Saint Seiya Sagittarius
Review by Showapop
Spiral Zone Saint Seiya Sagittarius
Whereas the Spiral Zone Kamen Rider Black was pure toy and The SFG Spiral Zone line proper was a fine balance between toy and model kit, the Spiral Zone Saint Seiya Sagittarius and Gemini were pure model kit.
From a line of figures that is already obscure to begin with I introduce to you one of the three rarest items in the entire Spiral Zone line, Saint Seiya Sagittarius. I believe Bandai was headed in the right direction when they began to manufacture other character properties using the Spiral Zone’s 36-point articulation Systeminjection figures. 1987 was the third and last year of Spiral Zone production and it was in that year they would introduce to the market three non-SFG Spiral Zone figures using the Spiral Zone bodies as the center of the deluxe figure release.
For all I know Bandai only released these three non Spiral Zone deluxe figure sets, but I would not be surprised if we discover more figures of other character properties produced. If I had not seen these when they were originally released in 1987 I would not have even known they existed, as there is still little or no Internet or published information on these figures.
I had always wondered why only Sagittarius and Gemini were released by Bandai in this form but after reading another Collection DX review of the excellent Saint Cloth Myth Sagittarius Aiolos I now understand both Gemini and Sagittarius characters were the main exciting incident characters of the Saint Seiya TV show. I also believe that by Bandai releasing the two Gold Saints chrome gold figures first, it would make a very attractive standout toy.
Typically, being a Japanese toy collector in the 1980’s we had a lot of great toys available to us but the anime themselves were still quite elusive and expensive to the average American kid. I always admired the look of Saint Seiya armor but other than the armor being made of metal, I never liked the look of the figures that were released at the time as they were completely out of proportion and had the Super Sentai toy curse of the female figures used the same bodies as the males.
So when Sagittarius and Gemini were released with the more accurate and attractive Spiral Zone figures I had to purchase one. Unfortunately, I never was able to purchase Gemini, as for some strange reason was nearly double the price of Sagittarius with Sagittarius being priced at $25.00 and Gemini priced at $45.00. Years later I still have not seen one for sale but the sad part is I had Gemini in my hands and to this day I wonder what lucky kid in Los Angeles owns it and will it ever make it into my possession again?
Gemini was a great looking figure and the only Spiral Zone figure released with a supernatural appeal, as his head was molded in purple/blue with eyes painted only as white. If you know of a Spiral Zone Gemini offered for sale please feel free to email me at Uplandmod@hotmail.com, it would be much appreciated!
Sagittarius includes: 1X 36 point Systeminjection figure (8 parts to be assembled), 3x screws, 2x pivot washers, 3x Gold plated Chrome sprue, 1x black sprue, 1x instruction sheet.
Unlike the other Spiral Zone releases Sagittarius was released in a model kit style box with a full-color lid with two clear windows exposing the chrome parts and Spiral Zone figure. The bottom part of the box is plain cardboard which is a complete let down as Spiral Zone boxes rear artwork is always one of the best selling points of the line. But the cover artwork is well done with Sagittarius in a fighting stance in front of Greek ruins afloat in space with Gemini glaring down on him.
Before assembling Sagittarius I suggest purchasing a good set of sprue cutters from a hobby shop to get a nice clean cut of the parts off the sprue. Keep in mind that the Sag armor is molded in gold chrome and accordingly the plastic used in molding chrome is a bit harder and brittle than regular plastic found in toys and model kits. A small sized Phillips crosshead screwdriver is also needed to assemble the Spiral Zone figure. Give yourself about a three-hour build time to cut the parts off the sprue and assemble Sagittarius.
For many reasons, as stated previously, Sagittarius is pure model kit. Bandai asks the builder to many things that were not previously asked to do on the other Spiral Zone releases. First off Bandai asks the builder to not only assemble the figure but to paint the figure as well. Spiral Zone figures always came in real cloth uniforms but the Sagittarius figure red under suit needs to be painted onto the figure and the hands need to be painted gold. Normally a second set of “gloved” hands would include molded in the color that was needed and can be switched out with “flesh” hands.
Instead of a second separate sprue being included with the darker bronze colored armor parts of the headdress, skirt armor, heel wings, arrow and bow, Bandai asks you to paint those parts with clear dark yellow. Years ago I wisely made the right decision to not paint any of the parts and it is not an issue if you do not decide to paint Sagittarius as it is still a great looking figure when not painted.
Once the parts are cut off the sprue assembling the armor to the figure is very quick. Be careful not to break off any of the pins into the female side of the armor parts. All the parts hold on well to the figure except the shoulder armor and heel wingtips. They could prove bothersome when trying to display the figure. The gold chrome still looks bright 21 years later and have not flaked off the plastic or faded.
The weapons include a bow and arrow, with the arrow being an extremely fragile part. It is best to keep it in a safe place of the figure holder when not on display. When it comes to Spiral Zone figures 36-point mobility, the ease of display comes down if the owner decides how much they want to loosen the figure as they are quite stiff when one first open the package. Figure mobility is based on that issue, which could pose a problem if you want to display Sag in the arrow firing position and the figure is still stiff.
As stated before with the other character likenesses such as Kamen Rider Black and Yutaka’s Chirico Cuvie Spiral Zone style figure, I like it when Bandai sculpted licensed characters as Spiral Zone Figures and Sagittarius is no exception. Sagittarius sculpt is a great likeness of the character and is about the only feature that I think is superior to the otherwise better produced and current Saint Cloth Myth s Sagittarius figure. An odd feature to note is the two small bumps on the side of the head that the headdress attaches to, which is not featured on any of the other Spiral Zone figures.
Most of the build time is spent on building the centaur figure, which I believe is the weakest part of this release. One of the tenants of a Spiral Zone figure is that the set should not need any type of glue to assemble the figure or armor. Although the centaur figure itself is easily built it is completely loose and falls apart quite easily. Putting the armor on is a disaster as the figure quite simply falls apart or the parts fall off the figure. To take the photo for this review was a nightmare just to balance the figure just right and even then I still think I did not get the shot I wanted.
The centaur has no mobility what so ever. One suggestion is to glue the centaur together and I believe it should hold up quite well but as a Spiral Zone release I do not think I should have to do that. I also do not believe the figure represents the strength of the centaur personality adequately. On the positive the figure looks awesome when one puts the headdress on the black centaur figure as it has a cool and creepy look to it.
The great mystery of the Gemini and Sagittarius releases is were there more Saint Seiya Spiral Zone figures released as the box states it is kit “15”? Or is it a continuation of other basic Saint Seiya model kits that were released at the time? Could it be a continuation of the Spiral Zone Acts 1-12 with Kamen Rider Black being kit 13, Gemini kit 14 and Sagittarius being the last kit with 15? But that is based on if Gemini is kit 14 which I do not know at the moment. Regardless I find the “15” quite cryptic.
The pendulum swings wild on this one. If you are a hardcore Saint Seiya collector it is a definite pick up for the collection for its odd historical footnote and extreme rarity involved with the piece. If you are looking for great representation of this figure I guide you to the current Saint Cloth Myth release of this figure that is currently being produced. The new Saint Seiya releases are brilliant in design and look great on the display shelf. Unlike the regular Spiral Zone figures, SZ Sagittarius has been out classed by the current Saint Cloth Myth release of this character. Besides only two figures were released as Spiral Zone figures while new Saint Seiya figures have been going strong, with new releases every few months.
As for the Spiral Zone collector it is a must own as it is another great Spiral Zone Systeminjection figure that needs to be included in the SZ collection. In terms of practicality it is not the best release of the line, but the pure charisma of this released cannot be denied. The iconic history of Sagittarius in the Saint Seiya canon, the beautiful gold plated armor and a great Spiral zone figure should be more than a few reasons to locate this deluxe figure set for the collection.
©2008 Leonardo Flores “ModCineaste” and CollectionDX.
|Posted 29 August, 2008 - 01:27 by Showapop|