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A Fanboy's Prayers Answered Please skip to tl:dr if you don't want to read the unhinged ramblings of a fanboy. Where to start ...
A Fanboy's Prayers Answered Please skip to tl:dr if you don't want to read the unhinged ramblings of a fanboy.
Where to start. If your'e a Sakura Wars fan from the US who's been in love with the series since the ADV DVD release of the OVA, then you have known the anguish of finding Sakura wars merch outside of artbooks, CDs and the occasional figurine. Upon the throne of sought after items is the Kobu, the mechas used by the main cast.
For those of you who are intrigued by these machines, allow me to give a brief summary of the Kobu Spirit armor. A kobu is a mech that is smaller than most mechas, usually about as tall as a U-Haul truck, that runs on a combination of steam and spirit energy. They're closer to power armor than a mech really. These machines are used to fight demons. I wish it was more complicated than that, but its not.
In the past, the bulk of Kobu models were produced by Wave, a company who is known for excellent models, but are really not for beginners. The original Kobu kits were full of seem lines, horrible gate placement, and were almost always molded in a single color. So, when the first promo image announcing this line dropped, I sighed a sigh of relief, for indeed, there was a god, and he favors us.
All joking aside, this is something I've been waiting for for a very long time. Seeing the Kobu get the HG treatment is heavenly.
Build quality: It was fun to slap this thing together. Everything fits tightly and parts come off the runners like butter. There are some seems left over on the legs and arms that are a bit annoying, but if you are patient, they can be removed with ease. I'm glad that the unpainted figurines are optional, and not including them in the finished product doesn't diminish the look. I will probably build some more of these at a later point, if only to display open cockpit versions on their own. There are some annoying seems towards the top of the body, but I'm assuming that these are for possible future units. (Kohran's rocket launchers *drool*) The eyes were a nice touch. This was the first time I didn't have to paint a Kobu's eyes, and the stick on parts look amazing in any lighting.
Posability: So, we need to talk about design over function. The biggest complaint about the Kobu's design is their stockyness. They're short buddies, with a lot of junk in the trunk. For some, this is a huge minus, but for those who love them, this is part of the fun. They're cute. If you look past the victorian style tubes, grates and smoke stacks that cover these guys, what you have is a deceptively cute lump, with short legs and an adorable cadence. My point is that you're sacrificing some of the posability to have a cute, steampunk kirby mech. The arms do arm things, the legs do leg things and the waist turns as much as it needs to, but at the end of the day, you'll find yourself wrestling the little guy to get that dynamic pose when he just isn't going to do it. When posing my Kobu, I went for the most sturdy poses possible to give the impression that this cute little mountain can't be moved. Most will be underwhelmed by the lack of posability, but if you like this aesthetic, you'll be willing to make the compromise. (RIP Laevatein's ankles) Having built at least one of every wave Kobu, I can say that this has been the most fun I've had posing a Kobu.
Accessories: So, I've noticed this complaint from a lot of reviewers and commentators alike: Why does the white one have two swords, but the pink one has only one? Being a long term fan of the series, I try to face these questions with patience since someone who is uninitiated simply would not know these things. Ogami (the white Kobu) is a dual sword user, whereas Sakura (pinky) is a single sword user. Bandai included two hilts for the swords in the main mold simply as a time saving move, but I also understand how it feels to have a kit with to sword hilts but only one blade. Part of me kind of hoped that there would be two blades, so I can use the extra sword for a kitbash. While it's no excuse, it is at least an explanation. That being said, there aren't going to be a lot of weapon options for these guys, since the goal of this line seems to be game accuracy. You'll notice in the background of the box art that there's a purple mech (Sumire's). She uses a spear style wepon. If more kits in this line are released, I feel that most people will be even less impressed. Maria (black) will have a gun attachment for her arm, Kohran (green) will have cool rockets on her shoulders, Iris (yellow) doesn't have any weapons, but instead has little bows on her unit, and Kanna (red) if done accurately, will come with nothing. (she's a fighter, so she just punches). If all of the cast are to be produced in Kobu form, then my hope is that they can release a multiplex set like wave did, where the base model comes in white and it has every weapon. Maria's gun, Sakura's sword and Kohran's rockets is my favorite combo. Sorry, I got a little sidetracked. The point is, like with everything else, you aren't getting a lot of extras in this kit, just to sets of hands and two swords, but that's not really what you came here for.
Final thoughts: Having built the Sakura and Ogami machines, I am left with some lingering feelings of nostalgia, longing and doubt. Feel free to skip this part. I bought my last Kobu model kit in 2008. It was wave's Ogami for the Sakura Wars: In Hot Blood remake. I built it posed it and now it sits in a box in my closet, awaiting it's turn to be torn apart, rebuilt and painted at my current skill level. In that time, I graduated highschool, got married, bought and paid off two cars, and built countless other kits. A few years ago, Megahouse released completed figures the IHB versions of Sakura, Ogami and Sumire's Kobus, and I got excited that there were images of the prototypes for the rest of the cast. I bought all 3 and patiently held my breath for the next ones to be released. It never happened. The only reason these HG Kobu were released were because of the release Shin Sakura wars, which was a confusing soft reboot that left me wondering "Who was this made for?" and that's how I feel most people feel about these kits. These are high grade compatible kits that wouldn't look good with common gunpla parts. They're way more expensive than your average high grade, but have less accessories. I'm rambling... I guess my point is that these are a very niche type of mech made by a company who is known for playing it safe, and I feel like if I try to buy every version they release in the hopes that every member of the cast gets theirs released too, I'm just going to be let down again. My skills as a modeler are not great, but I can make things I like, so if they never release another addition to the Kobu-Kai roster, I'll make due with what I have and scratch build the rest.
tl;dr: If you aren't a Sakura Wars fan, you'll enjoy having something different on your shelf. If nearly $40 for a unique mech isn't enough to justify the lack of posability and accessories in your eyes, then you would not be mocked for skipping this one. If you are a Sakura Wars fan, you will love this model to death. It is the most posable, most faithful and most builder friendly model of our favorite demon fighting, waifu protecting stocky boy. Thank you for reading.
Finishing: Top Coat/Super Clear
You don't need cement.
You don't need paint.
Recommended for 15 years & up
Please skip to tl:dr if you don't want to read the unhinged ramblings of a fanboy. Where to start. If your'e a Sakura Wars fan from the US who's been in love with the series since the ADV DVD relea ...