Kotobukiya are known for their figures, but among other things, they have a history of making plastic model kits. Unfortunately, they haven't really gotten a lot of attention for that ... at least until they picked up Capcom's Rockman (or Mega Man here in the U.S.) license and began announcing kits based on that franchise.
While there's no better way to get attention than to announce a figure kit based on a beloved video game franchise, and while Kotobukiya has a long and storied history of quality, I had really no idea what to expect upon ordering the Rockman kit months ago. Hit the jump and check out if Rockman lives up to Koto's reputation!
Figure Name: Rockman 1/10-scale full-action plastic model kit
Figure Maker: Kotobukiya
Retail: 3,000 yen (approx. US$37)
All good reviews begin with a box shot, so here's mine (with bonus foot included!). If it wasn't obvious that you were buying Rockman from this box ... well, you may be blind. I do like the nice touch of including the Rockman-style font on the bottom where the kit's name is.
The side of the box shows off a front and rear shot, as well as all the items and the different faces. Also, take a good look at the coloring on these pictures: I'll explain in a bit.
And this is everything inside the box, laid out for you to see. Everything comes sealed up tight to make sure you don't lose anything in shipping, but it all opens up easily. Because there's a lot here, I'd advise only opening these up when you need them and not in advance.
Your instructions, while being easy to follow, do have Japanese text. Thankfully, you can put it together without any Japanese reading skills. The illustrations are very clear and the pieces easily and clearly numbered.
Assembling Rockman really is no different than any Gundam kit or similar model I've ever had to put together. Things slide in easily, and while there are a few small pieces to be careful with, Most of the pieces are actually large enough that you won't have to worry about dropping them and losing them, or with having difficulty getting them into tight spaces. The most difficult part was actually attacking the legs to the torso via the hip joints.
After about an hour of assembly, this is how Rockman turns out. As you can tell, Kotobukiya have done a very good job transferring Rockman's likeness to kit form. He's a 1/10-scale kit and stands about the appropriate height for a figure my size, nearly the same height as my 1/10-scale Mugi Beach Queen. You can still see where I cut the pieces form the plastic tray holding them in place, and even cutting right along the mold lines will leave marks. They're really only visible up close, thankfully, but if they bother you, you can always sand them down with a fine sandpaper. I have yet to decide if I'm going to go back and touch up those parts yet.
Remember when I said to pay attention to the box? Well, if you're observant, you can see some of the colors around the joints and collar don't match up. Those require additional painting to achieve their correct color, a step I have yet to take as I don't have the right colors on hand. I did wonder exactly why Koto didn't cast the painted parts in the deeper blue color in the first place to avoid painting all together, but I'm guessing it was just how they planned it out.
What matters most, though, is that Rockman's poseable and balances himself quite well. There is no base and no supports for this kit, but one really is not necessary at all. Recreating Rockman's famous poses is also pretty easy.
As for the joints, his shoulder ones are the tightest and they all generally stay in place once posed. However, I did have issue with the hip joints that go into the lower torso (as you can see above on his right leg) as they liked to move around a little bit and were a little loose. This sometimes led to a bit of a lean at the hips, but it's all easily fixable and correctable. I'd like to hope the upcoming Roll and Blues/Proto Man kits will have slightly tighter hip joints.
As mentioned before, Rockman comes with a few accessories. First off, he comes with three different faces and two sets of eyes. One set goes with two faces — the plain one and the happy one — but angry Rockman gets his own set of eyes. The faces themselves are simply held in by gravity: pop the head off, slide one face out and slide the other one in. It's incredibly easy to do and the seams are hidden by Rockman's helmet, so it also looks really nice!
Rockman's other accessories include his weapons. His buster arm is probably the one you'll be using the most, and like the rest of Rockman, it's sculpted precisely how it looks in .. well, every classic Rockman illustration I've ever seen. He also comes with two blaster accessories: the smaller, yellow regular shot ...
... and the big, blue, fancy as all heck charged shot. Both are made of a translucent plastic that gives them a plasma feel, but for sheer aesthetics, I like the charged one more. It looks badass.
Here you can see Rockman's third happy face, along with the unpainted E-Tank. Yes, that's right: if you want it to be like it is on the box and in the actual game, you have to go get the metallic blue paint to do it and slap the E-Tank decals on it afterward. Again, I haven't found the right paint hue for this anywhere around me, so this will be something I can do, but it's totally optional. But the eyes ...
Yeah, I did that somehow. I have no idea how, as I had the faces up inside the box and hadn't thrown them in there all randomly. But yes, the eyes can and will scratch up if you are not careful. The good news is that the decal sheet Kotobukiya included seems to have two pairs of each eyes, so you can pretty quickly replace them in case they do get damaged.
The biggest not-caused-by-myself problem I've had with Rockman, though, is that his parts fit snuggly. Well, perhaps at times, too snuggly. This can mean all kinds of adventures when trying to change out accessories, as they'll sometimes stick to other parts. The E-Tank and buster arm are the worst offenders in this regard, with the E-Tank legitimately stuck in Rockman's hand so bad I spent 45 minutes trying any number of ways to get it out. A pair of tweezers and a bit of force (but not too much!) later, I finally got it free, but I'm going to eventually be gluing that E-Tank peg into the actual accessory to prevent this in the future.
Even with these problems, this is very much an awesome, awesome kit that any Rockman fan should be able to build, and heck, every Rockman fan should have. The details are top-notch, the accessories great and the overall sculpt devoid of any significant errors in both look and balance. It also lends itself well to customizing if you so choose, and I wouldn't be shocked if some people did eventually do that. Of course, that is if Kotobukiya doesn't decide to release the individual robot masters themselves. I'll take an Elec or Cut Man, please.
If you want to pick Rockman up, there's still plenty of time. The kit's supposed to be exclusive to Japan, so I'm not sure if any U.S. retailers will end up getting them. Additionally, he's out of stock at Amiami, but Hobby Search and HobbyLink Japan both have him in stock, so check there.
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