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[KOTOBUKIYA] YAM-008-2 Altairlion 1/144

December 15, 2009

“Figure out the enemy’s path, and intercept!”

Ibis Douglas, Super Robot Taisen Original Generations 2

This here be a Kotobukiya 1/144 Super Robot Taisen kit. If you don’t know this, I don’t blame you, because Bandai is the representative when it comes to kit-making. What Bandai doesn’t produce however, other companies like Kotobukiya cover.

For your information, the kit is about 3/4 the height of a 1/100 Gunpla, the midway point between a 1/100 and a 1/144 Bandai mobile suit kit. If this were 1/100, the Altairlion would tower over all the other kits I have.

Alas, Kotobukiya. My poor fingers!

 

Hi, welcome to Ibis' Motivational Speech Session. Please take a seat over there, there or anywhere you like.

 

Armamants:

90mm GG Cannon x2

Shoulder-mounted Railguns x2

CTM-02 Spigeaul Missiles (not included)

CTM-07 Prominence Missiles (not included)

Sonic Blades

G-Accel Driver x2

Special Move: Maneuver GRaMXs

Summary:

The Altairlion is an upgraded two-seater model belonging to the “Lion” series of Armored Modules developed by the Divine Crusaders during the events of the game Super Robot Taisen Alpha 2. An upgrade of its lesser cousin the Astelion AX, the Altairlion boasts improved performance as would any upper-tier machine. Much like several Lion-series A.M.s before it, the Altairlion is fully flight-capable, amazingly fast for its size, has a secondary mode to transofrm into, and carries all of its armaments onboard; it can be equipped with extra weapons, but what it already has is in no way lacking. Like the Astelion before it, the Altairlion has a combat maneuver move programmed into its OS that takes advantage of its weapons systems; in this case, Maneuver GRaMXs, where the machine darts around the battlefield pummelling the opponent with an assortment of the guns and missiles the Altairlion carries. Like all complicated movements however, activating it and mastering it are different matters altogether, and on its first activation in a test it resulted in a casuality, much to Ibis’ dismay, who swore off stepping into the cockpit until much, much later in the future.

Just before I start, I would like to mention that the Altairlion kit was made sometime before. Not sure when, but if my guesses are right it would be pre-2009… probably about during 2006-2008, I wager.

That said, “ouch, mai poooour fingerz.”

 

One, and two, and three, and four, and two, and two, and three...

 

The Altairlion is a fickle kit. I say this with absolute seriousness. I cannot say for anyone else’s version of their Altairlion, but mine has as many loose joints as there are overly-tight joints. About a 50-50 ratio.

Firstly, the upper body. The Altairlion, MY Altairlion has loose joints at the elbow and the elbow guard. One look and you can guess; the number of parts there means that something called “stability” is going to suffer; unlike Bandai who would probably mold the elbow guard (used during transformation) in one whole piece and tell you to color it yourself, Kotobukiya delivers it in a few pieces and all in their respective colors. While I appreciate the detail, it also means that the tightness of the joint will suffer since the more number of parts something is made out of, the less stable it will be.

The upper arm joints are much stiffer though. It plays havoc when trying to do a pose, but it’s a blessing in disguise when the Altairlion is in Armored Module mode.

 

Yeah, a mentally-challenged, an emotionally-challenged, and one is just plain dense. Yeeeeeeeeeah….

 

And now the lower body. The legs are mostly ok, except for the feet, where the joints are so freakin’ tight, I can’t join them close. I’ve tried every trick in the book that doesn’t involve plastic-crushing pressure, and it fits in about half. So halfway through it is. The rotation joints for the pelvic thrusters are also tighter than heck; once again, it’s another halfway joint. It would be so bad if not for the fact that the pieces involved are so small, it’s impossible to press them together.

 

SUPER INAZUMA KICK!

 

Of course, loose joints does not mean that the model kit is as poseable as a wooden staff. The Altairlion is pretty flexible actually, more around the leg joints since there’s no skirt armor to obstruct leg movement. The arm joint are being blocked by the model’s G-Accel Driver equipment, however, so expect a bit less in that regard. If there is one overall complain, it’s that the head aread has very little movement space up and down, but that’s just me.

 

HELLO EVERYONE! I AM ZE SENTRY~

 

With the problems of loose/tight joints out of the way, I can finally get to the details on the kit itself.

Thanks to Kotobukiya replicating each section down to its rightful color, there’s hardly any coloring to be done. About 50% of the colors you see on the kit are added in after some thought; I just think that the normal Altairlion could do with some color diversity.

The head crest is Koto-painted though. Now if only we could convince Bandai to do the same with Gundam face vents.

 

I demand a power gem be installed in my forehead! ALTAIR BEAM!

 

But I like Spiral Knuckle better. 😦

Anyways, there’s very little to talk about with the Altairlion. It handles well in normal mode bar the crazy joints; if you don’t go and mess with them everyday, there should be no lasting problem to display functions. And detail-wise, the Altairlion without extras already has a normal Bandai kit beat by a distance.

Maybe I should talk a bit more about the transformation. Although it’s larger than most 1/144 Bandai kits, it’s still not large enough to accomodate its own transformation system. And with the way Kotobukiya has a different part in different colors, it just isn’t worth the time to actually design everything so that it has color accuracy and can still transform (not to mention it’ll be as lasting as… say, thin plastic put under a clamp).

So what to do? Parts-swapping saves the day!

 

Fox 2! Fox 2!

 

In Armored Module mode, the Altairlion displays additional thrusters at the back of its legs, its head retracts partially leaving only the head fin, and its hands are kept compact. With the lack of space on the kit, you’ll have to remove the hands, put the thrusters on after transforming, and bend the arms at a certain angle to hide the fact that the Altairlion is now finger-less. The head is removed entirely, with the top section (the one with the green area) and a new neck section put together to create the effect that the Altairlion’s head just retracted. Not bad actually.

 

Spare bits and nutz.

 

Some hand types and the parts for head-swapping and positioning the Altairlion on the stand in A.M. mode.

Something about the hands; in all the picture taken I’ve used the fist type, for a simple reason; the other hands feature in three pieces, with the thumb being one of them. And the thumb doesn’t fit.

Yes, you saw that right. One twitch will send a purple spiraling out of control and hopefully somewhere where I can pick it up easily. It’s just that fragile. Another example of loose joints.

 

We're not taking off! Sir!

 

Wing parts.

The Altairlion isn’t very good at standing up, however. Firstly, the problem, obviously, lies with the two G-Accel Driver parts located between the body and the arm. They’re long enough that if you put them perpendicular to the ground, the’ll be longer than the total body height of the Altairlion. And secondly, there just isn’t a part that allows the Altairlion to be secured to the stadn without going into A.M. mode. In A.M. mode you get a bit that you can stick the Altairlion on and make it seem like its turning, but not in normal form. The good thing is if it falls backwards the Altairlion has its two Accel pieces for support… unless you put the kit just right on the edge of the table.

 

Railguns, fire!

 

I assume this are the railguns on the Altairlion, with the missile launchers supposedly somewhere under the elbow guards. I wonder why no one lists the railguns on the specs pages… Or the railguns are actually named “Sonic Blade” rofl.

 

DOUBLE ROLLING BOMBER!

 

That’s about it for the Altairlion, to be honest. The lack of external stuff means that the Altairlion is pretty much at its max. Unlike Original Generations and the Astelion AX, the fact that the Altairlion in in a standard Super Robot Wars game means that equipping of weapons is not likely. So no Burst Railgun and Assault Blade.

The transformation of the Altairlion itself is pretty basic. The legs fold forward and the arms in front and at an angle. Remove or insert parts as se fit. The most complicated part is probably the hip, which bends backwards so that you can put in the spare stuff to position it on the stand. I would say that it’s a pretty fragile transformation, but this isn’t Macross and even on the torso the joints are tight.

The Verdict:

The Altairlion is a bit lackluster when you compare it with what Bandai usually offers actually. Even if I assume that the overall joint performance was restricted to my kit being one of those bad factory work that escapes detection once in a while, comparing kits mde about the same time, most Bandai kits, in fact most mecha kits, even Kotobukiya’s other SRW kits, would have the Altairlion outclassed in terms of quality. One can attribute this to the fact that the Altairlion wasn’t designed to carry a shitload of guns and swords from the start. It wouldn’t be so important, however, until you realize that it falls behind not because it has no handheld weapons, but the kit doesn’t detail enough about its onboard weapons, thanks to the restriction that is its size. A real shame really as this restricts the kit’s value to serious Altairlion fans. I hope that Kotobukiya’s new and recent releases (Break Blade’s Dirfinge, woot!) will be, and hopefully should be much better than this.


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