This is a tale months in the making (namely because I admittedly took my sweet time writing this tale). Not without due reason. You see, nature is rebelling against me. Mother Earth has had enough of me and wants me to go the same way as the dodo.
I felt daring and decided that, for the first time ever, I would go outside and do an outdoor photo shoot with some toys. It wasn't my first time outside, I meant first time taking photos in natural light - I have been been outside dozens of times in the past decade ... well, one dozen. Maybe.
So what better toy to take outside than the latest collectibles from Lost Planet 2 by Kotobukiya. In this line, we have two different versions of the GTF-11 Drio and the PTX-140 Hardballer. In my head, there could be no more ideal choice for bringing my camera along with me while getting my daily dose of Vitamin D. Little did I know, Captain Planet was shaking his fist at me and would make sure I never set foot outside again ...
Hit the jump for my tale of woe ... oh, and a review of some toys with lots of photos!
Figure Name: Lost Planet 2 PTX-140 Hardballer & GTF-11SR Drio
It was a brisk autumn day, as I gathered my Domke bag and stuffed my camera and pair of Lost Planet 2 figures inside. I had liberated them from their packages already, and since I neglected to take shots of them, I can tell you that the packages are nice and simple. The package is pure clear plastic, and pretty sturdy plastic at that. Sadly, with that you do not have the option of taking the figure in and out of the box like if it was cardboard. With this item, it's either mint in package or loose for eternity. I am a loose collector, so it's no skin off my back.
Once you manage to cut through the resilient plastic, you can yank out the molded plastic with the figure and begin the ten minute long process of extricating it from that. This thing had so many twisty ties and those barely visible rubber bands! It was a minor annoyance, but on the plus side, it kept everything very safe and secure. Each figure comes with a backdrop which doubles as the toy info. Overall, the packaging is minimal but that's fine for me. Easy to stack and dust if you keep it in box, a small chore to remove it, but very little mess afterward.
Behind the apartments where I live are some garages. Behind those garages are woodlands, at least as much as you can get in New York City. The most wildlife I get is a raccoon here and there and a squirrel eating a bagel. I patrolled the area until I found the right spot, much like Linus searching for the most sincere pumpkin patch to wait for The Great Pumpkin to arrive. I found a spot deep into the woods, which meant five minutes away from the garages. I put my canvas camera bag on the floor and set up the first toy, the GTF-11SR Drio.
Kotobukiya did an excellent job on the likeness of this figure to its video game counterpart. The paint is smooth and has a worn look to it, like it just came out of a battle. The machine guns on the side of the Drio are detachable and adjustable with ball joints, while the smaller guns insert into the toy via a slot. If I had one gripe, it was getting this guy to stand, but then again, I did have him balancing on a log here. Even when he was on flat ground, making this guy stand up straight was a pain.
Speaking of pain, my knees were beginning to feel it from kneeling on the rough ground. As I was shooting, I began to smell something ... animal feces. I figured, hey, I'm in the woods, it's only natural. I looked to around to see if there was any in the immediate area and did not see any, so I kept shooting. Then the small grew stronger. It was time to move I thought, so I went to put my camera back in my bag to relocate. That's when I saw it.
Some woodland critter had dropped a soft mushy lump of leftovers into my bag. Well, that explains the smell, I thought to myself as I looked for some tissues to wipe it off. Little did I realize, when you wipe off animal feces on a canvas bag, all you end up doing is smearing the crap into the textured surface, lodging it deeper and deeper. I had no water or anything to throw on this, so I was stuck with a smelly bag.
Growing slightly frustrated, I went to grab my Drio figure. As I looked down, I realized why I was smelling animal feces. The same animal that was above me had been hanging out for awhile. The reason I could not find the droppings was because I was kneeling in them the entire time ...
This is just my luck, people. I just happened to find the creature with the loosest bowels in Queens, but I also was fortunate enough to kneel in his diarrhea. Now I was mad. I snatched up my Drio and stomped out of the woods. How do you tell a Tomopop photographer from the rest of the world? He's the only one covered in animal crap.
Screw this! I headed back to civilization and decided to fake it. Sure, outdoors combat is great and all, but urban warfare is the way of the future. Plus, it matched the Hardballer!
I had been lusting over the Hardballer since New York Toy Fair 2010, and when I got him finally after months of waiting, I was not disappointed. Firstly, I was surprised at how balanced this figure was. Upon first glance, the feet on him looked like they could not hold any weight and he would be wobbly. Not at all - this guy stood his ground proudly, unlike his brother who took some posing.
The two weapons on his shoulder are attached by ball joints like the Drio, while his jetpack is stuck to his back. Both of the figures have those jump jets, and are permanently attached to him. One nuisance that was not permanently attached was the shoulder guards on the Drio, which is a pro and a con. They pop out if you pose the Hardballer's arms too high, but that is the price you pay for mobility.
The gun and shield look great, and both do come off of his hands, although I would not recommend taking the shield off due to its positioning and how hard it is to get it back in his hand. I was impressed with the overall flexibility of this figure as well, from the legs to the arms and even elbows and knees.
I love the look of this thing and I still can't figure out why. The aesthetics of it are very appealing to me, maybe it is the symmetry of this oddly proportioned machine or how it looks like no other robot I have ever seen. Hardballer screams manliness, except manly things don't scream - they growl. Hardballer growls like a tiger in the jungle, and he is an excellent figure, top to bottom. This figure reaffirmed my faith in mankind, but not Mother Nature and her lactose intolerant animals. Which brought me back to the Drio ...
Only inches from an uncomfortable concrete sidewalk, I posed the Drio in some grass. If it wasn't the fall and there were no dead leaves around, this figure might look pretty epic outside. At this point, I was tired of this naturalness and wanted to get back to the safety of my house, where I can keep squirrels and raccoons far away from flinging their wet turds at me.
Drio is not quite as mobile as his brother, but he can be posed. The biggest problem is those flat feet, which made it hard for it to stand no matter how I posed it. Both figures do come with large flat bases, but being flat, they don't help the Drio that much.
The open cockpit is a neat addition, and I liked that the front piece did lift up to reveal the pilot's legs. The pilot is not articulated and is not meant to be taken out, but he looks pretty slick when you get a good look at him. It's all about the details here, and Koto does not skimp on those, even at this scale.
When I first saw both of these at NY Toy Fair, their booth representatives had to give me a towel to wipe up my drool. This time, I needed a towel to clean my bag and pants. Besides the planet Earth attacking me, these figures lived up to my expectations and beyond. My only real gripe was the problem with Drio standing straight, but beyond that I am very excited to have these pieces on my toy shelf.
For US$35 a pop, they are definitely worth it, and they also come in two colors each, which designate their model number. The other Hardballer is a sandy, desert color, while the other Drio is a solid grey. These two were my favorites in terms of color, but all of them look great. Even if you are not a fan of the video game, I highly recommend these figures! If you don't like them, send them to me so I can build my army to destroy this so-called Mother Earth and her minions. You may have crapped on me this time, but the next time it will be the other way around!
Thanks to Kotobukiya for providing us with these samples for review. Even if they hadn't I can honestly say I would have bought these in a heartbeat! Check out the gallery for many more images of both of these toys!
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