Monday 26 September 2016

Toybox REVIEW: 4InchNel Mega Man

Although Capcom haven’t really been doing the video game series any favours lately, toy companies on the other hand have really jumped on the Mega Man (or Rockman as he’s known in Japan) franchise. Some of the more notable releases include Bandai’s D-Arts figure, Good Smile’s Nendoroid and Kotobukiya’s scale model kit. But now Sentinel are also joining the party – kicking off what is hoped to be a wide range of Mega Man figures in their 4InchNel line. As the name suggests this line features figures around four inches in height, with far more affordable prices than the high-end mecha figures the company have become known for. Also released at the same time was the 4InchNel Mega Man.EXE figure, but for now we take a look at the iconic gaming character in his original and most well-known guise.

When it comes to packaging you can’t get much more basic than this. Mega Man comes in small cube-shaped box that seems needlessly thick, with minimal packaging design and a huge window to show off the figure and all of its accessories. The front or back don’t even include stock images of the figure, just the character name (‘Rockman’ as it’s a Japanese figure) and the boring technical information. The spine is about as exciting as it get, featuring a faint coloured image of the figure in an action pose. Upon opening the box you’ll find the contents printed on the inside flaps, and the figure on a standard clear plastic tray.

With minimal detailing Mega Man is hard figure to get wrong, but nevertheless Sentinel have done a great job with their attempt of the little blue robot. The colours are vibrant, the finish is nice and smooth and the face/detailing is all flawlessly painted. The four inch scale works as the perfect compromise between the taller depiction of the character seen in some art/figures and the squatter proportions seen in the games. It feels like just about the right scale for Mega Man, looking great alongside most other similarly scaled toylines you may want to pair him up against.

Articulation on the whole is good, but definitely problematic in some areas. Specifically the shoulders, which are attached to the torso via a ball-joint and have the tendency to pop off at a moment’s notice. The frustrating bit is that the shoulder piece is then difficult to lock back on securely, leading to it falling off all the more. The hips don’t really have the greatest range of motion either, despite being attached to what look to be ball joints. The rest however is pretty great, especially the neck which can be extended to give the head better reach in certain poses. The large feet make posing nice and simple as well, with Mega Man able to hold a pose well despite any limitations you might come across.

A lower price also means a smaller accessory count, as Mega Man comes packaged with an alternate pair of open hands, an additional concentrating/grimacing faceplate and his trademark Mega Buster cannon (connected to an alternate lower right arm). Interestingly swapping the faceplates does not require removal of the whole head or the helmet’s front section – it can simply be pulled out from below and replaced accordingly. Swapping the hands and arm is also nice and simple thanks to the long tabs on the joints they connect to. The accessory count is somewhat reflective of the price, but compared to the great selections provided by the D-Arts and Nendoroid figures Sentinel’s offering comes off looking rather bare.

So with the figure being so small and coming with few accessories, you’re probably asking yourself why exactly Mega Man comes in such a thick box? Well the answer is that Sentinel also packed in an articulated stand to go with the figure, which is great but the base is FAR bigger than it needs to be. The stand is Sentinel’s usual square gridded base with a clip-on arm piece, but with a four inch high figure it all seems just a bit excessive. The stand isn’t much smaller than the one that was included with Riobot Gurren Lagann, which is both much larger and more expensive. That said, one thing Sentinel can’t be faulted for is the quality of the stand – it’s thick and sturdy, the arm moves well and the claw holds onto the figure brilliantly.

Had I been in the market for a high quality Mega Man figure with great articulation and a wide range of accessories I’d be pretty underwhelmed by the 4InchNel Mega Man. As it happens though I wasn’t – all I needed was an affordable, decent quality figure that scaled well with the rest of my Nintendo/Smash Bros. figures and that’s exactly what I got. 4InchNel Mega Man is a decent figure, but doesn’t really carry that high Sentinel quality they’re known for/I’ve seen in the past. For a shelf-filler this iteration will do wonderfully, but for the more die-hard Mega Man fans there are definitely other ones out there that are more bang for your buck. That said, with Sentinel poised to expand this line exponentially should sales go well you might want to consider supporting this release anyway. Oh the trials of being a Mega Man fan…

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