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Tomopop Review: Mecha Workshop's Armarauders Bellerophon

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One mean machine

A few years back, collectors caught their first glimpse of Mecha Workshop's Armarauders line. While the giant fighting robots were awesome, I was even more excited to see that the line used tiny articulate pilots who could fit into the machines. Sure, it's a display option that probably won't see as much use as battle poses, but it's an incredible extra.

Of course, the pilot isn't alone: also included in this set is a docking station, which apparently connects to the box diorama (not included with the prototype) to create a larger scene. All of which, mind you, is just an extra to a fully-functional battling machine with a huge amount of articulation and a lot of optional accessories.

Full review after the jump.

Figure Name: Armarauders Bellerophon
Figure Maker: Mecha Workshop
Retail Price:  Roughly ¥28,800
Available at: HobbyLink Japan | AmiAmi | Big Bad Toy Store

[[Quick editor's note: This review is based on a prototype that I had to return after shooting. Due to various timing issues, I wasn't able to write the review during that period so I wasn't able to go back and take additional photos of things that didn't come out quite as nicely as I had hoped (as well as not having access to some of the photos in my other camera which I wound up misplacing). Additionally, I realize that I may have missed showcasing a few of the features... especially because I had almost forgotten about the docking stand entirely.]]

The Bellerophon stands roughly 23-cm tall (about 9-inches), has a lot of die-cast parts, and is billed as featuring more than 70 points of articulation. While I didn't personally count each point, I saw enough that I'd take Mecha Workshop's word for it since the figure is articulated right down to the fingers (that's right, no need for interchangeable hands). More on the articulation later.

The basic design, without most of the add-ons, is seen here. The prototype I used for this review came with the shields (?) attached to the calf, but I later realized that they're removable as well.

The pilot is tiny. He comes with a translucent flight stand (which I didn't notice until I was packing things back up) as well as a backpack unit. You can apparently pop the figure's head off to remove the backpack (which looks like a combination of a jetpack and weapons system). Apparently it can disassemble to form weapons for the pilot.

The pilot features articulation at the head, shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. I can't remember if he also had wrist articulation, but he definitely lacks ankle joints.

The figure is fully sculpted, fully painted, and designed to fit into a fully detailed cockpit inside the Bellerophon.

The cockpit can be opened by pulling out the chest piece (which took more effort than I thought it would the first time, but was easy once I had the process down), as shown in the first image, then opening it up as seen in the second.

I suppose that this mechanic may seem like a relatively minor touch, but this makes the mech seem more fully functional and vastly increases the number of display options.

Speaking of display options, here's the Bellerophon with all of its accessories attached (minus the Pegasus drone, which I'll discuss later). All of the add-ons are in some way articulate, having a moveable joint where they snap onto the figure and, in some cases, additional joints on the piece itself. The shoulder-shields featured some longer joints so they could be moved quite a bit. The shoulder cannons feature a lot of mobility as well.

The shoulder pads (as seen in the earlier photos) are open to reveal additional firepower. That's in addition to what look like nipple-pistols.

Two jetpack pieces snap onto the back. These are surprisingly awesome since they feature articulation at the nozzles, allowing for cooler flight mode displays.

In addition to the parts, some kind of an energy chakram attaches to the figure's forearm (or technically chakri). The blades are detachable and possibly a little dangerous due to the sharp tips. The whole unit can spin which presumably makes this into either some kind of an energy shield or an energy buzzsaw.

Unlike the other accessories, the rifles don't snap onto Bellerophon's body. Instead, they can be held in his hands thanks to those FULLY ARTICULATE FINGERS.

Bellerophon comes with two rifles so if you wanted him to go full Robo-Rambo, you totally could.

By now you've probably heard me talk about these amazing fingers a dozen or so times and really want to know more. Each finger is attached to the hand with a ball-joint, giving them a wide range of motion. Then there are ANOTHER two joints on each finger. These pin-joints mean that Bellerophon can hold weapons, slap another robot, punch an alien in its face, flash music or gang signs, taunt other robots with the middle finger, and more.

The thumb features a larger joint on the side to help make some of the hand poses look more realistic (and was especially useful when trying to make a fist).

There's also an alternate, transparent piece. Given that I've never read the accompanying comic, I'm not sure what it's for but it still looks cool.

Finally we have the adjustable docking station. This is just "Part A" of the docking station. Part B is described as "a mobile docking stand with rubber wheels that docks the Pegasus Drone which will merge up with the Bellerophon, much like a flight pack." And, of course, the whole thing can also be displayed with the packaging (which, again, wasn't included with the prototype) to form a larger diorama.

The station is adjustable... but I was never able to get the pillars back down again. I was told that you're supposed to push the small button in to lock it into place (it automatically locked for me) and you're supposed to use your nails to pull out the button to unlock it again. The only problem is that my nails are usually really short.

(There's also an additional piece that can snap in there to hold the Bellerophon in place which I wound up not using. If you to leave the Bellerophon in the display over a long period of time, you should probably use the piece to make sure that the Bellerophon doesn't fall over.)

The "wings" of the upper platform can separate and swing apart. The little extension between the two pieces retracts back into the right wing (or stage left wing).

Overall, it makes for an incredible display piece. Imagine how cool it would be to have a bunch of these platforms right next to each other...

All things considered, the Bellerophon seems pretty cool. Given that this is a prototype, there were some issues with loose joints, etc, which should be corrected in the final product. The copy I received also apparently had some things glued on which should detach. Otherwise, it's a solidly designed figure with tons of accessories and a multitude of display options.

You may have noticed that I didn't go into the overall articulation as much as some of my other reviews. That's because I decided to just cover it in an accompanying video. If you have five or six minutes to listen to my completely unscripted ramblings, be sure to check it out:

There's a lot to say about this release... in fact, too much to say. As such, expect a follow-up story in the next few days that covers some of the additional items that weren't included with the prototype such as the Pegasus Drone.

[Big thanks to Mecha Workshop for lending us this prototype]


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Mecha Workshop: Armarauders Bellerophon reviewed by Scarecroodle

 

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Scarecroodle
ScarecroodleAssociate Editor   gamer profile

is a Scarecroodle? ~It's a catchier and more memorable name than Scarecrow, which is generally taken more + disclosures


 



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