Monday, September 30, 2013

Review: Ausini Outer Space Series No. 25463 Guarder

Price: Philippine Peso 269.75
No. of Pieces: 199
Recommended Age: 6+

Yessir another robot to build!  This time its from Chinese manufacturer Ausini.

There were bigger kits in the lot but I just wanted to give Ausini's Outer space robots line a try before committing to the bigger kits.

I always consider labeled seals as a sign of class :)

A robot brick toy set for 269 pesos!  Who needs Kre-O

The bricks!

The bricks were a fine mix of grays, darker grays and yellow!

It felt like opening a box for a model truck :)

The awesome instruction sheet reminded me that my mission was to build a ROBOT!

Whoops my hand slipped while holding the camera providing us with a blurred glimpse of the inner pages of the instructions sheet.

The sticker sheet is a bit on the thick sticker side so it felt a bit on the cheap.

Let's free the bricks from their plastic:

I like Ausini's colors.  Unlike China brick toys of the past with dull and faded colors the current crop of China brick toys seem to have gotten the colors down pat.  Ausini is no different as the yellow of the bricks really pop out.

What surprised me even more and made this an even better purchase was the presence of pre-printed bricks.  No more stickers to apply.  And this despite the inclusion of a sticker sheet in the set.

Printed pieces!  No stickers needed!

The minifig:

Oho!  CHROME!  The minifig has a retro style chrome helmet!  Awesome!

The figure when completed gives off that retro sci-fi feel!  Like he stepped out of Buck Rogers or something like it.

Even the oxygen tank looks retro!

Specialty Bricks:

There were a lot of rotating pieces and swing pieces here.  Unlike Lego which pre-assembles similar pieces, Ausini makes you build everything!

Unlike Lego, China brick toys manufacturers occasionally have problems with making their pieces accurately fit each other.  The lock peg for this swing piece needed a bit of hammering to lock into place.  Fortunately only one out of the 8 similar pieces needed to be forced into place.  The others slid in smoothly.

On to building:

The legs of the robot partially done.  It really is a nice looking kit.  The minifigure is shown for scale.

The lower portion of the robot is almost done.  Take note of the pieces with printed graphics on them.
I made a mistake with the feet and had to reassemble it with the proper printed brick.

Argh the instructions didn't mention anything about using a printed brick

Notice here how the "Guarder" chest piece is not indicated on the instruction sheet.  This is the biggest complaint I have for this particular Ausini set.  The instructions did not indicate where the printed pieces would be used.  This is also true for the sticker sheet as there was no indication as to where to place the stickers.

The arms:

Felt somewhat flimsy when I was building them.  And the rotating pieces did not provide locking mechanisms so posing this robot would prove to be a challenge.

The complete robot:

Guarder in action!

It turned out really neat.  It reminded a couple of folks of the Rifleman from Battletech.  Although with the Pilot sitting on top it looks more like a workmech to me.  Notice the arms cannot be posed properly since the rotational pieces do not lock into place.

I was afraid the legs won't be able to take the weight but it does fine.

Here's a close-up of the pilot in the cockpit.  Like I said it feels like a workmech to me.  I was lazy to remove the oxygen pack from the minifig so it can't be placed in a sitting position.

Full frontal!

And for the final pose, amazingly the leg hinges actually are tight enough to make semi-walking poses work.

Overall this was an enjoyable piece to make from Ausini.  Kudos to the ever increasing quality of these China brick toys.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: Sluban Space Flamingo/Red Spider (Transformable Mecha/Spaceship) M38-B0257

Well the torrential rains in Manila left me unable to get to work due to the flooded streets.

The good part about it was I was finally able to turn my attention to some brick sets that I've long neglected.  The Sluban Space Flamingo kit was bought more than a year ago but has been passed up by other more simpler sets.

I bought it because:
1.  It was a ROBOT!
2.  It was a TRANSFORMABLE ROBOT! (I hate the official Hasbro Kre-O transformer brick sets because you can't transform the kit without disassembling everything)
3.  ROBOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Two of my faves in 1 model: robots and spaceships

The color scheme reminded me of Jetfire/Skyfire from the Transformers.

The box had some statistics for the "Red Spider" although in another corner of the box below the model number it says "Flamingo"

Red Spider huh?  It says Flamingo on the other side of the box



Yeah Hasbro's Kre-O line can go suck it with their non-transformable kits.  This one transforms without disassembling the robot!

Valkyrie, Gerwalk, Battroid! Can I call you Jetfire?!?!?
Yep this is part of Sluban's space series

See it does say Flamingo!

Let's open up the box!

Small manual!  Nice bricks!

Manual + Sticker sheet!
 Although really glossy the sticker sheet feels thick in my hands.  Feels like cheap stickers.

The manual is clear enough although sometimes it feels disorienting since the colors don't provide much contrast from what you've finished and what your supposed to do next.

Nice bricks!

Out of the polybag!
The kit comes with a lot of these things that we can assume will later become the mech's arms and legs.

The bricks despite not being Lego gave a nice feeling when they are in your hands.  The colors are vibrant and doesn't give off a cheap vibe.

Let's build this thing!

Starting of with the legs.  First thing I notice is that Sluban did not use toothed gears for the joints.  This is going to pose problems later when the mecha needs to stand on its own.  The joints feel fit now but they foreshadow being loose much much later.

And here's the whole leg structure.  Looks great.  Stands up well on its own.  But again without toothed joints I have strong misgivings about these legs being able to support the upper torso of the mech.

Now for the upper torso.  Despite the lack of thought the designers applied to the joints,  the construction of the upper torso impressed me because of the application of Lego-like techniques, particularly the use of overlapping bricks to strengthen the structure.

Nice overlapping white pieces for strength

Overlap once more.

Here's the leg part and the torso portion.

More overlapping brick technique applied.

Nice strong reinforced structure

Here's the chestpiece:

The completed chestpiece with a partially built backpack:

This is the backpack for the mech.  This really reminds me of certain Gundam kits I've built before.

Striker pack?

The pieces of the upper torso:  Backpack, torso and chest piece.

The three portions attached to each other:

The arms.  Similar to the legs I have strong misgivings with regards to the non-toothed joints.

The torso is almost complete!

Still looks like a striker pack to me
The head reminds me of Skyfire once more!

The upper torso is complete!  Looking really good here!

Hello there!

Time to put it all together!

As theorized the non-toothed joints prove that they can barely support the top heavy mech.

I fell and can't get up!
After much wrangling I was able to make the robot stand up!  I had to quickly take the picture before it decided to flop down again.
Aha!  I can stand!  Sluban Space patrol for reference

As promised on the box the kit can transform without any disassembly!  Similar to Wing gundam it's shield become the forepart of the spaceship!  NICE!

A handsome looking spaceship form!

The shield serves as the spaceship's nose cone!  Ala Wing Gundam!

Let's try posing it some more!  
Success!  a semi action pose!

Keep that pose!  CLICK!

Ready for battle!

Some more pics before it decides to fold down

Overall it was not a bad kit.  My biggest gripe of course is that the mecha can barely stand on its own.   I wish they used some toothed joint similar to what Lego uses for some of their bigger Hero Factory and Chima models.

But great job for Sluban as they are able to create a model that can transform without the need to disassemble the whole thing.  It is still the biggest reason I got turned off from Hasbro's own Kre-O transformers line.

And of course the 500 pesos price tag for a 300+ brick count set isn't bad at all.

Good experience!