Moving on to something quite different after the review on BB Senshi Sangokuden Tenshouryu Koumei Nu Gundam. ^^ It's neither a model kit not an action figure, but would definitely do well to support those two categories of collectibles. ^^
This is di:stage Basic Set Black ver. from Max Factory. First released in August 2009, its primary purpose is support for action figures from the company's Figma line. Surprisingly (or maybe not ^^;), it went out of stock just as quickly as many of the popular Figma releases if you aren't fast enough. ^^; I missed my chance to get when it initially came out too. The two sets as shown in the photo above are reissued version I managed to get earlier this year.
Unlike Tamashii Nation's Soul Stage series, like Act 3 Action Support Clear Type shown over and over again in recent postings, the most outstanding feature of di:stage display stand is its capacity for expansion. With Soul Stage Act 3 Action Support Clear Type, you can change the length of the display stand, types of grippers to be used, number of stand to be placed on the base (up to three) and that's pretty it. Tamashii Nation has been releasing many versions of the base with different colors and special patterns bundled with specific figures or packaged as special sets. For example, the recently released S.I.C. Kiwami Damashii Kamen Rider Kuuga has a special Soul Stage bundled to compliment his Rider Kick effect, the upcoming S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Ryuki Survive and Kamen Rider Knight Survive have their customized Soul Stages as well, and the initial release of S.H. Figuarts Akiba Red was bundled with a deluxe set of three Soul Stages customized for all three members (I didn't get this unfortunately -_-). Then again, regarding those special display bases, unless one is able to collect all of them, the flexibility is rather limited.
The di:stage series seems to address the aforementioned limitation of the Soul Stage series by adding tons of option parts to increase the playability of its base. The other clear version not withstanding, Max Factory released two expansion sets targeted for the basic set: Expansion Set 01 Layer Unit and Expansion Set 02 Clear Case Unit. I'm very interested to get the former but alas I wasn't fortunate enough and missed it. ^^; I didn't want to just settle for the clear version which would look rather awkward when used with this black set. But I'm hoping to get it one day, and when I do, I'll review that as well and show off the full potential of the di:stage series. ^^
Still, just because Expansion Set 01 Layer Unit isn't available at the moment doesn't mean this Basic Set is limited in its application. It's a very versatile display base. One is good enough, two is of course better, three or more would be fantastic. I can go with the second "tier" of goodness there since I've got two sets, but I'll focus on one for this and the next posting as an introduction first. ^^
Box front cover.
Very simple (or bland ^^;) designs for the sides, top and bottom of the box.
Introduction of the display base set and a list of its content are shown on the back of the box.
On the box flaps are talk bubbles that can be cut out and used with the base.
The same talk bubbles can be found on the bottom flaps of the box as well.
Also included with the box itself is a standard-looking cover skin meant for the base.
Almost all Figma releases after the introduction of this display base set have special cover skins included in their packages (usually as part of the box's backdrop). But this Basic Set gives you one that can be applied to anything to be displayed on the base. ^^
The content is sealed inside a cardboard wrapper (which gave the whole box a very solid and compact feel), which instantly reminded me of Banpresto's SQ Figure Saber Fate/Zero Ver reviewed not too long ago. ^^
Like that figurine again, the actual content is packed inside a sheet of bubble wrap. ^^
The different parts of the entire set are contained in a plastic package but separated based on their purpose and sizes.
The instruction sheet included shows the list of parts and details how they can used.
The base's cover skin is cut out and folded according to the dashed lines printed.
The talk bubbles are cut out as well.
Large parts for the base itself.
The display base.
The solidness of the entire part which contributed to its considerate weight should provide some extra stability to the items on display not that well done on Soul Stage Act 3 Action Support Clear Type. ^^;
(Left) The size of the base is 10cm by 10cm
(Right) Two different slot sizes (3mm and 4mm) on the base to mount the display stand and talk bubble clip stands (called movable effect clip - 可動エフェクトクリップ on the part list if not mistaken).
Rear view of the base.
For binders to compliment the base.
Connecting the binders to all sides of the base.
The binders are meant to close off all expansion panels, giving the base, rounded, solid-looking and frankly, more beautiful edges. ^^
The "enclosed" base. ^^
Rear view of the base.
The connectors allow all four binders to be pulled outward to create a 1mm gab between the base and binders.
The gap can then be used to hold the cover skin. ^^
The tiny outermost edges on the cover skin is supposed to grab onto the base, but they don't work due to the cardboard's thickness. And since there's nothing printed on all sides of the cover skin, I just trimmed the edges off and let the binders do its job instead.
This won't be the case with specially printed cover skins included with Figma figures though.
The display base with the standard cover skin.
The best Figma figure to be shown with that black and white cover is Drossel. ^^
As you might imagine, you can print your own cover skins for other action figures even if they aren't from the Figma line. The base's size is "conveniently" 10cm by 10cm, which helps to save all the trouble on calculating actual print size. ^^ If you're too lazy to design your own covers (XD), you may choose to download the different templates available on Figma official site's "Download" section. Most of them require at least two bases, but I'm sure they can be improvised to suit a single base.
On a separate note, another interesting point about the di:stage series is how inexpensive the different base and expansion sets are. Except for Expansion Set 02 Clear Case Unit which costs 200 Yen more, the two Basic and Expansion Sets are priced at 580 Yen each (all prices are inclusive of tax). That's just a tad more expensive than a normal BB Senshi Sangokuden Gunpla back in 2007. ^^ The Soul Stage series is 1,365 Yen (inclusive of tax) for releases from Act 1 till 5, with each package being a bundled pack of three display bases and stand parts. So, each individual set actually costs less as compared to the di:stage series. However, if you're looking for just a single set, this di:stage Basic Set is all you need I think. ^^
A look at the different stand parts in the next posting. ^^