Thursday 21 January 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Super Saiyan Vegeta -Premium Color Edition-

One of the biggest problems of the Dragon Ball Z range of S.H. Figuarts is that most of them have been Tamashii web exclusives. This essentially means that most of the cast has been limited to one initial run, and the constant reissuing of the lines few early retail releases (Super Saiyan Goku, Gohan and Piccolo) are enough to make up for this. Characters such as Vegeta and Trunks fetched ludicrous prices on the aftermarket, so Bandai Tamashii Nations decided to get in on the action themselves with new Premium Colour Editions. While basically re-releases of the original figures, they have also been given a more accurate colourscheme to get around the usual “one and done run” of web exclusives. First up is Super Saiyan Vegeta, which was originally released back at the tail end of 2011. Trunks is set to follow in January 2016, with Super Saiyan 3 Goku seen at events and Perfect Cell also rumoured to make an appearance again sometime this year.

Vegeta's box is in the standard style used for the Dragon Ball Z Figuarts, adopting a more fitting blue and yellow colourscheme as opposed to the original's red. Just as well really, because the "-Premium Color Edition-" text is fairly tiny and could be easily missed by someone who might not know which version of the figure they're looking at. Interestingly while none of the poses pictured on the back of the box are the same as the ones featured on the original, it still retains the "KAKAROT!!!!!" font that previously adorned the box - although it is sadly lacking the equally gaudy "BIGBANG ATTACK!!!!!" caption. 

The obvious thing to address first here is to reiterate the fact that this is in no way a new figure, but a straight repaint of the original 2011 Super Saiyan Vegeta. Whereas the original version used a much more muted colourscheme presumably based on the manga art, the Premium Colours edition instead turns to the anime for inspiration with a much more vibrant look and added gold tips to the boots. Though the original has its charm, the mould itself has definitely benefitted from a new paint job with the Prince of Saiyans looking more striking than ever. The panel lining is an especially nice touch. However the one area where that perhaps hasn't benefitted from the overhaul is the hair. It doesn't look bad (in fact the colour gradient looks fantastic), but the rich yellow doesn't look right compared to the other Super Saiyan releases - especially the recent Awakening Version Goku. The glossy plastic is also nowhere near as aesthetically pleasing as the matte finish used there, and as a result makes Vegeta look rather tacky by comparison. 

While the sculpt is fairly solid the mould begins to show its age when it comes to poseability. Lacking the more modern hip engineering is one thing, but Vegeta doesn’t even have the swing-down hip structure that has been a staple of the Figuarts line for several years now. As such the hips have a fair range of motion, but it feels pretty unremarkable compared to what other older entries in the line are capable of. There’s no torso joint to speak of either, with the waist handled by a rather bizarre balljoint that pops upward – adding motion but at the same time noticeably breaking up the sculpt. The rest of the body however utilises the standard Figuarts build – even managing to sneak a bicep swivel into the mix as well.

The accessory count here is also identical to the original release, and with that in mind it does feel rather generous but at the same time the lack of any effect parts is likely to irk some buyers (I use this opportunity again to point out the great work Can of Beams does). Included here are two additional faceplates (a cocky smirk and screaming face to go with the standard scowl), along with another three pairs of hands to compliment the fists. These include a number of different ones suitable for Vegeta’s various special attacks, including the Galick Gun and Big Bang Attacks. The faceplates deserve praise for really capturing Vegata’s personality, with the smirk especially good for that period where he was still a massive dick to everyone.  Unfortunately the peg system used for the alternate faces (which is comprised of both the face and the front part of the hair) is pretty crude, with one of them even having the pegs at a completely different angle to the rest of them. This can lead the face not really clicking into place as well as it could, leaving a rather unsightly gap if not forced into place.

While this figure’s status as a straight repaint is the undoubtedly the main reason for the unchanged accessory count, it’s worth mentioning that the promotional images for the figure online (but not the back of the box) advertise it alongside the Tamashii Effects Aura effect parts – so Bandai are probably pretty keen for buyers to get that to go alongside it.

While Premium Colour Super Saiyan Vegeta comes as a godsend to Dragon Ball Z Figuarts collectors who missed out on the original figure’s run, it’s been four years since then and this mould is really beginning to show its age. Honestly Vegeta’s treatment in the line has been rather baffling in general. You have Goku and Trunks getting brand new superior moulds at retail and Beerus joining them, yet you’ve got one of the best developed characters in the show constantly trailing behind as a constantly retooled web exclusive. It’s still a reasonably good figure and the more accurate deco is a nice touch, but that isn’t enough to hide how much this figure pales in comparison to Awakening Goku and how Vegeta deserves much better treatment. This is a figure that will undoubtedly be picked up to fill a hole in some collections, but the release itself feels more like a placeholder gap than anything else.

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