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Shinomiya HimawariShinomiya Himawari

sailormatlacsailormatlac3 jaar geledenReview
It's time to review the new Griffon's Super Figure line. This actual review is made for the Soft Bust Edition but can apply to the regular edition if you skip the comments related to the Soft Bust.nl.myfigurecoll...

Well, a lot have been speculated about Griffon’s new Super Figure line. I took the plunge and decided to get a second hand soft-bust edition Hiwamari from Vividred Operation on AmiAmi when they started to hit the market. A video posted on YouTube convinced me she wasn't the regular Griffon's crap. I wasn't ready to pay full price, but I was curious to see how these huge figures would fare. In a time where the trend is for smaller scales, Griffon dare to tap in a niche market. Are they doing any better than in their notorious past.

Please bear in mind during this evaluation the product I review is a second hand item. I found no physical evidence the figure was displayed on its base. I suspect the original buyer opened the box, pulled out the figure, took a glimpse, wasn’t pleased with what he got and just decided to sell it. The base was still sealed in its plastic bag and not finger prints were visible.

I’m must admit I’m not knowledgeable about Vividred Operation, I only saw the first episode a long time ago and knew from the start it wasn't for me. I acquired the figure because I consider it a conversation piece and a way to get an idea of what Griffon is able to do. From a general perspective, I consider they did an overall good job even if there’s some glitches here and there. This is far to be the trainwreck the most pessimists predicted.

Also, I won't rate the figure with scores. I don't feel confident enough to do so.

Packaging

Like any larger or more fragile figure, this one comes in a large cardboard box without glazing. Box design is there to illustrate the product and does a decent job at it. I've seen far less attractive boxes for larger scale figure. The figure is protected into a sturdy foam case and it does a neat job at it. The figure itself is wrapped in a plastic bag and a plastic sheet is inserted between her body and hair to avoid paint transfer. This sheet was so tightly inserted that I think the previous owner didn't get through the trouble of removing it (it would be a real pain to place back). This PVC is quite huge and weights a lot, a less sturdy but fancier packaging wouldn’t have been a good idea!

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Sculpture

The sculpture is what I’d call a magnified Beach Queen. The general pose is quite the cliché moe pose with bend knees, the clueless face and the there’s very little dynamic involved in the sculpture. I must stress at this point the weight is really important and it really limits what can be done in term of sculpture (remember those Greek sculptures with all kind of weird suppert). Move the center of gravity and it would be a real mess of supports and buttresses. The physics applying to such large figures are really different from lightweight ones. Lifting her is quite an effort.

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The pose may be generic, but there’s grace in the rendition. General proportions are good and anatomy is quite decent thought utterly not realistic (poor girl). I would only point out her hands seems a little bit on the small side compared to her other features. I feel Team Genesis could have done a better work at rendering crisper small details, but a least thye got the general portrait right.

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It must be noted the figure is quite plain when seen from the sides. The best viewing points are definitely front, back and angled. I think they could have done a better job at it, even with the weight constraint.

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Her face and hair are faithful to the character design, which is a plus. Among other prepainted version of Himawari, she's among the best ones. The hair strings could have been a bit crisper but nevertheless, they are well modeled and follow a realistic pattern.

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Her buttock is probably one of the best rendered parts. Seriously, the way the fabric meets the skin and deforms it is very realistic and nicely done. They rendered very well the bulging and bounciness of such part. There's some "sexyness" in its rendition.

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Unfortunately, they got lazier on the torso. The navel is done is a very generic way and could have been better defined than that. The same comment applies to her abdomen and the upper torso.

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The collar bone is well rendered, but it could have been a little bit better.

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The breasts are quite huge and have more to do with implants than the real thing. We can point out the original character design, but I feel they could have made things a little bit less artificial. It seems they only slapped boobs on her with minimal effort to attach them to her torso. It is often overlooked, but the size isn't the main concern if the transition with the body isn't natural. But well, it's not that bad. I've seen far worst figures in that respect.

Now let’s talk about the soft bust thing. Like many collectors, I consider it a useless gimmick and it really is. In fact, it brings more issues than benefits. Let’s see why.

First, the soft bust part cover all the front upper torso including her neck. The seam between the regular PVC and the soft material is quite visible. It follows the back of her breast then run up to her shoulder. An obvious gap is also visible on her neck too. If you look at the figure from the side, the soft part is very noticeable. As I said previously, this is far to be her best viewing angle, so you won't notice it under normal circumstances, yet it's not a great part break (reminds me bad GK from old days).

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If you look at other soft bust figures, they habitually hide the seams where there’s a change between skin and clothes. Griffon didn’t bother to do this even if it was possible. Sure a bikini offer a little bit less opportunity than a more clothed figure, but it was still possible to walk around this issue. Also, they could have hidden the seam on the upper part by taking advantage of her generous and wavy hair.

In fact, take the time to check out official prototype pictures from Griffon, you’ll quickly find out they aren’t the soft bust edition, but the regular edition because the torso have no seam and is made as one solid part.

Also, if you take a look between her breasts, you’ll find a very huge gap. AQgain, not visible under normal conditions, but let’s face it, this figure is all about ludicrous fan service and people will naturally look there.

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Second problem is the fact this material seem to be quite difficult to mould perfectly at the factory. All kind of wrinkles can be seen. A strangely shaped depression can be seen near her neck while a strange straight line is visible on her left breast. It doesn’t seem to originate from damages after manufacturing. Taking in account the focal point of this figure is her torso, I feel having the most obvious defects there isn’t a selling point.

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Third, the soft material is akin to rubber. It has a natural stickiness that makes it prone to gather dust particles. In no time, I suspect the breast will be covered with dust and dirty. The problem is this material is hard to clean. Using a brush doesn’t work, you need a little amount of water to wipe out the dust. It will be very annoying in no time and I think most people will want to keep those soft bust figures in a display cabinet.

That said, I consider the sculpture is well done thought I consider the soft bust to be a major issue. The bikini is well sculpted too and the pose really catches the original moe character design. Some aspect of the figure are quite elegant to some extent.

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There are very little defects (except the soft bust) and most are in not obvious spot (side of her bikini bottom, inside the palm of her clenching hand and behind her left ankle).

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Base

The base is a brown painted block of MDF with two holes and a felt underlayer. It does its job, but that’s all. Inside the two holes, you insert two large metal pins. The feet of the figure are then inserted on these pins. It keeps the figure up and that’s all. I don’t feel this is a fool proof system. The PVC they used for this figure is relatively more flexible than what you habitually see. In fact, you can move her fingers almost freely without damage. Her feet are the same and the weight of the figure exerts a strong force toward the back. It makes her leans on her heels and not fully on her feet. Not only it makes the figure looks awkward, but I suspect it could start to induce deformation in the long term. That is the shortcoming of unstable figures not hold by three points.

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There are two solutions this problem. Make sure you display it perfectly level so she leans “forward” in such way her feet touch the ground (or you place a shim under the base at the back to artificially make her stay vertical). The other solution is to make another base in such a way her center of gravity is perfectly vertical. I think Griffon should have made it possible to screw her to the base instead of relying solely on friction. And don’t be afraid, the figure is well balanced; it’s only the idea of fixing her only by her heels that makes no sense.

Will she became some kind of leaner? I don’t think so, but my main concern is that slack develops in her feet hole and that it makes the metal pin loose.

Painting

This is where Griffon’s work shines the most. I’ve been of those who never believe the prototype paint job match the finished product. The first is a one shot paint job to sell product while the second is a mass production model. In that respect, the coloration on Himawari pinpoint what the prototype made us expect. Colors are vibrant and deep with a lot of highlights and shadows.

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The job on her biniki is commendable and makes her nice anatomy to pop up. The frills are tastefully highlighted too. Her hair are particularly well shaded, which helps to give them even more volume and let us forget it is a huge chunk of hanging PVC.

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Her eyes are very crisp thought they are the same matte finish on the figure. I think they could have benefitted being a little bit glossier to make them sparkles a little bit more. I suspect using some glossy acrylic finish like Future could make it looks better. At this scale, they could really have gone further by adding mode painted details. I know the character design is moe and not hyper realistic, but it wouldn’t have hurt adding some effort there. I think about 1/6 Misaka Mikoto in orange bikini which is a large figure that had her eyes glossed.

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The skintone is a healthy pinkish shade faithful to source material. The shading is consistent on all parts of the figure and that really brings life to her. As you can see, the blush on her cheeks is nicely done and doesn't look garish at all.

I would only point out the got lazy on some details like her finger and toe nails. The only painted them pink without adding the cuticle or the natural white line. I feel these details should show off on a large figure because they are discernable and make a difference.

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Now let’s talk about the downsides. Griffon is notorious for its poor finish and quality check. Is it true about this figure? Short answer: yes. The first thing that caught my attention was a large dark smear on her left leg. At first, I thought it was dirt or paint transfer, but looking carefully at it, it was imbedded in the paint. Around the same area, some very small black dots are visible near her knee. They are also deeply imbedded into the finish. Thought they aren’t numerous, these blemishes are visible because they are on large one-color parts.

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You can also notice painting blemish on her bikini bottom on her left side (see the photo above showing the frills). Finally, there are scratches on top of her hair. These could have been done by the previous owner or at the factory. I can’t tell, so I won’t saw Griffon did a bad job on quality check since it seems unrelated.

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Noteworthy, I didn’t saw obvious paint bleeding. Color application seems to have been consistent and careful during the painting process. Also, I couldn’t see dust in the paint like it often happens.

Overall appreciation

Hiwamari is a big little girl that can easily become a centerpiece by its sheer size. Prepare yourself to make some room for her.

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As I said, I got this figure because the second hand price was attractive and a YouTube video shown promising results. I think Griffon, against all odds, was able to deliver an excellent product faithful to their advertisement. It doesn’t mean the figure is spectacular for its artistic value (which she’s not), but that the correlation between the prototype and final product are very consistent. I consider it a plus because too many makers propose prototypes that could win any professionally painted garage kits but fail to deliver the dream they promised. I think, Griffon did great whatever its reputation. The paint job is faithfull to the prototype and crisp, the shading is consistent and tastefully done. The sculpture and pose are well done thought very generic. At least, they fit the character well and they shouldn’t cause problem in long term because of weight limitation.

Where Griffon and Team Genesis shine less is the detail work. Bikini figures are very simplistic and they hardly forgive sloppy detailing. They should have put more effort in rendering toe and finger nails and adding extra paint details to the eyes. Some edges could have been refined to look less bulky, by example, the ribbons. They did a great job on her bikini bottom and I would have expected they kept this level on every other part of the figure including her abdomen. These are particularly crucial with fan service figure like this one. If the anatomy is flat, what can you look at? If I compare Griffon to Gift 1/4 bikini figures, they are about the same level of details thought Gift ones are a little bit more defined.

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Another pitfall is the soft bust gimmick. The chances you kept fondling her are minimal, except the first time you display the figure and want to see how this thing works out. In fact, the soft bust means annoying and visible seems, irregular surface finish and dusting issues. Also, you pay more to get these problems than the regular edition. I’d recommend anybody how doesn’t care about the soft bust to walk away from it, at least for the larger super figure.

If you want a very large figure and have the budget go for it. For Hiwamari, she’s far too simplistic to be worth her full retail price. At the time of writing this review, second hand items are easy to find at about 40% of her original price. When you think about the price 1/8 figures now costs, this is quite a bargain and, for a generic moeblob, she's far to lack charms. Be prepared to pay as much as USD$80 to USD$100 for shipping.

Conclusion

What you see is what you got. If you want a Super Figure of Kirino, I suspect you’ll find the same qualities and flaws of Hiwamari. The figure may be a magnified Beach Queen, however I must admit the large figure market really improved over the years. I remember ridiculous Evangelion and Sailor Moon figures that looked like stiff puppets. Team Genesis really did a good job at bringing larger scale on the same level of small scale. Himawari must be seen as a simplified market test and this is why I got her out of curiosity to see how it would turn out.

Did Griffon redeem itself? I’m eager to say a mild yes and believe the next Super Figures released will be even more stunning because they are more refined (better details and more dynamic pose). I expect Kirino ITEM #190392 ITEM #254347 to be quite stunning since she’s more dynamic for a huge figure. I won’t mind getting her, even with her ridiculous flapped “pig ear”, but don’t expect me to ever invest a buck into soft bust again.

Someone will probably ask if Griffon is upgrading its quality. Seriously, it's far too soon to decide that. Maybe Himawari is just a lucky one among many others, so it's better to stay careful and buy when the real products are out there.
5,516 hits • 20 berichten

Berichten20

0pt
sailormatlac (3 jaar geleden) #3018435Guessing from Kirino's pictures, I would say her base will be at least 30 cm long because of her particular pose.

29cm is my maximum :D we'll see, thanks :P
3 jaar geleden
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Hokuto (3 jaar geleden) #3016661Thanks! I hope for Kirino will be almost same

Guessing from Kirino's pictures, I would say her base will be at least 30 cm long because of her particular pose.
3 jaar geleden
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sailormatlac (3 jaar geleden) #3016648The base is exactly 25cm x 20cm x 2cm (about 10" x 8" x 3/4"). It is a massive block of MDF with a felt underlay.

Thanks! I hope for Kirino will be almost same
3 jaar geleden
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Hokuto (3 jaar geleden) #3014330I'm sorry, could u pls tell me how large is the base? Thanks

The base is exactly 25cm x 20cm x 2cm (about 10" x 8" x 3/4"). It is a massive block of MDF with a felt underlay.
3 jaar geleden
0pt
Very interesting to see and read more about this figure! :) Exceeded my expectations for sureand hope you will be happy with her!
3 jaar geleden
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I'm sorry, could u pls tell me how large is the base? Thanks
3 jaar geleden
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Orajio (3 jaar geleden) #3010005Can you please tell us how much this figurine weights?
Sure, she weights 7.25lbs (3.3kg) not including the packaging (which shouldn't exceed 500 to 700 g).
3 jaar geleden
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Can you please tell us how much this figurine weights?
3 jaar geleden
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Moro (3 jaar geleden) #2991904I was curious how these would turn out even though I had no personal interest in them. At least the paint isn't bad but she's just so plain!

Exactly why I called her a "magnified" Beach Queen. Absolutely nothing special.
3 jaar geleden
0pt
I was curious how these would turn out even though I had no personal interest in them. At least the paint isn't bad but she's just so plain!
3 jaar geleden
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