Available from Hobbylink Japan (http://www.hlj.com/product/AOS00432)
Based upon Alexander Key’s novel ‘The Incredible Tide’, which was one of the first popular, young adult titles to take in the concepts of the aftermath of a Third World War, ‘Future Boy Conan’ is more commonly known to anime fans around the World as the series which gave director Hayao Miyazaki his real head start.
Whilst this is only partially true, in that Miyazaki was not on the senior production staff proper for the series, it is certain that Nakajima Junzou did bring him aboard, at the urging of Takahata Isao to manage the process of translating the story to the screen (as visual designer and storyboard editor) owing to the way in which Miyazaki had rescued the first Lupin III TV series from disaster and given 3000 Miles in Search of Mother its impressive visual cohesion.
Though at the time of production it was feared, by Motohashi Kōichi that Miyazaki’s softer, and more nostalgic style might not suit the mood of what was essentially a post-apocalyptic story, the decision to go with this artist ran true. The gentler, and more personable charcters gave the series something of a human touch which it might otherwise have lacked, and made the series approachable to younger audiences who might have been kept at arm’s length by a more traditional treatment.
Miyazaki is also responsible for the mechanical designs of the series and it is this which concerns us today – specifically the recent release of the Industria Gigant aircraft – and one can see immediately how his love of old-fashioned, almost ‘gothic’ technology would be later developed into the graceful, often impractical machines of Nausicaa, Laputa and his Model Graffix manga sections.
Aoshima have long had a reputataion for more interesting, and off the wall designs/licenses, ever since their founder, Aoshima Jiro convinced the Japanese ministry of education to promote the building of model airplanes as a formal activity in schools (for which his own company coincidentally provided kits). Though a smaller company, it has – often in the face of kit Giants, such as Bandai, Tamiya and Hasegawa – time and again secured some of the most impressive, unusual anime/manga model licenses much to the delight of fans.
This is certainly the case with their Future Boy Conan releases.
As one can see, the kit is relatively simple and small, with only about thirty main components in the structure proper. It could be argued that such a large aircraft deserves a larger model, and that is certainly true, from the subjective point of view of a fan. However, as we all know, the development costs of injection molded kits is rather high and to even get a single kit like this, from an old series like Conan could be considered a victory in itself…
Moreover, as the old saying goes: there is no point complaining that the air is not as it could be, when there is nothing else to breath.
Fan gripes aside though, let’s have a look at the kit components
The first thing to note is the detail in each of the castings. At this scale, I was concerned that some of the panel lines, port-holes and recesses sections might not be appropriate. Indeed, as you can see from the photos, the upper and lower surfaces of the wings alone are a veritable patchwork of lines.
So far so good. A nice little kit… Let’s see how it goes together in part 2.
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