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Tomopop Review: Ques Q's Image Model Lene

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It wasn't too long ago that many collectors would look at the dealer booth section of events like Wonder Festival to look at the works of the garage kit makes and just admire and think, "I wish that was a PVC figure..."

Well, I have a feeling that the people who started up QuesQ were a bunch of fans who just got fed up of saying that line too many times. So far, all the releases from QuesQ have been garage kits which have been purchased from the original maker and then made into a PVC figure - Lene is no exception.

They've been around for a while, focusing on Touhou figures but QuesQ have recently started to diversify and really impressed me with their release of Takao from Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio but Lene, and her sister Ines, are a totally different beast. Originally released as garage kits from Grizzry Panda, these two have now been given a PVC release but it has come at a cost... literally! Lene doesn't come cheap but she's an impressive piece of work. But is she worth the price tag? only one way to find out... Lets get it on!

Figure Name: Image Model Lene
Figure Maker: QuesQ
Retail Price: ¥23,544
Available at: AmiAmi | HobbyLink Japan | Hobby Search

There have been quite a few reviews of Ines online already, since she was the first to be released so this review will focus on Lene. There are a lot of similarities between the two and where things are relevant, we will note the differences or similarities.

But for now, lets look at the box!

The box is pretty large to cover both Lene and her Shinki armour, but the window is big enough to see everything inside the box.

There's also a window at the back so you get to see the back of the shinki as well. There are no windows on the side though, we just get some images of the completed figure.

And here's how she looks out of the box and assembled. QuesQ have done a very good job at replicating the details of the garage kit original. There are some some differences and additions, most of which don't actually make much sense. The most obvious one is the base. QuesQ has provided the kit with a circular black disk for the base and some hooks on the feet. Ines has a white disk which is pretty much identical. The thing is... they are unnecessary. The shinki stands very well on its own. The sword may benefit from the uneven surface and not slip, but it's perfectly capable of standing on its own.

Taking a closer look at Lene herself, The paintjob on her is clean and tidy. The only oddity is that the parts around the hip are raised and the sections where the parts connect are shaded in such a way that it's difficult to tell if the parts are separate or molded as part of the body. It's not something you notice on general inspection, and it doesn't really detract from the figure as a whole, but it's just a minor niggle which bothered me a little.

And here's how the Shinki armour looks like on its own. Note that there is no base in this photo, just to show its stability. In a sense, the shinki is almost a separate figure rather an accessory. It actually takes up more space than Lene herself. As for the Ines figure, the Black shinki is almost identical, save for the arms being swapped over so the sword rests with the right hand instead of left, as well as one other slight alteration for the figure.

Unlike the black armour for Ines, there's a peg in the right leg of the white shinki armour to hold Lene in place. It's a nice addition, and it does help, but again, it's not actually necessary. Lene is able to stand in place on her own.

As a result, Lene is able to stand with the black shinki for Ines, but due to the peg on the white shinki, Ines is not able to do the same. At least not properly.

Instead of putting the foot in the area where its meant to go and provides a stable footing, the peg forces you to balance the foot of Ines on the peg itself. Still, you can get Ines to pose on her sister's shinki... Just about.

Despite the two shinki sharing so much in terms of design, the little differences make little things like swapping the shinki armours between the two far harder than they should be.

On closer inspection of the shinki armour, the details really shine. There were some liberties taken with the overall design as the original Busou Shinki figures didn't have the leg armours connected to the main body like these figures do. The clear parts are also held in place with small pegs, but they have a tendancy to slip off. A minor annoyance, but they can be put back in with ease.

Sadly, the wings on the skirt are fixed and don't expand. A bit of a missed trick there.

And here's how the image model Lene compares to the Busou Shinki original. One thing to note is that the image model Lene lacks the obvious metal joints on the shoulders and knees. Even the Busou Shinki anime kept them in the anime designs, but the image model figures did away with them. Not sure if the change is for the better but it would have been interesting to see how the figure would have turned out if they kept closer to the original Busou Shinki design, joints and all.

Overall, the figure provides a strong case for purchase. It's well sculpted, highly detailed and has a rather catching pose. The only problem is the brick wall which you slam into just as you hit the "buy" button, the price!! Let's not beat around the bush here, ¥24,000 is an incredibly high price to pay for a figure, and these figures aren't even that large. Standing around 24cm, it would usually occupy the 1/7 scale bracket, but since this is Busou Shinki we're talking about, these are actually larger than the source material. In any case, very few PVC figures break the ¥20k barrier, and those tend to be of the 1/4 scale variety. 

Are these Busou Shinki ladies good? Heck yes! Are they very good?? Yes to that too!! Are they ¥24,000 good? No.

Putting things into perspective, these releases from QuesQ are MORE expensive than the original garage kits when they were on sale from Grizzry Panda! Maybe it was due to Konami licensing costs. Perhaps you could argue that the shinki armours are large enough to be called a separate figure (hah!) or maybe it was something else entirely, but that doesn't change the fact that these ladies are prohibitively expensive. Even though they are great figures, they don't quite justify the price tag which have been slapped on them -And the only changes made are the provisioning of a base for each figure, and a peg to keep Lene stable, neither of which are actually necessary!

If they were priced better, these two would be instant recommendations but as they are, only the most die-hard fans would probably want to get them as the price of entry is just too high. 

Perhaps they will find their way to the bargain bin later on, but given the very limited nature of QuesQ releases, I doubt we will see reductions in price for these ladies anytime soon and once they are gone, they will be gone for good! 

If you decide to take the plunge, I doubt you will be disappointed in your purchase, but steel yourself for the dent they will put on your wallet!


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Ques Q: Image Model Lene reviewed by Chris Seto

 

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Chris Seto
Chris SetoAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Chris is one of the many tomopop writers. While often hibernating (even in the summer), this creature will often arise from his slumber to cover some of the more niche parts of the japanese figur... more + disclosures


 



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