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Tomopop Review: Sentinel's RIO:Bone Buster Machine No.7

Jun 24 // Martin Siggers
Figure Name: RIO:Bone Buster Machine No.7Figure Maker: SentinelRetail Price: ¥5,714Available at: HobbyLink Japan Let's get this out of the way first - although the official title of this figure is 'Buster Machine No.7', everyone who's seen the show knows this is in fact the charming lead character Nono, albeit in powered up kick ass form. I'll be referring to her as Nono throughout this review because, well, that's her name, Also, 'Buster Machine No.7' is a pain to keep typing out. This is a really big box, surprisingly so for a figure of this size. What really baffles me about it is that it's largely empty space. The box is about twice as deep as it needs to be, with a huge blister pack filling the available space. It's a really odd decision and while it doesn't really add any weight, it's still frustrating for overseas shoppers who'd prefer every available centimetre saved. Otherwise it's workmanlike packaging, with a nice big window and a simple but effective starfield pattern. Out of the box, Nono is considerably larger and chunkier than your average figma, maybe half as tall again. She's made of a glossy white plastic and is pretty light for her large stature. This makes her feel a isn't the right word, but perhaps a little insubstantial. Joints felt solid, but varied quite a lot in tightness and again lacked the nice damped feel that you tend to find from the house of Good Smile. The included stand is pretty figma-esque too, albeit on a larger scale. There's an included extension piece to tuck under her hair, and it just plugs in with a simple friction peg. Speaking of that hair, it's molded out of semi-translucent orange plastic, which gives it a lovely fiery glow when you light it. The scarves are translucent plastic too, and can rotate into a variety of position. They're also pegged in, but the pegs are small and pretty loose on my example, and as a result I found they fell out a lot. They're super fiddly to put back in too, since the head doesn't bend far forward enough for me to wedge my fat fingers under the hairpiece. Because of her unusual pointed jet-thruster feet, Nono can't stand up without the help of some flip out heel parts. Once they're in place though she's surprisingly stable, helped by good leg poseability. In fact, poseability in general is pretty good, as you can see with the arms here, which are fully ball jointed at both shoulder and elbow. Nono's got the second of her three expressions on here, a bright, cheerful look ver befitting of her character. As you might have noticed, it's possible to remove her glasses, which clip in just under the hairline. Face replacement is done with the classic 'removable fringe' trick. No Diebuster figure would be complete without parts to recreate the series' iconic crossed arms stance, and Sentinel duly oblige here. Unusually, the folded arms aren't just one single part. Instead, they're two separate arms which attach at the shoulders like normal, but without elbow joints and with a large 'cut' in the left arm so it can sit over the right. Nono's got her 'angry' face on here, which looks great from some angles but worryingly happy from others. I find to get the desired effect you really have to hide the bottom of the mouth behind the scarf, otherwise it just looks a bit too cheerful. Nono's main accessories are the trademark missile pods that spring forth from her legs. To attach them you pop off the blanking plates on the side of her legs, 'plug in' the pods and then pop the plate back on the top, giving the illusion of retractability. It's a simple, good-looking solution that would be perfect if it weren't for the fact the pods can be a little loose. You can also see Nono's spread hands in this pose - the hand selection is a relatively standard set of five different fists, pointing fingers etc. Obligatory SUPER INAZUMA KICK shot. This demonstrates the extent of the leg movement pretty well. Unlike some poseable figures we feature here, I'd say Nono has a pretty high degree of 'playability'. That's not to say she wouldn't be at home in a cabinet (though paint and detail are good rather than great) but on the collectible/toy axis she definitely falls more towards toy. I had a lot of fun with Nono, although I was perhaps expecting a teensy bit more considering the glowing reputation of the RIO:Bone line. Cheap construction is my major gripe but that's arguably something of an individual preference, and there's little denying the care and attention that the figure itself has. Plus, as I said in the beginning, we simply don't get that many Diebuster figures. It's a reserved thumbs up then, but if you're a big fan that endorsement becomes a lot stronger. Many thanks to the fine folk over at Hobbylink Japan for rocketing Buster Machine No.7 to us for this review
Buster Machine No.7 photo
Aim for the Top!
While Gainax's seminal mecha show Gunbuster has begun to get a bit more love from the figure world over the years (such as the rather excellent Super Robot Chogokin Gunbuster), it's sort-of-sequel Diebuster has mostly been le...

Perfect Gurren Lagann photo
Perfect Gurren Lagann

THE perfect Gurren Lagann is now available for pre-order

Studio Half-Eye makes the perfect change
Aug 27
// Andres Cerrato
Studio Half-Eye is a maker of masterpieces. Their figures have earned a reputation as being some of the absolute best. If you're going to make transforming/combining mecha, the tech to do it is hard enough. Actually keeping t...
RIO:bone photo

Aim for the top with Sentinel's Nono

Buster Machine 7 reporting for duty
Aug 09
// Martin Siggers
While Diebuster, Gainax's long awaited Gunbuster sequel may have divided opinion, few could fail to warm to its delightfully energetic lead character Nono. She's been curiously under-represented in figures in recent year...

Tomopop Review: Super Robot Chogokin Gunbuster

Apr 17 // Pedro Cortes
Figure Name: Super Robot Chogokin GunbusterFigure Maker: BandaiRetail Price: ¥5,800Available at: Hobby Link Japan  Nice, dynamic box here. It's got a lot of energy and has the Gunbuster posed in its legendary Inazuma Kick. I doubt you'll be missing this box on a store shelf. Out of the box, this is what ya got. Like the Alteisen (reviewed) and the Weiß Ritter (reviewed), the Gunbuster is a solid figure. I mean it, you can feel the heft when you pick it up. The weight is properly distributed so you can pose it with ease. Good thing too, as there is no base provided in the box. Normally I'd be pretty annoyed, but the Gunbuster seems to be able stay balanced without a problem. Moving to the back of the figure, take note of the joints on the shoulders, arms and knees. This guy has been designed to be moved around and posed with ease. Unlike the Gunbuster Revoltech (reviewed), which suffered from the limitations of the Revoltech joint, movement is fluid and stays locked in place. Next, let's take a look at Gunbuster's accessories. First up is the Buster Home Run. While not seen in the anime, it's mentioned in a radio drama and is part of a pretty amusing attack in the Super Robot Wars games. Two bats come in the box, so I guess you got a back up in case you're particularly rough with your accessories. That or if the Gunbuster has do some, uh, "rough" work on your shelf. Be aware of any figures with self-defense wounds! Anyway, onto the next set of accessories.  That's right, this guy comes with the parts to recreate the Buster Collider! Used to electrocute some rather aggressive Space Monsters, the arms and legs of the Gunbuster open to expose a set of some rather large prods. That's recreated here with an alternate set of arms that come with the prods already extended. As for the legs, the prods come attached to two plastic rings that connect after you remove a pair of panels. While it seems easier than removing the arms, it is in fact quite a pain. On top of being a tight fit around the calf, the prods keep falling off. They are attached via small pegs to the plastic ring, so they have a tendency to get jostled off. I suppose it is better that having them brittlely attached and increasing the chances of permanently breaking them, but it is annoying having to keep putting them back on. Finally, we've got my favorite accessory of the package... From the last episode of the OVA, we have the Gunbuster's exposed chest and attached to those veiny-looking cables... ...the Gunbuster's still beating heart, er, degeneracy generator. The exposed chest is a separate metal piece that replaces the normal chest. You carefully pull out the grey and orange plate, push this one in and voila! The cables and generator plug into the chest and easily hook into the hand, as seen above. Once you got that done, all you gotta do is pose the sucker and... ...brace for GUTS and MANLY TEARS. It's the highlight of the package for me, but that may just be my love for the finale of the OVA. Besides a couple of small treads for the Gunbuster's feet, that's it. Yep, the Gunbuster is pretty light on the accessories. Although it has some nice ones, it's no where near as full of extras as the original Chogokin. No transforming, no missiles, no cape, no way to recreate the Inazuma Kick which, as you might remember, is on the cover of the box. That is disappointing. Then again, you are paying only a fraction of the price.  If you're a fan of the original Gunbuster OVA, or really just a fan of robots in general, I'd definitely recommend picking up this bad boy. Just know that you aren't getting a ton of accessories with it. [A big thank you to Hobby Link Japan for hooking us up with the Gunbuster!]
S.R. Chogokin Gunbuster photo
Hard work and guts pays off!
One of my 'holy grail' figures is Bandai's Soul of Chogokin Gunbuster. It's a big, hefty figure that does a great job in capturing all the great things about Gainax's classic giant robot. The problem is that it was ...


No debate, Studio HalfEye makes the perfect Gurren Lagann

It FULLY transforms. I mean that.
Feb 24
// Andres Cerrato
There have been a lot of Gurren Lagann figures. With each one that comes out, it's just a comparison between the last. The Revoltech has great articulation, the ver. Ka has a Giga Drill Breaker, the Riobot has great sculpting...

Super Robot Chogokin Anti-Gurren Lagann is a thing

Why it is a thing, that I don't know the answer to
Jan 21
// Andres Cerrato
People like Gurren Lagann and some of those fans were quite fancy of the recently-released Super Robot Chogokin of said titular robot. Coming from the depths of Super Robot Wars is this palette-swap of Gurren Lagann, Anti-Gur...

Bandai's mecha teases are now up for your pre-order needs

I will drill these horrible puns into you
Oct 01
// Andres Cerrato
Remember all of those fun robots I described over the weekend? If you liked them, there's good news in store for you! All of them are now available for pre-order and are all still available. Except the RD ZZ Gundam. Honestly ...

Aim for the top! SRC Gunbuster is coming in February 2013

Gather up your hard work and guts!
Sep 29
// Andres Cerrato
You have your thoughts and desires known when it comes to a figure of Gunbuster. Bandai has prepared the Gainax original and has hopefully made it suitable to your tastes in this Super Robot Chogokin edition. With a February ...

Here come Super Robot Chogokin Gunbuster & Gurren Lagann

Sep 25
// Andres Cerrato
When the Super Robot Chogokin line was announced, it meant more affordable and detailed figures of some of my favorite mecha. When the line started, I imagine that many mecha fans wanted an affordable Gunbuster that will stay...

Fifth anniversary of Gurren Lagann brings new toys

Jun 26
// Pedro Cortes
Man, time flies. I remember when Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann was first airing back in 2007. I was fresh to the mecha world when I suddenly had this bombastic super robot show smack me in the face. It left an indelible impressi...

Tomopop Review: Sen-ti-nel's Metamorphose Panty

Mar 02 // Pedro Cortes
Figure Name: Panty Metamorphose Edition Figure Maker: Sen-ti-nel Retail Price: ¥8,500 Available at: HobbyLink Japan As per the usual, we begin with the packaging. Ms. Panty here has quite the nice box! More than just about any other box as of late, Sen-ti-nel's Panty box is nice and bright, with multiple photos of Panty and even one of her sister, Stocking. Note that the two can be posed together, but this particular review is only of the blonde with the diesel libido. You'll have to wait a bit for the gluttonous Stocking to get a Tomo review of her own! Anyway, Panty's box does a great job of catching your attention, what with its bright colors and dynamic choice of promotional photos. The picture of the pink and white panties on the back of the box should also do a good job of drawing the eye of potential buyers. Here is what Panty looks like when she's achieved escape velocity from her packaging! Out of the box, you get the figure herself, a stand for what I believe is her hair and the base. Panty is interesting as she isn't particularly designed to be balanced on her base. She's supposed to have her legs wrapped around the pole while she's holding on to pole with her left hand. This creates several immediate problems, which you'll see in the next couple of photos. First off, Panty's strange center of balance requires a plastic stick to support her voluptuously thick hair. Now, I'm not entirely sure if this is where it's supposed to go for the bust support, but this is where it made the most sense for me. If you have her out of the box for any length of time, you'll see that some sort of external support is necessary. Again, I'll show you what I mean in a sec. For now, I'll move on to additional problems with her posing. See how her feet are positioned? That doesn't come natural. Setting her up, I had to do a pit of jiggering to her foot to slide into the hole provided on the base. While that is more or less a common thing with PVC statues, what this does is move her into a position where her hand doesn't rest on the pole. So, you'll have her hair held up and her feet in place, but her hand is hovering over the metal bar she's supposed to be using to hold herself up. You'll notice that in a lot of the photos, she's not even touching the bar with her left hand. I'm wondering if that has something to do with the possibility of duel posing with Stocking, but with Panty on her own it doesn't look particularly nice. Remember how I mentioned the necessity for upper body support two paragraphs ago? This is why you'll need to set up that stick. Take a close look at her torso, particularly the area where her top and her flesh should be meeting. You'll see the beginning of a separation between the upper half of her body and the lower half. It's clear that Sen-ti-nel knew that if there wasn't something to hold up the back end of the figure, that there was a strong chance that the top half of Panty would topple over.  For me, this is inexcusable. We've gotten to point now with figures that we shouldn't have to be worrying about PVC coming apart at the seams, what with the use of stronger glues or proper implementation of ABS. This is something I would expect out of a ¥2,000 to ¥4,000 figure, not something that sets back collectors ¥8,500. OK, so there are the negatives. There are quite a few, believe me. However, there are some good things about this figure, primarily the sculpt and paint job. Despite my issues of how Sen-ti-nel put Panty together, this is an exceptionally sculpted and painted statue. While I wasn't sold on it at first, I've come to be quite fond of Panty's face, especially when you compare it to Sega's prize figure. It's not even close. Both her eyes and her overall expression is greatly improved, with way more attention given to her mouth, eyes and hair. Be sure to check the gallery if you want to see more differences between these two releases, but it's suffice to say that Sen-ti-nel's Panty looks way better. Moving down her body, you'll inevitably come to Panty's skirt and, well, panties. It isn't easy to make ruffles in skirts look right, but Sen-ti-nel did a helluva job with this staute. Her mini-skirty looks just right, with the proper section popping out between her hands and the pole. As odd and pervy as it may sound, I'm also quite fond of how they sculpted Panty pulling on her undergarments. It adds a sultry, unique twist on the figure and makes the whole package look more dynamic. Be sure to take note of the rings on her hands, as they don't look like plastic blobs that were thrown on. They're nicely painted. Besides displaying Panty's rather pert posterior, you can see her pulled panties in better detail as well as her sandals. The wings are nicely done so they don't look like extraneous bits of plastic tossed on the back of her heels. I also like how Sen-ti-nel molded and painted the straps that run up her calf and shin. This shot also shows how her foot will pop out of the peg if you're not careful. So i'm left a bit conflicted here. There are many things that this figure does right. The sculpt and paint job are great, as well as the little details all around her body. Hair, accessories, frills, those all those are done right. However, I cannot fully recommend this figure based off the structural problems inherent with her pose. I'm not a big fan of secondary posts to hold up sections of the figure, but I'm less of a fan of figures coming apart at their seams. What's worse, the torso is already beginning to come off fresh out of the box, before its had any time to actually feel the effects of gravity.  Normally, I try to not see other people's pictures while I'm writing a review, but I had to see if anybody else had the same problems I did. Looking at MyFigureColleciton, I'm seeing that several people had similar issues, so I can see I'm not alone. However, it's entirely possible that I got a lemon. You might luck out and get one without my problems, but I'll have to give out a strong buyer beware! [A big thank you goes out to HobbyLink Japan for providing Panty for review!]

One of the reasons that I love GAINAX's Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt are the metric ton of different costumes they put leading gals Panty and Stocking in through out the whole run. I'm especially fond of the realistic...

Tomopop Review: Sega's Panty & Stocking prize figures

Dec 07 // Pedro Cortes
Figure Name: Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt - PM FigureFigure Maker: SegaRetail Price: ¥1,550Available at  Hobby Link Japan (Panty Stocking)  Play-Asia (Panty Stocking)  J-List (Panty/Stocking set)

One of the biggest problems with collecting figures is managing your budget. As many of you know, It's quite the expensive hobby that can add up real quick. If you're not careful, you could find yourself ordering several figu...

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