Let’s start with the most important fact: I LOVE Patlabor. Anyone who knows me knows that I love military mecha that get dirty and shot up and battle damaged and dirty (again). What may come as a surprise is that, among all the real robot series, Patlabor might just be my favorite. The mecha are all much cleaner and better maintained than in something like VOTOMS, but every aspect of Patlabor just speaks to me, from the characters and the writing to the underlying concept of slick police robots beating up other, bad robots.
As with all good robot shows, Bandai has made many, many toys and model kits over the years. What I did not realize until recently was that, alongside the venerable 1/60 scale plamo kits from the 90′s, Bandai made three soft vinyl kits of machines that had limited screen time. As it turns out, these kits are awesome. They fall together, and the result is a posable vinyl figure not unlike the axillary labor sofubis that CMs Corps released alongside their Brave Gokin line. As such, these figures make an excellent addition to the CMs Patlabor lineup.
I have been on something of a vinyl kick for not quite two years now, started in fact by the CMs labor vinyls, then branching out into modern, designer, and vintage kaiju and all sorts of zaniness. I love everything about vinyl, from collecting to painting myself, and have learned all sorts of new things painting kaiju, including airbrushing and using the excellent Monster Kolor paint system developed by Dead Pre$idents. Painting kaiju is fun, but I’ve been itching to start bringing these new tricks back over to ‘real models’.
As it turns out, a vinyl kit of a police mecha is an excellent middle ground to start that transition. I wanted to give the Python a nice metallic automotive finish with gloss white details, not unlike a real motor vehicle. A few airbrushing sections and some masking work later, I think I nailed it. Now, I’m not one to leave a model kit clean looking if I can help it, so I figured I had better muss this mecha up as if it were finishing up a labor crime scuffle, instead of just arriving on the scene.
It almost seemed sacrilegious to mess up that beautiful finish, but the end result is much more complex and full of depth for it. There’s a couple nasty paint dings that are going to earn Gomioka a chewing out and a little dirt and dust, probably from being pushed into a building by the badguy.
More importantly, I thought I had finally added a machine to my Patlabor collection that drifand, Patlabor collector extraordinaire, did not own, but when I looked back through his pics on the forum I realized there was a different Python figure lurking in the background of his display. I have the Saturn labor kit on the way, so I may yet get one ahead of him.
To me, this kit came out as the perfect blend of modern techniques and a slightly less-than-modern rendition of an awesome mecha. Now I just need to get it home and introduce it to the rest of my Patlabor collection. To finish it off, I’ll have to make the riot shield and baton it wields in its animation appearance. A second kit to make Yuuki’s machine is already in the mail.