Xeku with MachineMirror
Review by Wallas
Hello there, I'm Wallas, a new writer here on CDX. Before I start my review, I must tell some tech stuff. This is my first review, so please be understanding if I make some style mistakes ^^ Also, I will use the writing scheme that is common on my very own Transformers site. And finally, I may be pretty advanced in English, but it's still my second language (I come from Poland). So don't kill me if it won't sound like a native's article :) Ok, time for the fun part!
My adventure with this toy began quite accidentally- I'm a Transformer collector and although I do like Japan toys (on my PC's screen), I had never had personal contact with any of them, especially Microman toys. That is, until one day someone sold two Microman Biomachine toys on our local auction site. I wasn't quite interested but after 3 months of failing to sell those sets, the seller lowered the price to about $5 per piece. Then, out of simple curiosity, I began to consider purchasing them and made some small research on those toys. The results were promising enough for me to buy both Microman sets. Were they worth it? Read on and try to guess :P
Umm... don't expect to find any plot-related stuff here, I'm as new to this as you guys ^^ All I know that Microman are some kind of miniature cyborgs fighting with their evil counterparts...
For starters, let's check out the box. Though it may look like your standard blister-on-card package for smaller toys, this one has few very nice features. Apart from specific graphical design (I'll leave judging whether it's nice to you), from the technical side, it's far better than, for example, TF Deluxe boxes. Especially when it comes to opening it. Usually companies like Hasbro (or even Takara with their other releases) simply glue the blister to the card, which is quite irritating for collectors who wish to preserve the box in the best possible shape. But it's not that easy when you must literally tear the box apart to reach the toy inside. Even if you decide to cut the blister with something sharp, it still doesn't look too nice. That's why I was so pleased to notice that with Microman it's completely different. Here, the blister isn't glued to the front of the card. Instead, it's side and bottom edges partly cover the back of the card and are stuck together with transparent gluetape. So, to open the toy, you simply cut the tape and slide out the card. This way you can have the box in exactly the same state as it was before opening. Brilliant! Also, unlike most US toys where figure and all it's belongings are place on a single tray filling the whole blister, here, the accessories and the main figure are stored on separate trays (and in the way that all smaller extra parts are hidden behind the figure). All the paper sheets included to the toy are hidden inside the card (it's double-layered). So in general a viewer has a feeling of order when looking at this box.
After dealing with the holding measures (which are effective but also easy to remove), we get to see Xeku, Microman included in this particular set. And I admit it, even while not being a big fan of human action figures, the look of this one simply impressed me. Very human-like proportions, nice pallete of colors, as well as simple but eye-catching design of the suit. Its purpose isn't obvious when you first look at it, but it's just a fine piece of a battle suit (Power Ranger costumes go home!).
About the colors again. Xeku is made mostly from semi-transparent dark blue plastic. We can also see many red metallic parts of the armor, accompanied by a single white metallic chest part (white is also the color of the hands). The finishing touches consist of many small, orange paint apps all over the figure, as well as silver,chromed head (this is something like a recognition sign for the whole Microman series). And I admit, it's a nice color scheme... the only problem with it is that the red tends to wear off at those pegs on shoulders...not a big deal for me, as it's not that visible, though.
Now, a close-up for the upper body. The chrome head mentioned before is nicely shaped. Not very detailed, but still you can see hair or eyebrows. Not bad for a 3 1/2 inch figure if you ask me. Also, the red chest plate is shaped after the emblem of this very character (the emblem is visible in the right upper corner of the box). Nice!
Time for another important matter in this toy aside form it's looks. Microman was always known for poseable figures, but when Takara introduced so-called Full Action Body system a few years ago, Microman became one of the most poseable toy series up to date and even now it's no less impressive than the Revoltech line. Just look at the example poses above. It doesn't look much until you look up the numbers- each Biomachine Microman features 30 points of articulation which include double knee and elbow joints, double shoulder ball joints and more. Plus, each figure has it's own 6 sets of interchangeable hands. This gives you a lot of possible configurations and poses. I think it would be really hard to run out of new ideas at some point.
Xeku also includes a small elliptic stand made from transparent plastic. It features two phrases - "Micro size action figure" and "Microman since 1974". That's what I call a long tradition. Aside from these, in the center of the stand there's also a carving of a Microman with his legs and arms stretched... An obvious reference to Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, but it's a very nice touch. The stand also includes two pegs- one that is compatible with Full Action Body figures (like Xeku), the other one is to make the stand work with older Microman toys. although the stand is done nicely, it's not much really. I mean, compared to standard Revoltech stands that allow you to create jumps, powerkicks or other airborne poses, this one allows you only to support ground-based setups. But maybe it's just me with my big requirements, you still can manage some nice poses anyway.
But, unlike Revoltech, Micromen actually have something like storage for hands not used at the moment. Basically, it's just a transparent connector that keeps all spare limbs together, but it sure makes losing these parts a lot harder.
Now it's time to introduce the main feature of the Biomachine sub-line, the Biomachine itself!. The main idea behind Xeku and his buddies was to provide each Microman with his own, unique set of accessories (like it does in most Microman toys). In Biomachine they take shape of futuristic vehicles like the one above. In Xeku's case it's a small combat hovercraft dubbed MachineMirror (probably due to the use of anti-gravity drive). And I must say, it looks interesting. It's shape isn't maybe obvious, but thankfully no one has yet definitely determined how a futuristic hovercraft should look like, so it's not a bad thing. Especially that the specific shape is partly due to the special feature that can be used when all four Biomachines are gathered in one place- they can combine to form a huge exo-frame robot (Bio-suit) piloted by one of the Micromen (still need the other two to perform that, so no pictures of the combined form now, sorry ^^).
But I would also like to mention other things about MachineMirror apart from its general mold. For example, the color scheme. Basically, the main structure is pure chrome, which is simply awesome. I guess the Mirror nick of this vehicle can also refer to the fact, that everything around it reflects on its surface and it really looks good. It's almost like this machine was built from liquid metal (similar to T-1000 from Terminator 2). Add really nice level of details and you get small, but a really nice piece of toy (I guess it's not hard to consider Biomachine sets as two separate toys). Another thing that catches the eye is the weaponry- MachineMirror is equipped with a medium size laser cannon, as well as four smaller blasters on sides. For a vehicle of it's size (check out the Mirror/Xeku comparison shot) it's more than enough.
Another nice (and maybe not 100% obvious) feature of MachineMirror is to drive Xeku around- it has two small handles on the back which our Microman can grab- when you fit Xeku there, he looks quite similar to a motorcycle driver. Unfortunately, it's not that easy to make it look right. First, it's hard to make Xeku grab the handles- you have to use a dedicated pair of hands and it's still hard to place them right. Then, when you're done with that, you must also pose Xeku properly (like on the picture above and believe me, it only looks easy, unless you have a third hand, of course. You see, you use one hand to hold Machinemirror, the second to adjust Microman. But when we talk about hyper-posable toys like this, usually when you adjust one part, the others changes their earlier position...so it's really a pain in the butt to do it properly. Thankfully, Takara equipped Mirror with two pegs on top. You can plug Xeku's feet there, so that he can surf/skate on his vehicle.. or do other interesting things related to transportation :).
You thought that's all this set has got? Not a chance. For you see, some parts of MachineMirror are made of the same transparent dark blue plastic as Xeku's main body. And apart from the piece on the main gun, all these parts disconnect from our hovercraft...to become Xeku's armor. This is called the BioTech mode and I simply love it. Not only does it look great (the transparency of those parts make them look as if they were taken from Tron), but also doesn't really decrease Xeku's poseability much. Plus, parts that were laser barrels before, now form a spear that can be used as Microman's personal weapon. Pure awesomeness if you ask me. Ok, time for some pics so you can get the idea how BioTech mode works :)
Finally, the partly disassembled MachineMirror can stll work as Xeku's vehicle, even if he's in BioTech mode.
And the last pic in the review, a group shot of all parts included this set. Oh, I almost forgot- the US version of this toy (like mine) has a promo DVD included. It's not much- you have all Biomachine's members short profiles, a short commercial and a two-minute overview of Microman line up to Biomachine. still, if you get it for free (the set costs the same amount of money as the Japan release), it's welcomed :)
To conclude, I didn't expect so much nice features form such a small and cheap toy. I highly recommend Xeku as well as other Biomachines- for someone who's new to the Microman line (like me), it's a perfect toy to get enthusiastic about these figures. An "A" score from me :)
|Posted 25 March, 2008 - 14:52 by Wallas