Type-97 Fubuki with 1200mm Over the Horizon Cannon
Review by VF5SS
Muv-Luv Unlimited is the second entry in the whole Muv-Luv visual novel trilogy and follows Takeru Shirogane's first excursion into an alternate timeline in where mankind is fighting against the vicious BETA aliens. It mostly deals with his trials and tribulations of trying to adjust to life as a soldier in training when just days prior he'd been a carefree anime teenager. Over the course of Unlimited, Takeru is bore witness to many strange events including an incident where a runaway reentry shuttle was on a collision course with his current home at Yokohama Base. Fortunately for him, his friend and classmate Miki Tamase still existed in this new world with her amazing archery skills swapped out for incredible marksmanship with sniper rifles. The base commander quickly whipped up a plan where they would use the prototype 1200mm Over the Horizon Cannon to blast the shuttle out of the sky before it utterly annihilated the base.
Cadet Miki Tamase attempts to make a one in a million shot.
Please check out my video review.
As the A3 toy line was basically made for fans of Muv-Luv, Volks had the ability to produce a lot of limited edition figures for Tactical Surface Fighters that appeared for only one or two scenes over the course of the story. This particular version of the Type-97 Fubuki was partially remolded from the standard version to represent the stripped down machine that Miki used in this improvised setup. Like all A3 figures, it is mostly PVC toy that stands roughly six inches tall.
Without most of its equipment, the Fubuki seems even more gaunt that usual.
The Type-97 Fubuki is a 3rd generation TSF based on the Type-94 Shiranui and is used almost exclusively for training. This particular Fubuki was cut down as much as possible so as to make it easier for it to use the massive cannon.
"Cut down" is probably the best way to describe this release as what you see here is what you get. Other than the hands and knee covers that are already on the figure, you get two hip covers, an alternate neck piece, a small targeting sensor, and the Elefant tank in the room that is the 1200mm Over the Horizon Cannon.
Let's put aside that thing for now and focus on the Fubuki itself. It is certainly a handsome looking TSF with a somewhat Dunbine-esque head and a single green visor for its eyes. It certainly looks less intense than the two-eyed Shiranui. The head can turn left or right on a swivel mounted at the base of the neck. There's also a ball-joint where the head meets the neck but that's more for facilitating the part swap than articulation.
The alternate neck piece is easy to install and helps the Fubuki get a good look at the sky. Since none of the A3 figures can look up, this Fubuki needed a whole new neck just so it can properly sight down the barrel of its weapon.
Likewise the right shoulder pauldron was omitted and remolded with a faux cloth covering. You can even see the outline of a fake pauldron mount up top.
The groin area was completely remolded with the typical codpiece omitted with just the bare attachment point left behind. Also the figure lacks a place for skirt armor to attach so this is more than just a simple omission of parts.
Like many A3 figures, the Fubuki comes with some fill in parts for the backs of the knee joints. These things are quite huge and need to be removed before utilizing the knee joints.
You just slide them off on a peg and end up with a pair of Mega Man X baddies.
Similar to the Revoltech Shiranui, the Fubuki's arm guards can be detached and swapped with an articulated knife sheath. Again this release is pretty bare bones so no such amenities here.
The left shoulder pauldron simply pegs into the arm and is easily removable. Underneath is a similar faux cloth covering that obscures whatever joint detail lies beneath.
The pauldron itself still retains the removable panel that hides the missile launcher mount.
By borrowing parts from other A3 figures like the Shiranui, this Fubuki can be made into a odd asymmetrical fighting machine. I can easily see some front line base sending a half stripped down TSF into battle if things got desperate enough.
These little pieces are used to cover the large A-Lock joints used in the Fubuki's hips. The are marked "R" and "L" on the inside so you know which side of the Fubuki to put them on.
Again this is a nice little detail that is only for aesthetics.
If you're confused on which piece goes to which hip joint, remember that the side with the little indent faces backwards.
The covers tend to work themselves off when you splay the legs outwards. You can still rotate the hips forward and backward as well as use the thigh swivels without dislodging the covers though. Since these are really just there for extra detailing while the Fubuki is lying prone, I generally just leave them off.
Overall the stripped down Fubuki has a good range of articulation, some of which is owed to its lack of extra bulk like the skirt armor. The shoulders work on a single A-Lock that can pivot up and down while the rest of the arm has a bicep swivel and a double elbow joint. For the legs you get double A-Lock joints in both the knees and ankles. Its hips can splay out about 90 degrees but the feet only tilt inward about halfway. A simple waist swivel lets the figure turn its body left or right. In many ways the Fubuki served as a bridge between the earliest versions of the A3 Shiranui toys and later variants like the Shiranui Second. The latter are built more like the Fubuki and as a result have much more articulation than the early Shiranui toys.
Well it's time to delve into the big gray beast known officially as the 1200mm Over the Horizon Cannon. Its name is sometimes translated as "Trans-Horizon Cannon" and is essentially a giant TSF portable artillery piece that can fire a shell about 300 miles out. Despite never reaching production, it proved quite handy for shooting down a runaway space shuttle in the most dangerous game of Duck Hunt ever staged.
As you can see, this thing is flipping huge. It's nearly twice as long as the Fubuki itself is tall, which is kind of scary when you consider the "real" Fubuki stands about 60 feet from head to toe. The gun itself is fairly light for its size as it all plastic with the exterior being painted in matte gray. The gun barrel is removable so the weapon can fit inside the standard A3 box.
Unlike with almost all the other A3 figures, the cannon does not come with a hand permanently attached to the handle. While the open right hand easily fits into the trigger well, it doesn't grip the handle tightly so the figure has difficulty holding the gun up. Granted it's not really meant to wielded like a normal rifle.
If you brace the gun against the knee you can get a decent crouched firing pose. The thing is really too big for the Fubuki to wrestle its arms around.
The cannon itself is quite well detailed with some basic panel lining and a parts of the satellite link-up antenna picked out with blue and white paint on top.
The two bipod legs each end in a different sized peg so they can only attach on a specific side of the gun. They're kind of hard to work in and do not rotate. They do the job of keeping the cannon off the ground well enough.
The butt of the cannon has all the details one would expect in a gigantic artillery piece shaped like a rifle such as a non-removable magazine, exhaust vents, and a trigger.
The muzzle has all the details seen in the visual novel, each of which required several text boxes of explanation.
Since the cannon itself lacks any targeting equipment, an extra optical sensor was provided to help Cadet Tamase do her job.
The little sensor here is fairly well detailed and features a movable camera.
While it is a cool accessory, it lacks the extra cabling that connected it to the cannon as seen in the screenshot.
This was really a beautiful moment because it encapsulates everything we all love about mecha. It all seems so long ago...
My nostalgia aside, once the Fubuki is put into position the whole display really comes to life. I don't have a scale elevator handy so my usual photography table will have to do.
The Fubuki does a pretty good job of wrapping itself around the cannon with unique set of hands comfortable gripping the handle and topside. That alternate neck piece is curved slightly to the left so the Fubuki can crane its neck into the right position.
Everything about this set is geared towards this one pose but it does it pretty damn well. The whole thing is almost two feet long.
I believe in you... Tamase!
In the end this Type-97 Fubuki with 120mm Over the Horizon Cannon set is meant to capture a specific moment from Muv-Luv Unlimited and does it extremely well. Despite not having some details like the extra cabling, I really have no complaints about the completed setup. The fact that it comes with a unique yet fully functional variant of the Fubuk is a really sealed the deal for me. One thing that makes me leery about recommending it is the original price. MSRP on this set was 6,000 yen which is nearly the same as any of the more normal A3 figures that come with way more accessories. I was able to find mine second hand on Mandarake for an absolute steal of 1,500 yen (about $16 USD) so I threw it together with another figure and walked away quite pleased. If you can get one for near that price I wholeheartedly recommend it. The whole runaway shuttle incident in was real clutch moment in Muv-Luv Unlimited and I'm happy to see it was immortalized in plastic.
|Posted 12 November, 2013 - 17:41 by VF5SS|