Ben's Toy Box: Bandai Tamashii Nations Robot Spirits "Pacific Rim" Bracer Phoenix
The original "Pacific Rim" debuted in the summer of 2013. The film was Guillermo del Toro's love letter to giant robots and monsters (aka Kaiju) from Japanese programs such as Gundam and Godzilla. The movie did not exactly break box office records, but its worldwide total was enough to justify a sequel due for release this month in the North America titled "Pacific Rim Uprising". While U.S. based NECA produced the toy line for the first "Pacific Rim" movie, this time out the toy duties have been given to both Bandai and Diamond Select. While Diamond Select's figures are due out in April 2018, Bandai's "Pacific Rim Uprising" started hitting stores in late February 2018 mostly via Toys 'R' Us stores and import shops. Released under the "Tamashii Nations Robot Spirits" sub-brand of figures, this marks a changed strategy for these figures which used to be entirely relegated to import shops.
In the original Pacific Rim film the oldest Jaeger fighting alongside Gipsy Danger was Cherno Alpha, a "Mark-1" Jaeger. While old, this Jaeger was recognized as a powerhouse who had successfully defended the Siberian Wall against Kaiju for six years. Cherno was beaten in combat by two Kaiju in the original film.
In the spirit of that Jaeger, Pacific Rim Uprising introduces Bracer Phoenix, a "Mark V" Jaeger (which actually puts him in the same generation as Striker Eureka, the original film's most advanced Jaeger). However since this film is set ten years after the first, Bracer Phoenix is now the outdated Jaeger with the other Jaegers all being "Mark VI" Jaegers. Still, he has an imposing form, looking kind of like a walking tank made into the form of a Jaeger. His beige and grey colors give him a very industrial appearance. He has these super wide shoulders which make him look like a bruiser, an image enhanced by his left fist which appears to have a knuckle brace of some sort on it for extra damage from his fist!
Bracer Phoenix stands at almost 6 inches (about 15 centimeters) tall, making him slightly shorter than Gipsy Avenger. What he lacks in height he seems to make up for in width, especially at the shoulders and the legs. There are some nice deco points such as symbols and numbers on his shoulders and chest. However there are some points where it is obvious the designers cut some corners to get him into the $30 USD price point versus the typical Tamashii Nations price point of $40 USD or above. One area that stands out the most to me are the weapon tubes on his left forearm which are left unpainted, but clearly could have benefitted from some type of grey or brown paint to help bring out their sculpted details. Still, other parts such as the head and torso cannons have plenty of paint on them.
This figure comes with two alternate hands, each with the hand open as if ready for action. The other two accessories are his "Vortex Cannons". One can attach to the front, the other two the back (this is likely to play a role in the movie as it is featured in the trailer and the official description makes it a point to name the cannons). You have to remove the piece that is there by default and then replace them with the cannons. This figure has twenty one points of articulation. Despite its bulky appearance, he's nicely articulated.
Bracer Phoenix shows that this wave of Pacific Rim Uprising figures was priced across the wave rather than as individual figures, explaining how the Gipsy Avenger figure manages to be at a $20 price point. Clearly the other figures "absorbed" the cost a bit. I'm a huge Pacific Rim fan so for me this figure is worth it, but I can see how other fans may want to wait until the price goes down or there is a sale. If you'd like to get your own Bracer Phoenix now, head on over to BigBadToyStore to order yours and support BWTF!
Update: In the trailers for Pacific Rim Uprising Bracer Phoenix is shown not with a right fist, but instead a morningstar style weapon like Titan Redeemer's. After digging around the Pacific Rim fan Wiki, it turns out that at some point in the film Titan Redeemer's signature weapon winds up being given to Bracer Phoenix. In a fun bit of (likely unintentional) design kismet, you can remove Titan Redeemer's weapon and attach it to Bracer Phoenix's forearm. You just pull the weapon out of Titan Redeemer's forearm, then pull out both the fist and ball joint wrist piece on Bracer Phoenix, then push the weapon part way in (it will not go all the way). The end result is a Jaeger that looks like the ones in the trailer! I have added a photo above to show this off.