If you've been hanging out with us here for a while, you're probably well aware that I adore Mecha Musume. I'm also a particularly massive fan of its originator, Humikane Shimada. Largely responsible for the popularization of the movement, Humikane's artwork has since become synonymous with series like Strike Witches and Sky Girls, both of which feature characters designed by the man himself.
But before all this exploded into the mainstream, Humikane was just a unique and talented artist who drew pictures of WWII military hardware, represented by young mascot girls. I fell in love with these the instant I discovered them a few years ago, and my favorite of all was Italia-san.
I'll tell you a little more about her after the jump, but before we get into that, let it be known that this figure has long been a holy grail for me. I've wanted it for at least two years now, and it seemed wherever I went, she was either out of stock, sold out, or priced far more than my pockets would allow me to dig. Imagine my idiotic glee when I stumbled upon her at this year's NYCC for less than half her original price. Holy grail GET! Let's take pictures of it!
Awesome, huh? Italia-san represents the Caccia Reggiane Re.2200, and is always shown with a miniaturized version of the Italian fighter plane; riding it like a pony or otherwise playing with it as if it were a toy. If she looks familiar, that's because the Strike Witches character Francesca, also of Italian descent, is based on this original character design.
The box is exceptionally nice, as are the boxes for the few other figures in this series. It shows Humikane's original artwork on the front, accompanied by a few more shots on the left side, and photos of the actual figure on the right and back.
The top is adorned with a sharp silhouette of the character, info on the figure, and the plane's branding and identification info.
A small velcro button holds the front cover in place, which when opened, reveals the figure inside.
The lovely box liner, which also serves to protect an included artbook.
This is one of my favorite things about this piece, and an awesome bonus if you're into Mecha Musume. It's printed on glossy, high-quality stock, and there are 14 pages of beautiful and informative content to be found within.
Beautiful composite shot, displaying the years in which the Re.2200 was put to use.
There's lots of information on the history of the fighter plane, and further details on when and where it was employed, including several highlighted maps. Very cool if you're a history buff like me.
Another of Humikane's original illustrations, and probably my favorite Italia-san picture.
The back tastefully sports the Regia Aeronautica insignia, same as the inside of the box's front cover.
The face is killer. Her eyes are a slate blue/grey color, and her nekomimi tie it all together with her black hair for an adorable look.
"OMG IT SPINS!" The plane's props are both articulated and can rotate independently of each other. The strap is made of either real leather or a reasonable facsimile, and attaches to the plane with two polished metal rings. There's a great deal of detail here, which really just makes the whole figure. Note also that the plane's cockpit is made of a transparent, tinted plastic.
Her skin is painted with tan lines, which are actually a bit darker than they need to be. Her tail appropriately matches her ears, and the package also includes an alternate set of legs and torso, featuring a white sukumizu instead of the striped pantsu.
What? Don't look at me like that.
Cool shoes, lady. Platform sandals, stamped with an Italian flag shield design. The base is also very nice, and features the name of the fighter plane, all with a color scheme that perfectly complements the figure.
Here's a look at the alternate legs and torso I mentioned before. You can also se how the cockpit is further detailed with some controls and stuff going on inside, and the whole concert of different colors, shapes and materials is outstanding.
The overall shape of the figure makes for a nice silhouette, and I appreciate that it was used on the top of the box.
History is fun. WWII-era photoshoot GO!
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