Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review: 1/12000 Legend of Galactic Heroes Fleet File Volume 2

Time to kick off the reviews here with merchandise from everyone's favorite epic space-opera, Heldensagen vom Kosmosinsel! What, don't know what I'm talking about? Yeah: who would? It's Legend of Galactic Heroes.

The Fleet File line of LoGH display figures is really the only option available to anyone who wants a figure of one of the sleek (or boxy, if Freedom's your thing) warships from the OVA series. Unfortunately, because these sets are so expensive, many of us are hesitant to take the plunge--particularly when there aren't any English reviews of the product.

I chose to Fleet File 02. However, this review is applicable to ALL Fleet File sets.

Before I get any further, let me say this: unless you are a die-hard LoGH fan, you will NOT want to buy a Fleet File. And if you ARE a die-hard LoGH fan... you'll probably want to wait until you can find 'em on sale. Here's why: these things are small and cheaply made. And by small, I mean very, very small. You see those two vessels in the first image? The smaller one is about as long as a USA penny--about 2cm long. The bigger one is the biggest of the ships in my collection, measuring about 13cm. On Most of the ships are about 4-6cm long: these are display pieces you can't see without squinting.

The small size of each figure can be particularly painful when you start to assemble them. Yes: assembly is required. All of the various antennae and other impossibly tiny protrusions from each vessel come attached to hard plastic sprues. You'll need a pair of cutters, tweezers, and some super glue to get everything attached--and don't worry to put some muscle behind your efforts. Frequently, you'll need to force too-large pegs into too-small holes.

Another problem lies in the variety of vessels in each collection. Each fleet file contains 10-12 warships... but not 10-12 unique warships, no, no, no. These ships only come in pairs. For the Imperial warships, there is at least some justification: you get one of each vessel bearing the emblem of the Goldenbaum Dynasty, and another one bearing the emblem of the Golden Lion Throne. There's no such excuse for the vessels of the Free Planets Alliance: you simply get two identical copies of each ship.

The painted details are actually quite good, and the modeling itself is impressive, though the larger the ship, the less accurate the proportions tend to be. The vessels very lightweight, weighing in around 4 or 5 grams each. The display stands are considerably heavier, and these things come in one helluva giant mess of packaging. Expect lots of plastic, lots of time, and lots of cardboard. One of the nicer aspects of the Fleet File series is the informational booklet in the box: about 15 pages, each one contains detailed information on each of the specific ships in the respective fleet file. There's plenty of cool stuff to see, including some very nice sketches--and it's all in Japanese.

Overall, the level of detail, display stands and informational booklet make for a very nice product, unfortunately these figures are priced too high to really be worth it, particularly when you consider that you're buying duplicates with each box. Unfortunately, there really aren't many places to go to get a figure of a ship from Legend of Galactic Heroes, and for what little it's worth, Fleet File figures are really your best option. The only alternative is a plastic model kit, and those are even less appealing: their small scale means they're only about 200% to 250% larger than the Fleet File figures, and they would require meticulous painting and assembly in order to look halfway decent.



  1. I've got the whole lot except the rehash of the first set myself, and I must say, I'm beginning to get tired of those small FPA cruisers showing up so often.
    Hopefully they'll throw in Barbarossa, Krishna and Shiva in their next sets so I'll at least have all the coolest ones and likely resist the temptation to buy more.

  2. Seems the upcoming vol.10 will have Barbarossa + Shiva

  3. "There's no such excuse for the vessels of the Free Planets Alliance: you simply get two identical copies of each ship."

    That isn't true. You get the standard Alliance ships in multiples, that's true - but its the same with the standard Imperial ships. This is to be expected, they're the most common ships in the series. You never get two identical copies of the unique Alliance flagships, they're all different. The only reason you get two copies of the Imperial ships is if, depending on the ship, they were around during both the Goldenbaum and Goldenlohen dynasties.

    And in most cases, the identical ships you get for the standard Alliance and Imperial battleships aren't actually identical. They're the flagships of more minor Admirals in the series, which is why they have special crests (in the case of Imperial ships) and their own unique hull numbers (in the case of Alliance ships).

  4. "Seems the upcoming vol.10 will have Barbarossa + Shiva"

    And the Pergamon, the 6th Fleet Flagship that's destroyed in the first episode / Overture to a New War. That's three unique Alliance ships.

    Vol. 2 was a bit of a tame release, but I don't think its representative of the variety you get in other sets. Vol 6, for example, is just great:-

    * Beowulf (Mittermeyer)
    * Nurnburg (Bayerlein)
    * Airged Lamh (Yang Fleet, Fischer's ship)
    * Perun (12th Fleet, surrenders at Amlitzer)

    Out of nine ships in the box, 5 of them are unique. That's pretty decent.

    And the two Imperial standard batleships in the box are the Sindri and Heorot - Sindri is Admiral Brauhitz ship (we see him fight at Vermillion and at the Battle of the Corridor, Sindri is also in another fleet file with the Goldenbaum crest) and Heorot was Bayerlein's ship before he got Nurnburg.

  5. I can understand the author's concern about the size, but I have to say these would look pretty sweet in a game of Battlefleet Gothic.

  6. "You never get two identical copies of the unique Alliance flagships, they're all different."

    The "differences" you're talking about are minor. Only PAINTED ON. The actual molds are identical. Just slapping on different logos or numbers is a very cheap way to make duplicate items "different." Frankly, it's inexcusable given the cost of these collections.

  7. "The "differences" you're talking about are minor. Only PAINTED ON. The actual molds are identical. Just slapping on different logos or numbers is a very cheap way to make duplicate items "different." Frankly, it's inexcusable given the cost of these collections."

    That's simply wrong. The unique Alliance flagship (as distinct from the regular warships) molds released so far are not identical, because the ships themselves aren't identical. If you think they are, that's because you weren't paying attention when you were watching the actual show.

  8. As someone who owns EVERY box set they did (including the original volume 1), I can categorically tell you that each Alliance flagship is different. While they are quite similar (as befitting ships from the same class), there are noticable differences in the shape of the bow nose (some taper, others flare out, some do neither), the antennae on the bridge (these are moulded with the main hull), the antennae amidships (these are separate parts, but they also go in different places on the main hull depending on ship), and on the after third with the engines and... the exhaust cowling I suppose.

    The second argument goes to price. While on a box set they are at a glance expensive, if one compares them to gaming miniatures (the next nearest thing in size and produced in quantities far in excess of these box sets), they're actually very reasonable on a per-ship basis. And that's comparing them to unpainted models with MUCH larger production runs (and thus a lower per-unit cost). Add to the fact that the paint jobs on them are quite well done for the size of ship, and they work out to be a decent deal.

  9. Well, at least two of the FPA ships are identical, the Leonidas and Leonidas II are both of the exact same cast, with only differences in the paintjobs. And then you've got the two different paintjob versions of the Mauria. Still, they're probably trying to reuse every mold as much as possible in order to keep down the costs.

    Too bad they seem to have stopped making new ones worth buying though, the next in line is supposedly all resin, even more expensive and features only some imperial hospital ships and those really really really small destroyers. Too bad, I really wanted the Krishna and both factions' carriers.

  10. Yeah, but the Leonidas and Leonidas II are identical ships except for the paintjobs in the show, too, so its not like they didn't do it with any justification.

    Its been ages since they've brought out anything new, its very annoying.

  11. The amount of gear you get for that price is pretty poor. Is there anything comparable style-wise that is less damaging on one's wallet? Suggestions?

  12. Not really, no. Gineiden is pretty niche to begin with. Honestly, at this point, we're lucky they're still manufacturing any merch at all.