24 November 2011
Robot Damashii Byarlant Custom preview
Bandai's Tamashii Web Shouten has put up Robot Damashii Byarlant Custom pre-order page, of which the MS has made a pretty appearance in the 4th episode of Gundam UC released earlier this month.
Robot Damashii Byarlant Custom banner and preview images from Tamashii Web Shouten
The RX-160S Byarlant Custom is a customised and a further development from the RX-160 Byarlant. Like its original it is one of the few MS that can fly and even hover in mid-air on its own without having to transform or rely on a separate support platform. Being left over from the Gryps War back in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, it was not mass produced but 'upgraded' using existing parts for testing and development purposes.
Original Byarlant from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, image from MAHQ
Byarlant Custom as seen destroying Zeon remnants attacking Torrington Base in OVA episode 4. With its spectacular "eye candy" performance there were viewers even spculating whether it was the legendary Gundam pilot Amuro Ray piloting the Byarlant Custom.
Byarlant Custom in action:
Byarlant Custom as seen in manga. Some backstory has been given to both the MS and its pilot. The pilot is revealed to be an ex-Titan pilot (named Robin Diez) who later rejoined the EFSF as Unit 1 of Byarlant Custom. There was a Unit 2 as well, but due to startup error it could not be launched, but destroyed the roof of the hangar in order for Unit 1 to sortie.
The Robot Damashii Byarlant Custom will be released in April 2012 for 6090 Yen to those who have pre-ordered it via the web shop (which is mainly for domestic Japanese customers). It will also come with beam sabre effect parts as well as a marking sticker set.
As the Byarlant Custom was not in the original novel, it seems to have appeared specifically for episode 4 of OVA adaptation as well as in the manga adaptation. Too bad the Robot Damashii action figure is web shop limited (i.e. proxy service is required for most overseas collector who want it), and has a big price tag of 6090 Yen. Sure one can justify that the Japanese economy is bad, but seeing more and more things that people like end up being limited only can be quite frustrating.
I must say that I am a little moved by the Byarlant Custom after seeing its performance in the OVA, especially as I am a fan of grunt units in the first place. The story and plot is said to be greatly cut and even altered from the novel, but action scenes don't disappoint most of the time. I am tempted to get it, but I'm now on the fence about it. Sure, I have pulled off stunts for expensive limited stuff several times before, but seeing more and more are ending up this path along with the strong Yen sometimes doesn't encourage me from buying these toys, but to refrain me from buying them instead sometimes. :\