I've been a fan of Nanoha for a long time, both the character and the various series themselves, but until now I've never actually been fortunate enough to get my hands on any of the dozens of figures that have been produced over the years.
Luckily that all changed when I received Good Smile's towering StrikerS Nanoha, easily large enough to make up for all the lost time! With such a popular character, it stands to reason she'll be set to heavy scrutiny though -- particularly at such a large size as well. Does she make the grade? Find out after the jump!
Figure Name: Nanoha Takamachi Swimsuit ver.
I seem to be quite the bad judge of size when it comes to anticipating figures, even when I know their scale. While I'd known to expect a rather large Nanoha -- and I've even owned a slightly smaller 1/5-scale figure before -- nothing really prepared me for the size of this behemoth. Packaged, she stood even taller than my PC tower, a full-sized gaming desktop. Sadly, this also made even fitting her in my photo booth almost impossible!
As for the box itself, it's a simple but appealing enough design. While it doesn't really feature any particularly unique elements, the color scheme is nice and very summery, suitable for the swimsuit design. It almost reminds me of something you might have found in the 80s or early 90s, though I really like the pattern nonetheless!
Nanoha, as you can see, has as simple a design as her box did. There aren't many bells and whistles included, and the only assembly required is sticking the metal stand into the base and hooking it to her leg, though she's so sturdy I doubt she really needs it once she's in place. Now, while I've had figures near this scale before, this is the first I've had where the character is standing upright, and I have to say she is enormous!
Perhaps not quite so large as to tower even over my PC, she's certainly huge, standing over a foot in height and probably weighing a good two pounds or so. This is one hefty figure! The weight is one reason I doubt the ring is needed to keep her balanced, and for once the pegs keeping her sandal attached to the base fit together nice and flush. Picking her up around the middle or anywhere else doesn't give the slightest impression she might be pulled from the base, which is a nice plus. Definitely a very solid figure overall.
As one might expect, with great size comes great respon -- er, detail, and despite the lack of real complexity Good Smile's spared no expense in crafting a finely done design. Her sandals and toes are both nicely colored and detailed, though if you notice to the left of the strap you'll see the only real painting mishap I came across. It's just a small mark, though, and hardly detracts from an otherwise well crafted model.
The detail in the little things comes across in her hands as well, another feature that always stands out to me with larger designs. I've always marveled at how the creators of these manage to make such exquisite detailing, and her realistic slim fingers rest quite nicely against her side, where you can also get a good glimpse at the ties of her swimsuit. I've noticed often that many small figures tend to skimp on the details here, and it's often an area for painting mistakes, but not so with Nanoha.
Free from blemish, the ties are done almost perfectly here. Some might laugh at worrying over such a tiny aspect, but when it's always caught my eye in lesser quality figures, seeing Good Smile care about making sure nothing goes wrong in the area is something that'll make me sit up and take notice.
Call me a perv all you want, but I can't go on about the swimsuit's detail and realism without venturing into this sort of territory either! Thanks to a great company coupled with Nanoha's size, there's even effort put in here as well. While oftentimes we see a fairly flat swimsuit, I can appreciate the realistic creases and folds in the fabric! Plus, of course, the general sculpting here is certainly spot on as well, and I won't complain about that!
Really, the size allows for a fantastically detailed sculpt all around. I've always been one to enjoy the sight of a nice back, and Good Smile's done it again here as well, with realistic detailing around her shoulder blades and spine. I should also point out that while this image makes it seem as if the previously mentioned perfect string-painting isn't quite so flawless here, that is only from the lighting. Indeed, even here, the coloring remains strictly on the swimsuit where it should be!
Of course, we can't mention Nanoha without taking a look at her characteristic hair. Be it the twintails of her youth or the massive ponytail of StrikerS, Nanoha's always been one to possess very distinctive locks. That certainly comes through here, as her trademark pony swings out to the side and reaches even past her hips, tangling together rather neatly at the end. Overall it's a simple look, but the slight looseness at the end does stand out a little and make me appreciate it more than saying "It's a ponytail" and moving on.
Finally, Nanoha's trademark expressive happiness is captured quite well, with large, brightly sparkling eyes and a smile that'd look right at home in any episode of the series. Of course we all know Nanoha is at her best when angry, but for a relaxing summertime figure this hits the mark. Overall, Good Smile did a great job with the figure, and reaffirms why I love these larger scaled characters so very much. Simple design or no, if you can get your hands on this one I'd definitely give her a thumbs-up to any fan.
[Thanks to Hobby Link Japan for providing this sample!]
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