an awful lot like the Submarine Ro-500 figure that you featured a few weeks back. Yes, there are certainly some similarities here, but it’s still an entirely new figure, preserver, and base.

shimtube2

shimtube3

shimtube4

So, as already mentioned, Shimakaze reclines on a red and white life preserver and decked out in her uniform, but minus her armaments. Her outfit features her cut-off top, long gloves, blue skirt, exposed g-string, candy-striped stockings, and rudder boots. It’s all beautifully sculpted here and the skirt and top are layered onto the figure, which is always a bonus. Even the collar and neckerchief pops up off of the top to give it some added dimension and credibility. The figure itself simply rests in the tube, just like we saw with Ro-500, so you can pick her up and check her out from all angles.

shimtube11

shimtube12

The life preserver sports a little less detail than R0’s, as it’s missing the rope running around the edges. And while I’m overall very happy with the sculpt here, I think the way the hair parts looks a little unnatural from the back. That having been said, it looks fine from the front and that’s the way I’ll be viewing the statue most of the time, so it isn’t a big deal.

shimtube6

The portrait is fantastic and depicts Shimakaze with her traditional rabbit ear headband and perturbed expression. I’m interpreting the expression as her being annoyed at being knocked out of commission, hence the life preserver and lack of armaments, although it doesn’t explain why her uniform isn’t shredded, so I might be reading too much into that. On the downside, the above closeup shot shows that the quality of paintwork on this piece is really disappointing. The white ares show a lot of dirt and smudging and even her face and hair is rather dirty. The lines on her stockings are rough in some areas and there’s scratching on the preserver too. To be fair, if I’m viewing this piece from a display shelf, it’s not that bad, but the closer I get, the more noticeable it is. This is easily the worst paint on any of my Taito prize figures, and considering who the character is, that’s doubly disappointing.

shimtube5

The base is very similar in design to Ro-500’s base. It’s a simple clear disc that uses three support poles to hold up the life preserver, which pegs in securely.

shimtube7

shimtube8

Of course, you can’t have a Shimakaze figure without her Rensouhous and in this case you get the largest of the gang. Rensouhou-chan comes in his own little life preserver with a propeller sculpted on the back. He seems happy enough, which further suggests that I’m off base on my theory that this is Shimakaze after she’s taken a crippling hit. Rensouhou-Chan didn’t escape the shoddy paint problem either. There’s quite a bit of dirt on the white parts of his preserver.

shimtube9

shimtube10

Shimakaze looks great displayed next to Ro. Now, I’m guessing she looks upset because she doesn’t have an ice pop, or maybe because her paint job isn’t as good. I’ve had my eye on this figure for quite a few months, waiting to finally find one shipping from inside the US. I also had to pay a little more for her, but she was still under $25 shipped, and I still consider that a great deal. It’s just too bad that the one I got has a sub-par paint job. If I had to choose, I would much rather have had rough paint on one of the Fleet Girls from the game, rather than one of my beloved characters from the anime series. Given the relatively low price of the figure and how much I love the character, I’d be tempted to roll the dice and try again for a figure with better paint at some point down the line. If I get around to doing that, I’ll likely post an Addendum here to report on how I make out.