In 2016, Bandai Candy’s Super Minipla line took the simple Minipla kit concept and placed it on a level on par with Bandai Spirits’ hobby products. And with its rebranding to SMP [Shokugan Modeling Project] in 2021, the line took even more heights with its engineering and concepts, like the SMP Alternative Destiny sub brand. In 2022, they will once again reach a milestone with their 100th release and to kick things off, they’ve started solicitation of kits leading up to No. 100.
No.98 “Genesis of Aquarion”
As teased during the SMP brand reveal last year, they are doing the Vector Machines from Genesis of Aquarion. To those unfamiliar, these machines basically take the same three-vehicle combiner concept used in the Getter Robo franchise and do a different spin on it. This means no anime magic and parts actually transform and combine. That said, doing so in a figure is very challenging that as far as I know, there’s only one set that does this, the DX Chogokin version. So, it’s surprising that the amazing folks over at Bandai Candy are taking the challenge.
Let’s look at the three machines that combine here, we have Vector Sol (in red), Vector Mars (in blue), and Vector Luna (in green). Oh, and before I forget, the machines in Genesis of Aquarion were designed by Shoji Kawamori of Macross fame so you know there’s some validity in the complexity of these transformations.
The topic of stability immediately comes in right from the get go with the Vector Machines. Each kit comes with a display stand that not only helps you prop these machines in flight, but they also come with adapter parts that keep everything together. This also means that there’s not much room for placing tabs and pegs for locking pieces together, at least in vector mode.
The same is also true in the combined forms as you can put together the individual display stands for all of the Aquarion forms, each having its own configuration.
Let’s get into the combined forms, the primary of which is Solar Aquarion, which is formed with Vector Sol for the upper body, Vector Mars for the lower body, and Vector Luna for the backpack. Combined, the kit will stand at 170mm, which is quite an achievement for a model kit that transforms and combines and, assumingly, is still very articulated. They also mention that while Aquarion in all of its forms would be structurally stable, the top heaviness of this kit would likely require the assistance of the display stand as mentioned above.
The same is true with Aquarion Mars, which is the speed-oriented combination. Forming the upper body is Vector Mars, the lower body is Vector Luna, and the backpack is Vector Sol. Given the skinnier lower body of this combination, you would definitely need the display stand just to properly prop this guy up.
The last form is Aquarion Luna, most recognizable by those very long elbow parts. This configuration is made with Vector Luna for the upper body, Vector Sol for the lower body, and Vector Mars for the backpack. A feature unique to this combination is you are able to deploy the “feet” of Vector Mars to display Aquarion Luna in its signature crossed-arms position.
SMP [Shogukan Modeling Project] Genesis of Aquarion
September 2022 / ¥3,300
Pre-order from HobbyLink Japan
Now you will notice that I haven’t talked about anything like the weapons and accessories that come included with this set. Well, it’s because there’s none that come with this set. I guess the budget mostly went to the crazy engineering that went to the kit alone. If you want to get weapons and other accessories, then Premium Bandai is your friend.
No.99 “Genesis of Aquarion” Mugen Ken & Option Parts Set
As they’ve done with previous sets, Bandai Candy will also release an option set containing all weapons and other accessories for the Aquarion set. First are the weapons, we have each for the individual Aquarion forms. For Solar Aquarion, we have the Taiyo Ken; Aquarion Mars has the Hoshi Sora Ken, and finally, Aquarion Luna has the Lunatic Archery.
Now, an Aquarion set wouldn’t be complete with two of its more signature attacks. First is the Solar Wing which is made from the Vector Luna leg parts that split together to form the wing binders. The designers apparently decided to place priority on its larger appearance when deployed instead of a perfect transformation feature. On other figures, the Solar Wings are usually made from gold chrome pieces so we’ve yet to see how they’ll approach it for this set.
Its other signature attack is the Mugen Fist, which is an enlarged Solar Aquarion fist endlessly extending until it connects with the enemy, or any other function that requires it. It will be made from several jointed segments that when combined, comes to a whopping 1100mm (or 1.1m) long. With an accessory this long, this set will also come with five additional stands to display this attack. You just need to find the shelf space to display it.
These are everything that comes with this accessory set. Apparently, it also comes with parts for a deactivated version of the Solar Wings.
As for me, I think I’m good with my Super Robot Chogokin versions. And while I appreciate all the engineering that goes into this set, I think I’m contented with the one I already have. Unless they do the vector machines from Aquarion EVOL and Aquarion Logos, then I might reconsider?