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Arboreal Phenomena

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Arboreal Phenomena

Friday
August 30th, 2013

I remember excitedly telling my friends how I'd found a piece of furniture in one of my town's trees and immediately realizing how goofy that statement sounded.

As I worked out this strip I knew someone would point out that furniture in Animal Crossing comes from leaves, or that furniture doesn't 'pop' out of its leaf form outside of the house. This week's Awkward Zombie hit terribly close to home.

As promised last week, we have another Nerd Rage Review! Click here to skip down to Bandai's D-Arts Bass & Treble!

Nerd Rage - Review - Revoltech Snake
Bandai - D-Arts Bass

If you saw last week’s preview, either in the blog post or through Level Up Studios, there should be no surprise we’ll be looking at Bandai’s D-Arts Bass & Treble from Mega Man this week.  (Or Forte & Gospel from Rockman if you’re gonna do that whole “Glorious Nippon names only” thing.)

BOX

A couple interesting notes: in Japan these guys are a webshop exclusive.  Bluefin is doing them as a standard release here.  Curiously, mine still came in the external webshop mailer (which says Forte and Forte in katakana), yet the inner product packaging has been changed for the English market.  Well, a little anyway.  Like Mega Man, they swapped out some brand logos and used his Western name.  And that’s about it, since all the other text is still Japanese.

ARTICULATION

Articulation is a big, big step up from Mega Man.  Bass feels more like the X Series figures than his Classic Series rival.  From the floating guards on his double jointed elbows and knees to the somewhat-frustrating helmet design (lookin’ at you, Zero!).  I’d forgotten just how different Mega Man Classic was until I pulled him out again for this review.

That’s not to say Bass is quite as flexible as X or his buddies, but it’s a marked difference from the Blue Bomber.  Mega Man used a peg system that connected the elbow to the upper arm when switching buster-pieces – he also single-jointed at the elbows and knees.  Bass is double jointed, giving a much greater range of motion.  The buster parts peg onto the joint, like the X figures.

Bass’s shoulder pads disguise a more traditional shoulder configuration: an inset ball and socket in the chest, attached to a ball-hinge with bicep swivel.  It’s a little disconcerting pulling Bass out of the box and feeling how loose the shoulder pads are.  No, they’re not broken, he’s just designed that way.  They clip into dimples on the ball-hinge so that the armor moves with the arm.  Be careful not to lose ‘em, they pop off if you move the arms out shoulder pad’s allowable range.

I don’t know if Treble should count as a figure or an accessory, but I want to discuss his articulation so I’ll do it here: he barely has any.

One of my complaints with Rush was that he was articulated but only looked good in one or two poses, the rest made him look more like he was dying or stupid.  Sitting?  Couldn’t do it.  Laying down?  Couldn’t do it.  Your options were a few variants on standing, running, and maybe jumping.  Bandai seems to have cut their losses and only given Treble minimal head articulation (you can nudge it a couple degrees in any given direction) and simple swivel at the hip for his back legs.  That’s it.  There is no more.  Enjoy it for what it is.

ACCESSORIES

Previous Mega Man figures have been pretty generous with the accessories, but this time around the box feels a little…emptier.  Probably because Treble uses more solid plastic than Bass himself and weighs at least twice as much.  So that’s clearly where a lot of the budget went.  I’m really glad they were able to include him, because he’s a must if you’re going to do a Bass figure.

You get five hands – two fists, two palms and a pointy hand I don’t recognize as anything Bass specific?  Maybe this is what I get for remembering him more from Mega Man 7 than the later titles.  Anyway, you get enough hand parts to recreate all that running and jumping he’d normally be doing in 8 fun themed levels.

There’s three face plates, one of which has him looking down/to the side.  Finally!  These Mega Man characters have such big eyes, it’s a shame they’ve all been focused straight forward until now.  The other face plates represent the remaining spectrum of Bass’s emotions: mouth-closed angry and teeth-baring angry.

I had trouble the first time I swapped faces on mine, and the simple line art instructions might be a bit hard to read if the pieces aren’t popping apart.  To swap the faces you need to take off two pieces of the helmet.  The scalp and fins attach on a vertical peg.    The front of the helmet pegs to the back of the head horizontally.  To get the top off, I grasp from the base of the fins and pull up gentle but firmly.  I gave him a little time in the freezer/a little warm water to loosen things up on mine.  Remove the second piece from the chin area, around the ear-cuffs.  Don’t pull on the thin brow of the helmet or you could very well snap it.  After pulling them apart a couple times, they became much easier to remove.

There’s no buster effect this time around, which seems really weird, because it’s something Bandai has gone out of their way to include before.  Bass’s buster doesn’t even seem to have the necessary hole to peg someone else’s buster effect parts in.  Mysterious.  Oh, and you get two busters.  One for each arm.  Which also seems a bit weird because – unlike Mega Man – Bass’s busters seem to be identical parts.

PAINT APPLICATION & SCULPT

The sculpt looks good ‘n accurate, taller than Mega Man, shorter than X.  His black armor is a nice glossy, almost metallic-y black (similar to X and Zero), with glossy yellow trim.  The gray is a nice flat matte.  The inside of his ear-cuffs, bottoms of his feet, and tip of his busters have those transparent-red jewels, backed with silver paint.  His chest and forehead have blue jewels.  My only complaint with the paint job is that it’s almost impossible to perfectly cover black with a coat of yellow (Period.  Not specifically with this figure) so if you inspect him closely, some of the yellow has slightly different shades where it was applied thicker/thinner.  This isn’t a huge issue and definitely not something that will be noticeable from a normal viewing distance – and it’s definitely better than the alternative option of casting him in yellow plastic and worrying about the black scratching.

Treble’s paintjob is awesome (although mine, unfortunately, came with a chipped tail).  I reiterate a lot of the budget had to have gone into this figure, just to accommodate small paint details.  The majority of his color scheme is a glossy, metallic purple, with the rest being black, gray, white, and yellow like Bass.  Smaller details, like his segmented tube-wires are a more metallic gray and they’re cuffed with a metallic gold.  He may not do much, but he looks really nice.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Pros
• It’s Bass and Treble in one box!
• Articulation is a big step up from Mega Man.
• Paint application looks good.
• Treble’s paint looks good, too!

Cons
• It seems weird they didn’t include a buster effect, or the parts necessary to use an existing one.
• Treble is basically a statue.

Bass and Treble are cool figures and are (dare I say) better than Mega Man himself.  But not quite as good as X.  I won’t go that far.  The sculpts are accurate and the paint jobs look slick.  Treble is one hefty hunk of plastic and may not be articulated, but if the options were Rush-tier articulation or nothing, it’s not a big loss.  Bass can do all kinds of great, dynamic poses thanks to double jointed elbows and knees, intricate ankle articulation, and waist mobility.  If you already have the Blue Bomber, his fin-headed rival looks great along side him.

As I mentioned above, Bass and Treble are a webshop exclusive in Japan, but Bluefin is handling them as a regular release in North America.  You can get equipped with your own set through Amazon or your local comic shop!

 

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