Review by VF5SS
In its roughly four years in existence, Volks's A3 toy line dutifully covered as many Tactical Surface Fighters from various entries in the Muv-Luv universe as it could. Nowadays Volks has shifted the line over to expensive resin kits with Kotobukiya picking up the slack with more and more model kits. As Volks went on I feel like they started to get a better grasp of toy design which resulted in many of the later A3 figures being better than their predecessors. The last toy of the line, the MiG-29 Lastochka, exemplifies all the lessons they learned over the years and as a result is a really great figure.
Please check out my video review.
In the Muv-Luv world, the MiG-29 Lastochka (which means "swallow") fulfills a similar role to its real life namesake as a lightweight fighter designs to compliment the heavier Su-27. While trading endurance for agility and close-combat prowess, the MiG-29 is the perfect mid tier machine that's not good enough for the main characters but useful as a semi-threatening grunt. At the end of the Total Eclipse anime, Yukon Base's entire MiG-29 compliment is hijacked by terrorists with each one set on autopilot to act as mindless drone to dog our heroes as they try to sort out this mess.
A group of stolen MiG-29's being used as autonomous drones by the Refugee Liberation Front.
The MiG-29 gets the distinction of being the final unique design in the A3 line before they switch over to all resin kits. In fact, this particular design got to close out A3 twice over as the standard gray version was quickly followed up by the slightly modified MiG-29 OVT in its distinctive burgundy colors. Like the other A3 figures, the MiG-29 stands roughly six inches tall and is made primarily out of PVC plastic.
The simple streamlined design of the MiG-29 lends itself to a toy as the A3 figure is both well balanced and smartly engineered.
Josh likes it when I post a picture of a Muv-Luv robot with my big book of airplanes.
The aircraft gray coloring is done with a pleasing matte finish with small sensors picked out with yellow and black. On the right shoulder if a tampographed marking showing the familiar Russian star. Like many TSF's, the MiG-29 takes design cues from its real life counterpart with most of them showing up in the upper body. For example the fins on either shoulder pauldron are modeled after the real jet's tail fins.
Similarly, the real MiG-29's tail fins adorned the head of the TSF version. The front part of the head even has a curved cap that is meant to evoke the look of a canopy. Volks does a pretty good job of capturing some of the more complex aspects of this TSF's face like its distinctive double visor and noncontinuous "nose."
There's even a little bit of daylight between the nose-like "wire cutter" set ahead of the visors. For head articulation the MiG-29 has a pair of ball-joints with one at the base of the neck and one where the neck meets the head. You can get a decent range of motion out of the head with the only limited factor being the high collar.
From the front you can see some of the other design cues from the real life airplane such as how the MiG-29's wide set air intakes are represented as a pair of sensor banks on either side torso. The front fairings of the MiG-29 are used repeatedly as the skirt armor, upper torso, and as part the codpiece's design.
The upper body of the MiG-29 is loaded with articulation thanks to a freely rotating waist joint and numerous A-Lock joints in the arms. You can do a nice deep arm curl coupled the ability to cant the shoulders up and down. The upper arms can swivel around and feature their own A-Lock joint which lets them swing in and our independently of the shoulder pauldrons.
The hinged skirt pieces move freely on a metal rod and allow the legs to a great range of motion. Thanks to the ratcheting A-Lock joints in the hips, the MiG-29 can do the splits while also retaining the rigidity for more normal poses.
I am a toy posing professional. Do not try this at home
And if you have enough patience (and guts) you can even use the incredibly flexible hit joints to get the MiG-29 to stand on one foot. Much like the swallow for which it is named, the Lastochka is graceful in its movements.
I find the knees are the only disappointing part of this figure as Volks decided to bury the double A-Lock joint deep inside the black portion of the legs which limits their range of motion. The MiG-29 can't really kneel as a result. On the plus side, the ankles are almost completely unimpeded and can tilt quite a ways from side to side...
Or up and down. This allows the figure to get into some pretty wide legged stances.
The MiG-29 A3 figure comes with the typical load out plus a few mysterious pieces.
Each jump units attaches to end of skirt armor with a solid connection formed by a thick square peg. The jump units are styled after miniature versions of the real MiG-29 and has some terrific burnt metal detailing on the engine nozzle.
A large double A-Lock joint lets the jump unit maneuver all around for three-dimensional combat. I like how on this figure the connecting points are done with a little rounded bump that the A-Lock joint plugs solidly into. I think it preserves the design quite well and doesn't seem to manifest the problem a lot of other A3 figures have in where the jump units may twist themselves off the joint with enough posing.
You attach the mount pylons by plugging them into these holes on the back.
I had a little quality control issue where the pegs on the bare mount pylons were a little misshapen and had to be sanded down to fit in the holes. Guess the Soviet Union was cutting corners since I never had this problem with my American TSF's.
I have to give Volks some props for sculpting tiny molded details inside the bare mount pylon.
Fully loaded with assault cannons, the MiG-29 looks ready to fight for the motherland.
All of the guns have their tiny sensors picked out with paint apps.
With some cajoling you can get the MiG-29 to take to the air with an aftermarket stand. I'm using a Yamato Mighty Block base here upon which an A3 figure can precariously balance.
To show off the MiG-29's melee weapons, first remove a pair of covers from the forearm blocks and the front section of each shin.
"So on the one hand I have a chainsaw."
"And on the other hand I have a chainsaw."
"Aaaaaaaaaaaaand on my legs I HAVE CHAINSAWS!"
Being covered in whirling blades of death makes the MiG-29 stand out among the second string TSF designs. This grunt is ready to open deli business on some BETA flesh.
The forearm chainsaws peg into the forearms similarly to the ones on the Su-47E Berkut.
The leg chainsaws simply replace the chunks of shin removed from the MiG-29 and feature some great detailing like a full set of pointy saw teeth and the painted metallic edges of the mechanism.
This makes the MiG-29 one of the few giant robots that can both kick someone and engage in deforestation without using its hands.
The combination of chainsaws high and low on the MiG-29's body means it can wade through its enemies and tear them up all over.
In many ways the MiG-29 is similar to the American F-16 as it is a light TSF that is one of the best figures in the A3 line. In my opinion the MiG-29 manages to edge out the F-16 in terms of build quality, balance, and number of chainsaws.
When the two meet in Blue Flag exercises, the victory is usually clear.
With a swift chainsaw kick to the robotic solar plexus, the F-16 is down.
Don't worry though, no F-16's were harmed over the course of this exercise. It's all just a simulation generated by the highly advanced JIVES system.
I'm sure that explains how the Yuuya vs. Cui fight ended the same way in Total Eclipse.
Overall the MiG-29 Lastochka is another unassuming entry in the A3 line that turned out to be one of the best figures of the lot. It's a good looking design that benefited from being one of the later A3 figures as its smartly engineered and just plain fun to pose. It provides the hired muscle my Su-47E Berkut needed to further its diabolical plans and also looks great on its own. As it is one of the last figures in the line, it tends to pop up in the after market near its 6,800 yen MSRP. However, I noticed after I received mine that more and more started to appear on places like Mandarake and Yahoo Japan Auctions for around 4,000 yen. I think the MiG-29 is a definite must-have for Muv-Luv fans as it does almost everything right and nothing glaringly wrong. Plus, I just can't say no to a robot with four chainsaws and the mind to use them!
Seriously I can't say no or he'll come after me ( ﾟдﾟ);
|Posted 18 September, 2013 - 12:50 by VF5SS|