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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Fredericksburg, VA

    Kotobukiya's LOST PLANET 2 Vital Suit Action Figures

    Mech lovers rejoice...

    Kotobukiya's LOST PLANET 2 Vital Suits are available for order directly from the company at, as well as through select fine retailers, such as where the four mechs are priced at $34.99 each.

    Imagine a game where you and your friends battle Godzilla, Mothra and company using the best our modern military has to offer. Now replace the Toho monsters with massive sci-fi beasts and your arsenal with futuristic high-tech mechs and you have the makings of LOST PLANET 2 (LP2), Capcom's explosive new co-op experience.

    Without a doubt, the colossal creatures of LP2 - the Akrids - are amazing eye candy, but the title's addictive game play comes from the powerful war machines you pilot. Called VITAL SUITS, these walking tanks are a pure blast to control and gawk at. The LOST PLANET game series may be new, but I already feel like its incredibly unique robot designs deserve a high place in popular mech-centered fiction, such as Gundam, Macross, and Armored Trooper VOTOMS. The LP2 mechs are that cool in my book.

    Hardballer Vital Suits

    Kotobukiya certainly thinks so. No strangers to mecha, Koto has made a name for itself with well-crafted collectibles ranging from Front Mission, Super Robot Taisen to Armored Core. Their new LOST PLANET 2 Vital Suits continue that tradition with some of their finest mecha action figures produced to date.

    Drio Vital Suits

    Featured in this assortment are two main Vital Suit classes: The more humanoid PTX-140 Hardballer (tan) and the "chicken walker" GTF-11 Drio (camo). More advanced versions of both models also make an appearance, though aside from different color schemes, they are pretty much identical toys. These include the PTX-140R Hardballer R-Type (white) and the GTF-11SR Drio SR (blue-grey). Just released, each Vital Suit action figure retails for a SRP of $39.99.

    PACKAGING: Koto's LP2 Vital Suits ship in large clamshells; tried-and-true action figure packaging that insures your collectible arrives safe and sound... all the way from Japan. Like the Vital Suits themselves, the packaging for each mech is unique, with front and side game graphics representative of the robot inside.

    The back of the packaging inserts really impressed me. Both the Drio and Hardballer units feature mech-specific bios loaded with cool history and awesome weapon loadouts. It's this added attention to detail that really helps create a closer bond with you and your collectible. It certainly shows that Koto is passionate about the game and its memorable robots.

    Freeing the LP2 mecha from their plastic prisons is, as expected with clamshells, a twistie-tie nightmare. Be armed with a pair of your trusty wire snippers for an easier opening experience. Also take it slow and easy pulling the mecha free from the ties - some of the twisties are wrapped around semi-fragile parts.

    Koto prides itself in well-sculpted collectibles, from its gourgeous Bishoujo PVC beauties to their powerful Marvel heroes. Koto's mecha work is also some of the finest in the industry, despite the majority of their current mecha releases being Fine Model Kits. Nothing against a good kit, I've built many in my day, but pre-built, fully articulated and accessorized mecha action figures are more my cup 'o tea. Thankfully their new LOST PLANET 2 Vital Suits are just that - fully enjoyable mecha designs straight out of the box. The Vital Suits remind me of Koto's amazing Armored Core figures; a line that to this day shows how a good robot toy should be made.

    HARDBALLER: While the Armored Core figures were cool, the LP2 figures strike me as just a little bit cooler. I've said it once, and I'll say it again: it's all about their incredibly unique designs. The Hardballer, the tallest of the Vital Suits measuring in at 6 inches tall, is a great fusion of Crustacean and human anatomy. With a head that resembles a giant crab shell with four sensors for eyes, the Hardballer pounds into battle with two weapon-gripping arms and legs that end with ski-like appendages. To jet this mech around, a large thruster pack is attached to the back. Sculpted bolts and panel lines abound on the Hardballer, giving the mech a realistic "hard metal" appearance. The backpack is especially nice, with loads of sculpted exhaust vents, jump thrusters and power canisters. The sharp stablizer fins give the mech a very aerodynamic look, which combined with the ski-like feet, gives the impression that this mech can not only fly, but slide forward with great locomotion.

    Deftly applied paint apps bring this mech to life. Nice air-brushing around all the bolts lends attractive depth to the toy, while black molded joints provide excellent contrast to both Hardballer primary colors: desert tan and polar white. I feel sorry for those forced to pick just one color scheme as they both look phenomenal. For added visual pop, spots of red and yellow are used to mimic illuminated equipment.

    These aren't called action figures for nothing: the Hardballer packs over 20 points of articulation for diverse display options. There's ball-jointed shoulders with a swivel upper arm, hinged/swivel elbows for a broad range of attack poses, ball-jointed thighs, slight movement at the knee, ball-jointed feet, swivel stabilizer fins, and ball-jointed shoulder-mounted weapons. All these joints are nice and solid making playing around with these a real joy.

    Speaking of weapons, the Hardballer is the more heavily-accessorized of the two VS models. In its right hand, the Hardballer grips a rapid-firing light machine gun (not removable), while in the left hand is a VS Saw attachment, a protective shield/ chainsaw device used to combat Akrid and other Vital Suits alike. It's a shame that the saw blade does not extend or that an extended blade attachment isn't provided, but it still looks pretty tough as a defensive shield or the mecha equivalent of brass knuckles.

    Lastly, two shoulder-mounted weapons are included: A Laser Rifle and Rocket Launcher (no fancy high-tech names here folks). The neat thing about these two guns, which are packed with both Hardballer units, is their ability to detach and reattached on another Vital Suit. The interchangability allows for some personalization when more than one VS is collected, though I do wish the variety of weapons was greater. With both Hardballers packing the same guns, the incentive to purchase both models really boils down to which color you prefer. To have one Hardballer come with two new weapons, such as a Flame Thrower and Shotgun, would have gone a long way in making each Vital Suit in this series more desirable. I'm sure it was a matter of keeping costs down, but that doesn't stop me from dreaming.

    DRIO: I really like the look of the Hardballer, but I absolutely LOVE the Drio (the camoed GTF-11 Drio being my favorite). I've always been a sucker for "chicken walkers;" from my deep admiration of Robotech's Mad Cat to Star Wars' unforgettable AT-ST. The approximately 5 1/2-inch tall Drio takes the classic mecha design and adds its own sense of style, with nubby feet, finned back thrusters and a rotating armored face shield. It's open cockpit layout gives the Drio a more mobile weapons platform vibe, like an anti-aircraft gun on legs. It may be weaker in this regard, but it's no less cooler looking.

    Like the Hardballer, bolts and panel lines are everywhere on this mech, all sculpted with robotic precision. The Drio ups the sculpted ante by adding a seated pilot and tacked-on gear, such as gear pouches and canisters. The soldier is removeable, but he's not made to act as a free standing figure. He's permanently seated, but he looks very good doing so.

    Articulation is also extremely well executed on the Drio. Points include a waist that swivels a good 180 degress left or right, swivel back thrusters, an armored face plate that lifts up (this is how the pilot enters the mech), ball-jointed thighs, ratchet-style knees for firm running poses, ball-jointed feet, and ball-jointed shoulder weapons. With feet so small, you'd think that the Drio couldn't stand on its own. Remarkably, it can with some balancing of the back thrusters (which does make it a tad back heavy) and forward positioning of the thighs.

    As a precaution, or perhaps for extra pizazz, Kotobukiya includes a large black display stand. These stands are actually included with every Vital Suit action figure, though the Hardballers are far from ever needing one. The bases feature one peg for plugging into the one hole on each mech's left foot. Clean and nondescript, the stands add value - whether you use them or not.

    Where the Hardballer packed the big guns, the Drio fights light with two shoulder-mounted Gatling Guns and a pair of light machine guns. The multi-barreled guns are a favorite of mine looking awesome on both Vital Suit models.

    COST: Each Vital Suit action figure retails for a SRP of $39.99. That price may startle some, but for those familiar with collecting quality Japanese imports, the price is actually quite fair. These are well-constructed toys (some nice dense plastics are used) loaded with articulation and accessories. Plus, didn't I mention they look cool?

    OVERALL IMPRESSION: I can't express enough on how awesome these Vital Suit action figures turned out. While some greater weapon variety would have been nice to play-up the interchangeable weapons system gimmick, the guns the Vital Suits do come with are amazing enough. To be honest, I like them as is and have no intention of swapping them out. LOST PLANET 2 players are in for real treat with these figures, but you don't have to be a fan of the game to appreciate these cool mecha designs. Mecha lovers and gamers rejoice.

    Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor

    Review Samples Courtesy of Kotobukiya

    Kotobukiya's LOST PLANET 2 Vital Suits are available for order directly from the company at, as well as through select fine retailers, such as where the four mechs are priced at $34.99 each.

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