Monday, May 21, 2018

[Kit Insight] Bandai 1/60 ARX-7 Arbalest Ver. IV (Straight Build)


Model Number: ARX-7 Arbalest
Designation: Mithril Customised Lambda Driver Equipped Third Generation Arm Slave

A classic mecha from the Full Metal Panic! franchise updated and reproduced into a fantastic model kit!
The Bandai 1/60 ARX-7 Arbalest model kit is an excellent rendition of the Arm Slave, rendering its form and nature in an easy-to-collect HG-ish format. 


Simply out-of-the-box, the Arbalest is spectacular. The model kit builds very similarly to a regular HG 1/144 Gunpla but ventures quite close to RG 1/144 model kits in terms of part separation. Indeed, the head unit alone is made of a whopping 11 individual parts. However, other areas like the weapons are more basic, built by simply snapping two halves together.


The ARX-7 Arbalest is armed with a generous assortment of weapons. The Graz Mannlicher ASW2000 LDW is a bullpup style compact assault rifle chambered for 40mm rounds. While smaller in caliber than the 57mm ones from the Boxer shot cannon, the ASW2000 served as a more viable alternative to knocking out lesser threats, saving shot cannon ammunition for stronger foes such as other Arm Slaves. The ASW2000 is also configurable, with allowance for many accessories and equipment to improve its combat efficacy for almost any situation and mission. These attachments can be found in the Bandai 1/60 Gernsback model kits.

The 57mm Boxer shot cannon bears cosmetic resemblance to the real-life SPAS-12 12-gauge shotgun, also serving the same purpose as a close range enemy stopper. A single scattershot round - if adequately aimmed - was sufficient to stop an enemy Arm Slave. The sheer power of the Boxer was also limited by its relatively small magazine size, forcing the Arbalest to constantly reload or use other weapons for lesser foes. The Boxer can be stored on the weapon rack positioned on the Arbalest's rear waist armour.

For close range combat, the Arbalest is armed with a M118 anti-tank dagger (mounted on its mouth) as well as a larger GRAW-2 Monomolecular Cutter. Essentially a giant dagger, the Arbalest was able to execute dynamic moves to dance around enemies before finishing them off with a well-placed stab.


The Arbalest's ace-in-the-hole is the Lambda Driver, an experimental reactor that was able to provide exceptional power for a limited time. Once activated, cooling fins on on the Arm Slave's shoulders and back emerge to aid in the cooling of the system, while the Arbalest itself receives a substantial power and speed boost. The Lambda Driver turned willpower into physical force, giving the Arbalest an edge over other Arm Slaves. While powerful, the Arm Slave and the pilot themselves must be tempered enough to resist its side effects, otherwise the Lambda Driver could very well tear them apart.


The Arbalest shares the same mechanical designer (Kanetake Ebikawa) with the Graze, therefore, it is not surprising to see several similar design aesthetics. As a model kit, the Arbalest is considered tall, although its lanky frame and small feet can cause some balance issues when posing.


The Arbalest is a fantastic start to Bandai's 1/60 range of Full Metal Panic! model kits.

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