God Gravion, Compact Sigma Version
|Character Design||Kunio Ohkawara|
|Toy Design||Hajime Takashima|
Review by The Enthusiast
A few caveats:
- I know very little about Gravion, and have no particular affection for the character or its design.
- This piece is an older, “entry-level” SHE product, so its quality may vary significantly from the company’s more substantial and current releases.
- Information about SHE’s products in English is rare, so I may be wrong about some of the particulars.
- This thing fills me with rage. I will try not to let it slip into the review, but I can’t promise anything.
Like many mecha fanboys, my jaw hit the floor when photographs began circulating of Studio Halfeye’s perfect transformation Getter. This toy was a revolution in henkei design, a beyond-intricate origami exercise executed in resin and screws, produced in a small shop, and largely the work of one man, Hajime Takashima.
More designs have followed, each an apparent wonder of engineering and innovation. The characters are (often) obscure, the photographs breathtaking. Unfortunately, these toys are laughably expensive. The cheap offerings are $80-$200, and a Perfect Change Dancouga Nova will run you $800. And again, we’re talking resin and screws, and small.
God Gravion is one of the "cheap" offerings, a "compact" model intended to appeal to people like me, curious fans who can’t afford the more substantial bots.
Reviewing this piece is really an exercise in futility. I can’t call it a toy. It’s more of a high-end collectible model which resembles a toy, but is somehow junkier than a toy. Josh often likens strange toys to folk art, and I guess that’s as good a descriptor for this as anything. Really expensive folk art. I feel like my usual frames of reference for comparison are useless.
Gravion comes packaged in an anonymous, clear plastic box (7.5" x 10" x 2.5") with photographs and text on the back. Inside, the individual pieces (the Gran Kaiser core figure and four ships), rest in a plastic vacu-formed tray. The box art unfolds to display color photographic instructions, very clear and well designed.
Accessories are packed in small ziplock bags- extra fists, a couple of swords. I believe the purple swords are of a limited edition.
Everything is cast in colored resin, which is surprisingly plasticky and solid. The dark gray resin sparkles slightly. There’s no gumminess or sliminess, and the edges are crisp. Paint apps have been used to add details. While painting has been done by hand, it’s fairly precise, although the wash used on the thigh panel lines looks like a second-rate gun-pla job.
The Gran Kaiser figure is similar in scale to Microman or G.I. Joes, 3.75” tall. It is only adequately articulated. The neck can swivel. The shoulders rotate, the arms can flap and swivel. The thighs are on ball joints, but are limited by the skirt. The knees and ankles bend. It all adds up to surprisingly limited movement. But the figure isn’t the draw here, the God Gravion formation is.
Two identical boxy ships, the G-Attacker and G-Striker, form the boots for god mode. You fold up the wings, slightly retract the cockpit, and fold out a bracket/clip piece from underneath which will lock into Gran Kaiser’s calves.
The G-Driller ship separates into two arm pieces, with the drill bits rotating into the body, the fists out.
The delta shaped G-Shadow unfolds with slick origami action (the best engineering in the whole piece) into a chest/backpack for Gravion.
To prepare the figure, you remove his hands, fold up his arms into his shoulder armor, remove a piece from the back of his head (which has fallen off by this time anyway), and fold back his feet into his calves.
Assembling all of this into God Gravion is not as easy as you might imagine. The arms plug and rotate into the shoulders, but one of mine is fitted so loosely that it barely stays in, and then only in one position. The boots lock onto the calves, but it takes some work and tightening of screws to make it hold. The chest/back attachment just rests on the shoulders, and a new headpiece swivels off of the back and plugs onto the smaller head. If you tip the figure upside-down, or just look at it wrong, it easily falls off. The final figure stands at just under 5 inches.
What next? Not much, really. You do not "pose" God Gravion so much as gently manipulate all of the pieces to look acceptable and then gingerly remove your hands, hoping that it doesn’t fall apart (it usually does).
I feel deeply unsatisfied with God Gravion. Even though I paid a fraction of the retail price, the fact that this was supposed to cost 180 bucks still bothers me. The abstract intellectual appreciation of the product just isn’t worth it. At least on this model, the engineering and design are just average. There is zero play value to this piece, nothing about it is fun.
GG is a good-looking robot, though, and at least photographs well, providing you can get the whole mess to hold together long enough to activate the shutter. After taking these photos, I feel immense sympathy for SHE’s photographer. I imagine he’s a very patient man.
|Posted 14 April, 2009 - 09:02 by The Enthusiast|