|Character Design||Hajime Katoki|
Review by Gunpla Rob
The best thing I can think of to summarize Super Robot Wars is love at first sight. The robots look great, and they breathe fresh air into a heavily Gundam populated market of models. Although they share a few traits to their Mobile Suit brethren, Super Robot Wars’ local machines have something more to offer.
From Hit Point Battles to Hobby Shop Shelves
As far as I know, the origin of Super Robot Wars began with a Super Deformed Side scrolling RPG Battle game series. There are roughly two versions the first is similar to Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros only starring robots from just about every anime ever made. The second title has no official cameos, instead focusing on a story line of its own going by the tag “Original Generation.” In the far future, a series of meteors fell to Earth with proof of an advanced alien intelligence sparking the heavy machine industry of giant robots. Unlike Gundam whose machinery are the Mobile Suits, SRW’s machines are called Personal Troopers, which works both to distinguish the series’ mecha from other series, and as a set up for each machine’s personal appearance. Some are mass produced where as the majority of all Personal Troopers are one of a kind machines. Some Personal Troopers fight solo whereas some are elite combat teams such as the ATX and SRX teams.
With the increasing popularity of the SRW: OG series, a three volume OAV series was released. Breaking the barrier of the game series’ Robot Proportions, the Super Deformed heroes of the game series are full figured fighting machines. The OAV acts like a sequel to the games and the characters are predominantly established such as the legendary status of the ATX pilot team and the unmatched coordination of the SRX team. After the short success of the OAV, a new full length series has been produced called Super Robot Wars Original Generation -Divine Wars-. This time, the series begins from a beginning of sorts and focuses on the early days of the SRX pilot team.
In the midst of the pixilated success, Super Robot Wars settled with Kotobukiya, Bandai’s little brother of the model kit industry. Produced through Banpresto, a subsidiary of Bandai’s primary hobby works, the models from Super Robot Wars are done in full body proportions. While Kotobukiya prides itself in its resin cast models, Super Robot Wars has steadily increased the number of plastic injection kits like the megalithic Bandai. Contrary to the Bandai standard however, Super Robot Wars has only used 1/144 scale forms to attract builders. Another change is the sharpness of some parts and the quality of the plastic. The downside to the Kotobukiya brand of model is the price tag, making kits cost twice the price of a Bandai production of the same scale. In any case, the Super Robot Wars kits have made their presence known.
Endo Field, On! Tronium Engine, Full Drive! Let’s go! VARIABLE FORMATION!
While the most of SRW’s machines range from the Gundam-esque to the completely unique to the series, none can bridge the gap like the Super Robot X-type. The SRX-00 is the combination of the ‘R’ series Personal Troopers: R-1, R-2, and the R-3. The R-3 is a sleek feminine design docked with an aerial assault unit similar to the GP-03 Dendrobium in a smaller scale which makes the SRX-00’s waist and legs. The R-2 is a stout machine with heavy mounted cannons on its back. Its mass creates the bulk of the body and arms. Finally the R-1 is the most ‘Gundam’ like out of the three with its humanized face and the added ability to transform into an aerial assault mode almost identical to the Wave Rider mode of the Gundam Zeta Plus series. This becomes the core of the SRX-00 and also forms the head. While the end result of the combination is no Voltron it does stack up into a powerful display.
Variable Formation: Some Assembly Required
Coming out of the box, the SRX-00 is done in ‘Non-Scale’ but its size translates into something a little over the standard 1/144 scale. Although it is a combining robot, none of the components separate to become their individual Personal Troopers. This same treatment was done before for another SRW model, the (RW-1) R-Gun which is also a component of the SRX arsenal. Fortunately Kotobukiya plans to make amends for fans of the individual R series with 1/144 offerings of the R-1 and the R-2 Powered, at this time there is no information on the R-3.
The plastic injection comes in the primary colors of the machine: Red, Blue, Yellow, White, and Gray. Unlike some kits where paint requirements are some color not in the plastic, the paint work is comprised of the SRX-00’s primary colors on different areas. As always, additional detail requires some ink work. Parts are done in duplicate runners for sake of simplifying construction of the limbs and also cutting production costs. Another one of Kotobukia’s simplifying techniques is the pre-painted parts for eyes. While the SRX-00’s face is a wide visor helmet, its main visor is pre painted black on blue parts. Of course, also another Bandai standard of polycaps and rubber joints are included for stability and articulation.
Super Robot, Invisible beneath the heavens! Come Forth!
The head of the SRX-00 is what might seem as one of the oddest bits for a combined super robot. Normally this is associated with a human face like Voltron or some battle mask wearing god like Godannar. Instead we get something that looks, well, like it does. Not that this is bad, it just sets SRX-00 apart from its predecessors. Construction of the head is made of a 12 part assembly. Where Bandai would have simplified construction, Kotobukiya put forth every chance for detail they could with added construction. There is a mild amount of paint work needed here, such as the foils on the back of the head and the smaller visor points off to the sides of the main visor. The only downside is comparing the head to the rest of the body the head is so small and flat compared to the larger bulk of the rest of the body. For those wondering how this fits into the separation of the R-series, the head is made up of the body of R-1’s flight mode nosecone which is transformed into its shield for its robot mode.
The torso is the largest assembly of small parts I’ve seen in a while. The final construction is a robust, broad body with a ball joint in its midsection for articulation. Due to the fact that it is made up of so many small parts, the torso remains very static. Had it any more articulation, the chances are far more likely it’ll fall over or collapse under its own weight. The torso is where the most of the paint work is, with the detail points such at the waist needing to be painted yellow and other micro points scattered all around the assembly. With all of the small parts it takes to make one portion, you can see how the SRX-00 is the combination of three other, completely unique robots into one. Proof of this would be the waist which is actually the torso for the R-3, the shoulders and hip armor which are the feet and arms of the R-2, and the midsection and back which are clearly the R-1 as a whole. Although static, the torso easily holds its weight and can be easily posed even with its half frozen assembly.
The arms of the SRX-00 are made from the cannons mounted on the back of the R-2 Powered (Powered being the SRW term for heavily armored versions of each Personal Trooper). This is the natural answer for why the finger tips look like gun barrels. Construction is the same for both the left and right arms, overall fitting the standard set with your average high grade with a fair amount of assembly and inner subassembly work. While the most of the assembly is in final colors, the arms do have some striping to be done, as well as a touch of red into these cut outs in the center of the shoulders. What bothered me at the start of the build was the fact that the top of the shoulders needed to be painted white. With all of the small parts and narrow panel pieces put into building this kit, we couldn’t get a one inch flat white plate to fit into the area. The one peeve aside, the arms are relatively tight.
Continuing with the arms, the SRX-00 has two sets of hands and one weapon hand. The hands are constructed in about four parts each made up of the palm, fingers, the back hand and the thumb. The assembly is a nice change of pace from recent kits where the extra hands are solid pieces. The paired hands are closed fists and the fingers spread out in a dramatic form. The single weapon hand is constructed in the same manner except that the fingers do not sit as flush to the palm so it can hold its weapon.
The legs are made of the R-3 and its added flight unit (I call it the R-3 Powered). The key points that show this are the thighs which are clearly the R-3’s legs folded up and arms locked into the sides. From the knee down is the Powered unit, divided in half and forming the bulk of the legs. The assembly for the legs is the mirror opposite on either side. This marks the third and final time the SRX-00 shows any individual assembly. Construction is hefty, and layered to make up the multicolored areas fit without needing paint. There is some paint work, such as the vents and assorted panel markings. There is the reoccurring detail point of the red cut outs (as seen on the shoulder) done in knee guard and the ankles. Articulation is limited, due mostly to the fact that the legs are holding the weight of the rest of the model. The hips are articulated via ball joints, and the knees are hinged with a nearly 90 degree range. The ankles are articulated via ball sockets and polycaps and have some range of motion. However it is limited greatly due to the aforementioned reasons. Overall, even with the woes of limited articulation, the legs are great. The detail is solid and the construction works well to represent what it is made from.
The final piece to the SRX-00 is its energy sword which is made from the nose of the R-1’s shield and flight mode nosecone. The sword comes in three parts, the grip, hilt, and blade. The grip is white, but needs to be painted red along its base and yellow in the shallow cut outs above that. The blade is well over 4 and a half inches long and molded in solid green plastic. The edges of the blade are sharp, nearly enough to draw blood if used as an actual blade. Although the hilt needs to remain removable from the grip, it does not hurt to glue the blade to the hilt for stability. While fitting for SRX-00’s primary weapon to be given as the model’s accessory, it hurts it for being the ONLY accessory. On the other hand there really isn’t anything to give the mighty super robot. The only thing I could hope for as an accessory would be a non scale R-Gun transformed into its Metal Genocider mode and another weapon hand to hold it. Sadly this would be one of those times where production costs outweigh the wanted arsenal.
Overall I have come to love the Super Robot Wars model kits, and the SRX-00 is a shining example of how great they have become. While the SRX-00 lacks the ability to become its individual units, it makes up for that with a great construction value which showcases all three of them equally. If you want to build a robot that isn’t a Gundam, I highly recommend this kit or this entire line.
|Posted 13 March, 2007 - 08:37 by Gunpla Rob|