Monday, 23 May 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Body-Kun DX Set [Gray Color Ver.]


For the past few years the blank S.H. Figuarts body has been a staple of the Tamashii Nations event. Whether it’s showing off the latest effect parts, acting as a stand-in opponent or teasing collectors by being displayed in various Kamen Rider henshin poses, these figures are never too far away from a big display. Clearly knowing that they had something good on their hands, Bandai have now officially released this blank body to the public under the guise of the perfect drawing aid for human bodies. Not only that, but there were an impressive four different retail releases for Body-kun (male) and Body-chan (female) – standard orange/flesh coloured versions as well as grey DX variants with boosted accessory counts. On review here is the DX Body-kun set, arguably the poster child for this surprising but at the same time intriguing sub-line of the Figuarts brand.



Immediately from the packaging its clear that Bandai wanted to make these guys into something special. The DX sets come in larger-than-usual packaging, width-wise they're more like Figma boxes but in terms of thickness it's the usual Figuarts size. The front window only reveals the figure itself, with the rest of the packaging taken up by some great images of it in various poses (the main one featuring a neat sketched outline over it) along with colour splotches. Other really nice touches include a colour wheel to give it a proper arty flare. The back is much of the same, along with a basic guide to how the figure can be used as a drawing reference. Inside you'll find the figure and its accessories on a single plastic tray, with a couple of things also taped to the back. One thing I really liked when I opened it up was the backing card, which is done in the style of grid paper.




There isn’t a whole lot to say about the sculpt when it comes to blank bodies, but for obvious reasons this isn’t actually a bad thing. Body-kun has an adult male body of reasonably muscular build, with some muscle definition moulded into the torso, upper arms and thighs. Its smooth finish and grey unpainted body make it feel a little cheaper than your average Figuart, but in terms of build and structure quality it’s still exactly the same. The head is completely blank and lacks any defining facial features, which personally I find far more appealing that the off-putting faces Max Factory have put on their latest blank body “Archetype Next” Figma. Unlike other Figuarts Body-kun also has a hole in his lower back for a Tamashii Stage to plug in without the need of the claw appendage.




The blank bodies were created using the newest S.H. Figuarts body type, and without any excess pieces dangling off to hold them back it’s fair to say they might be the most articulated figures in the line to date. These guys are loaded with ball joints in the head, neck, shoulders, abdomen, wrists and hips, supported by double-hinge elbows and knees, ankle rocker joints and a hinged toe cap on each foot. The lack of additional sculpting and paint apps lets you see properly how all the joints work, along with their strengths and limitations. This makes these figures the perfect tool for testing out poses, working out just what the body is capable of and how certain other figures might restrict this full range of articulation.




Now we come to the accessories, which (besides colour) is the key factor in deciding between the standard blank bodies or the DX versions. As stated earlier, the DX versions come with considerably more accessories. While the standard versions only come with 10 hands, the DX bodies come with an incredible 19 different hands as well as weapons, lifestyle items and a Tamashii stage. All the accessories are also unpainted, and come packaged on runners much like you’d get with a model kit. The pieces twist off the runners pretty easily, but if you’re really particular you might want to invest in some cutters just do get rid of the sprue marks. The accessories are also identical between both the male and female bodies, so the only thing unique about them will be the size of the hands. For weapons, they come with body a katana and handgun – perfect for distinctly different poses and references. Though unpainted, both weapons feature minimal detail to stop them from looking too plain.




However if weapons aren’t your thing the DX Bodies also come with a number of casual accessories for more relaxed posing. These include a flip-phone, a touch-screen phone, a tablet, a stylus and a laptop with hinged screen. Like the weapons don’t let their unpainted appearance fool you – there’s a pretty impressive amount of detailing to be found here. The tablet and touch-screen phone are pretty basic, but the flip-phone has moulded buttons while the laptop sports not only a moulded keyboard but also USB and charger slots along the sides. Just be warned that the stylus isn’t only so small that it would be incredibly easy to lose, but there also isn’t a hand among the selection to hold it tightly. That aside, these little extras are what really sets the DX bodies apart to make them really appealing purchases.



Rounding off the physical accessory count is a clear Tamashii Act 3 Stage, however this is also no ordinary stand. For starters the arm features a multitude of additional joints, giving it far more range and flexibility that the standard versions. The claw piece to hold the figure is also different, featuring a third vertical claw between the others which goes between the legs to add additional support. Of course, if this doesn’t suit your fancy the stand can also just directly plug into the back of the figure anyway. But the really impressive thing about this stand is the extended base section which fits underneath the standard plinth, which can store all of the figure’s accessories! This deep base has segmented areas for you to arrange the pieces accordingly, and the trees the additional hands are attached to can also clip just above them. It’s an excellent way to store all the pieces and baffling why Bandai haven’t used this sooner – or more often. It would be perfect for personalised Tamashii stages as not only could it store accessories but the thick sides could be used for all sorts of personal decoration.



Finally there’s also one last bonus included, which is a short booklet depicting the creation of the blank body Figuarts, showing them off in various poses and demonstrating Bandai’s intended method for using the figure as a drawing reference. Even if you can’t read the Japanese text, the pictures are helpful enough to explain everything you’ll need to know. It’s a really nicely done little booklet which feels almost like a little collectors’ item and makes me miss the ones that used to come with Shinkocchou Seihou Figuarts all the more.



On face value the Figuarts Blank Bodies may seem like they’d only really appeal to artists looking for a good reference point and customisers in need of a featureless base – two existing, but likely small, portions of the line’s demographic. However look past that and you’ll soon see that there is so much more to them, and that they are insanely fun toys no matter what your intention for them is. It’s almost liberating to have a Figuart that can be messed around with and posed without having to fear some sort of breakage, while the wonderful accessories of the DX versions ensure the buyer is definitely getting their money’s worth. Bandai have done such a great job explaining how the figure should be used as an art reference that it’s encouraged me to get back in casual drawing, and I can see me picking up the DX Body-chan in the near future to go alongside Body-kun. They’ll also make wonderful sparring partners for future reviews, to the point where it’s almost tempting to army build them into a little platoon of faceless mooks. I love my Figuarts collection, but I don’t think I’ve ever had as much FUN with one as I do this one.

24 comments:

Hudson said...

The body type, construction and progression of the development of this one is definitely interesting to follow.

Anonymous said...

I don't recommend get the Body-chan figure. There are a lot of complaints about the left shoulder articulation. I have the same problem (the arm fall out like 5 times with normal movements). Seens like body-kun have a different articulation in the shoulder.

Alex said...

Oh really? I'm both surprised and disappointed to hear that. I wonder if it's because Body-chan's frame is smaller so can't take the movement as well.

PoetiQ said...

Hello again!

Do you know how well the GhostChange masks can affix to this guy's head?
I saw it in a review
(http://shishioh-image.sakura.ne.jp/imege/SHF_KAMEN_RIDER_GHOST_ORE_TAMASHII/7-10.jpg)

and I was wondering if you had any GhostChange figures to help me confirm how "snug" or "un-snug" the fit is. Thanks in advance if you're able to oblige.

Alex said...

Hello again! Unfortunately I don't have any of the GC figures so can't really help you sorry :( the only Ghost action figures I have are SHF Ghost and Specter.

PoetiQ said...

Ah-- darn again, LOL

Thanks again for the assistance, though. In the very least, can the Ghost/Specter heads fit well on the BodyKun body? (I'm desperate to make a "custom" partswap, lol)

Unknown said...

The review is very helpful. I have both of the Body-kun and Body-chan DX version. While my Body-chan works flawlessly, Body-kun seems to have some sort of problem in his right leg, particularly the joint that connects the leg with the hip I think. It can't bring the right leg up to the right side as far as the other. Do you know any way to fix this? Thank you very much.

Fabula Nova Crystallis said...

I tried to disassemble the right leg to see the problem but it's too tight.

Fabula Nova Crystallis said...

Here's the link to the photo of the problem. Above is a normal Body-kun I have and below is the one with the leg problem.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B29lB0M_6G47NGJfTktXTmNSUjg/view?usp=drivesdk

Fabula Nova Crystallis said...

I tried to disassemble the right leg to see the problem but it's too tight.

Fabula Nova Crystallis said...

The review is very helpful. I have both of the Body-kun and Body-chan DX version. While my Body-chan works flawlessly, Body-kun seems to have some sort of problem in his right leg, particularly the joint that connects the leg with the hip I think. It can't bring the right leg up to the right side as far as the other. Do you know any way to fix this? Thank you very much.

Alex said...

PoetiQ - sorry I've taken so long to get back to you! The Ghost heads fit on the blank bodies pretty well, will snap a few pics for you when I get a chance.

Fabula Nova Crystallis - Hmmm, is it a case of the joint itself being too stiff? I've been lucky in that I haven't had this issue with any of my Figuarts before, but I have come across other people with a similar problem and then swear by some stuff called Shock Oil. Apparently a few drops is all you need to make the joints work like magic.

Here's a video a friend of mine did on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9DvIOdR3sk

Fabula Nova Crystallis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fabula Nova Crystallis said...

Thank you, I will try it as soon as possible!
But I don't live in the US so I have little idea what kind of oil that one is. Is it oil for motorbikes or something?

Alex said...

I'm not in the US either so I can't say for sure, but yeah it looks like its some sort of bike lubricant. As I say collectors seem to swear by it though!

TTK said...

there is one problem I've found with the female model. In order to cut costs, they used the same holding pegs that come with the male for the female. The problem with this is that the female's wrist ball-joints are ~smaller~ than the male, so they forced the female hands onto the male holding pegs, which stretched them out so the extra hands won't fit or stay on.

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Youngue66 said...

Hi can the head be removed as I was looking at using a head from the www.that's my face. Com that I am creating or is it a fixed head that can't be removed thanks, Mark

Alex said...

Hi there! The head is on a standard ball joint so can be removed easily.

Anonymous said...

Hi, just wanted to ask if anyone else has a problem with the ankle rockers (side to side) on Body-kun. My one's ankles can't move laterally at all.

Jordan Troy said...

Yeah, the ankles are stiff on Kun, meanwhile Chan can move her ankles all over the place, but can't high kick due to reduced range of motion in the hip joints. They're still awesome dolls, though.

Airisu said...

I have just received my Body Chan DX and the left shoulder (inside the box position) does't look good, seems out of place.
Anywhere I can get information about fixing it or should I return it?!

Alex said...

Hi there! Do you have a picture of the shoulder? I might be able to give you some advice then :)

Where did you buy the figure from?

Airisu said...

@ Alex
Hello, I have bought it from Solaris Japan website.
Well there's the right shoulder that was unaligned (which I described it as left above) but after that the left arm actually came off fully and I couldn't attach it back properly.
I will send a picture to your contact mail.