By Cacophanus from Mecha Damashii
Powered Suit by Sentinel (Available From HobbyLink Japan – HLJ.com)
Sentinel have really been producing some amazing toys as of late. Their secret seems to be hiring out the best artists in Japan as contractors and then sourcing interesting licenses to deal with. One of these licenses is that of Starship Troopers, or more accurately the Japanese version from the early 80’s. Now whilst a variant of this design also appeared in the 1988 OVA, this version is actually from the translated Heinlein novels that hit Japan at the beginning of the 80’s. It’s also a bit of a big deal…
Around the start of the 80’s Katsuhiro Otomo penned an interesting little manga entitled Farewell to Weapons. It deals with your standard middle eastern conflict, except this time it’s in the near future and the soldiers are in powered armor. The designs were sleek, simple and eminently functional. Up and till this point, no-one had really seen mecha design handled like this. Interestingly, this one off manga has been adapted into a short film as part of the Short Peace anthology (it’s also directed by Hajime Katoki).
Then comes the translation of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers novel and Studio Nue, of soon to be Macross fame, were asked to come up with illustrations for what the powered armor would look like. This task fell on the shoulders of Kazutaka Miyatake and much like the Farewell to Weapons designs, he too opted for something sleek and very functional. This too was a revelation and kickstarted a whole new wave of clean real robot designs.
It was also featured in the famed Daicon films created by the proto-Gainax staff.
Anyway, whilst we already had a recent Revoltech release of this seminal design this new 1/16 figure is all manner of lovely. Managed by T-REX, this toy has been very carefully engineered and sculpted. It’s retained that simple aesthetic beautifully, whilst still being really quite gimmick ridden.
The boxart, as you can see, is rather nice and shows the famed egg holding gimmick (to prove how precise soldiers could be in powered armor). Inside, the figure is packed well and comes with all manner of accessories (including the aforementioned egg). Like with the other Sentinel releases it also comes with a good stand. There’s also a nice postcard with custom artwork too.
We’ll go into more detail on the toy in the next part. See you then!