[Alen Yen's ToyboxDX]

  February 11, 2001

Katoki Rising

The MSiA-like Gundam FIX action figures have been anticipated by Toybox readers since their announcement. With mecha styles adapted from Hajime Katoki's art book of the same name, these designs are some of the best presented and stylishly treated representations of Gundam armor available.

Even the box is beautiful. A transparent tray holds the figure's parts suspended in space with the dominant words "GUNDAM FIX" floating the foreground, and frosted Katoki artwork lingering behind. The back of the box reprints the relevant artwork from the pages of FIX that inspired the figure, along with concept drawings and pictures of the toy. The mecha's stats are footnoted with a laundry list of names and credits. They are quite proud of their work.

I suppose I'm a little soured at how much of a brand the Katoki name has become. He's the McFarlane of Japan. "Gee, what if Katoki did Gundam Wing designs?" The "Ka-version" becomes a cliched must-see. Ok. Perhaps that's too much of an insult. I actually love Katoki's work, however commericalized it may have become.

Gundam FIX Figuration #0001 is the FA-78-1 Full Armor Gundam, which includes an action figure and 19 pieces of accessory armor. The core figure is beautiful. This is one of the best sculpts I've ever seen of the basic RX-78 format in a toy. I especially enjoy his proportions in profile -- the protrusions from the chest, pelvis, and back are not reluctantly diminished -- rather, they are accented, giving the figure that unique Gundam character.

We've heard a lot of noise about how non-poseable this figure is. I'm not sure how that got started. It's pretty much standard PVC MSiA technology in a slightly larger form-factor with nicer paint. It has at least 19 points of articulation. While it won't win any Kadou Senshi awards for jaw-dropping poseability, it's hardly a brick. Adding the armor constricts the ankle and restricts some shoulder rotation, but considering the amount of armor it's wearing, I think the designers did a fine job. It's a walking tank, not a ballerina.

The paint greatly enhances the character of the figure. While beautiful, it feels a little fragile. However, after a full day's worth of armor "dress up" activities, the paint shows no signs of wear. The detailing in the ABS armor components is top-notch for a figure of this size. The cannon worn on the right forearm has rubber barrels that may suffer slightly from gashapon disease, but it's nothing that can't be easily ... FIXed.

I think FIX #0001 has a broad appeal ... if you're into Gundam, Katoki, MSiA, or just good action figures, it's worth consideration.

While you're reading, a quick word about the also MSiA-like "Gear Senshi in Action" toys, as we like to call them. Bandai has put out two boxed sets called the Meteor Data Files #1 and #2.

The first set includes Dendoh and his companion Data Weapons: the Unicorn Drill, Gattling Boar, and Leo Circle. The second set includes Dendoh's arch-rival Ouga, along with animal companions Viper Whip, Bull Horn, and Dragon Flare. These toys are also available as a series of carded items.

The little PVC's aren't nearly as awesome as the king-size Dendoh toys, also seen here in the Rumble. However, they do have one good thing going for them: these sets are the only way you're going to get "transformable" versions of the Data Weapons. You can see the figures equipped with weapons in these pictures ... set one, set two, and set three.

The animals are only partially articulated, but they are fairly decent sculpts with good detail. Dragon Flare is actually taller and larger than Ouga! The Dendoh animal-weapon gimmick appears to have started a trend in Japan. The idea has been copied both in Takara's upcoming Web Diver line and in Bandai/Toei's own new Gaoranger Super Sentai robot. And heck, without them, fights would just boil down to this.

Names & Players - Gundam FIX #0001 ...
    Toy manufactured by: Bandai
    Revised design & Production: Hajime Katoki
    Modeled by: Hiroyuki Komatsubara
    Original design by: Kunio Ohkawara
    Coloring: Akio Shirasaki & Rei Takanashi
    Marking: Yuji Konno & Masaaki Ishii
    Commercial Design: Daisuke Unno

Names & Players - Meteor Data Files ...
    Review toy sourced by: Robozone
    Toy produced by: Bandai
    Animation produced by: Sunrise
    Mechanical design by: B-Craft
    Televised by: TV Tokyo


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