Saturday, May 31, 2014

Disabled Mech - Hyper Armored Block HAB-0003 T-Rex

Figure and package. I'll explain why the figure is in pieces further down.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I try to avoid negative reviews on this blog. I do as much research as possible to avoid wasting my money on a poor product and your time reading me venting out my frustration. Still, there are times when I can't resist what seems to be a sweet deal and buying something without taking a close look at it. Sometimes it works out, but this time it didn't. I know it is easy to take shots at someone else's mistakes, but I can't just ignore poor products or service.

I picked up this figure awhile back for use as a scale-independent mecha. The scale on the package is 1/48, which works nicely with 28mm as a "walking tank" mecha. The lack of details that give away the scale - cockpit windows or access hatches - means that it also works in 15mm as a large "city wrecker" mecha. It looks like a menacing hulk of a machine in either scale. There is a vague dinosaur feel to its appearance that doesn't come through in photographs.

Unfortunately, I ran into a couple of issues that will make putting this figure on the table problematic.

Left side details. Note the dinosaur-like head and damaged shoulder joint.
First is stability. The legs are much thinner than the promotional photos suggest. Worse, the feet are tiny compared to the rest of the figure. More robust legs would move the center of gravity down for better balance. Bigger feet would give the figure a more stable base to stand on.

Finding a balanced pose for this figure is challenging. The articulation allows for a variety of poses, but the lack of stability allows for only a couple of poses that won't fall over. I could get it to stand up straight and I could get it to lean over ever so slightly. Nothing else was stable enough to stay upright long enough to be useful on the tabletop or as a display piece.

Which leads me to the second issue - when it decided to take a walk off my desk. The day before I was going to take some pictures and write a post on this product, I found it on the floor near my work desk. My usual suspect would be one of the cats. However, given how I couldn't trust the figure to stay upright in a balanced pose on its display stand, this is not really fair to the cats. Bear in mind, this was a two foot and change drop onto a carpeted floor.

And here is the major weakness of this product - the plastic joints. They are plastic pins molded onto a ball joint that provides the movement needed to pose the figure. The pins slot into the limbs and body. After the fall, two of the pins sheared off. Now, there is a replacement joint in the box for the smaller of the two broken joints. However, the larger one is a knee joint and a replacement is not provided in the box.

A mecha missing a leg is a little awkward.

Detail of the damaged knee joint. No arrows were involved.
I contacted the manufacturer, Yamato Toys, to ask about ordering replacement parts. I have received no response.

At the moment, I have two options: repair the figure or try to use it as is. Repairing the figure would involve pinning the pieces back together. However, the drilling looks tricky. The plastic pins are very small. Drilling out holes for metal pins would be challenging. Worse, the plastic ball joints are not solid pieces. They look like they might fall apart if I try drilling into them.

On the other hand, I could just use the figure in a terrain piece or objective marker. This is a much more limited use of the figure than I had in mind when I purchased it.

I brought this product on sale for less than $20 USD (including shipping). Even so, I am disappointed with it. I just don't feel that this is worth even the reduced price I paid for it.


  1. Blackjack071, please, see the replacement join balls for you HAB 003 - T-REX: