Bellerophon (Pre-production sample)
Review by JoshB
If you a regular reader of the site you're probably familiar with Armarauders, an original concept developed by artist Don Figueora. Mecha Workshop, in conjunction with Sentinel and T-Rex are producing toys from the series, the first being the signature hero mech from the series, the Bellerophon.
We've been posting news about this series on CollectionDX for what seems like years now. We've seen production art, prototypes, and other works in progress, but now we get to check out the actual (nearly) finished product.
This particular sample of the Bellerophon is a pre-production sample, so there will be some differences and improvements between this and the final retail version. I'll note the differences in the review where appropriate. This toy will be available for pre-order starting in March 2015 and will ship sometime in 3rd quarter 2015. Also, there was no retail packaging prepared for this release.
My first impression as I unwrapped this thing was that it was much bigger than expected. It's a good 12" tall and has a significant weight to it due to several die-cast parts. It feels like quality right away. In addition to the core figure there were literally dozens of baggies of parts for the figure and display stand.
No instructions though, so I was on my own there.
The toy comes with many different parts, each with fancy names:
- Javelin, 500mm Caliber, Omega-Class Long Range Anti-Vehicle Shoulder Cannon (x2)
- Ares-Class Thunderbolt Dual-Action Rifle with APP (Accelerated Proton Plasma) Cannon, and 380mm Caliber, Recoilless Railgun (X2)
- HEAP (High Explosive Armor-Piercing) 380mm Caliber, Explosive Round Magazine (X4)
- HEAP Magazine Holder (X2)
- Hydra Multi-Launch (Medium and Long Range) Missiles System (X2)
- Aegis Mark V Spaulder – Heavy Shoulder Armor (X2)
- Hoplon Composite Armor Leg Shields with Compartment (X2)
- Hoplon Composite Armor Knee Guards (X2)
- Daedalus Rocket Propelled AMP (Arial Maneuvering Pack) Short-Range Heavy Thrusters (X2)
- RAJ (Rocket Assisted Jump) Boosters (X2)
- Talaria Heel Jets (X2)
- Waster Tri-Blade Energy Blades (X2)
- Waster Tri-Blade Grip (X2)
- Jetpack with Anti-Waster Personal Artillery Cannons (X1)
- Assault Rifles (Component Backpack) (X2)
- Clear Pilot Display Stand (X1)
- Bellerophon Clear Head Dome-piece (X1)
- Cam's Custom exclusive color customizable Docking Station (10 Detachable Parts) with Working Platform and Locking System (X1)
It goes without saying, that's a lot of parts.
Before we get into the details, check out some beauty shots of the Bellerophon fully decked out with all its armor parts.
Even fully loaded, the toy is extremely poseable.
Now we will deconstruct the Bellerophon, starting with it's most basic form. At it's core is a highly articulated figure with numerous connection points across the figure.
The finish on the toy is beautiful with a matte lavender paint and finely tampo-printed details. These details consist of very mechanical warning statements. If you collected Robotech or Macross in the 80s, you're familiar with the broken english warnings of "NO STEP" and the like. These details are very reminiscent of that, only you don't have to apply the decals yourself.
It's details like this that let you know that you are in store for something special. It feels like each and every piece has some kind of tampo printed detail. A first effort from another fledgeling company might have eschewed such details, but Mecha Workshop went "all in" with the detail.
The head is on a ball joint and has a decent range of articulation. The neck has faux pistons on the back that move when tilted forward.
The dome can be removed to see the mechanical detail beneath.
If you like that look (which I do), you can preserve it with an alternate clear dome.
On either side of the head is a missile bank that is reminiscent of those on the old Macross Destroids and Armored Valkyries. The panels pull out when they open so that they have full clearance.
The shoulders are die-cast metal with a metal ball joint. The peg that connects to the shoulder armor slides up and down along the curve, and it also moves backwards on a hinge.
On each shoulder you can attach the Hydra Multi-Launch missile banks. The units are keyed in such a way that they only go on their appropriate shoulder. Once attached, they can rotate along the axis of the shoulder with a detented joint. The panels also open to reveal the two sets of non-launching missiles.
The Aegis Mark V Spaulder Heavy Shoulder Armor attach to a ball at the end of the moveable arm.
Each arm features a swivel bicep, double jointed clicky elbows, and three hardpoint connection points.
The connection system consists of a series of tabs that click in to any of the square hardpoints. Mecha Workshop has no official name for these points, so that's what I'm calling them until I hear otherwise.
The hands on the toy are glorious. I often bitch about the excess of variant hands in a toy. With the Bellerophon you get exactly ONE set of fully articulated hands that do everything you want to do. No muss, no fuss. One hand to rule them all. Bandai, take note.
Back to the back of the figure, there are four connection points. The top two are Javelin, 500mm Caliber, Omega-Class Long Range Anti-Vehicle Shoulder Cannons. On the production version the cannon barrels will separate, but on this sample they do not. The cannons connect via a hardpoint that end in a ball joint, but what's really interesting is that the cylinder that the ball joint connects to also turns. Once again, a nice added detail that is unnecessary but appreciated.
Below that you have the two Daedalus Rocket Propelled AMP (Arial Maneuvering Pack) Short-Range Heavy Thrusters. These have a different connection point than the hardpoints, and will be able to be upgraded to a larger flight unit which will be available at a later date. Both engine nozzles on each part are on ball joints.
Moving down the back you have two more thrusters which are connected via hardpoint connectors.
The legs have a wide range of motion that allows for a fantastic range of poses. Each hip has mild detents that connect to a hinge and swivel ball joint. From there you get a double jointed knee and an ankle with multiple points of movement.
The ankles have a rocker joint, they can rotate and tilt, and the toe is a separate moveable part. The feet are diecast metal.
The legs also have three hardpoints you can connect parts two. One on the knee, one on the side of the leg, and one on the back of the calf.
These Hoplon composite armor leg shields have opening panels.
For weaponry, Bellerophon has both melee and hand held projectile weapons. The Waster Tri-Blade Energy Blades are a three-pronged energy blade that are sharp enough to draw blood. The three clear green blades are removable and Bellerophon can hold it in an unactivated state.
Note that one blade is longer than the other two.
The Waster also comes with a holder that can snap into any of the hardpoints. This holder comes in two parts, and often, trying to remove the holder removes just the top instead. I found that sliding the cover is a better way to remove the Waster handle.
The Ares-Class Thunderbolt Dual-Action Rifle can be held in either hand by plugging the peg from the handle into the palm of the hand.
The gun breaks down into three separate components. four spare ammunition packs are included that can be attached to clips that can be used with any of the connection points.
The display stand can be used with or without the hangar. Without the hangar, the stand is serviceable and similar to the ones Bandai uses for it's FIX figuration figures. The front and back peg into the base, and top can extend when you lift a panel on the back. At the top is a notched joint that can only be repositioned by removing and re-inserting into the socket. The top snaps into the bottom of the figure.
Before we get to the rest of the stand, let's take a look at the pilot figure, Cam Knox.
This figure is amazingly articulated and detailed considering it's size. It's small, but they packed a lot into this little package. Check out the size comparison next to a Glyos figure.
A small stand is included, embossed with the Armarauders logo. It's clear arm is similar to a Nendoroid joint, but honestly, it's too big for the figure and pops apart each time I try to use it.
The figure is amazingly articulated. Ball joint neck, ball hinge shoulders, hinge elbows, swivel wrists, swivel chest, ball hinge hips, and hinged knees.
The figure includes a backpack that can be added by removing the head and slipping it over the shoulders. The backpack includes two poseable cannons on ball joints and a dual weapon pack.
The weapons pack splits in half in an innovative fashion to create two blasters which can peg into the hands. Pay careful attention to the small connector that holds the two blasters together. It can be lost easily.
The Cam figure can fit easily into the cockpit of the Bellerophon. To access the cockpit, Pull the front assembly out (including the head) and then split open the front in the middle.
The cockpit features a moveable control stick as well as pegged grips that the figure can actually hold onto. There's also a plug in the seat for the back of the figure to attach to.
The figure fits perfectly, and really is the model of how a cockpit and figure should be done in today's robot toys. A lot of care was taken to make sure this works right and it shows.
The stand is equally as impressive as the rest of the figure. This multi-part stand doubles as a hangar base display stand with multiple cool features.
Each side support can be put in a few different positions due to the multitude of tabs in the base. The side pylons can be adjusted to whatever height you choose , and the ramps at top can be rotated around from a pivot point at the top.
Each side also features a separately molded ladder.
The stand part we showed earlier becomes the middle part of the hangar. The whole assembly clicks together solidly. The only part I had issue with are the railings on the top which aren't securely fastened. Maybe a tighter fit or a bit of glue would help here.
Two display panels are attached to the top, and the center ramp can slide out to connect the two panels.
The whole package assembled just looks awesome. How great would this look on your shelf?
The ramp can be adjusted to the perfect height to load into Bellerophon.
The set's a bit big for Pheyden though.
Overall, this set is killer, and is a must-buy regardless or not if you are familiar with the Armarauders property. It's just so well done, and an amazing feat from a first-time toymaker. I am totally impressed.
Preorders for the Bellerophon will start in March 2015, so please visit the Armarauders Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Armarauders) to find out where and how this can be ordered.
Thanks again to Mecha Workshop for the opportunity to take a look at this fantastic toy. It's been fun to follow the progress of it's development and we are excited to see it finally see the light of day!
|Posted 6 February, 2015 - 09:50 by JoshB|