Mar 29
Robodaz

Armored Core – 1/72 Type-Lahire Stasis re-release by Kotobukiya.

Available from Hobbylink Japan: http://www.hlj.com/product/kbyvi-50

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More Answers Than Questions

A direct sequel to Armored Core 4, ‘For Answer‘ was released in 2008 for the PS3 and XB360, and marks something of a deviation from its predecessor in some ways. Though a direct sequel, and taking place around ten years after AC4 the game is set apart by some very interesting changes both to the system, and to the mechs within.

Specifically, the Armored Core custom systems were streamlined and revamped from AC4 and brought in a number of options – especially relating to paint and icons – which give players all the freedom they could want.

Along with its new interface, news mech parts, Co-op, Vs, and even refined interface, the game included massively improved maps, better HUD, more unlocks and a huge variety of mechs, the game you would think would have met with general approval. However, For Answer received rather mixed reviews overall – and this might not be seen as unreasonable, in that it was a little like changing horses mid stream after the massive upgrades already brought in with Armored Core 4.

Perhaps a case of not being able to please all the people all the time.

In any case, it is still an enjoyable game, and holds up well enough even today – especially as it manages to contain all the modding of the pre-game mech build, but runs out more as an action 3rd person game rather than the more traditional technical mech fighter (though one still needs to pay attention to all the usual elements: ammo, heat load, etc.)

For me though, it was all about the style of the mechs, which is why I picked up this spikey little beauty of a game…. Until SOMEONE does a decent Five Star Stories mechwarrior clone, this is as close as I can get.

And this kit reflects my taste perfectly.

I’ll admit to being a neophyte in such matters and I will let my usual prattling die down for this review and I will hand over the mike to my old mate Caccophanus, whose feature on Armored Core in general tells things far better than I ever could:

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Type-Lahire Stasis

Although the traditional color scheme of this mech is a slick, metallic black with silver trim (with the model pre-molded in those colours), there is no way on God’s good Earth that this will fly here. This is a Dr. Robodaz build, and that means rust, muck, mire and color, color, COLOR.

Red, I think….. Red, black and White, I think (with a little yellow and gold).

 

I have a bit of a bugbear with the sytrenes used by both wave and Kotobukiya from time to time. I know that the colorings used in plastic can alter the way in which the plastics take cement, but sometimes a batch comes out so badly that it simply will not pass. Now, I know these kits are meant to me snap fit, but that does not make for a very firm kit, which is essential with they are so spindly (see below). The grey/black material from which this kit is made is so porous that is sucks up thin cement like nothing else and (as I found to my cost), then proceeds to rot from the inside.

If you do decide the cement for security, normal Tamiya is the way to go – and sparingly, as always.

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Everything on this kit is heavily polycapped. This follows the game, in that one can switch and swap weapon systems and components about from kit to kit.

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Out of the box, it is nice to have kits that are pre-coloured (bandai do this very well), but that silver is a bit iffy….

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The detail is very softly cut into these kits, minimal even. It makes for nice, clean lines which, when combined with the almost ethereal build of the things is very redolent of Nagano Mamoru’s latest designs for Five Star Stories, following his recent redesigns.

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The body layout is very unusual, and I had worries of the thing being able to stand, especially considering the weight of the shoulder mounts.

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The kit comes with its default weapon load, but both hand-held and hard point weapons can be swapped between mechs in the VI series.

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Going for a more basic scheme, I tried to give a slightly worn look by generally drybrushing with Citadel Bolt Gun Metal. it also brought out the edging and provide some relief.
This was done after undercoating in a matt clear surfacer.

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Going for a little FSS look to the kit here, and perhaps a bit of a heroic flare, Let’s see how she looks all together….

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Sharp, angled and very balanced. Though I cemented it into a base, the mech stands well on its own, owing to the length of its feet, and the unusual hip layout.

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In Conclusion

Really unusual mech designs which, though maybe not original as such, still deserve respect for their flair and style.

The VI kit line offers some nice mix and match possibilities and I can see builders, who are not necessarily Armored Core fans enjoying these little kits.

Dr. Robodaz.

Comments

  1. Though not my cup of tea in therms of design, got to admit that you did a very good job on the painting, as always 😉
    In particular the weapons are in a class of their own, you sir did an excellent job on the transition of the colors and lightning bolts look freaking awesome!!!
    I read that the plastic is kind of porous that it sucks up the thin cement. Would you say it also effects the way the plastic takes paint, or isn’t that an issue? I’m contemplating of picking up a Metal Gear Rex by Kotobukiya and am wondering if I should take a different approach as to painting a Bandai kit.
    Thanks for sharing your model!

    • I have t say, getting an airbrush was the best move I made. I’m still learning the ropes with it, but the avenues which are opened up when one embraces the ‘magic pen’ are amazing. Not just colour gradients, but weathering, blocking, simple flat colouring and so on.
      ( This message was brought to you by Airbrush Modelers for a saner tomorrow – 😉 )

      Seriously though, This kit has only really been painted in a very meager way, as it was molded in good block colours. All I did was pick out some details, do some washing and drybrushing. Anything else seemed like gilding the lilly.

      As for the plastic, it is a matter of what fill is used to provide colour to the styrene. This is what most strongly affects the way in which cement attacks the material (as well as the brand).

      It is not really a problem, just a matter of keeping an eye on how much you are using on what materials. I’ve never seen it affect the way it takes paint, as long as the parts are properly cleaned and primed before painting.

      • Thank you very much for getting back to me Dr. Robodaz, really appreciated!

        Yes, and a big YES at that, I have to concur with you, the airbrush is truly a remarkable piece of fine tuned engineering at it’s best once you get the hang of it! I use it for painting, fading, weathering and shading and have yet only scratched the surface in therms of its possibilities…
        From hereon in I will now call it by its new name: The Magic Pen

        Be it as it may, you did “refine gold” and “painted the lily”, so credit where credit is due! It takes a creative mind to come up with that color modulation/scheme and detailing.

        Thank you, again, for the feedback regarding the plastic. I am now more than confident I will be able to get a good result in painting a Kotobukiya model than before.

        Thank you for all your feedback and background information and as always looking forward in seeing your next “masterclass” 😉

        • Say, perhaps ‘intermediate class’. I’m confident on quick and dirty builds, but I’ve not yet developed a fraction of the experience that some people here have… And my old friends from Tamiya and the IPMS put me so far in the shade you could not find me with a searchlight… 😀

          • Unpretentiousness is a virtue which you good sir have a lot of.
            To me they look great, a “dirty” build is , at least to me, a lot tougher as a clean build. One needs to have a good perception of scale and reality. Recently did my first “dirty” build on a MG Zaku II (which I still have to take pictures of to share them here) and went all out on it. Lost my sense of reality and thus scale, as the two are connected, and went way way over the top with it. All my other builds are clean and pristine. The only difficult aspect of building those is getting the finish to be dust free. The pre-shading bit I do is just a case of being able to draw lines with the airbrush. The fading on the MG Hi-Nu wasn’t that of a challenge too.
            Not to mention the idea of painting lightning bolts on the weapons. Either way, I for one am very impressed with your work Dr. Robodaz

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