Gespenst Mk-II Type TT
Review by SpaceRunaway
The Volks Full Action Figure series was released over the course of 2002 to 2010. Initially available exclusively by mail order through Dengeki Hobby Magazine, this line has mostly been forgotten by history, and remains poorly documented even in Japanese. In light of that I offer these reviews as a warning, lest we forget. In case there are terms used that leave you confused and/or angry, take a look at the first review of this series for further clarification.
Without doing any fact-checking at all, the Gespenst Mk-I/Mk-II is very likely the most recognizable Super Robot Wars unit, first showing up in the 1992 SRW sister game Hero Senki, and going on to appear or cameo frequently in SRW games to follow, often as a starting machine for the player. It's also shown up in a lot of games that have more of a tangential connection to Super Robot Wars, with the most well known probably being the first of the Another Century's Episode series. The Mk-II is simply an upgraded version, featuring better stats and weaponry but otherwise keeping the form of the suit unchanged. In the end, the Mark II is just a Mark II, to borrow from Shuuichi Ikeda. The Type TT is a mass production version Gespenst Mk-II designed to amplifiy the abilities of a psychic pilot by incorporating a T-Link System. If you've taken Gundam 101, that's basically a Psychoframe. If you haven't, it's really not that important. Let's watch a video.
The Gespenst was the second FAF released, and the figure had plenty of both repaints and reissues (there were five versions released). The accessories vary slightly between releases, but the core product remains unchanged. Unlike the case of the Huckebein Mk-I, this isn't really a problem, because the Gespenst figure is surprisingly well made.
The Type TT was a Chara Hobby 2004 show exclusive. As far as I know, it is the only FAF to come in a white box.
Even ignoring the inherent design flaws of the Huckebein Mk-I that led to mine disintegrating, the sophomore Gespenst gives the impression that the line was improving upon lessons learned from FAF number 1.
The shoulders attach by ball joint instead of peg, although the shoulders still prevent the arms from reaching across the body. Unfortunately the rest of the arms are rather limited. Having the arm attach at the underside of the shoulder guard gave the Huckebein and similar FAFs an easy bicep swivel, and the Gespenst's arms make no effort to incorporate a new one.
The elbows are fairly limited in range, mostly due to the design of the unit itself. The large gauntlet like covers over the elbows simply don't provide for a lot of movement. However, because the Gespenst's hands come back towards the forearm at an almost 45 degree angle it gives the impression that the bend in the arm is sharper than it actually is.
The hands are ball jointed, which puts the Gespenst in the extreme minority for this line. They sit flush against the forearm in such a way that they don't really benefit from the joint, but if pulled slightly forward the hands can bend a little without falling off. The right hand actually nests in a base plate that prevents any movement at all, so the hand has to be pulled out a bit to allow the hand to rotate.
The forearm can also swivel, so the Gespenst can pull off the arms-turned-in pose of the lineart without any problems.
The knee joints are somewhat unique in that they're single jointed as opposed to Volk's standard, and often inhibited double joint. The hinge on the joint feels a lot more insubstantial than on the double jointed version, but I'm pretty sure the joints on all FAFs are made out of POM, so it should probably hold up. At any rate, the skirt armor would probably get in the way of any extra range gained from a double joint, so not much ends up being lost. [Update: CDX User Recognizer encountered circumstances that led to the need to open up the legs of a Gespenst, and in doing so discovered that the Gespenst does in fact use double joints! They are so completely covered by the mold that only one of the joints is visible from the outside. That's how Volks do! ]The feet are multi-tiered, with a ball joint in the lower ankle and a second fall joint right above each foot. I've had some complaints with overly complicated feet in this line, but in this case it doesn't take away from the figure's overall stability, so I see the extra joints as a plus.
The two wings peg straight into the flightpack, and the wings can freely rotate in place without bumping up against the body.The FAF line has conditioned me to respond with fear upon seeing the familiar combination of styrene pegs and PVC holes, but the pegs are thick enough that I'm not as worried as with some of my other figures. Still, it's the one area on the figure that makes me a little nervous.
Construction is standard, being mostly PVC with some ABS and styrene thrown in. All of the the skirt armor, aside from the crotch piece, is a single piece of flexible PVC. It's slightly bent on mine but it's not that noticeable. The skirt armor gives the waist post a wide berth, and as such there are no problems rotating the waist.
The paint job is good. There's some overspray on the arms but basically it's problem free. It doesn't even have that waxy feel to it. If I had to complain about something it would be that there's a lot of visible scarring left behind from where parts were desprued, especially on the shoulder guards, but this is one of my rare FAFs where I'm satisfied with the paint.
The accessories for Type TT are adequate. Not underwhelming, but not spectacular either.
The Gespenst's primary firearm is the Megabeam Rifle, a scaled down version of the Neutron Beam Rifle used by its predecessor.There's some nice detail on the gun.
The hand that holds the rifle does so with a significant lean towards the right, making it hard to get a neutral shooting stance.
The three cylinders on the Gespenst's left arm are the hilts of its stored beam sabers.I mean lightsabers. I mean Neo Plasma Cutters. The mass produced version of the Gespenst Mk-II, from which the Type TT was created, replaces the hilts with the significantly more punchy Plasma Stakes, but the TT retains its three blades. When using the ignited plasma cutter a separate piece swaps out to replicate the look of having a saber removed. All three hilts come off, but the "unsheathed" mounting point only fits in one place.
The sword is held towards the body at a really severe angle. It's dramatic looking, but doesn't offer a whole lot of posing options. It's probably pretty unsafe as well.
The Type TT also includes an M950 Machine Gun. This is the same gun included with several of the reissued figures, such as the Huckebein Mk-I, only this time it has a Gespenst hand attached to it.
It feels like a missed opportunity that the Gespenst's Slash Rippers aren't included. These are remote beam weapons controlled through the T-Link System, and they're the only weapon that's actually unique to the Type TT.
Look at that! A black stand!Like the white box, I've not seen any other FAF releases that included a black stand. The stand usually ended up getting axed from the repainted versions anyway. The plastic actually feels a little flimsier than the clear plastic used in the regular stands.
Also included is a sheet of water transfer decals which cover a wide range of different units.I believe that the only other FAF to include decals was the Alt Eisen, which also contained multiple (and different) decals specific to multiple figures. There isn't anything that identifies which stickers go with which figures (and I see at least one instance where there's a decal for a version of a figure that doesn't exist), so you'll have to rely on your own knowledge of fandom/creativity if you want to use them.
The Gespenst is not perfect, but it is very good, especially compared to the Huckebein. Looking at it, you'd almost think that the line should have ended up in a much different, much better place than it did. Nope. However, I can recommend the Gespenst with a clear conscience as a figure that probably won't break on you, and it's not a figure that should be too heavy on the wallet. Depending on the version, a Gespenst seems to go for between $20-50 on the Japanese aftermarket, with the Black Mk-I being the hardest to find.
I'll admit to being totally surprised by it, but I'm happy to have picked up this one. It makes me feel even more uncharitable to the FAF line as a whole, but as a single figure I like it. Besides,if the line had continued to improve I'd have a lot less to write about. With the Type TT I've finally assembled my SRX team without having to take out a loan for the FAF SRX.
Bonus: Gespenst Kick!
|Posted 10 January, 2014 - 12:48 by SpaceRunaway|