Friday, October 14, 2011

RAH Mari Illustrious Makinami Part 3

I've got a few stripes to pick with you

A look at what RAH Mari Illustrious Makinami can do in this posting. ^^

I haven't had such a huge item for my review since the preview on Hot Toys' 1/6 War Machine, so it was very exciting to adjust the figure for the various poses it can perform, which was also when it struck me on how low its articulation is. ^^;

Being a great support for this RAH figure, the generic Gunpla stand's versatility is demonstrated again. ^^

Just like RAH Chunli, only a pair of option hand unit is included for Mari. Still, the design is very good, with clear color separation between the palm and back areas of the gloves.

The hand unit is connected to the wrist via very long peg joint.

As you can see, the entire forearm is actually just part of the Plug Suit that is made of soft plastic (?). It's very unnatural-looking (^^;), but is very helpful for the arm's articulation.

At this stage, I suppose you can detect that most of the movement on this RAH figure is performed by the arms and head. The legs doesn't move much, because they are restricted by the Plug Suit, which is made of plastic and sadly, isn't elastic. ^^;

The suit is made to be very tight (for the beauty of the figure ^^), and it does permit some minor level of twisting and bending, as evidenced by some wrinkles on the joint areas, even when the figure is first taken out of its box. The maximum articulation range for the knee and ankle is shown in the very first image in this posting. Any further adventurous attempt to bend the joints is kind of a leap of faith on how much pressure the suit can take before tearing, and that is a risk I most certainly refuse to take. ^^;

Because of the suit design as mentioned above, the hip joint is practically useless. ^^;

On the other hand (no pun intended ^^;), why are the arms much more movable then? The answer lies with the wrist design, or specifically, the end segments of the suit for the arms - lets just call it the end of the sleeves here. They allow greater flexibility for the arms to move, even though the suit for this component is also made of the same inelastic material as the rest of the body. My opinion on the reasons for that:

(1) There's nothing inside the forearm for the suit to wrap on to, so there's no solid part that would restrict the stretching of the suit, as opposed to the "pants" that are restricted by the leg parts,
(2) The ends of the sleeves are not sealed to any fixed component, which also allows greater flexibility for the suit to stretch when the arms are moved, as opposed to the end of the pants that is constrained by the bottom of the boots.

The almost immovable hip joint can be explained using the same reasons - the one-piece suit at the hip level has no room for it to stretch when the hip is moved. The solid body of the figure is the "immovable object" that doesn't allow any sort of adjustment to assist the suit to stretch as well. ^^;

On a separate note, the same reasons for Mari's poor articulation are the exact same ones for RAH Chunli to be so well articulated. ^^ Her elbows are not confined by any suit, so they can almost reach 180 degrees in bending effortlessly; Her tights are made of fabric, which is elastic, and they ends at her waist level (not sealed to any fixed component in that sense), thus allowing her hips and legs to move as much as they can be adjusted.

Quite a bummer for RAH Mari in terms of articulation, but apart from stating my observations on why it didn't work, I'm not holding anything against the designer for that at all. The overall suit is indeed very beautiful. It's glossy and smooth and very beautiful - oh I said that already. ^^ I don't think I would want the suit to be designed in any other way than how it's being presented on this RAH figure.

Between the figure's look, material design and articulation, something has to go. Given how "well" Medicom Toy did for the look of the joints on RAH Chunli, I'm very happy that the Plug Suit helps to conceal all the joints on this figure, giving the latter a much more natural look, certainly more than just an action figure. In many ways, the Plug Suit is not just a beauty on it own, it's a major contributor to the figure's overall beauty as well. ^^

And to add another point to that, the lack of crazy poses is a limitation that somewhat fit the image of this figure. ^^ With that "uncharacteristically" calm and gentle expression (^^), very little action pose or very subtle ones do seem more appropriate to match Mari's smile. ^^ If the figure is designed to incorporate Mari's "The Beast" mode change, then the Plug Suit is going to a huge problem. ^^;

Even more mild action poses from a very gentle Mari: XD

Just like her Revoltech Fraulein version, Mari's pigtails are movable.

On a separate note, while I can understand the reason behind the figure's lack of articulation, ...

... very obvious misaligned stripes on the hips are not cool at all >.< The flaw is especially obvious for such a huge figure. Like the very poorly treated parting lines on Chunli's arms, this certainly is another case of Medicom Toy's poor quality control on their RAH series. -_-|||

A look at the clear display stand included with this figure:

It's the exact same one included for Chunli. Not surprisingly, the same reason I stopped using it for Chunli after a few poses is the exact same one I didn't even bother removing the parts from their packaging for this stand belonging to Mari. Those rigid and sharp clips look extremely dangerous" for the Plug Suit. ^^; Like adjustment for more action poses, trying the display stand with the figure is a risk I'm unwilling to take for fear of damaging the precious Plug Suit. ^^

Not much more to show for RAH Mari actually, ^^; a gathering of many figures will be the conclusion to this review series, coming up in the next posting.

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