Dragon Momoko (DM) dropped this bombshell shortly after the shipping of their fabulous MG 1/100 Testament Gundam, surprising a fair bit of the community. For the uninitiated, the Arming Tree & Progressive Weapons package exists as a Bandai Chogokin set released some years back and costs a bomb (as with most Chogokin-branded products). It is a very interesting concept, even for non-followers of the Evangelion franchise, which is why you are now reading this Analysis.
The package itself is pretty big, roughly the size of a MG box but at half the height. No instruction manual is included with the product, although the back of the box shows you how to mount the various Progressive Weapons onto the Arming Tree. What the box doesn't tell you is how to remove the Weapons from its holsters, and this can be tricky on the first try (just gently poke it out from the back).
The quality of this prefabricated, pre-finished product is really decent: good quality plastic (yes plastic, because it's only S$30), solid paint job and a nice finish on all the Progressive Weapons. Flaws like random plastic nubs, stray plastic bits and incomplete snapfitting exist, but are inconsequential at best. Besides, once you put everything onto the Arming Tree, you'll forget all of the previously-mentioned flaws.
The fully-loaded Arming Tree is truly an impressive sight to behold, like a Christmas tree adorned with fearsome weaponry instead of those silly shiny baubles. Although the box instructs you to arrange the Weapons Progressively, you can easily shift their positions, bearing in mind the real estate that each Weapon occupies. Each segment of the Arming Tree is also fully rotatable, but it can be a little tight, which is more of a good thing than otherwise.
The Progressive Weapons themselves are works of art, each one produced beautifully with good detailing and a nice paint job. I prefer the melee weapons over the ranged ones, as the former just looks way better (and usable) than its ranged counterparts. The weapons fit snugly into MG 1/100 hands, but they will fit perfectly into sturdy Metal Build hand parts. I have to say, the weapons look fantastic on model kits.
The Arming Tree and Progressive Weapons is a great set to have on display, perhaps DM is going to release an Evangelion model kit soon?