Back in January I helped Kickstart an action figure of Mega Man X, based on a sweet, alternate, stylized design. That figure (and two variants) arrived last month, and I've been trying to sit down and photograph all this figure has to offer since then. IT'S SO MUCH.
SO so much, in fact, that I'm gona break this up a bit. For this review, I'll just cover the basic Mega Man X and all the smooth, lovely details. Before we start, I wana be up-front about the price: This beauty will set you back 80 BUCKS. Yes. For you folks who buy twelve inch figures from Hot Toys and the like, this is nothing. For folks like me that don't often buy the high-end figures....well, it sounds like a lot. Especially for a six inch figure.
That's why I'll be showing you exactly where that money is going.
We'll start with the box.
X is packaged snug as a bug in a rug with all his items on display in a box with a view. The front is what you saw first, then you open that up to see the window display (the front is held closed with magnets).
The back of the box gives you a short rundown of the features...
...while the inside of the opening front gives you all the fictional details about X's functions.
I LOVE THIS.
I probably don't need to say that. Making up functions for all those details is my THING, and always has been, so it's very cool to see it all spelled out here.
The Apogee Motor on the back is one of my favorite details, 'cause it finally makes up a reason for Mega Man X to be able to move side to side while in the air! It's a standard feature for most video game characters, but I love seeing reasons for those game functions to work realistically.
We also get that same idea with the new extendable leg thrusters, which, honestly, I had thought came from his feet. This works too! Works as an awesome feature of the figure, as well.
We also get some info on the designer. I feel like it adds even more....class? I think that's the word I'm looking for. If you're gona spend top toy dollar, you are gona expect a certain amount of class.
Plus, I just love to hear from toy designers. I feel like they haven't gotten a lot of focus until recently, when some have branched off and gathered to make their own items (like the Four Horsemen and Boss Fight Studio).
Speaking of design:
Part of my rewards from the Kickstarter was a little poster with new art featuring X on a newly designed Ride Chaser (chasin' rides and jump and slides). There's the possibility of TruForce actually making the Ride Chaser, but I believe that's just one of many ideas percolating, at the moment.
OKAY. How about we actually get to the figure?
...and by figure I mean the WRITING on the figure, of course! If any of you have ever built Gundam models, then you're familiar with stickers that have teeny tiny writing with warnings and other gibberish to make it look all...real, I guess. Warning labels makes things real!
With Mega Man X, you don't have to deal with any stickers! Or gibberish! Much of the writing is basic, but there are some really cool details that actually gives you some insight into X's design. The writing is very tiny, but you can read it, with help.
On X's back, at the base of the neck, we can see where the Energy Tank is stored! AHHH I LOVE IT. Details like this! The Energy Tank, if you're unaware, is an item from the original Mega Man that refills your life. Mega Man X uses Sub-Tanks (same deal, but you can refill them with dropped energy if you life is already full) but this still gets across the same idea. Plus, I suppose this could be the Energy Tank access, where Sub-Tanks are installed. It all works out, for me.
This one is repeated throughout the figure, and I'm pretty sure it says "Caution: Hot"...something. Or "heat" something.
Beware of blast! Any Gundam fan or anyone who has put together an 80's G.I. Joe vehicle should be familiar with this classic warning about blasts. I usually keep one of these above my mouth, so people know to look out for blasting puns and terrible jokes.
This one is interesting! You see, Mega Man X is, officially, a Maverick Hunter of the 17th Elite Unit. However, in Japan, they're called "Irregular Hunters." You can see they went with the Japanese version here, while the "17th" is just baaaarely visible along with "Elite Unit." Great detail! Little odd to get Irregular Hunter here, rather than Maverick, but I assume they had to pick one or the other, and that the original Japanese terms probably made the most sense, on a grand scale.
There it is again, "hot" something. Not sure what it says, but I will practice caution around it all the same.
X-Buster! Danger! Right there. At the barrel. Make sure you look out. Keep a keen eye on that barrel. Just look right into it.
On the legs we see that he stores propellant, just like us! All my "go" is stored in my legs.
Now that, I don't have! I have to manually balance myself all the time. Really annoying.
Not sure what that means on the bottom of the foot, but MAN: Look at that detail! I love the red part for...well, what I originally thought was propulsion. Perhaps they're part of the balance system?
Okay, I think we've fooled around long enough. We've looked at the figure, felt the figure, smelled the figure, maybe played catch, and now we should probably move on to actually making the figure WORK.
Right after the construction details!
Alright, it's not that long: I just want to point out that this figure feels HEFTY, for a six inch figure. That's 'cause he's sporting die-cast metal on the shins, parts of the chest, and the trim around the feet. Since most of the metal is in the legs, he balances like a DREAM; almost as if he has Auto Balancers in his legs!
But what good is balancing without poseability?
That's right! Here we go!
First things first: The chest joint allows you that much range. Nice amount back, HUGE amount forward. You can also bend him side to side and twist him a bit.
The neck is on two joints: The ball joint on the inside of the head, which is amazing, and a forward-and-back joint that connects to the torso. Both of them together give you pretty much anything a human can do. All the joints mentioned so far move smoothly and show no sign of loosening.
It gets better! Get used to that.
The elbows are double jointed to the point of allowing him to punch himself in the face, you sadistic monster. Why would you do that?
I haven't felt restricted from any arm movement yet. If I want a pose: I can do it! The shoulders only keep the party going with a classic disc-hinge joint (the shoulder armor is on a hinge as well and moves out of the way without looking weird). PLUS...there's another joint inside the torso allowing the shoulder to move forward!
It's freaking beautiful and they even sculpted some detail inside there, in case moving the figure didn't impress you enough. Come on, man.
These hinges allow for showboating, if you're so inclined.
But perhaps the shoulders don't impress you. Why don't we move on down to the sexy legs, you old hound dog?
They are also double jointed. Or...maybe I should say multi-jointed. There's some major mechanical mechanisms going on here. Probably just joints, but I won't refer to them as that, as I'm already aggravated by the lack of alliteration.
Bend the leg all the way back and you get THIS. The whole thing moves like a machine, parting the armor and smoothly opening and closing as you move the leg. It's a thing'a beauty, it is. Gotta hold it in your hand to really appreciate the artistic and that-is-freakin'-cool value of it.
If I had to say something bad about the whole setup, it's that the legs are real heavy, so that you're probably not gona be getting any wild side-kicks out of the guy. Not that you need to.
Now here's some real magic. If you're at all familiar with the mechanics of articulation, then you can probably tell exactly how far forward those hips will be able to move.
It's something that is surprisingly overlooked: If you don't do it right, the sculpting of the thigh will hit the crotch piece. In most cases it doesn't restrict the movement enough to matter, especially when it comes to kid's toys. However, when it's a collector's figure with emphasis on articulation: Something must be done!
Enter the sliding thigh! Pull down on the leg and you'll be able to move the thigh further away from the hip! That wouldn't be enough, though, so they cut a slot that fits RIGHT into the hip section, allowing for stuff like THIS:
Granted, I mentioned that the legs are heavy, which doesn't allow for side kicks, but you CAN get high forward kicks! The hips are super tight, so it gives you a lot to work with.
Now this isn't the first time a figure has done the sliding hip, but it's the first time I've seen it done like this. Figuarts guys (like Kamen Rider figures) tend to have this hinge thing where you pull down on the leg, but it creates a gap, and it is usually hidden by the crotch piece, which houses a cavity for the top of the thigh. It works for stuff like that 'cause they're supposed to be a guy wearing a costume, so it's supposed to be seamless.
Mega Man X doesn't have that problem, so they can get away with mechanical-looking a ball for a hip, which allows them to pull off this magnificent sliding hip joint! If I had anything bad to say about it, it's that the cut allowing the leg to push into the hip does make for a thin section of plastic. I haven't seen any stress on the plastic yet, but it goes without saying to be careful when moving it, even if it hasn't worried me one bit, the more I move the figure.
Now, the joint wouldn't be as useful without the ankles, so let's take a look:
You really gotta pull the foot out to see what is going on here. There's a major ball-and-disc joint attached at the ankle and foot by ball joints. You really can pull the foot outward pretty far, but it won't separate at the joints, so don't be afraid to move it around!
You can get X flat on his feet in a number of exaggerated poses.
Once again, I'm brought back to the fact that the heavy legs allows for poses like this, that might normally drop the figure backwards.
All these points of articulation put together makes for pretty much any pose you can think of! Lets try it out on something, eh?
Good point, talking action figures! We should get to the accessories and features.
The most basic feature is the changeable faceplates, like on many Japanese figures nowadays. You pull his helmet in half, just like on the D-Arts Mega Man X figures, but MAN does it work better here! So much better. The D-Arts figures feel like they're gona break when you pull the helmet off, and you have to put some real pressure on them to get them to budge.
TruForce's Mega Man X works like a dream (like everything else on him). The helmet slides right off - stays firm but doesn't require massive amounts of energy to pull off a tiny piece of plastic that you're afraid of breaking. The faceplates also fit perfectly; something I've noticed doesn't always work on the D-Arts figures (some faceplates won't allow the D-Arts figure's helmets to close seamlessly).
X only comes with two faceplates, which is something that I wish was increased. If D-Arts has one thing over this guy, it's the number of faceplates. I would have liked at least one more, with him looking to the side and maybe a slight grimace.
Still: You get what you need. A basic face, and a yelly face.
Both sculpts were something I was a bit unhappy with when the Kickstarter first showed the face, but they work WAY better in the finished product and I'm quite happy with them. The shouting face is especially expressive and works with just about any action pose.
X also has two alternate hands: open ones. Once again, this is something I would have liked a bit more of...maybe just a hand for holding things. If they ever make a Zero figure, I would have liked X to be able to hold Zero's saber as well. Also, the hands don't quite mesh well with the Buster, making him hold his arm more often than actually stabilizing the Buster, when shooting. Minor nitpicks, but something that could have been sculpted to better hold the Buster. Otherwise, they work great for everything else.
Next up in features are the Apogee Motors! These can be swapped out on the back like so:
I would have liked these just to open, but I don't think there would have been enough room in the torso to get them to look this good while being a built-in mechanism. As they are; I probably won't swap them out often, but I LOVE the idea, as I stated earlier. I just love that they're giving X a real-world way to actually push himself back toward a wall when he kicks off of it, allowing him to "climb" it with wall kicks, like he does in the game.
And here we do have a built-in mechanism: The dash thrusters! You've got to be firm with these hatches, 'cause it feels like they won't open and that you're gona break something, but you won't. Just get your nail under the edge (there's a little opening there on the side) and pull outward. It opens smoothly, once you get it, and the feeling of breaking something goes away.
This is a really cool feature, but once again, I always felt like the dash ability came from the red parts on the feet. This almost feels superfluous, if it weren't for the Rule-of-Cool winning out in the end. I mean: This is just awesome! Looks awesome, feels awesome, and works well with the new stylized design.
Still, they're so well hidden and almost "extra" feeling that I totally forgot about them and had to go back and take a few extra pictures after I had already sat down to edit what I had taken (which is why they aren't open in some later dashing pictures).
The main event! Every X needs an X-Buster, and this one has an extra special one.
First off: Swapping is easy!
You pop off the arm and pop on the Buster - right on to that peg. It feels sturdy and is a nice, tight fit without having to put a lot of force behind pulling the arm off. This is yet another thing TruForce has over D-Arts: This swaps SOOO much better than the other X figures from D-Arts. The D-Arts figures work, but the attachment point isn't always strong enough, and you sometimes have limbs falling off while you're posing them. There wasn't a single problem with anything falling off of the TruForce X figure. Not a one! I love it.
The Buster is properly sized and looks just as you'd think it should. The elbow joint works with it just like with the normal arm.
Difference between this and most X figures is that there's MAGIC inside that there Buster! Pull it apart (this one takes a bit more force, but not enough to qualify as "too much.") and inside you'll find a little battery compartment. The batteries come separate, so all you have to do is put them in as per the directions and snap it back together. There are little slots that make it so that the Buster can only go together one way. Inside, there's a tab that will push into the metal dealie that will push into the batteries, lighting the buster.
It works on two of my figures, perfectly, but it's a tad finicky on my Kickstarter Exclusive. Hard to say why, but I can still get it to work by pressing it the right way. I imagine this may be a common place for a problem, but I've got two out of three that are perfect, so I wouldn't call this rampant, on my part.
Anyway: All you have to do it carefully twist the front of the Buster and your light is on!
It is NICE. The camera dims it a bit, but the light is super bright, and it'll blast your retinas if you like to stare at lights(?). I love me a good light-up feature, but often times they will get in the way of articulation. Obviously: this one does not! The Buster is the exact size it should be and STILL lights up! It's not even attached to something larger on the figure! There's no telling how long the batteries will last, but it's nothing I can't find in the grocery store, and they haven't begun to dim yet.
Now, what good is a light-up feature without something to light up?
Blasts! We've got some options here ranging from a burst to a classic Mega Bust with some options to attach them to each other.
They attach to the front of the Buster nice 'n snug - much more than you'd think, when you initially play around with it. The D-Arts bursts are shoved right inside the Buster, but obviously we can't go that way, with the light-up feature. I feel like they worked this out pretty well, with what they had.
For both blasts you have the optional part of this "cross" shaped item that looks like a burst of energy from the sides. Looks good with or without!
And, in case there was any doubt: They light up REAL GOOD, YEAH.
The larger blast is a bit harder to see the light, but it does better in darker setups. It does look kinda funny without any extra bursts, but I like it.
Only complaint I have about it is that it's very FIRE colored, and X's charged shots have rarely been so orange. You do get some other colors with the exclusives, but I feel like the basic X needed a bit of a color change in the burst.
Beyond that, one thing the D-Arts figures have over this one is the awesome multi-shot burst of regular "lemon" shots that X fires for normal shots. I would have liked to see something like that as well.
Moving on: You can use this little clear piece that looks like the front of the buster to attach the large burst to the smaller one (just remove the front-most spike from the smaller burst).
The end result is, once again, an odd color for X's charged shot, but freakin' cool all the same. It's also HEAVY, so most shots will need the help of the included stand for dynamic bustin'.
...speaking of which:
BOY do you get a stand! I guess it's not too crazy, compared to others, but it's certainly my favorite so far - out of any figures that come with stands.
There are two grabby arms that can be situated anywhere along the edges of the square base. Once they're in, they're sturdy, but you don't you have to put a lot of force behind pulling them out.
Each arm works like any stand you may have gotten from a Figuarts or Figma toy - you move them around, and if they get loose, you use a small screwdriver to tighten them at the screws. The "claws" also work the same, and have similar annoyances to other stands, in that the little "fingers" can loosen and fall off when you're messing around with them a bunch, so make sure to push them back in from time to time (it's not any better or worse than other stands like this).
One interesting feature (yes, even the stand has features!) is that you can "lock" the claw in position if you need to, by aligning the pegs as you see in the pics.
But wait, there's more!
You can remove the top of the base for...well, I wasn't sure at first, but then I realized it's probably so you can insert your own design underneath, if you want. I kinda wish they had added some cardboard inserts, but I can easily make my own.
So I did! I took a picture of the Kickstarter Exclusive's box and printed it out to match the dimensions of the base, then slapped the top back on.
With all that set up how you like: It's time to pose!
So that's about that! Figure, features, accessories, stand, etc. How about a quick look at scale?
Like, a super quick look at scale. I took so many pictures that I was burning out at the end, but this is the kind of six inch you're looking at: Right in scale with Marvel Legends. To my knowledge, this is the first figure of X in this scale (don't you say a word, Jazwares). Considering X's usual proportions, I'd say he's perfectly in scale all around (his legs have always been huge compared to a human).
As for a comparison to the D-Arts figure, well, I have technically been comparing him the whole time, but we'll look at a few pics and say a few more words to cap off the subject:
There are a million things TruForce's figure does better than the D-Arts figure, hands down. BUT...part of that is because of all the money going into the figure. The D-Arts figure is comparable on many counts, only feeling more fragile with some parts that fall off sometimes (and Zero's hair - oh man, be careful with his head. The hair is attached by the tiniest little thing). In terms of design, I feel like the D-Arts figure falls short due to the attachment points for the arms and legs. Other than that? I feel like it does the best it can for the price. The D-Arts figures are fantastic, for what they are.
The TruForce figure is eighty bucks, and once you get the figure in hand you can see where the money is going. Every, single, piece of this figure has obviously been tested and worked and reworked to make sure it performs on every aspect. It's pretty much a matter of being a high-end figure. Not that "high-end" always equals awesome - that's one of the things that always keeps me from buying more expensive figure. You hem-and-haw over it, decide whether or not it's worth it for the character you're buying (and if you care about that character or robot enough), and then finally decide to hold off on some other items and drop the cash - and the figure breaks. It happens! Probably to people like me more than others, since I'm always hoping the high price point is going to quality more than anything else. If I'm paying a lot, I want the figure to MOVE, ya know? I shouldn't be afraid to USE the articulation if I'm paying so much.
Well, the price point went to quality and then EVERYTHING. It moves smooth, looks smooth, no paint problems, articulation is tight and fun to mess with, it freakin' lights up, it's MEGA MAN X, and all that. I have never felt like so much money was worth it for a figure, until this one. I have very few really expensive figures, and this one is at the top of the charts in terms of quality for the money.
Basic thing is this: If you absolutely love Mega Man X, like I do, and you have the toy cash to throw at something super special and knock-it-out-of-the-park nice - then buy this figure. No hesitation.
I'm very much looking forward to what TruForce has in store. And hey, TruForce: If you make Vile next, I'll stop buying EVERYTHING (even food) and throw money at you. Out of a cannon. Along with myself.