Aquamarine Shimakaze Review

Let's Review: Aquamarine Shimakaze: Heavy Damage Version

I got my hands on something really interesting recently. Tucked away in the lowest shelf of my friend's collection was a Shimakaze figure I had not seen before. Not that I am the foremost expert in Shimakaze but, having gone through several of them as review material, I knew a new release when I saw one. Curiously, I inquired about the new addition to his fleet collection to which he nonchalantly replied "Oh, that's the new Aquamarine Shimakaze". He must have noticed the gleam in my eyes because he then said, "You wanna take a look at it, go ahead," and there I had it, in my hands, Aquamarine Shimakaze ready for review.

But, before we jump right in, some general information:
  • Product Name: Shimakaze: Major Damage Version
  • Manufacturer: Good Smile Company, Aquamarine
  • Release Date: 25th November 2015
  • Scale: 1/8
  • Height: 190 mm
  • Price: 14,800 Yen
  • Material: PVC
With that aside, we can begin with the review starting with a front view of Shimakaze and her sentient turrets, Rensouhou-chan. If you are familiar with the (Kancolle) series, you might have noticed that the pose is an exact recreation of the Heavy Damage art even down the expressions and positions of Rensouhou-chan. 

Moving around to the back, we get a closer look at the trick base mounts which allow the seemingly "floating" pose to be done. Aside from that, there are also her large torpedo launchers which make up her backpack module. As a whole, Shimakaze is not very tall at 190 mm but, the addition of her armor and turrets aid in giving the figure plenty of presence.

With the front and rear views established, let us move on to some close up shots where we can better assess and appreciate the figure's detailing. Starting with the facial details, these can be considered one of the standouts of this figure. Every aspect from Shimakaze's facial expression and eyes to the way her fringe neatly frames her face, executed perfectly. It also helps that there are no noticeable head seams thanks to her black ribbon hairpiece.

As for her outfit, there really is not much of it as this is, well, the Heavy Damage version. What is left follows closely to the source material (e.g. the browser game) down to her strategically placed ribbon. 

Because there is so much exposed though, this presents itself as yet another challenge for any figure namely being, the sculpt. Fortunately, Aquamarine and their sculptor-on-duty, sai, did not disappoint in this department. 

Every curve and crevice of Shimakaze's body line is carefully accounted for and reproduced. Such as, Shimakaze's well-toned midriff all the way to her slim legs.

Aside from the sculpt, the skin and color tones are also well executed to further give the impression of depth. The slight addition of white, red, blue, grey and gold throughout served as an important presence to add contrast for the entire figure. Hence, it was pivotal that the right shade of each color had to be well represented.

Fortunately, Aquamarine does not disappoint yet once again. Personally, I found the choice and application of the grey parts to be the best. Especially seen here on the torpedo launchers, notice the slight textured matte finish and rather aggressive color tones. These serve to really sell the impression of maritime war equipment. 

With the sculpt and coloring scoring well, I am happy to report that the details are spot on too. Being a Destroyer class ship, Shimakaze does not have much "opportunities" for technical details due to her fairly light armaments. In order to make up for it, the investment in detailing has been put into the finer areas all throughout. Her boots are great example of this with the rivets and layered heel/rudders. It is a pity the rudders are fixed. 

Thus far, every single aspect of this figure has been absolutely on point without anything so much as a complaint. As such, it would most definitely be an absolute recommendation with no reservations. That is, until you remember the price, 13,800 Yen. And that is a fairly large sum especially for a 1/8 scale figure without much ornamentation.

Sure, Shimakaze does come included with her three Rensouhou-chan turrets.

And even this little anchor which is originally a hairpiece for Shimakaze when she is not damaged.

Otherwise though, there really is not much that makes Shimakaze particularly special or unique. It almost feels just like any other Shimakaze or Kancolle figure, for that matter, which is constantly being released these days. The only exception being the high quality execution that Good Smile/Aquamarine has invested in.

Which begs the question, what could have Aquamarine done to improve this figure? While I am no expert, I believe simple additions to the diorama would have made a large impact on the figure. Small additions such as effect parts or a unique bases go a long way in making a figure that much more unique. Not to mention, interchangeable parts are also an option. In fact, Good Smile themselves have gone that exact route with several of its Kancolle figures such as Yuudachi.

At a glance, Aquamarine's Shimakaze: Heavy Damage version does not look like a 13,800 Yen figure. It is only when you take a closer look that you realize where the better half of your investment has gone. That is not necessarily a bad thing as what Aquamarine has essentially done is made a very niche figure for a very niche category of collectors. In this case, a very well made, true-to-source Shimakaze figure for Shimakaze fans. While not entirely a bad thing, this leads to a situation where this figure's strongest points are also its biggest weakness.

It is hard to recommend this figure for anyone besides devote Shimakaze fans and that, in itself, limits the customer base significantly. Perhaps that may be a good thing by making this particular Shmakaze rarer and more sought after? Even then, I do not even know if Shimakaze fans consider this figure to be all that special after all.

At the end of the day, what this is then, is a very particular figure for a very particular collector. If you happen to be said collector, this figure is just the thing you were looking for and more because, objectively, there is no denying this is one high quality, all round Shimakaze.

Bonus Pictures: Rensouhou-chan Segment












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