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Dragon in Dream Date Masamune International Version

   

"The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

I've thought about buying one of these guys more times than I can count - Don Bledsoe tells us all why I should have picked one up by now.  Take it away, Don!

Hello everyone. First off I want to thank Michael for giving this fanboy a chance to do another figure review for his site. Much appreciated. I am known as ragacin on several forum sites like Sideshow freaks, OSW, and Rebelscum. Of late there has been a lot of product in the military and historical lines coming out from DiD, Dragon, Hot Toys, Ignite and a few smaller companies. The details on this new age of figures are outstanding. These guys really set the bar in the stratosphere with what can be done with 1/6 right out of the box. These are not your daddyís GI Joeís. Tonight I am looking at Dragon in Dreamís release of Data Masamune from the Japan Samurai line. This is the International Version. There is a Japan edition that is virtually impossible to get outside of Japan and it has a different head sculpt all together. I am not sure why that is. There are currently 4 Samurai in this line, Masamune being the first and oldest release.










Packaging: *1/2
Spoiled I am by the magnetic closures of the Star Wars figures. The box, like most, has the standard Velcro closures. The box is a pretty standard layout with some accessories on the flap and the figure inside the box. The box that holds the figure has a nice, black flocked tray that holds and protects the figure well. They also put a flat piece of foam cushion between the figure and the box, to keep it from damage. After seeing all this protection, why so low on the score? This is the most collector unfriendly box I have ever seen for a high end figure. In the tray there are twisties that hold the figure down and all the accessories. The twisties themselves shred. In the process of undoing them the black rubber coating peels off and makes the twisties bare wire. The twisties are very tightly wound also and it took a good 6 minutes to undo them all. The two around the helmet are especially precarious as they loop thru parts of the helmet, so be careful. Aside from the twisty issue, the armored skirt is also wrapped in small plastic sheets that have to be cut off. There is no way around it. DiD did this to keep the skirt in place and protect it and it does a fantastic job, but it ainít going back on once itís off. The final thing is that the accessory tray is taped to the inside flap of the box and the tape has to be cut to get the swords and tunic out. Bottom line, if you want to open the figure, it is not going back to factory condition.

Sculpt: ***1/2
The sculpture is very good; it is on the level of Dragon sculptures. The face is very realistic looking. As far as resembling Masamune, I am not sure. Typically Japanese portraits at the time were pretty simple, so there is a lot of interpretation possible. Maybe that is why the Japan version has a different sculpt. You do get two heads with the figure, which is very nice. A head with a stern/neutral expression and a fierce attacking expression. The one thing that surprised me is the fact that the real hair actually works for me better than I would have believed. The hands are very well done also, and are not painted.

Paint: ****
The paint applications are done very, very well, as I expect from DiD. No slop or runs. Nice blending of skin tones. The armor is also painted, but I will cover that in the outfit section.

Articulation - ****
The DiD body is one of the more articulated ones out there with double hinge elbows and knees, multi-ranged shoulder joints, ball jointed neck, and toe articulation. The torso also has a total of three articulation points which is incredible. The downfall is that the armor restricts the torso movement, but doesnít hamper the arms or legs.

Outfit - ****
This outfit is absolutely insane. I mean seriously, DiD went way above and beyond here. The armor is individually laced up just like their 1/1 scale counterparts. I would have given the outfit a five star score if that would be possible. The level of detail and execution of the fabrics and metal parts is just stunning. It is painted black with some gold detail painted on the small plates. The paint has a very smooth and clean sheen to it. Every time I look at it I notice a new small detail that just adds to the richness of the costume. Every armor piece works lust like their real world version. The neck guards on the face mask and helmet are laced and are flexible. The ONLY downfall to the costume is that the armor is metal and makes the figure heavy. He cannot stand on his own; the body was not designed to handle the weight of the armor, so a stand is needed. A small compromise in my eyes.

Accessories: ****
Again, the two swords are insane. They are metal bladed and wrapped the same way as their 1/1 real life versions. The intricate detailing on the tsuba (guard) is amazing. I was a little worried that when you put the sword in the figures hand that it would mess up the lacing, but it did not.

Fun Factor: ***
As Michael has said a few times in his reviews, these figures are a little costly for kids to play with, but that does not detract from the fun an adult can have! Masamune is a great figure, worthy of a museum.

Value: ***
This is a very high end figure with a MSRP of $140.00, but considering the amount of detail in this miniature, it is worth it if you can pony it up.

Things to Watch Out For -
Just the aforementioned things about removing the twisties.

Overall: ***1/2
Despite the packaging, this is one of the most outstanding figures I own. It is unbeatable in the level of detail and the intricacy of design. I cannot imagine that anyone in the future could do a better and more true to life Samurai figure than this.

Score Recap:
Packaging - *1/2
Sculpting- ***1/2
Paint - ****
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***
Overall - ***1/2

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Figure from the collection of Don Bledsoe.

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