Review by The Galaxy Ranger
People have often complained that many of the mobile suits in Gundam look the same. In 1999, series creator Yoshiyuki Tomino came back to helm Turn A Gundam, a radical departure from previous series both in tone and aesthetics. Everyone complained that it was too different. In no place is the reason for this more immediately apparent than in the design of the show’s various mobile suits and mobile armors. From the massive WaDom to the extremely lanky Flat, the designs created for the show have a certain roundness and asymmetry to their designs that clash with the traditional bulky rectangular limbs seen in most Gundam shows.
Like the titular Turn A, the Turn X was designed by beloved futurist Syd Mead, and prior to its Robot Damashii debut the only other “toy” merchandise of it was the non-scale model kit released to coincide with the show. I’m going to admit right now that I have a bias; I love the designs from Turn A Gundam and the Turn X is my favorite. It even has its own suitably ominous and haunting theme song for when it finally makes its debut (amusingly named “Black History”).
This is a review of the toy not the show, however, so let’s see if Bandai did the design justice.
The Turn X was a fairly early entry in the Robot Damashii line at number 11, so it doesn’t benefit from the experience the design teams have gained over time. One notable problem is that the bulky backpack and large shoulder pads hinder some of the arm articulation. I’ve actually had the ball joints pop out at the shoulder a few times, but they easily pop back in. Articulation on the right arm is also somewhat hindered by the Turn X’s giant crab claw/seed pod thing. The poor bastard will never be able to clap his hands. Fortunately you get three left hands to make up the difference; a closed fist, a gun holding hand, and an open hand for reaching, waving goodbye, or begging for change.
The tip of the right arm can actually be removed to reveal a ball joint underneath. You can then put on either the closed or opened version of the claw. In the show this can be used for a close range sparking attack, or a large beam saber can be generated out of the middle. The Turn X doesn’t actually carry any handheld melee weapons.
You do get a nice little armory, however, in that giant purple backpack. The backpack can’t be removed, but it can be swiveled up and down. There are places to holster a beam handgun, beam rifle, beam bazooka (noticing a pattern here?), and a handheld rocket launcher. The way the rocket launcher fits into the hand makes it look more like he packed a box of missiles for lunch. The rocket launcher has a rather thin handle and can only be held in the open hand; I cracked mine trying to get it into the gun hand.
The handgun is kind of diminutive compared to everything else, but you could put it in a sideways gangsta grip and pose the Turn X in a Mexican standoff if you were so inclined. As for the beam rifle and bazooka, they fit the design, but there’s nothing particularly eye catching about them. You can have it stand there holding a comparatively small gun. Still, it’s neat to imagine the Turn X pulling out one weapon after another as it exhausts their ammunition.
Another cool feature from the show was the unit’s ability to separate its head, torso, and limbs which could then fly around independently and fire lasers from all angles. That feature isn’t included, but you can’t blame Bandai for not adding the extra cost of a stand for each body part.
If you don’t like the mint chocolate chip ice cream color, the Turn X was also released in a limited “Moonlight Butterfly” version with translucent plastic with a bluish tint. It also comes with a stand and a set of butterfly wings with the coloration of the aurora borealis (it might sound silly but if you’ve seen the show you know that the moonlight butterfly is no joke).
Despite the shortcomings it’s still a solid release from Bandai. There’s just nothing else quite like it. I wish that Bandai/Sunrise would let more outsiders do designs for their shows, but due to Turn A’s “mixed success” that probably won’t happen anytime soon. I can give the toy a recommendation, but I would like to preface it by saying that I don’t think it’s worth the $40-50 a lot of people seem to be charging for it now unless you really like the design. Then again, the odds of getting another high quality Turn X toy anytime soon are kind of low so you might want to take what you can get.
|Posted 2 November, 2011 - 20:14 by The Galaxy Ranger|