Alter ARX-7 Arbalest アーバレスト Arm Slave
The much anticipated and long overdue ARX-7 Arbalest from Full Metal Panic! is finally here, and pretty much sold out everywhere within the first couple of months of it’s release. This was something I had to have, despite the high price tag, was it worth it? You tell me.
I don’t know much about this figure or the series that it came from but here is something I found from wiki.
“Full Metal Panic! (フルメタル•パニック!, often abbreviated to FMP!) is an ongoing series of light novels written by Shoji Gatoh and illustrated by Shiki Douji. The series follows Sousuke Sagara (相良宗介), a member of the covert anti-terrorist military organization known as Mithril, tasked with protecting Kaname Chidori (千鳥 かなめ), a spirited Japanese high school girl.”
Based on the actual world events around the late 20th century to the early 21st century, the story is set in a parallel version of Earth with a number of differences, for more info see the wiki link above. The series has been adapted into three animated TV series – “Full Metal Panic!” by Gonzo Anime Studio (2002), “Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu” (2003) and “Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid” (2005) by Kyoto Animation. There are also 5 different manga series and an OVA released in 2006 based on the series.
The ARX-7 Arbalest Arm Slave comes from the third TV series “Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid” which is a direct sequel to the original anime series. The ARX-7 Arbalest is a Generation 3 arm slave equipped with an experimental system called the Lambda driver, this essentially gives it the power to attack or defend itself with force fields that are created by the human operator’s thoughts alone.
Name: ARX-7 Arbalest (アーバレスト)
Line: ALMECHA (アルメカ)
Sculptor: Miura Osami (みうら おさみ)
Material: ABS, PVC
Release: June 2009
Original Price: ¥12,800 (approx. $155AUD / $142USD)
Secondary Market Price: ¥13,500 upwards
Height: 155mm / 6.1inches
Packaging of Arbalest is very well thought out. Great image and text layout with information about the enclosed figure, and if this wasn’t enough to entice would be purchasers, the front lid could lift up to reveal the Arbalest figure and weapons inside. Once unpacked, you can see all the contents are neatly secured between three layers of plastic lining – what I really love about Alter’s packaging is they’ve replaced sticky tape to hold down loose bits with a self adhesive film (much like cellphone screen protectors) which means it leaves no sticky residue and can be reused over and over.
This figure comes with plenty of accessories, you get a 57mm shotgun (with folding stock and pump action), pair of the GRAW molecular cutters with sheath (one clips to waist, one clips to back), a pair of M1180 anti-tank daggers, two M1067 hand grenades, parts for the Lambda driver, a whole heap of hands as well as a printed display stand. One interesting thing to note, Alter also included an extra pair of shoulders, even though both pairs are the same and both could switch to Lambda driver mode.
There is so much detail on the sculpture of this figure and you really do feel Alter has taken the time to get this right. The proportions are great, and I dare say it has even more detail than the anime mecha that it is based on. Just looking at it, it could pass off easily for a model kit built by a pro, and I guess that is what you’re really paying for with this guy.
Great articulation all round with close to 30 points throughout, you can really have a lot of fun with this figure. The knees are double jointed (as with the elbows) for a large range of movement allowing you to place the Arbalest in kneeling positions. The hip joints can also be extended to give the figure even more articulation there. All joints are nice and tight and the figure hold’s its poses quite well.
I did find however, in the mode where the Lambda driver is activated, and the shoulder bits are opened up it tends to restrict the movement slightly as it tilts and scrubs against the main body. This was a very minor issue but I thought I’d point it out.
There isn’t a whole lot of paint on this figure, most parts are moulded in colour some even moulded in metallic colour. The paint quality is good, there are heaps of panel lines drawn in but what I like most about the finishing on this figure are the finely printed caution and warning signs throughout. Each sign is slightly different and some are even readable, this is quite amazing as each letter is about 0.1mm high. I had to view through my macro lens to see most of them, for example the one on the back says “CAUTION – CRITICAL BOLT TORQUE SEE MAINTENANCE MANUAL”, and another one on the molecular cutter blade says “APPROACH HOT BLADE FROM A FORE OR APT DIRECTION ONLY USING EXTREME CAUTION”. Impressive right?
Few gimmicks and features on this figure, as this is figure is part of the Alter Mechanical Model collection there ought to be some mechanical parts. Pull the lid on the back to reveal the said mechanical parts, doesn’t do much but looks pretty.
Some key features to note about the articulation, elbows have a flip down panel to allow extra articulation, which bends back automatically when the arms are straightened. The blue armour pieces in front of the thighs can slide down to give extra articulation as well.
Another feature is the opening cockpit, slide the head forward to unlock and lift the head up to open, there you’ll see Sousuke Sagara at the controls, well at least the top of his head. Just to give a sense of scale, the Arbalest is only slightly larger than your average Revoltech figures, it could have been bigger for the price but it also makes the figure even more amazing knowing how much detail is packed into such a small space.
Now that you’ve read through this review, I hope it can give you a better understanding of why such a small, non-metallic toy can cost so much. Just think of it this way, if you were to purchase a plastic model kit, and pay a professional model maker to assemble and paint the figure for you, you’d probably be looking at a price of double or more for the same quality and detail. I think this figure was very much worth the price.
Thanks for reading my toy review!