Wednesday 11 June 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Armin Arlert

Figma Armin Arlet from Attack on Titan

When you're collecting popular Japanese toylines, it's near impossible to complete a full set of something with running into some sort of limited edition exclusive. And naturally this rule applies to any of those collecting the Attack on Titan Figma. Mikasa and Eren made it through as mass releases in will soon be joined by Levi at the end of this month, but poor old Armin Arlert wasn't so lucky. Starting out as a Winter Wonderfest exclusive earlier this year, it wasn't long before Good Smile Company were offering him out to international fans exclusively via their webstore for a July release. However if you were lucky enough to attend a convention GSC were also appearing at, then you had your chance to get a hold of one early...


Familiar back box pictures2 trays of exclusiveness

Exclusive Figma don't receive any special treatment when it comes to packaging, so Armin comes in the plain old new style box. The key to knowing he's an exclusive however is in the numbering - where as mainline Figma follow a standard numbering order, exclusives come under an "EX" list with Armin registered as EX-017. While the layout is exactly the same, Armin has a nice mustard yellow as his base colour which is not only fitting for him but separates him from the rest of the Titan Figma boxes. So we've had red (Mikasa), blue (Eren) and yellow so far - who's better Levi's is going to be green?

Your face when you find out he's an exclusive

Kinda looks like a girl...Buttshot

Even though Armin commands a more premium price than his mass-released compatriots, Max Factory's superb sculpting on these figures is definitely worth the price. Even though on first glance they all look similar because its mostly the same uniform, once in-hand you really begin to notice the more subtle differences about them. The most obvious one being that they're all wearing different tops under that Survey Corps jacket, but even little things like the muscle shape in the neck isn't the same. A momentary problem with Armin's arm popping out while posing also brought my attention to something I hadn't noticed/mentioned in my previous reviews. Rather than having a joint stuck firmly in the shoulder, the arm is connected by a straight ball/socket without any sort of tab keeping it in. It still manages to stay in really snuggly (the arm coming out was my own fault), but with this type of joint any sort of accidental pressure shouldn't result in breakage. Combined with the detailed sculpt, fantastically done ball-jointed hands and general amazing articulation, these Figmas are quickly becoming the best engineered toys in my collection.


Trying to be badassFailing to be badass

Once again Max Factory straddle the line of good and bad when it comes to accessories, offering a whole heap of goodies with Armin yet nothing to really make him special from the rest. As a more-expensive figure, this is where little things like this really count. Even if it was just his book or some bits of beat-up 3D gear, it would have been something to make that extra cost a little easier to swallow. While you can't excuse Max Factory for skimping, what's on show here won't be of any surprise to those familiar with the line already. Altogether we have three alternate faces (smiling, scared and very scared/angry/taking my salute seriously...a great multitasking face!), 10 interchangeable hands and a soft plastic Survey Corps poncho.

Spider-Armin, Spider-Armin...

Armin need to be crazy badass more oftenGood ol' Figma stands

The main accessory event is of course the 3D Gear - a piece large enough to warrant its own set of accessories. Once securely plugged into the figure via the back, hips and legs, the 3D Gear will freely move about with the figure without getting in the way of posing (although balance without the included stand is severely limited). From there you have a variety of different things that can plug into the Gear in various places - twin blades, grappling hooks (both anime-accurate decorative ones and proper working hooks on string) and three gas cloud effect parts. While the two smaller ones simply plug into the side of the grappling hooks, the larger one acts as an additional piece between the figure and stand - not only allowing Armin to jut out further but also giving him a lot more freedom to move about without having a huge plug in his back.

The 3D Gear is still lots of fun, but with Armin not really having any notable scenes using it isn't quite as wow-inspiring as its inclusion with Eren and Mikasa. Don't get me wrong Armin would feel naked without it, but if anyone is least likely to be posed in gas-blasting, sword-slashing poses -it's him.

The gang's all here

104th Training CorpsThat hand-biting moment

While Armin is my favourite Attack on Titan character (badasses are a dime a dozen, it's the clever one that appeals to me in this show) and this Figma oozes the same quality that made the last two releases so special, I find it hard to recommend him in the same way. Essentially he is double the price of the general retail releases (and that's going by GSC's RRP), with only the base figure itself being the 'new' item in the package. As I said earlier this is where unique accessories would have worked far better for the line, giving buyers more incentive to pay premium prices for a character who spends the majority of the show overshadowed by others. It also doesn't help that with GSC's online preorders closed there's no determining how much this guy is going to fetch on the aftermarket. Attack on Titan is a VERY popular series after all. Make no mistake the quality is there, but how much you're prepared to pay is the real deciding factor here.

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