Robot Damashii ARX-7 Arbalest Side AS
Here’s another offering of the popular ARX-7 Arbalest Arm Slave, made by Bandai. This version won’t make your wallet bleed, but will it put a smile on your face? Let’s see how it compares to Alter’s release.
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.”
For more detail on the background of this anime and the mecha, see Alter Arbalest review.
Name: ARX-7 Arbalest Side AS
Line: Robot Damashii (ロボット魂)
Material: ABS, POM, PVC
Release: Sept 2009
Original Price: ¥3,500 (approx. $43AUD / $39USD)
Height: 125mm / 4.9inches
Bandai again offers a very good looking yet functional packaging design. The robot Damashii line has a distinctive red trim with large fonts and is visible from a mile away! The display window is generously large and shows off the figure and some accessories. What I like most about this packaging is that it is quite slim, and not overly bulky in width which we see quite often in some other toy lines.
While there isn’t a huge array of accessories, there is enough to keep the average collector happy. You get a pair of interchangeable faces, one standard and one with an anti-tank dagger (which even Alter didn’t offer), the 57mm shotgun, one GRAW molecular cutter with sheath, one anti-tank dagger, and replacement shoulder and back parts for Lambda driver mode. Of course, all the hand parts to hold the weapons. One downside being you can only hold weapons on the right hand as there is no weapon holding hands for the left side. No display stands included.
Sculpturally speaking, this is a very good representation of the Arbalest. Proportions are very similar to the Alter release and I had to look quite hard to spot any major differences. However as Bandai’s release is constructed mostly from soft plastics (PVC and POM) compared to Alter’s release which is mostly ABS, the details are just not nearly as sharp. Having said that, it is still a very good looking figure considering the price range.
Articulation is relatively good, but it does suffer the same hip joint restriction problem as Alter’s release purely because of the design of the mecha itself. However it does not have the benefit of Alter’s version with the extendable hip joint, making the hip and thigh movement rather restricted. Aside from this little issue, all other joints have good movement and are nice and tight.
Being a relatively low budget toy, paint is not its strong point. Sure all the right colours are in the right places but quality wise, there is much to be desired. No panel lines drawn and no decals applied, making this toy feel somewhat “naked”. The only prints on this figure is the “B. 2009 China” and batch number which doesn’t really count.
Some notable detail including the working sheath which stores the molecular cutter, the folding stock on the shotgun and the articulated knee cap, however the folding stock on the shotgun appears to be way too big for the figure and doesn’t fit properly in the arms. Comparing the size to the Alter version, this toy is only about 20mm shorter, and as you can see there is hardly any notable difference apart from the size. They could almost be siblings!
Thankfully there are a few little things you can do to improve this toy to a display worthy standard yourself. See here for the full full tutorial. Here are some “after” shots for those of you that are too lazy to click:P
I’m quite a fan of this line of toys by Bandai, construction is pretty solid and you can really give it a good play without bits and pieces falling off. Price is also reasonable but it really needs a bit of work to bring it to a proper display level, at least you know it has the potential!
Thanks for reading my toy review!