I’m not proto-gray, I’m a Mauve Shirt. Oh wait, I AM proto-gray.
TurQuickie Version: Unpainted, but got plenty else going for it (and decently cheap). Recommended if the price is right.
Long story short, I’m not at my usual setup, and the comp here is pretty slow, so this review won’t be pic heavy. However, I did take a bunch of pics, so I might re-review this guy over at Articulated Discussion when I get back to my regular comp.
The M9 Gernsback is the generic good guy Arm Slave (mecha) from the series Full Metal Panic. They were top of the line at the start of the series but pretty much went from Mauve Shirts to Red Shirts once the bad guys and hero started using uber mechs.
Meanwhile, Mode Lock is an attempt at being a gateway drug to get you hooked on Plastic Model Krack. They’re decently detailed, easily assembled and most of all, cheap (SRP: 839 Yen; got mine on sale for 336 Yen).
I’ll keep this review relatively short and simple.
First off, this is a model kit, so some assembly will be required. However, assembly is simple as unlike larger kits, you don’t have to put together 8 to 12 tiny pieces just to get a shoulder guard with no movable parts.
Also, almost everything is ball-jointed, so you can just pop them in (or out) as you so wish.
Second of all, and this is significant enough that it could qualify for a “First of all“, is yes, this guy is totally unpainted. Don’t let the art or preview pics fool you, this guy is entirely in “prototype gray”. There’s not a single piece that’s molded in a different color, nor do you get any stickers. If you want a truly show accurate look, you’re gonna have to do some painting.
That said, one reason why I got the M9 is precisely because it’s a generic army builder. A single totally gray figure is not only fine by me, but it’s kinda neat and unique amongst my throng of multicolored Transformers and assorted other figures. So I’m personally in no rush to paint ’em, but I can understand if others find this to be annoying, since this guy’s supposed to be a gateway drug, he shoulda at least had some parts molded in a diff tone yes?
Good custom fodder though.
Sculpt-wise, this guy is pretty decent. Despite all the ball-joints, they’re surprisingly well hidden for the most part. Some poses might expose the joints more than others, but otherwise, the M9 looks good and the joints are well concealed.
This is also a fairly sturdy figure. Unlike some other model kits I’ve handled, this guy doesn’t feel like he’ll shatter into a quadrillionixionaridion pieces if I accidentally dropped him. He may well still break, but at least he won’t explode into his atomic components like some kits would.
Next up is articulation. This guy is pretty much loaded. You see, as mentioned above, just about every part is snapped together via ball-joints. Think about it… go on, think. That means, just about EVERY snapped together part is ball-jointed and movable.
The upper body fares better than the lower, which for some reason, seemed to have gotten less attention, engineering-wise, but still, this is a very well articulated figure. And best of all, he’s solid and stable. Not to mention, in the event that any joint should weaken, it’s a simple matter to pop it off, apply some clear nail polish or super glue, and voila, tight as you like it.
Finally, accessories. At this point, I realize this review is no longer “short and simple”, but fortunately, I had the presence of mind to put in the disclaimer of this thing being “relatively short and simple”.
Anyway, the M9 comes with a BFRifle Cannon, which is neat and all. You can even store it via the ball-joint peg hole on the figure’s back. But what we in the “biz” denote as “Abso-fcuking-rutely Brilliante El Presidente for Life” is that one of those parts trees that held the pieces for the figure, can be converted into an effin’ figure stand. Complete with articulated pole.
Finally (really this time), if you’re not too heavy into show accuracy, not only is the M9 wonderful for army building thanks to its price, but because of the ball-joint heavy nature of the Mode Lock series, you can pretty much easily create your own custom mecha. Just get some of the other Mode Lock figures and mix and match parts to your heart’s content. It’s theoretically not all that tough or expensive to create your personal squad of custom mecha, ala Armored Core or Front Mission.
In closing, I would recommend this guy even if you never get around to painting him. I would (mildly) recommend him even at the full suggested retail price of 839 Yen or about 9 USD, provided you don’t have to pay for shipping. For 336 Yen (and free shipping), I wish I bought more. I’d love to army build with this guy.
As a gateway into model building, I think he would have succeeded with me were I not already turned off via handling more mainstream model kits and dealing with their fans.
Pros: Looks good, articulated, tight & sturdy, generic (that’s a good thing) and loads of fun. And CHEAP.
Cons: Unpainted. Unpainted. And oh yeah, Unpainted.