Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Soul Stage Act 4 for Humanoid Clear Part 1

Act 3.5

A longer-than-usual overdue review this is. ^^;

Released in June 2010, this is the Soul Stage Act 4 for Humanoid Clear display stand set from Tamashii Nations.

Soul Stage Act 4 for Humanoid Clear
Production company: Tamashii Nations (Bandai)
Release date: June 2010
Price: 1,300 Yen (exclusive of tax).
Official link

Even though this is a new item (it remained unopened in my collection before this review), its straightforward, and rather simplistic application didn't provide much points for me to be too excited about it before this review. ^^; In essence, this is a very standard display stand set molded in clear plastic designed to support regular-sized humanoid action figures. There's no special feature about it that I don't know of prior before this, even though I'm hoping that there would be some interesting "hidden" points that to be discovered when playing with it. ^^

With the numbering of Act 4 in its product name, this particular display stand set sits in between Act 3 (Generic Type) and Act 5 (for Mechanics) in Tamashii Nations' Soul Stage series. Then again, given its many similarities with Act 3, calling it "Act 3.5" instead of 4 would not be an insult that underestimates its design I suppose. Back in its own review, I concluded that Act 3 itself was meant more for humanoid action figures, but since there was no separate display stand set for mecha-type action figure when Act 3 came out (2009), there was an oppurtunity for Tamashii Nations to design a specific display stand set for that figure category. For that reason, Act 5 (for Mechanics) came out in July 2010, a month after the release of Act 4. ^^

In terms of actual application, I looked at Act 4 as neither a drastic improvement over Act 3, nor was it meant to be its replacement. ^^ Its release almost seem like "complimentary" in my opinion. I imagine the folks over at Tamashii Nations was saying something like, "Well, now that we have an explicit display stand set for mecha-type figures with Act 5, we should have an explicit set for human-type figures as well" when the idea for Act 4 was conceived. ^^

Regardless of the merchandising rationale, I bought this as an extra display stand set mainly for relieving the workload of my Act 3, which was heavily used in reviews on action figures before the arrival of Act 5 and di:stage Basic Set Black Ver. I'm not expecting it to do anything remarkably different as compared to Act 3, so the focus of this review would be mainly to point out its differences as compared to its predecessor, and Act 5. ^^

All the items are neatly arranged on the plastic tray, and can be partially seen through the box window.

A plain humanoid action figure is shown using the display stand on the box art.

Very simplistic design on all sides of the box.

Introduction of the display stand set on the back of the box.

Set content (following the list shown in the image above, left to right, top line first): stand base x3, joint-equipped stand x3, stand x3, base connection part x4, clip (movable - clamp type) x3, clip base (slide type) x3, clip base (joint type) x3, and movable clip x3.

Box open.

Top view of the content.

With the clear plastic cover taken off.

Closeups on the content.

Rear view of the plastic tray.

Some basic instructions on how to assemble and configure the base are shown on the instruction sheet.

All parts from the box.

The three sets of gripper type clips are removed from their runners.
They are exactly the same as those that came with Act 3 and Act 5.

The parts are sorted for everything to be seen more easily. ^^

Movable clip x3, stand x3, base connection part x4, stand base x3.
The four base connection parts are available in Act 5.

The movable clips can be found in Act 5 as well.

Joint-equipped stand x3, clip (movable - clamp type) x3, clip base (slide type) x3, clip base (joint type) x3.

The stand base.

The molded manufacturer info behind the base indicates its production year.

The base is 7.5cm long by 9.5cm wide.

There are two buttons that can be removed from beneath the base for it to accommodate another two display stands.

With all joint-equipped stands attached to the base.

A total of 10 small ports can be found on all sides of the base. They function as connection points for other Soul Stage display bases with compatible design to be linked to the base.

The four connectors can be tabbed onto any of the 10 ports beneath the base.

While the ports on the four straight sides have divots that match the thickness of the connectors, allowing the latter to sit flat with the base when connected, ...

... the four corner ports do not feature such divot. As such, the connector piece would actually raise the base above the surface it's on when any of the corner ports is used.

A "floating" Act 4 display base, thanks to the four connectors tabbed onto its corners. ^^
Honestly speaking, I've no idea about the rationale behind this design. ^^; Why do the straight sides' ports have divots, and the corner ones have none? ^^;

Using the base connection parts for what they are actually meant for: linking multiple bases. ^^

A tiny gap can be seen between the bases, but only if the connection is on the shorter side of the Act 4's base.

Plenty of ways to get some creative alignments and linkages for the bases.

Comparison with the base from Act 3.

The connection ports are not available on Act 3's base.

Comparison with S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Ryuki & Dragreder Set's display base.
Kamen Rider Ryuki's base is just an Act 4 base with its personalized emblem tampo-printed on the top face. ^^

Comparison with the base from Act 5.

Act 5's base has the same connection port design as Act 4's.

Due to the availability of those connection ports, linking between the bases from Act 4 and Act 5 can be done. ^^

The clip pieces and the two types of clip bases are "inherited" from Act 3

While the instruction sheet doesn't specifically mention it, but the peg slots on the clip bases do have a lower side to accept the clip pieces. Then again, I don't see why the clips cannot be attached to the supposed bottom side of the base anyway. ^^

The clips can be opened wide.

Comparison with a pair of sharp-tipped clips on a slider type clip base from Act 3.
The sharp-tipped clips are only available in Act 3.

Three straight stands.

The most basic configuration for the base: a straight stand with a slider type clip combo.

Without any clip attached to it, the straight stand would be a joint-less pillar. ^^

The straight stand is ideal to support action figures in plain standing pose, like Sci-fi Revoltech Jason Voorhees in this example. ^^

With Sci-fi Revoltech War Machine.

A look at some of the other parts from this display stand set, and their compatibility with similar parts from Act 3 and Act 5, featuring cameo appearance of various previously reviewed action figures in the next posting. ^^

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