| 12/03/17- Wow. If it hadn't
been for the SH Figuarts Ultraseries, I probably would have never
even known about this one. The only 1:6 (a.k.a. 12" and 30cm)
Ultraseries stuff that I knew Marmit made was their two versions of
Ultraseven with rubber and vinyl suits. I'd seen their old line of
6" Ultraseven figures on eBay, but nothing else. An SH Figuarts forums
post had mentioned Mandarake.co.jp as a good source of used Ultraseries
stuff, so off I went... and found Gyango, Dodongo, and Icarus Seijin.
Searches Can Be Challenging: Mandarake apparently uses a Japanese-to-English machine translation, even for things like some listings' titles. Sometimes this makes you think, "huh?" |
What's often human-phonetically translated as "Sha-pu-ray" becomes "Syapure". At least it appears to be consistent: If you search for "Syapure", you get multiple results.
Another oddity is that "Zarabu seijin" is translated as "The Love Alien"...!? I'm guessing that it's because the translator sees the name (which is meaningless in Japanese) and approximates the phonetic spelling in English ("Za" = "The", "rabu" = "Love").
I can't say that this is actually wrong, since some monster/alien names seem to be Japanese takes on English words, like "Bogu"="Borg", "Beru"="Bell", "Purote"="Proteus". Even though Zarabu seijin professed "brotherly love" for Earthlings, I never thought of it as "The Love Alien", and would never think of using that in a search!
I've thought about making this dude for a long time. I liked the
episode-- it's quirky-weird and slightly disjointed; the alien in
human form is strange and creepy, and the fight segment is likewise
weird and disjointed. He's even got an attractive traditional-pattern
UFO spaceship. Mainly though, I like the design of the alien/monster.
With its bat-like ears and fish-like mouth, Ikarus Seijin is one
of the best and most distinctive of the Ultraseven critters. It's
been brought back many times throughout the Ultraseries shows, some
with extremely funky reconstructions of the suit-- peee yew!.
Its popularity isn't due to it being a ferocious fighter (because
it wasn't). I believe that it's just a good simple design that's
easy for folks to visually process: It offers something familiar,
yet different enough so it doesn't seem rehashed. In my opinion,
an iconic design is one that would be easily recognizable from a
line art caricature or a silhouette; I think this one qualifies.
By sheer coincidence, I was just about to start my home-made Ikarus Seijin project. I had materials spread out in front of me and decided to do a little browse-procrastinating when I found the Marmit figure at Mandarake; it must have been recently added. Whoa!
Mandarake rarely gives much useful English information in its
product listings, so it's important that you know what you're considering
buying. The price made me suspect that this was not the 6" Icarus
figure that I'd seen on eBay, so I browsed Marmit's site (in Japanese
only) and eventually found pics identical to the listing in a page
of 2011 releases. Their info showed that it was part of a 30cm vinyl
series, released in November 2011. I had no idea that it even existed.
Of course, I bought it... and quickly made peace with scuttling
my project and using the figure, materials, and ideas for my next
When it arrived, I was glad I bought it! The sculpt quality is
on par with the best of 'em, down to the sculpted micro creases
throughout the suit. My homemade version would have been nowhere
near as good, and hopefully, this will serve as an example of sculpting
excellence to motivate me to do better.
It's also a perfect size to fit in with my 1:6 collection. It's
a beefy creature with a padded suit; this gives me a size/mass example
to approximate with my next project.
When it was released in 2011, it was available as an unpainted
kit for 4,200 yen and painted for 7,350 yen; this one's the pre-painted
The paint job is pretty good-- there's a lot of detail brush work
that's carefully done, for what I suspect was a hand-painted production
job. (From personal experience with this sort of thing, it's not
easy work, and takes intense concentration over a long time. I can
imagine the painful tedium of doing it over and over.) The basecoat
is a light eggshell blue that's translucent in areas that show a
subtle light tan color of the vinyl peeking through. To be honest,
I can't tell if this is intentional, or whether it's the result
of age or handling wear. It doesn't look bad, is barely noticeable,
and does look more realistic than a uniformly thick coat of clean
eggshell blue. The inside of the ears appear to be brush-painted
with an uneven coat of thinned brown paint. This is strange, since
it seems that an airbrush would be better suited for that job: I
don't know if this was done deliberately for effect, or whether
the workflow dictated hand brush painting. The only airbrushing
is the brick-colored stripe down the back.
Obviously, there's a reason for the large price difference between
the unpainted kit and the prepaint. A reasonably talented customer-craftsman,
focused on painting a single kit without the time-pressure of production,
could spend the time to do a better job. However, the craftsman
could save a lot of time just touching up the prepaint. If
presented with the choice, I'd pick the prepaint.
Like most vinyl figures, there's not a lot of articulation: Rotation
at the waist, the shoulders, and elbows. Also, like most vinyl figures,
there's a narrow range of poses that it was designed for. Fortunately,
that pose (a "facing-off" pose) is utilitarian and looks good. It's
a shame that some of the other iconic poses (arms raised shooting
energy needles and the "don't shoot") pose can't be done. This is
one that I wish that Medicom had made as a poseable rubber-suited
Having scanned Marmit's history of releases, it looks like the
realistic 30cm Ultraseries line was something they've dabbled
in through the years, mainly in the past. They've released many
more 20cm stylized vinyls over a wide range of subject matter, and
some huge 40cm & 50cm vinyls. Currently, they're not a dedicated
source of realistic 30cm Ultraseries figures, like Billiken and
CCP. However, they have done some really nice stuff in the past
(like the Pitto Seijin twins and Shapuray Seijin) that occasionally
turn up in the marketplace of previously-owned stuff.