Available from HobbyLink Japan
To blatantly nick from Cac himself…
“As readers of this site probably already know, Cacophanus tends to cover toys and I do kits. However, this time around we’ve decided to join forces on a kit as I know more about the series its from. Specifically, this is a kit of the Scopedog Turbo Custom featured in the Last Red Shoulder OVA, which is a spin-off from Armored Trooper VOTOMS. Bandai has also kicked off a new line of VOTOMS kits at a very nicely sized 1/20 scale.”
“Armored Trooper VOTOMS is one of the grittiest real robot anime out there. Following Fang of the Sun Dougram, both the writer and director Ryosuke Takahashi and mecha designer Kunio Okawara decided to reduce the size of the mecha down from 10 meters to something closer to 4 meters on their next project.
That turned into VOTOMS and in addition to the size reduction, Takahashi wanted to have the mecha move fast. This resulted in the birth of the roller dash, as the mecha called armored troopers had powered rollers in their feet.”
VOTOMS is certainly one of the best of a healthy crop of classic early real-robot series, following the success of Gundam. Just as with Fang of the Sun Dougram, VOTOM’s main appeal is in the very mundane nature of AT’s themselves – mass produced, disposal units which not only mirror the reality of the war, but allow the characters to stand out as the real stars. There are no deus ex machina devices, machines, beam weapons or the like to save the day here, nor any of the cheap ‘villain of the week’ ramping up of the power level.
This does not mean the series is without action…
The very mundane nature of the forces makes the fighting all the more visceral and real, because we know full well that this not a superhero story, and that the forces involved are not shielded by godlike technology…
Especially the pilots of the poor, old, so-called ‘Fatties’.
The B-ATM-03 (Codenamed Fatty by the Gilgamesh forces) is the Balarant Union’s prime ground combat suit during the main phase of the conflict covered in the main phase of the VOTOMS TV/OAV stories.
Following an unsuccessful first attempt with the B-ATM-01 Blocker, the Balarant Union rolls out the B-ATM-03 Fatty to combat the Gilgamesh Federation’s ATM-09-ST Scopedog. Though the Balarant High Command know full well that their units simply cannot match the technology of the Gilgamesh suits, and opt for the old Stalinist mantra “quantity has a quality all its own”, rolling out huge numbers of the B-ATM-03 suits, in the hopes that massed numbers on the battlefield will overwhelm enemies.
Though the suit goes through several versions through the course of the series, it still remains a cheap, disposable unit, perfect for a totalitarian military which which views all its assets – man and machine – as only means to their end.
As their blurb says: “The Balarant Union’s recorded history began before the First Galactic War, and their union consisted of 30-40 planets. Using Balan as their capital world, the Union later grew to encompass 130 planets.
The Balarant Union’s special characteristics are the absolute loyalty and fealty of its members to their cause of expansion. As a result, their population gradually outgrew the ability of their planets to support them, and more habitable worlds were constantly needed to sustain them.
At the beginning of the Hundred Years War, the Balarant already had a massive space fleet and a right military structure which kept the Gilgamesh Confederation in check. (Ironically, this very rigidity made it difficult to keep up with advancing technology.) Whereas the early Gilgamesh Confederation was made up of highly individual, ragtag expeditionary forces, Balarant was divided into a star force and planetary army, which had specific and independent functions. But their strength gradually thinned out as the battlefront widened, and they were outclassed by Gilgamesh military technology, most especially the Armored Trooper. Even at the height of the war, the Balarant military considered the AT a mere component of a larger war machine.”
This all puts me in mind of the way in which both the US and CCCP fought the armor battle in WWII — pick one cheap design and stick to it, hoping that numbers will eventually tell over technology.
I suppose this is what makes me feel that twinge of sympathy for the B-ATM-03 pilots. Even in a series as ‘ordinary’ as VOTOMS, these poor sods are outgunned and outmatched from day one…
Lovely model, though.
I’m already hooked on the 1/20 Bandai Votoms – more so than even the Volks affairs – for they are an extension of the former company’s experiences with the MG and RE100 lines.
Having made both the Scopedog and the Fatty now, I feel able to see I’ve not built ‘cleaner’ kits in a long time.
Note the nice nod towards Merrowlink in the instructions?
The kit even includes a 1/20 version of Ality’s Anti Armor rifle for those with some modeling in mind.
A very nice little touch.
Let’s see how this one skates out of the box, shall we?