Aoshima Die Cast T-800 Endoskeleton review
Date: July 28th, 2004
By: Jeff Parker
Hi, firstly let me kick off by thanking Michael for letting a Limey loose on these hallowed MWCtoys.com pages, and by thanking him for providing an invaluable source of info for the domestic and 'outside U.S.' collector; believe me, you guys in the States have it easy with the wealth of importers and specialist suppliers when it comes to collecting.
I'm not saying there aren't any importers in the U.K., but $ for £ we pay a lot more, and bearing in mind just about the best source for 12" figures these days seems to be eBay, and most sellers are in the U.S. or Hong Kong, the shipping is always an issue as well. But enough of my rant and onto the review!
I thought I'd kick off with something special - the Aoshima 12" T800 endoskeleton. You may have already read Michael's friend Brant Rusch's review of the Aoshima 8" T800, well this is the bigger, meaner uber-version.
Now I'm not the biggest Terminator fan, and for me if Mr Cameron had left us with just the original I think the world would be a richer place, controversial... maybe, but I think it's the only truly original, good film he's made (although the Jamie Lee Curtis dance scene in True Lies is something that will always stay with me!). But this figure has to be seen and held to be believed, so let's go.
Packaging - ***1/2
When you first see the box you won't be blown away, it has a nice pic of the figure on the front against a large menacing ball of flames. With the words Terminator 2, Judgment Day, so you know which version you're looking at -for all you pedants out there, a lot of Japanese writing (always cool!) and a brief description including which model you have (this guy comes in 2 variants, the standard and the weathered, (with an alternate weapon).
The back has a little more info letting you know how the myriad of joints and pistons work, yes that's right 'WORK' and telling you all importantly that 80% of this baby is made out of cast metal... yes, I'll say that again CAST METAL.
But now onto the real reason this guy gets such a high score for packaging. Inside is totally collector friendly. A large Styrofoam (that's polystyrene for any one outside the U.S.) box holds everything snugly in place, including a weighted metal stand (not essential as I got him to stand fine on his own) but as he weighs so much, any more dynamic poses and it might come in handy, and you certainly wouldn't want him taking a shelf dive! So all in all a nice robust piece of packaging that should you ever consider selling on (not likely) or just need to transport him, will welcome him back with open arms (and legs come to think of it, see pic).
Sculpting - ****
What can I say. This is as accurate as it gets. All the detail you could wish for is here and you will spend a lot of time after opening the box, getting him out and standing him on a sturdy surface just marveling at the degree of detail. You can see right inside his shoulder sockets at all the ratchets, pistons and ball joints that make him move.
My only criticism, and I would have to be really hard on this figure to pick it up, is that because its primarily metal the casting isn't quite as sharp as say his 'McFarlane' plastic counterparts, but this is really slight. As you will see from the photos the detailing is pretty remarkable, and I don't feel able to give it anything but a perfect score.
Paint - *** 3/4
Not much to report here as he's over all silver metallic, but where the paint is used it's applied well. The eyes look great, considering they don't actually glow, and the weapon has some subtle but effective weathering. As I said earlier, there is a weathered version as well, but as I don't have one for comparison I can't comment.
Wherever plastic parts are used they seem to have matched exactly the colour of the metal base, so hats off to that! The only thing that could have made a slight improvement would be the teeth. I seem to recall that the T800 had white enameled teeth, here they are silver. Only a small detail, but in a figure at this price point I feel compelled to deduct 1/4, if I'm allowed.
Articulation - ****
Constructed from original plans and photos just about every part that moved on the original moves here. There are a few notable exceptions, like the spine and hands. The spine does have some swivel movement, but because of the weight he's carrying any more and he would slump, and the hands are set in one position (though an alternate hand is included to hold his weapon, and it holds it well).
You won't find any loose joints as all the main movement points are well ratcheted. His only restricted movement seems to be that his legs cant be bent to a sitting position, as the leg pistons can't stretch that much and you really wouldn't want to force it. So this guy's never going to sit on a Harley the way Arnie did, but there again he's better looking than Arnie, and probably just a little bit smarter, ouch! That'll make me popular in California.
Accessories - ***
I described the 'PLASMA' gun above, and the extra hand. The stand deserves a special mention as it's just about the best constructed stand you will ever see. Again, solid metal with a custom-built grasp that screws together to hold the spine. The metal pole holding him up is spring loaded so if you want to bend the legs it allows him to still be supported. I suppose another weapon might have been nice, but the weathered T800 comes with an AR 18 weapon (whatever that is?) so I guess it gives you an excuse to shell out more of your money, if you're a completist.
Fun Factor - ****
Well, like so many of these high-end figures it is very unlikely that any kids will ever get their hands on one of these, unless your dad's an oil or shipping magnet. It really is a case of an iconic figure getting the pop art make over it deserves, and I don't use the word 'art' lightly.
The love and care that have gone into making this figure, the attention to detail do kind of lift it from your common or garden 'action figure'. But that is reflected in the price. So all in all I would say if you love the Terminator, or you collect big shiny robots, or if like me you are hooked on the levels of care being shown to some 1/6 scale figures, you will get the money together to have this in your collection, and it will give you a lot of fun.
Value - **
Well... how could I give this guy anything else. He is as our American cousins say it, 'way expensive' I managed to get mine from a dealer in Hong Kong on eBay, for $175.00 + shipping. But I haven't seen him on sale with any American traders (all on line) for under $199.00 + domestic shipping. And if this figure had been anything other than 'spectacular', he wouldn't have got any stars at all... but he is pretty spectacular. So let your conscience and bank account make the decision for you.
Overall - ****
I know it's difficult when a figure gets to a certain price range to think of it as value for money. But although I don't know what numbers this was made in, I'm assured they are 'very limited'. To me it is a piece of pop art. And had it been manufactured by Jeff Koons we'd all be paying $5000 for it. So it's difficult, but it is without a doubt the finest figure in my collection, and I have the 'camo ZMDC' so that's saying something.
Where to buy
Always keep an eye on eBay'. During my review there was one up for $180.00. The guy I got mine from, Andy, might be able to help you. You can contact him at email@example.com or try toynk.com - listed at $199.00 + shipping.
Terminatorfiles.com (TF note: we are in his review! Jeehaa!) might be able to point you in the direction of someone who has one.
I'd like to thank Andy from Hong Kong (known as 'popsalute' on eBay) for letting me use the white background pics of the figure. Cheers.