Thursday, March 24, 2011

Revoltech Arbalest Part 2

Unbelievable joint design consideration

A look at all the weapons and accessories included for Revoltech Arbalest, as well as its joint design in this posting after the introduction yesterday:

It's a buffet! ^^

Weapons and other accessories.
The 5 shotgun shells are encased in a separate plastic wrapper to prevent them from going missing.

Option hand units.
Some of them are designed specifically for certain weapons, as you will find out later. ^^

RevolContainer and RevolChip

GRAW-2 Monomolecular Cutter with its case.
A little cap at the edge of the case is movable, allowing it to grasp one end of the cutter's cross-guard to secure its position in storage mode.

Part swapping to get the face unit mounted with M1108 Dagger Antitank Knife.
The extra face part is equally well painted as the original one. ^^

The "default" magazine of "Boxer" 57mm shotgun, although with no details whatsoever at the connecting point, can be detached.

For display purpose, 2 sets of armor piercing type ammunition magazines for the shotgun with long and short cases are included. The revealed shells are clearly visible, as with the paint job done on the 5 singular shells. Very tiny, but the details are great. ^^

A separate mount rack is included to store 4 regular shotgun shells.
Because you have to insert the shells into the rack one-by-one, you do get a sense of realism about this weapon part ^^
Another shell is meant to be held by the figure for display.

The forend of both types of shotgun can be pushed to the front for added sense of realism. ^^

A mount rack is included to hold the shotgun in storage mode to the back of the waist.

The slot on the back of the waist is the most "common" location to hold the shotgun, but that slot can be used to mount other weapons as well.

3 slots around the waist, and another 2 on the back to mount all the weapons.

All the pins on the weapon are of the same size, so they can be used on any of the points indicated earlier on, as long as they look appropriate. ^^

A tab is included to seal the slot on the back of the waist if it's not used.

The two shotgun shell magazines can be stacked on top of each other, while another 2 shotgun shell fixed on a holder can be placed beneath one of the side skirt armors.
Even though there are so many weapon parts, it seem like all of them can be mounted onto the figure. ^^

Arbalest full arms ver. ^^

Part swapping to use XM18 Wire Gun on the forearm.
The top portion of the forearm needs to be removed first.

One part that is fixed with the hook of the Wire Gun is also included, which serves just for display purpose.

The actual wire with hook is used together with the original removed forearm part. The edge of the thread is tied to the joint of the forearm part, while another end goes through the hand unit.

Snap the forearm part back into its original position and you get an Arbalest with its Wire Gun deployed.
Quite a tedious work actually, because the thread is just too light and too small for my fingers to really tie it properly to the part ^^;

Part swapping to get the deployed fins on the back when Lambda Drive is activated.

A look at the different option hand units:

All 8 option hand units included, but there are 3 types of joint design for the wrist: hinge joint for upward and downward movement (4), hinge joint for inward and outward movement (3) and fixed type (1).

Left hand unit with a dedicated space on the palm to hold shotgun magazines.

The wrist joint of hand unit grabbing the shotgun moves upward and downward, allowing it to be adjusted properly when the folded stock collides with the body in certain poses.

Dedicated left hand unit that can hold up to 2 singular shotgun shells.
One of the shell sits between index and middle fingers, which is very cool. ^^

Very realistic reloading pose. ^^

One dedicated left hand unit for the military knife.

One right hand unit for the cutter.

These are the 4 special types that I find very unique in this package. The other 4 units are:
(1) for holding the shotgun (x2, left and right)
(2) spread palm (x1, left only)
(3) for holding the Wire Gun (x1, left only)

Plus the default pair of closed fist of course.

All in all, I find the different joint design for the wrist's peg joint is very awesome. They are definitely not random designs thrown in just to give the sense that different designs are used. Their designs do have practical purpose tied directly with how the hand units are to be used. The left and right hands to hold the shotgun mentioned in one of the pictures above is one of it. Another great example is the fixed type to hold the wire gun. Not only is the joint unmovable, it's slightly larger than all the other ones as well. I can understand its purpose is to fit into the wrist tightly so that that one hand unit won't slide off easily in certain poses with the wire.

Truly, I admire the design considerations poured into simple parts like these option hand units. It's nice enough to see that each one of them is painted accurately in white and mecha blue for the armor and fingers respectively, the joint design is really a great feature that improves the overall playability of the figure. The designer could easily use the same joint for all the hands and let us as the collector figure out how to go around the design to get the action poses we desire. I think that would make the production faster as well, but they didn't. That's a very good thing. ^^

On a separate note, ...

... not enough room in RevolContainer to store all the parts even through they are small. ^^;

Well ... ^^;

Moving on the joint design, which has its own unique features to display: ^^

Pretty standard articulation range for the head, but very flexible nonetheless.

Interestingly, it's not the usual Revoltech joint used for the neck joint, but a double-point peg joint instead.
Maybe it's for the appearance of the neck joint when exposed? I'm not sure, but it works equally well as the usual Revoltech joint anyway.

Pretty standard articulation range for the shoulders.

Somewhat limited bend for the elbow joint.

The interesting feature of the elbow joint is that it doesn't connect to the forearm like conventional figures, but to the elbow instead.
Instantly, I remember the same design feature that can be found on MG Zeta Gundam Ver. 2.0. ^^

Another very gunpla-like feature of the elbow joint is the fixed gray part at the edge of the upper arm, which helps to "shield" the Revoltech joint from been seen. Most High Grade kits have this feature - a separate box-like part to cover up the long peg joint connecting the upper arm and the forearm.
The fixed gray part is the reason the elbow joint doesn't bend much I think.

Because the elbow joint is a Revoltech joint, you can turn the entire forearm around without doing the same with the upper arm.

Body can lean backward and forward.

Turn left and right is no problem as well.

Greater articulation range can be achieved by pulling the waist joint outward a bit.
As you can see, the waist joint is actually a Revoltech joint combined with an extra part in front to cover it up. Don't really see that sort of design of other Revoltech figures before. ^^

The ring between the chest and abdomen has some slight movement capability.

The hip joint is another unique design - it doesn't connect to the hip (contradictory to its name eh? ^^) but to the rear skirt armor instead.

Taking advantage of the joint's connection to the rear skirt armor, rotating the legs upward from the side is a real piece of cake. ^^

Because of the Revoltech joint, bending the leg upward from the front is very easy as well.

Rotating the thigh around is somewhat troublesome, as the movement is limited by the side skirt armor.
Removing the side skirt armor solves the problem instantly, but not much point I think, because the figure would seem incomplete without that part. ^^;

Articulation range of the knee.

Very much like the waist joint, the knee is a Revoltech joint coated with extra parts to conceal it.
Because the gray part in front of the joint is fixed, it somewhat limit the bending of the knee to the front, making the adjustment to this joint somewhat troublesome when fixing for certain poses.

Movable (very wide range some more ^^) knee armor via a hinge joint is a huge bonus to the figure. You can choose to show the knee armor covering the knee joint to project a seamless appearance of the leg, or an exaggerated look with the knee armor completed expanding outward. ^^

Soft plastic parts are used in two locations: the mecha blue part behind the knee joint, and the white armor on the Achilles heel.
Another great design consideration, as these parts do not obstruct the movement of the leg to the back, but are able to retain their shape all the time.

Very much like the elbow joint, the ankle joint do not connect to the heel like most conventional figures do, but to the front portion of the foot instead.

Because of the joint's connection to the front portion of the foot, bending the leg while keeping the foot on the ground - something most other figures have a problem with, is too easy for this fella. ^^

Bend the ankle downwards is too easy. ^^
Notice that the soft armor behind the ankle do not get in the way of the heel at all. ^^
Then again, what's the consequences that one would execute such a pose anyway? ^^;

The front portion of the feet moves independently via a peg joint as well. ^^

Very unique design for many of the joints really. Looking at the few Revoltech Yamaguchi releases before (No. 079 Date Masamune and No. 080 Sanada Yukimura) and after (No. 082 and 083 Three-Mode Transformable VF-1A Hikaru Ichijo's unit and VF-1S Roy Focker's unit) Arbalest, they do not exhibit so many unique design features for their joints actually. Even No. 059 Laevatein [New Packaging Ver.] didn't bother to conceal most of its Revoltech joints as compared to Arbalest, even through they are mecha from the same series. However, I probably shouldn't compare Arbalest to that unit, since the latter is just a reissued version with new packaging design, so technically it's not new. With all that said, Arbalest is indeed a very unique design among all its Revoltech Yamaguchi brethren during that release period (end of 2009 and early 2010). ^^

Of course, the unique design must be able to work well to support the playability of the figure to be useful, and they certainly do. The hip and waist joinst are my pick as the best major joint design on this figure. How are they awesome in particular? Let me put a halt here for a while and just say that you will see them in action in the next two postings. ^^

Of course, it's not all perfect with all the joints. Some of them do exhibit weaknesses, especially the ankle joint. While connecting to the front of the foot do provide some really coolsome poses with the leg bent, especially the kneeling pose you can see below, they are not exactly good for standing poses. It's not easy to adjust the Revoltech joint of the ankle to turn to the right "click" for the legs to be firm enough to support the upper body. It's prone to tilting to the front or to the back, and ultimately falling down. This can be overcome by using the effect display base, or the display stand for extra stability, but it's a weakness nonetheless.

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