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January 31, 2004

Solid Snake!

Filed under: Toy News — Rumble Crew @ 8:58 pm

I’ve been a fan of Kow Yokoyama’s S.F.3.D. series of model kits even before their re- christening as “Ma.K.: Machinen Krieger” several years ago (due to trademark and copyright issues, I hear.) Always loved the gritty and obesessively geeked-out look of his vehicle, robot, and “powered suit” designs, with their sci-fi-meets-WWII theme. Always hungered for toy versions of ANYTHING by the guy, hampered as I was (and am) by my pathetic model-building skills. Last year’s “capsule” Ma.K. figures were nice, but it’s tough to get into un-poseable figurines the size of your thumb.

Finally, after all these years, there’s IS something to get excited about: Max Factory’s all-new series of 1:16 scale “Snake Eye Super Armored Fighting Suit” figures. Unlike their capsule buddies, they’re a satisfying six inches tall. They’re made of a combo of ABS plastic and soft vinyl. They’re fully assembled, painted, and lovingly detailed. They’re available in six variations (three colorations with three sets of markings). And you know what? They’re great.

Kado Senshi they ain’t, but neither are they statues. Joints include shoulder, elbow, and wrist rotation, a rotating waist (though highly constrained by the various hoses and armor plates), rotating knees, and ball-and-socket ankles. It’s also stuffed full of hidden hinges that let the sucker open up to reveal the pilot (alas, only a head and torso. Could enormous, egg-shaped powered suits be the future of quadruple amputee therapy?)

Downsides? The connector for the hatch is really half-assed and kludgy, an obvious holdover from Ma.K.’s model kit origins. Rather than a hinge, it’s a separate and tiny little… dongle, for lack of a better word. I mean really tiny, like a millimeter square. And it only holds the hatch closed, weakly, on one side. (You can pose the hatch open, too, but you’ve got to swap one dongle for another.) If you’re the type to fly your Super Armored Fighting Suits around the room while making rocket noises (aw, go on, admit it), be prepared for the hatch to go flying off and the connector skittering under your sofa. And our stalwart pilot dying a horrific death due to vacuum exposure. Space war is hell, man.

Bottom line? It isn’t an “action figure,” but it’s sturdy and “playable” enough to qualify as a bona-fide toy (albeit an expensive one at 4,800 yen.) That being said, it’s painted so exquisitely, you’ll swear it stepped off the pages of your favorite hobby magazine. If “realistic” (ha!) robots turn your crank, the Snake Eye is fer you. Big thumbs up!

Extra-special thanks to HobbyLink Japan for “breakin’ me off,” as the kids say these days.


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