Review by The Enthusiast
Bandai has seldom been as visionary or prescient than it was in the early eighties. With the explosion of more mature properties and Gun-Pla culture, the demand for highly detailed mecha playthings was nearly limitless. Adults were now absorbed into the toy buying demographic, but had limited time and patience for building toy models. HCM was the antidote. The SOC of its time, HCM interpreted popular mecha for an older audience, older tastes, and older pocketbooks. In this instance, Bandai was a little too prescient for its own good, and the toys failed. But were they any good?
The short answer is yes. High Complete Models were exactly as advertised: high quality models, pre-built, and suitable for adult hands and adult tastes. These pieces were, above all, civilized.
L-Gaim Mk-1 is no exception. I have no familiarity with the source material, but it certainly looks good.
The HCM packaging is among the finest ever. Looking like the box for a piece of stereo equipment, an understated cardboard sleeve conceals a styrofoam tray.
Included are a spare booklet and a neat file card.
Rubber tubing, springs, and a few decals are also provided to add model-like detailing. I haven’t added these to my specimen, though I am giving serious consideration to it, so much cooler does L-Gaim look with them.
L-Gaim’s fit and finish are excellent, but excellent by model standards.This is not a child’s toy. The plastic is delicate, light-weight. The construction is precise. The details are sharp. The accessories are fiddly. Internal diecast pieces give the lower legs some heft, adding to the overall feeling of quality.
Articulation is limited. All the right joints are there, they just don’t move very much. A rubber-shrouded waist joint is a fine feature, but ultimately unexciting. This figure does not pose. It doesn’t even use its accessories very well.
The success of this figure is in large part due to the enduring designs of Mamoru Nagano. L-Gaim, above all, is just fun to look at, to visually savor. The sheer elegance of L-Gaim is only exceeded by Nagano’s Sumptuous Five Star Stories mecha. This is art.
I’ve never seen one of these with white plastic. Either it was originally yellow-ish, or typically yellowed with sunlight or time. Who cares when it’s this beautiful?
|Posted 16 January, 2010 - 16:21 by The Enthusiast|