Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Sprukits: Little Battlers Experience
Hey look, they're trying the Gundam Model thing again! Except this time, they aren't Gundams...they're LBX: Little Battlers Experience. Among others. Lets take a look!
Sprukits come in a few sizes - the front page pic is the larger guys, and the pic above is one of the smaller figures. We'll start small, 'cause why not?
If you've ever put together a Gundam model, then you should be familiar with this. They're called "sprukits" because the little plastic trees are called sprues. You break (or cut) the pieces off the sprues and snap 'em together - no glue, no muss, no fuss. Paint optional.
What we have here is a subset under the toyline called Sprukits. They have Halo guys and superheroes, and these things called LBX, which stands for Little Battlers Experience. LBX is a model kit toyline from Japan, and....well, I guess they didn't want to give it a full release with bright lights and fireworks, so it's just part of Sprukits with little explanation. It's strange, because the anime is out in the US, but they don't want to give it a full-fledged toyline.....which is what it's all about.
You've heard it before: Kids have collectible things and they battle. Same deal here!
The little ones aren't where it's at, though. It's neat, but it falls apart easily and doesn't move much (though, more than I thought it would).
As you can see: The legs just plug into the main body, so there's no real hip movement. The knees bend, but tend to pop out, as do the arms. The shield can also only be held in front of him. It's really only a cute little desk item, I guess, and a quick build (or something small to paint, if you prefer).
Nah, the big show is with the larger figures! It's also where you can see some of the play ideas at work, meaning: The building process seems like it might tie into the show.
I bought a monoeyed robot called a Deqoo, and a knight-ish robot named Achilles. We'll start with Deqoo.
Ah-ha, now that's a classic Gundam model spread! A bit smaller, though, depending on the kit.
Now, Gundam model directions have always been simple. There was Japanese writing all over them, but you didn't need to read Japanese to understand how everything worked. They always made the pictures very clear and made sure you understood if a piece needed to be facing a certain way. You get the same deal here, but now even clearer! They made it really hard to mess this stuff up.
Not only is everything clear and easy to understand, but they even take pictures of the sprues and highlight only what you'll be using in a particular step. These are REAL nice for kids! Even a larger model like this could be done with minimal help from an adult (box suggests 8 plus).
Now, you can just break the pieces out, but I use some snips and a nail file to get rid of the excess. You can build it just fine without this stuff, and I often did, when I was a kid. It just...leaves a bunch of nasty edges.
I'll skip the build - you probably know the drill. The interesting part is this little cavity in the chest where you take a green piece, add some "microchip" stickers and stuff it in the chest.
After you slide it in, you cover it with an "X" piece that is easily removable. I assume it has something to do with the TV show - like you program your "little battler" with this chip. They just don't give you ANY info on the package or in the directions. Not that you need it, I guess. It's one of those little mysterious items that I love, even if the explanation is simple enough without looking it up.
It's obvious that you're supposed to have access to these chips even when you're done building, as the chest armor and "X" pieces are easily removable.
The first guy I completed was the Deqoo, so lets start with him.
It goes without saying that the big guy is WAY better than the little one.
He's a chunky little guy, but WOW he moves well! It's hard to get a bad pose out of the guy. He sports a resemblance to the classic Zaku II, from various Gundam series, so he has a down-'n-dirty feel with just a basic monoeye providing that cold, military look. One cool little detail is that the red parts on his eye and chest have silver stickers underneath them, so it gives them a "glowing" look, in the light.
And speaking of stickers: They're pretty much what you'd expect. Tiny ones are hard to put on, as always, but overall they're well made and stay put when you apply them. So, you know, try to get them on straight in one shot, or be extra careful! They're not made to be easily peeled off after application. So, if you want to paint these guys at a later date, you may want to keep the stickers off (though you lose some detail, that way).
Once you get him together; he stands on his own. You could paint him, of course, but he comes with a bit more than your standard Gundam model and looks as though the creators wanted him to be complete right after building. When I look at the picture on the box, I can't see any other details that are missing or would need to be painted (that aren't provided for with the sticker sheet). You still can, of course, but if you wanted to have a building experience without paint: this is the kit for you!
The next guy I bought was Achilles, which has this knight look to him mixed with Roman soldier. I didn't have as much fun with him, but he's VERY striking.
Achilles' main weapon is a spear, which he can hold if you pop his hand apart and put it in. Sadly, that means you have to take his hand apart to every time you wana do a different pose. It is cool, though!
He also has a fancy paper cape - it gets bent up around his shoulder armor, but they also keep the cape in place. It's sturdy, so you don't have to worry about ripping it in general, but it probably wouldn't hold up to play.
He also comes with a shield, though they want him to hold it by sliding the handle up into the bottom of his hand. It's awkward, because the shield keeps sliding out of his hand. There's no friction there to keep it in, and if he holds it the other way the shield sticks out kinda far. I've added a small clear rubber band to keep it in place. I think they should have thought that through a little more.
Now he LOOKS cool - no question there. He was just a pain to pose! His right leg kept popping off, he's way more stiff than the Deqoo, his joints don't have as much range, and you're always fiddling with the cape to get it in the right position. I think it says a lot about him that his best poses are with him just standing there.
I mean, look at that! So awesome! Just, don't touch him.
Not that he's useless, mind you. It wasn't super frustrating to pose him, but I would have thought twice about buying another, if I had gotten only him. The Deqoo, on the other hand: He's so fantastic that I wouldn't have hesitated to get more!
So it's safe to say that the Deqoo wins this bout. If you are curious about these, then at least check him out! There are a few others, like this robot wolf sniper and some other knight looking guy (looks evil) but I can vouch for the Deqoo being fun to build and pose.
Overall: These are what you'd expect, if you've built Gundam models. If you haven't, then they're a fun little toy you can build yourself and an excellent building toy for kids who might want to get into modeling. Some Gundam models might be hard to take apart after assembly, making the choice to paint them later a little tough to make. These pop apart pretty easily, though, and if you got a kid who just wants to snap it together - but - might want to paint it some day in the future, well, I think this is a grand choice!