Arcadia TV Anime Version
Review by Jerilock
The Battleship Arcadia. Designed and Built by Oyama Tochiro on the planet Heavy Melder, Captained by the Space Pirate Captain Harlock. This is the ship that in 2977 single-handedly defeated the space fleet of the Mazone empire (which numbered in the thousands) and defended the earth from destruction countless times.....
It’s taken nearly 30 years for an accurate, high quality, readily available representation of this vessel to be released, and boy, it was worth the wait. There have been very few toys or models of this version of the famed ship of Captain Harlock released. Takara made a few plastic and diecast toys for the 1978 Harlock TV series, but they lacked detail or refinement. The only exception was a 1/1500 scale plastic kit made by Takara, which with some work and scratch building can make a very nice display piece. In recent years, there have been some resin kits of this ship produced by loyal fans, but for anyone who lacks skill in model building that still isn’t quiet enough. The only “toy” that comes close in terms of accurate detail is a polystone statue released by the Jesnet Company a few years back, but it’s small, fixed pose, and has inaccurate proportions.
The Aoshima Company has made up for all of these letdowns with this release. Upon my first inspection of this piece I was nearly floored. The box art is very well done, with a stern looking Captain Harlock on either end, and the front is adorned with an image of the Arcadia in flight above Earth. When I opened the box I was met with the Arcadia, nearly fully assembled resting securely in Styrofoam. One thing I should note is that the blocks of Styrofoam holding the ship in place were wrapped in plastic, eliminating the risk of stray bits of Styrofoam sticking to the ship, a neat little addition in my opinion. I pulled the ship out of its Styrofoam tomb and marveled at it.
What jumped out at me at first was the sheer weight of this thing. Nearly the entire ship is solid diecast! I went over it using the trusty “cheek test” and the only plastic I could find was in the bridge, the rear captains quarters, engine nozzles (the light grey tips), all the Matsumoto-ish spinitys and fins, part of the upper deck, and gun turrets. To tell you the truth, I actually had some trouble holding this thing for too long, it’s that heavy. Getting past that, the next thing I’ll touch on are the paint and details.
Unlike the early press photos and box art, the skulls on the sides and bow of the ship have “weathering” airbrushed on them so they really jump out. Every single port hole or running light location has been painted in. The gold application on the bow and stern sections is impeccable, no overspray what so ever. Looking closely near the stern, there’s a tiny ships' wheel for Harlock to stand at and steer his ship from outside. Unfortunately, the macro zoom on my camera isn’t working so I was unable to get a clear shot of this detail.
Gimmick wise, you’d think Aoshima couldn’t do a whole lot here, but they really stepped it up. Not only do both gun turrets turn, but, as they turn each individual barrel moves up and down in a kind of wave motion, like they’re zeroing in on the target. Behind those, the space harpoon launcher also elevates up and down. On the belly of the ship, the main launch bay door opens, and you can position one of 2 tiny replicas of the fighters used onboard the Arcadia, the Space Wolf and Comso Wing. Included are also a pair of anchors that can be attached to the bow via hooks hidden behind removable panels when not in use. Both have metal chains. Also present is the mighty Bow Slicer. This was the weapon that was used either as a last ditch effort, or when you wanted to dispatch an enemy in the coolest way possible. It is made of plastic, and features a good amount of detail.
As with the other ships in this series this Arcadia includes a light up feature powered by 2 AAA batteries. Pressing a button on the belly causes the main and secondary bridge, engines, Captain’s quarters windows, and computer room dome to illuminate. When not using this feature, there is an alternate dome that is painted the same as the rest of the ship that can be swapped out for the transparent orange dome for the glow effect.
Early on when the first painted pictures of the prototype came out I was kind of worried. It looked like the blue used on the ship might be a bit lighter than in the anime. Luckily they stuck with a very nice deep midnight blue combination that just jumps out. As I said before this is probably the best-looking toy/model/display piece of the first Arcadia that has come out up till now.
That having been said though, it is somewhat different than how it appears in the anime series. Proportion wise from the stern up to the skull and crossbones on the bow the proportions are nearly perfect when compared to the anime. Beyond that the ship has been stretched out a bit, the bow nose coming to a finer point. This was a bit of a downer, as I was hoping Aoshima would keep the ship as accurate as possible. I later found out that this design was produced and approved by Leiji Matsumoto himself, and when the M man says this is what he wants the Arcadia to look like, well it’s kind of hard to argue with that.
In summary, Aoshima pulled off a real winner with this piece. Unlike a resin kit or other delicate model, I have no problem picking this guy up and flying around the room with it (yes I have issues let’s not go into that). I’d recommend it to anybody who collects Captain Harlock or Leiji Matsumoto ships.
I should note that at the time I wrote this it appears that the TV colored version of this piece seems to have dried up pretty quick. Aoshima did however also release this ship in the original manga green color scheme. As far as I know it’s the same as this piece except for the coloring.
Comments2 comments posted
I bought this masterpiece only last week. Seeing that it was released back in 2006, makes me feel ashamed of myself. Why didn't I buy it earlier since I am a great fan of Captain Harlock? Well, the only reason must have been too many items released (and bought) at the same time and so I was broke at the moment.
Anyway, the AOSHIMA offering is the best diecast metal representation of the TV Series Blue Arcadia.
The best plastic representation of the TV Series Blue Arcadia is the TAITO vending machine offering.
Last but not least, the best resin garage kit representation of the TV Series Blue Arcadia is that sculpted by Alexandre Dumas in 1/1400 scale. It also comes with etched brass accessories.
You can find Alex's site here: http://www.geocities.com/adumas02/
This piece is one of the best ships Aoshima has ever done. This is a modern gokin that just *reaks* of classic-fun 1978. The proportions are a bit off, but it is still a modern piece that just looks awesome on the shelf.
For those reading this far into the future, this TV-1978-accurate version reviewed here was produced in lower numbers than the green Manga version. Even 4 years after its release, I still can't find solid edition numbers, but it is worth noting that the Blue version sold out everywhere pretty fast, especially in France and Canada, and many shops sold it for a slight markup when it first came out. The green Manga version is much more common, as is the limited Black edition; these two were clearanced out at a few places, and today you shouldn't pay a high premium for these (if at all)
Despite the now 4 years, this blue version still usually commands a premium when sold, but it is hit or miss. In 2009, I've seen them go from anywhere to $70-200 on Y!J and eBay, so if you don't want to pay full price, it is a dangerous game, as I see less and less of these up for sale every year, if you wait too long, trying to save $20, you may get shafted and not be able to find one for a good price. In 2010, while I hesitate to assign a value to this gokin, I'd say anywhere from $150-225 is a fair price for this, and if you can get it for cheaper than $150, that is a really good deal.
While I do not collect for value in any way, and despise the speculator market, this particular piece, along with the N-Scale Diecast Galaxy Express 999, are the Matsumoto collectibles that I feel will be quite sought after over the next few years, as most of the vintage/classic Harlock and Leiji Matsumoto items were diecast, and these two in particular are the first/only 70's Matsumoto items made in diecast in over 30 years.
I don't think it will reach the popularity of the GA Mazinger re-issue, and maybe not as popular as the 70's Takara and Popy items, but it is worth noting that the blue Arcadia design is one of those classic "rare" designs/toys, like the 80's T-28 reboot, and the Mospeada Tread, and they historically have commanded a premium after a few years.
You have been warned, gokin heads: This piece is getting harder and harder to find in the US and Europe. Get one now, before it either jumps in price, or becomes completely unavailable.