I’ve decided to cross-post content I’ve written for other sites on this blog, if only to keep it readily accessible to me…
Imai’s 1:12 variable-type [sic] VR-041H “BLOWSPERIOR” comes in a surprisingly large box, adorned with the usual gorgeous paintings and bullshit English text —
What? You didn’t realize “Blowsperior” was a mistake? Seriously?
Well, it should come as no surprise that Shinji Aramaki is a vintage motorcycle enthusiast, and that he named Yellow’s specialized ride armor after a high-end line of British motorcycles designed by George Brough. The “Brough Superior” was the first sports bike, and Brough Superior motorcycles are still prized by collectors to this day.
It galls me that, after three and-a-half decades of advancement in the field of information technology, fans around the world continue to refer to the VR-041H as a “blowsuperior,” years after we’ve learned “Stick” is actually Stig (a Scandinavian name) and “Fuke Eroze” is supposed to be Hoquet et Rose (a French name). Tatsunoko marketing execs in 1983 were only concerned with the Japanese market, and had no Internet access; they simply didn’t know any better. We have no such excuses, however, so let’s put an end to this here and now. It’s Brough, not “blow.”
Anyway, despite the wide variety of Mospeada toys produced over the last 35 years, this vintage kit remains the most accurate rendition of the Brough Superior released (since Beagle folded before they could put their version into production). Let’s take a look inside the box, shall we?
There are numerous parts on multiple sprues (over 150 parts, all told), including real rubber tires, die-cast metal joints, screws and springs. Since it’s designed to be transformable, there are a lot of complex moving parts to assemble.
Another mistake on the packaging is where it says “simplified construction for easy assembly,” ’cause it’s not. The instructions are sometimes inadequate (especially if you can’t read Japanese!), making for a difficult build, even for someone with considerable modeling experience. In some cases, you’ve just gotta muddle your way through and figure it out as best you can.
There are points in the instruction manual where Mospeada characters provide advice, but it’s not particularly helpful:
For example, Hoquet’s word balloon says “Be careful not to lose those tiny parts.” Good advice, sure, but not very informative.
Once you get it together, though, it really looks the part.
The figure and bike are both well-proportioned (look at the size of those tires!), but articulation is somewhat limiting. There’s no elbow or thigh swivel — just a rather restrictive hinge — making it difficult to get a good riding pose, and no up-or-down movement for the head, either. Before I complete any of the subassemblies properly, I’ll definitely be adding additional ball joints to bring the articulation up to modern standards.
It’s not easy, but you can get the ride armor to stand unassisted if you find the right pose. It’s back-heavy, of course (like any Mospeada ride-armor), but not inordinately so.
Forgive the crude assembly; I’m just figuring out how everything fits together, and which parts will need painting first.
At 1:12 scale, it sits right between the 1:15 MegaHouse toys (right) and the 1:10 Beagle (left). I was hoping for parts a little bigger — to kit-bash a custom Beagle “Brough Superior” — but I just don’t think the scales are compatible.
The boots would definitely be an improvement over those dainty Beagle legs, however!
It’s important to remember that this isn’t a toy, and you have to be really gentle with some of the joints. It’s designed to be transformable, but given the fragility and the potential for paint rub, I’d advise against transforming it once it’s completed. You should probably decide what mode you want to display it in before you build it, and keep it that way.
Of course, having said that, I’m gonna have a hard time deciding which mode I prefer…!
I managed to acquire this kit for about $30 USD shipped — twice its original retail value, sure, but still a steal for such a large and complex model. If you’re an experienced modeler — and you can find it for a decent price — I highly recommend getting one.
It’s gonna look awesome once I’m done with it.
Imai’s 1:15 VR-038L “Bartley” kit has some misleading artwork on the package, representing Houquet (NOT “Fuke”) wielding her distinctive cannon in a dynamic action pose the figure is totally incapable of achieving, with a smaller image of the bike mode the figure is also totally incapable of achieving.
Since 1:15 is the scale the MegaHouse figures employed, I figured she could fit right in with the boys…
…since MegaHouse neglected to include a Bartley figure in their “Variable Action” line.
So what’s in the box?
About 75 parts total, which is less than half the parts count of Imai’s 1:12 scale kits. Since this kit is considerably smaller and is fixed-form, it’s much easier to put together; the initial rough assembly you see here only took a couple of hours.
The figure is articulated about as well as could be expected for its age, but badly needs elbow, knee, and thigh rotation…
Nonetheless, even the stock figure is capable of some fairly feminine poses, thanks to its lightweight construction (and a great deal of patience!).
Unfortunately, the proportions are considerably less feminine.
One detail came as a real surprise, however:
The front and back tires have distinctly different tread patterns! I’ve never seen that on any other Mospeada toy or model kit.
Anyway, how does she look with the MegaHouse boys?
Pretty damned awful, I’m sorry to say.
She’s too tall, too fat, and too masculine — almost as if it were Jim wearing Houquet’s ride armor — and it’s gonna take a lot of customization to make her look like the lithe teenager she’s supposed to be.
Oh, and while Imai saw fit to include her targeting scope, they clearly forgot something:
There’s no weapon included in the kit!
Fail, Imai. FAIL.