This isn’t going to be so much a review, per se, as it will be an evaluation, if that makes any sense. I’m not going to be talking about Bandai kits this time-instead, I’m going to take a quick look at three of Kotobukiya’s Super Robot Wars (or Super Robot Taisen, if you go by the American game titles) kits. For those who don’t know, Super Robot Wars is a VERY long-running series of video games, featuring robots from all kinds of Japanese mecha anime. The first game, released in 1991 for the Gameboy featured robots from the Gundam series, the first two Mazingers, and the first two Getter Robos. It was a basic turn-base strategy game and didn’t feature any pilots-just the robots. The second game, for the NES, introduced the formula we now know today: Characters and robots from varying series with a unified plot competing against a new villain created for the game. It also introduced the first “Original” characters-games made for the Super Robot Wars series. This formula still exists today, and in some games you can pick an original character as your “main” character, like an RPG, and others feature Original characters exclusively, and that’s what I’m going to be showing you here-three original Super Robot Wars units from across the years.
I do want to say first that these are not the same quality as Bandai kits. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re BAD, they’re just different. The plastic isn’t as sturdy but it won’t break if you look at it funny. Their articulation is okay… just okay. It’s nothing really spectacular, but it isn’t terrible either. You might also want to glue the joints together to get them to stay better.
One thing I really like about these kits are the pre-painted details and color distribution. On almost every kit with eyes, the eyes come painted already, saving you the trouble of breaking out the pens or stickers. Also, almost every color piece is its own part, which is great for painters and non-painters alike. This does make construction a bit frustrating however, because of how many little parts you have to put on the kit. This is especially annoying on Cybuster, specifically on his kneecaps and his tail, the latter of which has four different colors on it.
But there’s one thing about these kits that I really need to mention: These things are POINTY. You’re probably going to hurt yourself if you’re not careful, and there’s still a chance you’ll do the same if you are trying to be careful. I wish the parts were a bit more rounded like Bandai kits, but hey, I guess you can do that when you market your stuff to collectors.
I only have three of these kits-the Huckebein, Cybuster (or Cybaster, if you prefer), and Weissritter. None of these kits are very recent (Weissy and Cybuster are from 2006), but they give a good look at the kits in general.
The Huckebein is the first kit Kotobukiya released, and trust me, it hasn’t aged well. It has the poseability of an early HGUC Gundam kit, which would be fine if the kit was a bit more stable. It comes with only two weapons-a beam saber (molded into the hand-but the blade is removable and it includes a regular right hand) and the Black Hole Cannon. I never display mine with that gun because it’s far too unwieldy and takes up too much space. Unfortunately, the only way to get “standard” weapons for this is to buy the green version, Huckebein 009, and that kit is REALLY hard to find. Overall, kind of a disappointing kit…
Oh yeah, and if you didn’t notice-it’s pretty much a Gundam. In fact, the original color scheme for this was basically that OF a Gundam! How about that…
Weissritter (or Wei?ritter if you want to be super-German) is probably my favorite of the three I have, and it was my first SRW kit. Despite its bulk, it’s actually fairly articulate. The only thing that I really need to warn readers about is the gun-it’s pretty heavy, and keeping it in a “firing” position for a long period of time will actually cause the polycap at the arm to become kind of loose. As you can see, the color distribution is awesome. Don’t want to paint it? That’s fine. Want to paint it? Well, it’s pretty easy with each color being its own piece. Yeah, this is one to get, especially if you have or plan to get the Alteisen (which I don’t have, boo).
Last up is Cybuster… see what I mean about the pointy thing? Yeah, this kit is LEATHAL. I once read a build log of somebody’s Cybuster, and he cut his hand on one of the wings! Be careful. It’s not as poseable as Weissy, but with all that crap on it, it isn’t surprising. It looks very majestic, like the awesome knight it represents. He’s a little backheavy mostly because of his giant wings, which don’t like to stay in very well. One thing I should mention is the transformation-this kit doesn’t have it, only the huge, 1/144 scale one does, but I can’t say I’m a fan of that. It just looks awkward with the other kits. Besides, since when does scale matter in SRW, anyway?
So there we have it-a nice little cross-section of Kotobukiya’s SRW kits. These kits tend to be pretty easy to find in comic shops (hint hint!) thanks to Diamond, and at a pretty good price, to boot. Kotobukiya also has a few other licenses worth noting, like Zoids, Armored Core, and now, Mega Man (good thing the latter is incapable of being pointy!). Go out and expand upon your robot modeling horizons-they’ll fit in great with your HGUC kits. Just don’t hurt yourself on the sharp bits. 😉
(Chris’ note: We actually have some SRW kits in stock as well as some Armored Core AND Virtual-On kits in stock! @ FPNYC. I know this as I was there today buying something for a future article!)