Review by JoshB
Charming Drossel is a NEW Chogokin of the re-designed Drossel character from Disney's Fireball. This new Fireball series is actually a prequel, however, making this actually an earlier design from the show's continuity.
Fireball is a series of computer-animated shorts that air on the Disney Channel in Japan.
I was a bit usure of where to put this review, but in the end the Chogokin collector in me won out and I'm doing it here.
Drossel comes packed in a thin cardboard box with a flimsy plastic tray. Not impressive. It's one of those trays where you have to pop the cover off, ensuring that each little piece goes flying across the room.
If you liked the metal content of the previous Drossel, you will be dissapointed in this.This toy has nowhere near the same amount of diecast. in fact, the toy is lacking in several areas. Metal is restricted to internal components and certain exposed jointwork (knees and elbows). Despite better judgement, I still like it.
Drossel's redesign is radical, and either you love it or hate it. It's an oddly proportioned character, with few feminine hallmarks. Sure it's got smooth lines and exaggerated hips, but other than that it's pretty androgynous.
Due to the design of the legs (and lack of feet), the toy cannot stand on its own without adding small supports on the back of the legs. Even with these supports, however, I had a hell of a time posing it, so I ended up using the included stand for most poses. You can get somewhat creative using the supports, but honestly most of these poses were acheived by luck.
Drossel's head is now long and streamlined like a cyclist's helmet. It's jointed in two places, the farthest joint out being a double joint. There is significant detail underneath.
Unlike the previous Drossel, there is no light-up feature in the eyes.
The neck is on a ball joint with unrestricted motion.
The shoulders are on ball joints that can pop out if you move them too far. I was pleasantly suprised when it was revealed the ball was actually metal. It pops back in easily.
The upper shoulder swivels, the elbows have double joints, and the wrists have faux-Revoltech joints on which a multitude of hands can be attched.
It's worth noting that the right hand on mine keeps falling off the peg. To solve this I just turn the joint sideways and it fits snugly into the hole.
The torso has a literal ball joint connecting the chest and the waist. There's full movement on each side of the ball, so there's really no limit to the posing options.
The hips are probably the most striking and dynamic feature of the toy. Each large hip is connected via a ball joint, but also there are small flexible struts that move as you move the joint. It's a nice touch.
The knees are double-jointed, and the legs end without feet, requiring the aforementioned stand.
The stand is cool looking for sure, but not without its issues.
The base of the stand, Kessel IV, is a large checkerboard meant to represent the floor of the castle that Drossel lives in. While it looks like the pistons on the corner move, they do not. A corner on the base needs to be removed to reveal the hole to insert the stand arm. This also supposedly activates a sound feature on the base.
I say supposedly because I could not get it to work. The base requires two AAA batteries (not included) and the switch on the bottom to be in the ON position. Then, in addition, the stand needs to be inserted into the hole on the base. Only then can you press the black square to activate the sounds. I followed these instructions and still could not get any sound out of the unit. Maybe it's defective? The point is moot though, it's an unnecessary feature that I can live without.
The stand arm is very cool. It features multiple points of articulation, fine tampo printing details, a movable camera, and two different stand connectors.
One connector is basically a fixed set of calipers that grip around the waist - the other set is movable.
Out of the box, the toy is too heavy and awkward to reliably hold Drossel. If you manage to get her feet to sit on a groove in the base it might stand, but you are not going to get any flying poses out of this. In addition, the stand is the same color as the figure, so displaying them together is visiually "messy".
In the end, I decided to use a short, clear Tamashii stand to prop up the figure.
Drossel comes packed with a few accessories. The first is the variant head "Perudita". This alternate head is more compact than the regular one and featueres movable reading glasses. The glasses can be pulled out a little, which enables them to be pushed up or down.
There are also two moveable jet nozzles on the sides of the head.
A blue rose in a "501622731" incubator is included. Apparently they are a Biohazzard.
Several different hands are included. At first they were a mystery to me, but then, I read the directions.
Maybe it's sign language? Hmm, they don't seem to line up with the proper letters.
Apparently, during one episide she uses the sign language used to communicate with the aliens in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". Maybe it has something to do with that? Talk about a meta reference!
There's also what appears to be a sort of training sword named "Jericho". There are special hands to grip it, but they don't grip tightly.
The last feature, and unquestionably the oddest, is the tripod mode known as "Rakuchin". In the beginning of the series, when Drossel has difficulty standing, her head acts as a third leg in which she can roll around with. Included are three faux-wheel attachments to simulate this mode.
Up until this point, I've pointed out a lot of criticisms about this toy, and I would understand if you thought I was dissapointed in it. I was at first. It's got nowhere near the amount of metal that the first toy did, and it is missing the light-up feature.
Then I really started exploring the articulation and expressions with this toy. It really has a tremendous amount of character despite having no facial expression.
The design is more refined and industrial than the other toy, which when placed next to it looks absolutely cartoonish.
This Drossel feels like an industrial machine imbued with artificial life. It reminds me of the robots in Bjork's "All is Full of Love" video.
In the end, I really like this figure, but not for the reasons I thought I would. Maybe you will too.
|Posted 14 March, 2012 - 12:16 by JoshB|