Review by JoshB
I'm not so much a fan of Full Metal Panic as I am the Metal Build toyline by Bandai. To be honest I've never even watched Full Metal Panic, but I know a good looking mech when I see one. Pair that great design with a top-of-the-line toyline and you have a must-buy toy on your hands.
Metal Build is Bandai's high-end diecast line for Gundam and other “real” robots. The toy line is characterized by diecast internal skeletons with multiple extra parts and exquisite finishes.
The ARX-8 Laevatein is a mech from Full Metal Panic that does not appear in any of the animated series. Apparently it only makes an appearance in the manga. It's odd for a design to be so popular and not have an animated appearance, but hey, whatever.
The box is large and pretty fantastic looking with original painted artwork by Hidetaka Tenjin adorning the front. I wish more toys would have painted box art. This painted art is only on the first release of the toy.
Inside you get a big glorious styrofoam tray, and an additional, less cool, clear plastic tray. You can guess which one of these I was excited to open.
Laevatein stands 18cm tall and is loaded with metal. The internal skeleton is almost totally metal and precision machined. It has a satisfying weight when you hold it in the palm of your hand. Not only does it feel good, but it looks good as there are several areas where the internal diecast skeleton is visible through the panels.
Lets start with the articulation in the standard mode.
The head is on a dual ball joint and the whole head assembly tilts forward to allow you to view the cockpit. There's a small bust of a pilot that fits inside and a handy set of tweezers are included to aid in the placement.
Each shoulder is on a ball joint that also has a hinge that allows the arms to swing towards the chest. There's a swivel bicep, a double jointed elbow, and a ball jointed wrist with several interchangeable hands. The shoulder panel opens to reveal a bronze heat sink.
The panels on the back of the forearms extend to reveal the wire gunx which are represented by these attachable wires. The wires can be bent into whatever shape you like, and the claws at the end are articulated.
The torso has a great joint that tilts foreward and back, side to side, and you can pull it up to extend it. It also has a swivel at the waist.
This joint allows for some great posing.
The hips have great diecast internal workings that are just stiff enough to hold a pose.
Double jointed knees allow Laevatein to take a knee.
There's a panel on the leg that can be popped out when you press the red panel on the inside of the calf. This reveals the heat sinks for the Lambda Driver.
The feet has a ton of articulation - even the leg covering is on it's own joint. It attaches to a ball in the back which sadly has a tendency to pop out too easily.
On either side of the chest are articulated sub-arms that can be used to grasp grenades or weapons. The ends of the arms are just for show and need to be swapped out with articulated arms.
Laevatein comes packed with an awesome arsenal of weaponry.
2 plain daggers are included and can be held with the variant hands.
A Shotgun with moveable stock, forestock and removable ammo clips is included.
When not in use, the shotgun can be attached to the hip via one of the pegs on the ammo clip, or stored behind with a claw-like attachment.
The shoulders can be swapped out with the optional "Fairy's Feather" armor parts. Each armor unit can rotate and also features two expandable heat sink panels.
On the right armor, the words "Unimaginable Deficiency" are scrawled on like graffiti.
Two Monomolecular Cutters can be inserted behind the knees to be withdrawn when needed. Each cutter unfolds and comes with a swappable tip. I think Bandai could have engineered these to have slide-out blades as the swapping of the tips seems like a cop-out.
The back of the head of the Laevatein opens so you can attach the cooling fibers attachment.
The Demolition Howitzer is the signature gun of the Laevatein and it is represented here in all it's glory. It's got enough going on here that it almost requires it's own review.
The gun requires two hands to be held, and to facilitate this it has two moveable handles. The main handle swivels, and the auxiliary handle folds out from behind a panel on the side. You can use one of the sub-arms to also wield the weapon.
Two ammunition clips are included and each features detailed bullets and a connecting mechanism to connect the two clips together.
The gun also breaks down into two separate parts.
When not in use, the gun can be folded in half and stored via a peg at the end of an arm at the end of the gun. This plugs into the shoulder.
The howitzer can also be brought up onto the shoulder and supported with an additional stand piece that plugs in next to the support arm.
Two pilot figures are included (Souske and Sax) but they are basically little model kits that need to be assembled and painted. I left them on the sprues.
The stand is actually pretty great. Resembling a hanger, the stand includes parts to store each and every accessory that comes with the figure.
The metal rod features an adjustable peg that attaches to the back of the crotch to hold the figure in place on the stand.
The Metal Build ARX-8 Laevatein is the best representation of this mech that we've gotten so far. It's high-end fit and finish will satisfy the most discerning mech collector. Not having read the manga, I can't vouch for it's accuracy to the source material, but as a stand alone toy it's pretty great.
|Posted 29 September, 2014 - 20:43 by JoshB|