Twin Bird Strike Pack
Review by SpaceRunaway
The Volks Full Action Figure series was released over the course of 2002 to 2010. Initially available exclusively by mail order through Dengeki Hobby Magazine, this line has mostly been forgotten by history, and remains poorly documented even in Japanese. In light of that I offer these reviews as a warning, lest we forget. In case there are terms used that leave you confused and/or angry, take a look at the first review of this series for further clarification.
To make things more complicated, there are more FAFs outside of the original numbered line-up. Of these irregulars, two releases came out with an EX designation, and I have no idea what warrants the distinction. The first EX was a standalone figure, and the second and third were only available as a set. There were other 2-Packs that weren't EXs. Out of the total three, one previously had a regular numbered release (along with a recolor). The first EX figure has no in-game relation to the 2-Pack, and quality wise they aren't any different from regular FAFs. The accessory count is somewhat higher than the usual FAF, but there are plenty of non-EX releases that match it. With all of this in mind, I've come to the conclusion that the EX designation has no meaning other than to confuse.
The tandem combat team of the Wildwürger and the Wildfalken receive the designations of FAF-EX-2 and FAF-EX-3 respectively, and were released together as the Twin Bird Strike Pack, which comes with its own classy box. The box denotes it as a convention exclusive, but I don't know anything further than that.
Going from left to right, let's look at the Katoki designed Wild Würger first.
The unit is designed for close to medium range combat, and meant to work with a partner. "Würger" is the German word for the shrike family, a small bird of prey also known as the "butcher-bird". Suitable to its namesake, the Wildwürger excels at getting close to its opponents and then cutting, crushing, or ripping them apart. The Würger is also unique because of its removable jacket armor; plating that can be ejected when damaged or in situations where higher speed is required.
Here is the Würger fighting some space goblins.
FAF-EX-2 depicts the unit in "High Mobility Mode" with the armor removed. I don't have the regular Wildwürger, but the Twin Bird Strike Pack version looks to be almost a completely new sculpt, with a lot of exposed skeletal detail. If I had to guess, I'd say that aside from the weapons the only shared parts between the two versions would be the arms, the thighs and the lower section of the shoulder armor. I like the look in principle, but a lot of the exposed detail just looks kind of bland. There's not a whole lot of detailing, and what is there doesn't really impress.
Not counting weapon hands only one extra hand is included, which is kind of weird.
Poseability is almost, if not exactly the same as the Huckebein Mk-II, although the range of the elbows is limited to 90 degrees because of the thicker forearms. This is going to be a long piece, so if you really need more details maybe just read that review.
The Wild Würger is designed to take apart its enemies at close range, and it has plenty of tools to do so at its disposal.
On its left arm is its 3 Barrel Gatling Gun. The whole thing sticks out a lot further than it appears in the lineart, and I think it looks kind of terrible. Oh well.Sheathed within the body of the gatling attachment is the Cold Metal Sword. What is a Cold Metal Sword?
The CMS is removable, but to hold it you need to swap it with the other sword that comes with the Würger, the one with a hand attached to it.
On the right arm is the Würger's signature Stag Beetle Crusher. Wait...a beetle reference on a robot that "casts off" its armor? Yes, the Wild Würger appears to contain several references, including pilot dialogue, to Kamen Rider Kabuto. Why you ask?
The pincers are not movable, but can be swapped out for a set in an 'open' position.
Also included is an M90 Assault Machine Gun, which is very obviously inspired by the real world P90.The grenade can be removed for more of that 'tacticool' look that all the kids love.
I really like the look of the suit without all of its attachments.
When the Wild Würger purges its armor, it also unlocks its wings, which are used in its strongest attack, the Victim Beak. The wings were barely held in when I got this; there was pretty much no friction at the point they swing out, so when you extended them they would either flop downwards or swing back into the closed position. It took a lot of layers of super glue to get them to finally be able to stay in position. Also there was a...little accident with the super glue, so just ignore any fingerprints on the backpack.
Unexpectedly, the Wild Würger also includes a stand, which is a huge rarity in the Volks exclusive/reissue FAFs. Maybe that's what the EX refers to. No color booklet though.
The Wild Würger's partner machine is the Wild Falken, created by mecha designer and Banpresto employee Hitoshi Kanemaru. Falken is not German for Falcon, but it's close. The Wild Falken provides long range support fire for the Würger, and if you know anything about Super Robot Wars, this kind of duo might sound familiar. The two are designed with the same combat philosophy behind another SRW tag team, the Alt Eisen and the Weissritter.
Here's the Wild Falken doing its thing.
Each of the five fins/wings needs to be attached out of the box.
Articulation on the Wild Falken is a little different from its partner. The shoulders attach to the torso by balljoint, so they have a better range of motion than the Würger. The forearms are also slender enough that the double jointed elbows can function unimpeded. However, whereas the Wild Würger's arms connect straight up into the shoulders the joints on the Falken's upper arms are arranged horizontally, so there's no way to turn its arms inward, as there's no separate bicep or forearm swivel. There's supposed to be a waist peg, but it can't actually rotate because both the front crotch armor and the bracket that the lower fins attach to prevent it from moving.
Oddly the Falken's "ears" weren't glued in place, so they flop around a bit. Actually they flop around too much, so I needed to break out the glue again to tighten up the connection.
The Wild Falken further differentiates itself from the Wild Würger by coming with two fists, two open hands and a splayed hand, which is generally what you expect from a FAF.
For those times that melee combat can't be avoided, the Wild Falken has two Roche (beam) Sabers.To be more specific it comes with one hilt, two beams and two-hands-with-hilts.
The Falken's weapon of choice however, is its Oxtongue Rifle, which is an improved version of the Weissritter's armament bearing the same name. There seems to be some sort of internet consensus that the word is Ochstan, and that it is German. The internet is wrong, and it is not.
The design of the gun is neat, but even with the extra articulation in the arms the Wild Falken can't do anything aside from holding it straight out or up.
Also my Oxtongue rifle is bent! What the heck! This wouldn't be a problem to fix if it were made out of PVC, but it's ABS! Volks you make me so angry.
That's all for weaponry, but the Wild Falken still has a pretty big gimmick left.
Its wing pieces swap out for open versions for its Tesla Drive "Full Output" mode. The connection where the wings break "open" are made from very thin styrene, they are super fragile and bend with very little provocation. It looks cool, but you need to wear the most juvenile of your kid gloves when handling them.
Similar to the High Mobility Mode of the Wild Würger, this allows a much greater boost in speed and agility. Together the two suits can unleash their combination attack, the titular Twin Bird Strike.
Wasn't that cool? Here it is again, poorly represented by static images.
Twin Bird! Striiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike!!
The Twin Bird Strike Pack has a lot of issues, but I don't think those are necessarily any worse than what you usually might find with these toys. For some strange reason, the TBSP can be found incredibly cheaply. I see these often go for around 3000 yen on the aftermarket, which makes them one of the best values for anyone interested in dipping their toes into the FAF waters. I should warn you though, the FAF waters are kind of oily, they smell a bit like sulfur and there are also leeches.
Next time: I close out my FAF reviews (for the foreseeable future) with the Valsione R, as well as my final thoughts on this line! I'm already excited!
*No Billy-sans were harmed in the making of this review
|Posted 24 April, 2014 - 09:03 by SpaceRunaway|