4 INCH-NEL X

Title: X
Manufacturer: Sentinel (SEN-TI-NEL)
Toy Line: 4 Inch-Nel Collectible Action Figure
Release Date: JP: 2017/03/25
Series of Origin: JP: Rockman X
EN: Megaman X
Made in: China
Method of purchase:
(for review)
Pre-order via Amazon JP
 
Written By: HF
Publish Date: 2017/03/30
Last Updated: 2017/03/30

With two great impressions of Sentinel's previous Rockman and Rockman.EXE action figures and the X series being my general favorite, I knew I had to get the X action figure of the same toy line when it was first announced in late 2016 with pre-orders up on Amazon JP around November. Though I received a message saying that my order was delayed to April 2017 for whatever reason, I got another message saying that it would arrive in time after all.

Having some experience with the way the 4-Inch-Nel action figures are put together and feature, I opened the box expecting the same well-built action figure featuring large amounts of flexibility and minimal gimmicks. And so far, this action figure appears to have delivered (for the most part).

One short note of interest is that the packaging features the series the character originated from, followed by the character's name itself. In this case, it reads "Rockman X", with "X" underneath it, meaning the character's formal name is indeed "X" and not "Rockman X" or "Megaman X" as he's sometimes referred to.

Overview


With X's original design already featuring a clear separation between upper and lower torso, it came as no surprise that they would consist of their own individual parts fixed together with ball and socket joints not visible in natural poses. What I did get impressed by however was how far X's torso could bend forwards and backwards (in addition to sideways, and tilting at different angles) without any need for moving parts to get out of the way. Upon closer inspection, X's lower torso consists of a curved piece that goes pretty deep into the upper torso to allow arching at various angles to a great degree without showing the inner joints, and does not get in the way when leaning forward. Considering how this action figure's feet are slightly weighed down and include magnets inside it (more on this later in the review), this really goes well in making X all the more poseable.


Much like in the official art, X's joints consist of black parts which has been recreated quite faithfully (with exception of the metallic joint parts that show up on all 4-Inch-Nels). Though one point worth nothing is that this has also been applied to the joints connecting the shoulder to the torso, something that is absent from official art though would make sense to do so. They are visible even when in netural pose, becoming part of the design. Considering that the alternatives are either to have restrictive poseability or to have the joints in the same cobalt blue as X's armor, I believe that this design choice was both the best and a good approach to make it work.


Each leg consists of separate parts including the upper leg, knee joints, main lower leg, lower leg panel, and the foot with an additional ball-socket joint holding it together. When stretched outwards, X's knee joints look too thin when viewed from the side, though this is most obvious when the upper and lower legs are posted at a 90-degree angle.


Much like the earlier 4-Inch-Nel action figures, X's upper and lower legs are designed to tuck into each other with the rear panel giving way for the upper leg to sit itself into the extra space. Forutnately the inclusion of this helps greatly reduce the unnatural look by closing the gap between the back of the lower and upper leg.

But standard flexible action figure details aside, the most unique feature of this 4-Inch-Nel action figure is the inclusion of magnets in both feet.


I admit that I was skeptical even after hearing and seeing this in action (thinking it could be reinforced with additional magnets in the props etc.), but I was glad to be proven wrong when the magnets were strong enough to hold X in place in all sorts of poses, especially the wall slide, one of several staples of the series which separates the X series from the Classic series. But because X's feet provides little friction, the action figure can be prone to sliding downwards (for better or worse) when placed on a slippery surface such as polished metal or an uneven surface that restricts the amount of surface area on each foot. Additionally, a steel surface can be used to help pose the figure in place even when standing which I found helpful when placing X in all sorts of poses.

Well that's most of the good stuff covered. Now onto the bits that I felt fell short...


Unlike the helmets on Classic Rockman and Rockman.EXE, the ear parts that fasten the helmet together is not used, and are instead a single piece with the back of the head. Though this gives the helmet a more natural look, I felt that the paint job has suffered considerably as a result. I am not sure if my set was just one of the worse-painted ones, but I felt the paint detailing on the helmet suffered as well compared to the decent (all things considered) job the Classic and EXE action figures had. Though ultimately it is the obvious separation between the front and rear helmet parts that make the quality seam (sorry) obvious. Otherwise, the two faceplates included in this set feature one with a netural expression, and one with grit teeth, both being common common faces used in official and box art (which is a decent attention to detail).

Once again, this 4-Inch-Nel is built using consistent type of plastic, with its joints metallic and uncovered. Though the paint job is sub-par for the helmet as mentioned earlier, the painting itself is non-gimmicky with a consistent matte for the entire figure. Though the silver part of the helmet appears to be reflective or even metallic, I would like to confirm that this isn't actually the case.

One thing I need to mention though is that due to 4-Inch-Nels are height-restricted by concept, X will appear small especially when put right beside Classic Rockman (who is much shorter in-universe), resulting in making it look like he has a tiny head. This also feels this way when placed alongside EXE as shown below:


Though maybe not so much when compared to some other merchandise out there...




Accessories


The 4-Inch-Nel lineup comes with minimal accessories, and X is no exception. In addition to the standard transparent posing stand, accessories included with X are a second faceplate (with teeth grit), a pair of closed/open hands, and the X Buster.

Unlike the Classic and EXE Rockbuster, the X Buster is relatively simple and is built as a static two-piece replacement for one of X's arms. The X Buster is fitted on to the shared arm socket snugly, and of course can fit on either arm. But since there is only one X Buster included in the set it means X's dream of having a Double Buster has to wait until his second game upgrade (or if you have a pair of X 4-Inch-Nels):




Conclusions
Due to the amount of detail put into Classic and EXE, I cannot help but feel that this X 4-Inch-Nel has been further simplified by eliminating unnecessary articulation which either detracts from the original visual design or has some risk of breaking after swapping out parts one too many times. Though I really liked the overall build quality of the figure, it is the relatively poor paint job on the head parts that feels like a letdown. On the plus side, the magnets in the feet are a nice touch that allows all sorts of new ways to pose the action figure, and something I not only didn't expect to be actually implemented, but it was done so in such a way that it did not feel like a cheap gimmick but as a practical feature.

All things considered, though this figure lacks in relative flexibility compared to the Classic and EXE action figures, I could still conclude that X is a solid addition to any figure collection.


What I liked:
  • Slightly simplified range of articulation to minimize unnatural appearance, yet retains great movement range
  • Surprisingly large degree of flexibility for torso movement
  • Minimal need for swapping parts
  • Original method to resolve space between shoulder and torso armor done in such a way that looks natural and matches design concept
  • Magnetized feet secures nicely onto metals, allowing recreation of wall slide pose or on the ground
  • Faithful recreation of facial expressions found on official artwork
  • Decent price
What I didn't like:
  • Relatively poor paint job for the head parts (based on package obtained)
  • Knees look unnatural when legs bent at 90-degree angle
  • Certain parts lacking flexibility due to armor getting in way of range of movement
  • (Unfortunately and inevitably) given "tiny head" appearance as 4-Inch-Nel due to actual height in series

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