Sunday, February 14, 2016

Review: Good Smile Arms I-401

Figure Information
Manufacturer: Good Smile Company
Origin Series: Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio
Scale: 1/350
Height: Approximately 35cm long
Original Price: 21,296 yen


Good Smile Arms (GSA) is a fairly new line with only 2 releases as of this writing and I-401 being the second and when I first received this last December 2015, I was amazed at how the box looked like since it feels really premium (and it is, lol) with all those hexagon cell windows and the Blue Steel fleet's logo in there; it's totally eye pleasing for me overall.

Like your typical boxes, you'll see some features in the sides while the back of the box gives a good breakdown of all the highlights of the figure with a bunch of Japanese text I definitely cannot read lol.

What totally makes the box look premium is basically the fact that it actually has a sleeve and it's the sleeve that actually has the Blue Steel fleet logos.

Details - Default Mode:

As you've seen in the packaging section, the main front cover shows the super graviton cannon opened up so this figure definitely has two modes and I'll start with the default sub first; as this isn't an articulated figure nor a character scaled figure, the review will mostly be discussions on the details. 

I-401 overall features a spectacular paint job and detailing in there as there is a good variant of blue shades while GSC had also definitely painted almost, if not, every little bit of details, thus, making the Submarine stand out and make a good display piece in general. What's pretty neat is that even the I-401 marking is pretty clean and accurate as you can only see it in one side of the sub. As minor nitpick though, I believe the blue should have been a little bit darker but hey, it's still pretty good.

As this is a transformable figure, one of the few inaccuracies in this form is of course the existence of seamlines in places where it shouldn't be based on the 3DCG model seen in the anime adaptation; one factor is that once you've transformed the sub into its super graviton cannon mode once and revert it back, the seamlines would even be more obvious since most of the parts that were initially stuck are a bit more loose now and that the figure itself doesn't have any locking mechanism with it to keep places in tact in the default mode.

Once again, the figure features a high amount of attention to detail as the deck when viewed from above definitely features that realistic look with all the mixtures of different shades of brown resulting in a wonderful look of the ship's deck. 

Armaments are all painted in silver and as indicated in the manual, these are all very fragile so do be careful with it or you might just kiss your 21k yen model goodbye. One thing that the sub failed to capture though are the fences and wires but I can live without those and adding those will just add to the fragile list.

The bottom of the sub features the lighter blue side as well as the "tattoo" that every Fog ship seems to have in the show; from the looks of it, these tattoo details were painted onto on the ship instead of being decals like the eyes of figmas as an example.

Transformation Process:

I won't be showing the transformation itself but the transformation process is a bit nerve wrecking when you first do it since the whole thing feels ridiculously fragile. I kid you not when I tell you that transforming I-401 from regular sub to the graviton mode involves a whole lot of parts forming and by parts forming, I mean, removing a lot of tabs here and there which might scare you when you first transform it.

Just to help out and give you an idea, I'll be providing a photo for each of the tabs removed step by step so that you'll know what to expect if you do wish to get this after reading up this review.

Left Side (Front)

Right Side (Front)

Top Side (Front)

Right Side (Middle)
(Sorry I wasn't able to take a photo of the left side @.@)

Details - Super Graviton Cannon Mode:

The Graviton mode is definitely what made me buy this figure and while the exterior is basically the same as the sub (since most of the tabs removed during transformation are just slightly repositioned for this mode), the highlights of this mode is that you actually get to see I-401's interiors. 

The front of the ship is where all the good stuff's in, seeing the cannons and its intricate detailing and paint in the cannons; additionally, you actually see the fog fleet's symbol in there when the cannons are opened. 

As I've said, most of the Graviton mode's highlights are its interiors and while some of the parts looks like they're just unpainted gray plastic, in no way does it look cheap as the two (or three) variants of gray plastic in there look clean and high quality. Adding to how good these gray plastic look like is the fact that majority of the interior engines have panel lining already.

The back in this mode have also opened up to show thrusters which features the same amount of detailing as the cannons in the ship's front.

Again, most of the ship parts seen in the Transformation Process section are pretty much just repositioned for this mode with only a total of 5 parts that you swap out with a different one that's, of course, also included in the set. The repositioned states does give off a more spiky look for I-401 overall and does also give you the idea that several parts of the sub shift when it enters this state. Lastly, in this state, the inaccurate additional seamlines I've mentioned in the Default Mode Details section are insignificant here since the main purpose of those was to accurately represent the sub's Super Graviton Mode.


Adding to the premium feel is the fact that GSC has included this classy looking base which features a silver plate containing some info about the figure such as the line, series, scale and Blue Steel Fleet's logo. Additionally, the base features a wood-like texture which helps add to the appeal of quite a simple base.

The set also comes with 2 pairs of support stands for each mode of the sub. The default mode uses a shorter support which you basically rest the whole sub into while the Graviton mode uses a slightly taller stand which actually features hooks which you use to insert in the gaps between the sub's revealed interiors. 

Final Thoughts:

I can't say that I can suggest this figure to everyone since it is pretty much just an expensive high end but fragile display piece for those who can't build the kits released by Aoshima (like me) though this does have the ability to shift between modes and is a really well detailed figure if I may say so myself.  IF you have the spending power and are a big fan of Arpeggio, then by all means, I suggest getting this figure. As for me, one of the main reasons I got this was because I totally love the Super Graviton Modes of the ships in the show and the fact that I've always visualized this displayed together with the figma rendition of its mental model, Iona, when both of them were first revealed during last year's (or was it last last year's) Wonder Festival. I definitely think it's worth the price despite being a small display piece and it actually feels just like buying scaled figures these days IMO. And before I end the review, I got this from the folks at Onegai Onii-chan, so do check them out!

I give I-401 a well deserved 4 out of 5.

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