Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sen-ti-nel R:08 Riobot BX-02 Blodia Action Figure Review

When someone refers to a toy as their 'grail' they're usually talking about a vintage toy they had as a child or an exclusive figure that's extremely limited. Rarely do they refer to something that just came out, but that's my case here. That being said I'll try to be objective as I can in this review...try being the operative word here. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the Blodia it's the mecha Jin Saotome pilots in the original Cyberbots game and whose giant fist/vulcan cannon pulverizes opponents in Marvel vs Capcom 2 as a special move. That's right, the Sen-ti-nel company produced a high-end action figure based on an 18 year old game for a system nobody owns (sega saturn) that just happens to be one of the only three Cyberbots/Jin Saotome official merchandises in existence. If you want to talk about a niche product this is it by definition. Well let's get to that review. ((Warning, this is going to take you ten minutes to read, no 5-minute toy review here!))

Normally I skip the packaging unless it's really, really nice. Well it's really, really nice this time. The Blodia comes in a semigloss window box with a velcro flap ala Hot Toys with the entire thing being collector friendly with a dual part removable tray. The graphics are great, you get the Blodia's diagram specs on the side and posed samples of the figure on the back. Inside the flap is a large sticker with the production team on it in English. I assume if you peeled it off you would see the Japanese writing instead or perhaps its blank and was added last-minute. Either way it's a permanent sticker. But man this packaging makes me wish every action figure was done this way.

Sculpting for the Blodia is quite possibly perfect. I've looked at various art, diagrams, and even matched it up against the diminutive Yujin Blodia PvC and everything appears to be in exactly the right place. Corners are sharp where they're suppose to be and beveled when designed. There's diecast handles, foot treads, multi-sectional arm panels, the shield and weapon pod, everything is cleanly sculpted. The only thing that breaks up the sculpt is the occasional seam line, most noticeable on the diecast knees and feet. But it's diecast and well, that's perfectly acceptable.

The Blodia's design needs mention here. Everything moves. Every flap, panel, and hinge. Joints like the ankle and knee have hidden extending sections that run on rails or slide up inside something else. The back of the leg folds in to accommodate the bend of the knee while the upper thigh extends downward as the hidden knee panels slide into view. Then you get to the torso which has a multi-directional hinge, a folding ab crunch, extending collar section, and rotating ball shoulders attached to a giant swivel ball inside the chest.

Wait that's not all! both the Blodia's arms extend, separate pistons locking in  both closed and open positions. The left arm which houses the arm spikes (also diecast) extends further with the back section sliding out to reveal the exhaust port for the punch effect. The right arm features a telescoping peg that the shield attaches to that when extended runs across a rail allowing the shield to rotate and cover any section of the arm. I'm not even to the hands yet, just wait.

The Blodia's comes with two sets of hands, one set of solid sculpted fists and the other pair a fully articulated set. This makes no sense because the fully articulated hands can perfectly mimic a closed fist as the design even allows for the fingertips to be tucked into the palm. Instead of including a repatative set of hands we could have been treated to something like, oh, say a miniature version of the mecha's pilot that could stand in its hand? But these articulated hands...the fingers have three joints, they raise up and spread apart just like real fingers. They're metal pins and tight. Speaking of metal pins they seem to be everywhere on this figure. There are no screw holes and every joint section is covered, hidden, and makes for a completely jointless look.

The Blodia's articulation if you guessed is incredible. Because of all the extending sections the range of  motion is unhindered in every moving part of the figure. It can raise its arms all the way up, kneel, facepalm, even stand on its toes. The poses you can get out of the Blodia are great and the only thing that doesn't work are the heel wheels, they're fixed posed and have some sort of piston up under them. It would have been really cool to have rolling rubber heels but I can't fault it.

Paint application for the figure is flawless as it should be. There's no bleed, so slop, no overspray. The white sections are a metallic pearl and the red is a nice semigloss. The diecast claws and handles are left unpainted which is a cool touch. The Blodia's shoulder and kneepads have slight battle wear on them which is actually real wear, the diecast showing under the scuffing. There's also a light black panel lining on the armor and every little bolt is painted giving the figure a clean but detailed look. Tiny tampos that say things like [Warning Electrical Hazard] are cleanly applied and can be read with a magnifying glass.

Accessories for the Blodia are the two extra hands, shield, a clear-topped stage with a claw arm and post for the Bit (weapon pod). The Bit is just as cleanly designed and has tiny moving fins. A set of instructions show you all the range of movement, sliding arm features, and accessory attachments. Tho it's written in Japanese the pictures get you by as what to do with each part. The Blodia's arms and torso can be detached and I'm wondering if they can be swapped with the parts for the Riot/mass production Blodia styles (jet/tank waist, power arm).

The Blodia stands 6.5 inches tall which puts it in scale, I think, with the Armored Core and Front Mission figures as well as deluxe sixed Transformers. Jin Saotome is often seen being lowered from the Blodia's hand so that should give you an idea of its size. I would have loved an 8" scale Blodia. Heck I would have been fine with a model kit. But Sen-ti-nel's was able to shove all the tiny moving parts into a 6" figure which really impresses. So what's the verdict? Well are you a Cyberbots/Jin Saotome fan? If so you track this figure down through heaven and hell because I seriously doubt Cyberbots will see any other merchandise. If you just like mecha it's neat to have but you're paying an import premium price for a property you're probably not familiar with. Our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has the Blodia, Riot, limited 2player version, and Mass Production version. Wait, you mean Sen-ti-nel made FOUR Cyberbots related figures? Ok, they must be huge fans of the game. Fingers crossed and we may someday see a Jin Saotome figure somewhere. Figma, D-arts, are you listening?