Actually, it's a bit more of a mouthful than that.
'Chess Piece Collection R Tiger and Bunny Volume 1'
The backdrops and diorama-ish details made these more interesting than many trading figure sets to me, so I got a box of them.
Don't worry! It didn't arrive half-squashed like that. The small boxes have thin card and lots of space in them, so they'd squash easily. Boxes are boldly colourful with a comic book style panels, fitting with the splashy text on the figures themselves. Blah blah blah, break 'em open!
Like you might expect, they come in pieces. Each part's bagged separately and any longer sections got bubble wrapped.
Mostly it's easy to suss out what goes where, with holes and pegs being asymmetric. The fit's decent, pieces snapping into place relatively firmly. Notable exceptions are Fire Emblem's backdrop where the hole only props the backdrop up, not holding it tight. And my Wild Tiger loses his arm pretty easily.
The figures of Barnaby and Kotetsu are trickier. On each of their bases there's two holes for them, and they've got to be placed so their bent arms fit against the backdrop and in each others space. These two can be placed side to side to make up a centre piece, so you've gotta turn them to get their elbows in the right place 'til they stand together neatly. I guess the pair of holes is in case you abandon the side-to-side pose and fancy changing up the angles some.
You might wanna stick with the side-on viewing though and keep the heroes in profile 'cause...
Uh, looking kinda odd there Barnaby.
The faces are a downside. Profile is easily the best angle for them, the only angle that doesn't push your face into this expression - : /
Kotetsu comes out best, just. Purely because he doesn't have glasses moulded as part of his hair, and sitting squint on his face.
The painting and detail is there, but at wonky angles.
Sky High is maybe the most complete figure - strong pose, the lilac shading has his costume looking a clean white, there's transparent elements representing his power and it includes his catchphrase. Details moulded, present and correct.
My favourite - the cleanest, neatest and most exciting. If in doubt - explosions. Shading and gradients look great and each small detail in the paint app is executed well.
Wild Tiger, managing to hang onto his arm for a few minutes.
This is one that makes me realise how much is going in some of these pieces. Transparency and translucence, crisp lettered decals, dramatic text AND a backdrop. The buildings are striped with yellow sprays which does the job when obscured and at a distance. The benday dots look surprisingly good, even close up.
Can you play chess with these when you've got pieces like Bunny lunging out of it's base and square to tear the other side's face off?
Another solid figure, even if the lower case R is a bit weird. I like the contrast of matte and gloss here, suggesting a soft, close-fitting layer underneath, with powered armour mounted on top.
The raised text on the plaques gives an issue, smudging or bleeding down the sides, or linking the letters stencil-style. A little flaw, but 'cause the text is shouting at you in all caps, it's noticeable.
Unlike the unfortunate faces, which can be disguised with profile views. That's the side-by-side pose where you've gotta angle them and their elbows juuust right.
The pedestals have symbols for the chess pieces printed on the back. The set of six divides into two teams, white and black.
Kotetsu on the white side, with Sky High and Fire Emblem.
Whilst Barnaby leads the black side and the newest heroes.
They're an eye-catching bunch, colourful, varied and dramatically posed. I'm well chuffed with them - recommended!
Megahouse's recent chess piece sets are pretty appealing to me generally. Both the Fate/Zero and HunterXHunter set had me, making me keen to try those series out. Saber's got plenty of fans - did anyone in the tomopopulus bite at the set featuring her?
Even individually these pieces grab your attention. It'd be interesting seeing what'd happen in a second volume, but seeing Kotetsu and Barnaby's faces here I'm kinda apprehensive - hopefully Blue Rose and Dragon Kid would get better faces.
Seven Coloured Puppeteer Alice Margatroid, by Ques Q.
She's bright, colourful and has a lot going on. But this is the basic version, 'Alice only'. Much as I like Alice having her big troupe of dolls, I couldn't stomach the cost of the DX version where she has six of her toys with her.
This is just the start of things. And although there's parts left to add, this Alice still has plenty going on.
Scalloped detailing on the underskirt, duly noticed and appreciated.
Briefly looking like the Alice that tumbles down a rabbit hole.
...and if I fall all the way, will I come out on the other side of the Earth, where people walk upside down and don't have tea parties with the people they've just defeated...?
The grimoire pages are so nice, continuing all the billowing movement in the figure. Their miniature printing is even legible.
Nothing but bright colours. Her hair is a shaded with bold yolky yellows, ranging to an orange that's almost neon. Obligatory touhou headgear does stellar work hiding the hair seam. The volume of hair getting pushed back and out takes the camouflage another step further.
Alice plugs onto some angled pegs on the base. No problems with alignment and the hold is sturdy and tight enough that I had to knock them in with the heel of my hand.
The boots themselves are nicely detailed, with depth given to the long columns of lacing and soles. These details are all neatly and crisply done. The paint touches on the grommets are just as neat and even. Only problem I had was well, a big white smear all over one of her heels. And then I rubbed at it as my disappointment was just welling up and it went away. Just some powdery residue that disappears easily. My Alice had some on the edges of her skirt too, and she'd picked up a couple of fingerprints from the last people to touch her. But those come away dead easy, so no problem.
The holes in the skirt will have one of Alice's dolls in each one. The sculpting on the two is simplified, but goes far enough to give them bloomers and some delineation between the fingers.
Alice doesn't come with a crib sheet for assembling her, so you use a combination of guesswork and peering at the photos on the back of the box. The sockets on each doll are obstructed by the frill of the skirt though, so out of the box, nothing fits together. Once some of the plastic had been scraped back I got the two of them jammed on an arm, and then the arms persuaded into the skirt sockets. They didn't seem to wanna go in too far so right now, it's not the securest fit.
Alice can be pulled apart in the middle and her skirt removed. I don't know if that choice was to make attaching the dolls easier or to offer this alternate display option. I have a Sanae figure by Ques Q who doesn't have any familiars that need attaching but you can still take her skirt off and display her in her stripey knickers. Maybe it's just a thing Ques Q does when characters have got fuller skirts.
Seeing her with her skirt off makes the pose clearer. She's stumbled, mid-incantation.
That giant seam? The bloomers cast off. Underneath are some plain white pants, a size or two too small. That makes three display options, if you can deal with the extra space at the join and the long waist being more obvious now.
Even if Alice is about to faceplant spectacularly, the dolls are locked on target, ready to stab/beamspam.
The spear is inserted through holes in the doll's hands and bow and is a wicked looking thing. That doll is easily looking more dangerous than Alice and her moe-ish 'oh noes!' face.
Flaws happen with some blip on the sculpt/mould on Shanghai's headdress. The two dolls are simplified in sculpt and paintjob. Shading is basic, sweeping briefly over the two of them.
Edges on the outfit trimmings aren't perfect, wandering from lines or blurring at the edge in places. And this particular Alice has a muted line of white on her belt, 2/3mm long.
Painted details that went right are the rings on both hands. They encircle her fingers, are delicate and consistant, no wobbliness.
The shape of Alice's hands and fingers are lovely, still pretty whilst looking natural enough in the pose or grasp. Every fingernail's painted in a peachy shade.
And I like everything about the grimoire, from the miniscule but still readable print to the straps and buckles flying free.
Extended as she is (about to stumble clean off the base), she's kinda wobbly. But although those doll arms didn't feel secure going in, they're holding up all right.
She's a cute, lively figure and worth it for me. I've wanted an Alice figure for a while, but before this one I only really fancied the petit nendoroid, so it made me smile wide to see this one, with dolls, the extra element of the grimoire spilling it's pages and the flying ribbons on her outfit. (even if it was kinda tricky with the supporting arms for the dolls and getting Shanghai in place, at a decent angle and inbetween streamers and book pages)
Colour was consistant with what I was expecting, unlike Sanae and Meiling, who were a slightly different shade. She doesn't have PCB Sakuya's stern presence but quality is smoother, better. I look forward to Griffon releases with cautious optimism and crossed fingers. Ques Q releases are optimism straight up, for me.
Alice is getting a re-release in june. Weirdly, on amiami I can only find the deluxe version (this Alice and another four dolls) or the doll expansion pack (those four extra dolls). 'Alice only' is sold out.
Or, Perfect and Elegant Servant Sakuya Izayoi, Youyoumu ver. Sort of how she appears in Perfect Cherry Blossom, in that they've given her a scarf.
Being a touhou character that's been given enough figures to have different versions, this must be a Griffon figure. This version of Sakuya is sterner and more serious looking than their previous one.
This was going to be a double review with Ques Q's Alice Margatroid but neither of the two are especially simple figures so here goes, part one of a Touhou Two-Parter.
I wonder if Griffon even feel like they can change base styles. It's been so long with the gigantic black discs and metal nameplates. This time the figure takes up more space so it's not as ridiculous as Satori was. And looking more confident - this Sakuya has much more presence than some characters.
The pose isn't as sure-looking as from the front but her maid frills and things keep the view kinda interesting if for some reason you wanna display her from that angle.
Facial features (other than EYES) are subtle as ever, with just a light blush.
The seaming of her dress and the small pulls and creases were what drew me to this figure. It's an attention to detail that I appreciate. Sakuya isn't a massively eye-catching figure with her darker, subdued colour palette and simple pose but the attitude and clothes that look like they're being worn sealed it for me. Posing and body language is something Griffon are gradually improving at. I won't say it's complete and overrall improvement 'cause there are issues and well, I own Kogasa.
The break in her collar bow is 'cause parts are gonna get swapped. The first option, without the scarf is the worse one. There's too much space in there and the head is loose. You can tilt it back to get either the front or back of her collar looking smooth and neat, pick one.
Pop off her head and swap out the shirt collar for a much more dramatic scarf. Much better.
Pretty left hand and all the knives hold in there securely. The right hand's not so good. Her index finger is too long, bent like it's rubbery. Happily that's the hand out the way behind a fold of skirt and apron and with a mop to distract from it. If you're gonna flub part of the sculpt, flub it in an out of the way place. There are some rough seamy edges, more easily spotted on light areas like her apron frills or her hair. And when I say hair, it's the locks in the back and down the braids right next to her face.
Painting on the shoes is neat, over the crossing straps, and the buckles are nice and tiny, though one of mine smudged down her shoe, just a tiny bit.
What is nice is the colour of her dress. The shading gives it interest and depth but keeps it an overrall rich blue.
The darker shading on the shoes brings them down to fit with the rest of the outfit. It's a dark pinkish tone of red, not glaring or pillar box-y. This image is the truer one for colour.
Another small paint smudge, this time some of the pinkish-red on her calf. Small enough though that it can go relatively unnoticed, even in a colour so bold.
Some puzzling shading choice on the braids, they're much lighter than the hair next to them. Her right braid looks white next to the rest of her fringe there.
I wish Griffon would soften the eyes on their figures. They're so sharply defined that the rest of the figure looks poorer in comparison. The hair looking heavier, the lack of crispness made more obvious.
She wields knives and a mop. Stains or supernatural incidents, Sakuya's ready for both.
A decent figure, but not a brilliant one. Better to look at it from far away as the roughness of those seams on the edges are noticeable things and in plenty of places - hair, lacy underskirt, cuffs, bows and frills on the apron. But the eyes are sharp enough that you're never gonna miss them.
She should be easy enough to find. Amiami have stock coming in for june (7k yen) and Griffon will probably release an exclusive in an awkward/inferior colourway sometime.
Aya: Thanks for the presents Mana! That little cat is so cute!
Mana: Cat? But I...
Mana: Hm, those are a lot like what I got.
Mayoi: Kinda like mine too.
Obviously the literal handsome devil has an admirer.
Scanty: Sending Valentines to absolutely everyone is against the rules!
Panty: So everyone has the same admirer?
And it was everyone.
...you assume it's a single admirer...
insteadof many, many...
Mana: Hold me.
Loads of blu tack
Ahh, each scrap of news of Nichijou stuff showing up at WonFes had me anticipating these charms all the harder. At that time they were still at the Parcelforce depot, waiting for the nominated day of delivery.
Those tiny props got fiddly. This happened plenty of times. Sakamoto just didn't want to stop in the mug and on the table. Turns out, Mayoi's folded umbrella is a decent tool for prodding at props and pushing blu tack into place.
Because I couldn't have Tako-Luka on the desk and not involve her. Mio is quaking with fear, obvs. Tako-Luka just wants to play.