Review by JoshB
For years, Kotobukiya has been putting out some solid model kits of original mecha designs, and they all center around the line Frame Arms. Basically, they use common joint sizes and peg holes to make a somewhat interchangeable universe, that is also compatible with their MSG (Modeling Support Goods) line. In recent years they introduced a sub-line called Frame Arms Girls, which re-imagines some of their more popular mecha designs as armored girls. In this case, we are looking at Greifen, which is based on the Frame Arms EXF-10/32 Greifen robot model kit.
The box is about normal for a Kotobukiya kit, with the exception of having a matte finish to the box cover. Inside is a bunch of parts in baggies.
The build for this took me a few days. The kit shown here is out of the box - it has not been painted, customized, or modified in any way.
First off, let's look at the core figure. Surprisingly, about half of the parts go into just this figure. She's rather involved, but the end result is a well put together, fully poseable figure. She stands about 6 inches tall.
In building this kit you can see where Koto lags behind in plastic models compared to Bandai. Where Bandai carefully considers where to put the places where a part connects to a sprue in a place where it won't leave obvious cut marks, Koto gives zero shits. There are numerous marks on the figure that would be covered if one were to putty, sand, and paint, but I'm not that kind of builder. It's less obvious on mecha parts, but on the figure, it sort of stands out.
Articulation is great, and it's got as many joints as a high-end action figure. Double neck joints, ball jointed torso, shoulders, hips, double jointed elbows and knees, and interesting foot/ankle joints with articulated toes.
Three different faceplates are included (left-looking, right-looking, smiling) and four different sets of hands. The regular hands are rubber and pop on a ball joint easily. The weapon hands are two parts and I hate them. Each time you try to get them to hold something, the finger parts pop off. Gluing them in place is not an option. Also, the rings around the wrists pop off easily when swapping hands.
When not in use with the powered suit, the figure can make use of some weaponry. These can attach to the various plug holes throughout her outfit.
The Hand Knife has a fold out blade and handle. It can be stored on the legs, or on the back. The part is also used in tying parts of the exoskeleton together.
The machine guns feature removable ammo clips and moveable hand grips. They can be combined with the missile launchers as well.
A helmet is included, but you need to use the alternate hair piece to get it to fit around it. There's also a beret option that can be attached by flipping around a connector when the hair is off.
Because Koto has all these kits and accessories that share a common connection scheme, I thought I would use parts from my Mechanical Chain Base set to make a sort of gantry for the armor parts. To be clear, these parts do not come with the kit and are sold separately.
The build of the armor is interesting. It's not an entire stand-alone suit, meaning you can't use it with the girl. The armor parts attach to the core figure, and the arm parts are independent of the leg parts. Most of the build goes into the arms, and the rifles actually become control parts of the suit. The knife acts as a connector on the back and the missile launchers become booster rockets. I was a little let down with how simple the legs of the suit were compared to the arms. The inside of the legs are actually hollow and rather cheap feeling, and the loops at the shin don't actually click in and fall off easily. If you can get over that though, the suit looks great. It does not require the included stand to pose, but it helps.
Each hand has fully articulated fingers and thumbs.
I'm not sure if I like the Beret look.
The second set of utility arms can be unfolded. The hands can be removed and swapped with weapons from other Frame Arms figures.
The handles of the guns unfold to become the control arms of the mech. Here we again have that issue of the halves of the hands being a nightmare to put together, and especially in this case, near impossible. Trying to get the hand parts to line up, while keeping the rest of the kit together, is frustrating. "It's a model kit, not a toy" I have to chant to myself and keep me from throwing it across the room in anger.
There's another mode, a walker mode, that basically requires to mostly disassemble the entire thing and put it back together. It's cool looking, but again, having to re-attach those hands again - no thanks.
In all, I think it's a good looking kit, and It's just shy of being great. However, some of the frustrations I had with this may have been due to my skill level.
- Beautiful design in all modes
- Lots of accessories and various ways to use them
- Compatibility with other Frame Arms kits
- Fun to build
- Poor sprue connection placement
- Weapon holding hands prone to falling apart
- Better suited to someone who has the patience to putty / paint / detail
- Not toy-like
- Some hollow parts in mech legs
|Posted 16 December, 2018 - 18:20 by JoshB|