12.12.2015

Quick Review: HGUC Loto (Twin Set)


Preamble
The Loto is one of those suits that I claim to be one of my favorites, but find no reason to ever purchase the kit. After doing the commission of an SD Loto for GunplaWorks, I started looking into picking up the pair, but continued to delay for over a year before actually making the purchase.
What changed? I have no idea.

Background
Used by ECOAS in conjunction with their variety of Jegan, The Loto transforms between tank and mobile suit modes and can be outfitted with a variety of weapons. This variety of Guntank is used for infiltration missions and can also be used as an Armored Personnel Carrier for missions involving much tighter spaces.

 
Thoughts
Everything I write here is based on one Loto. Keep in mind that everything I mention comes in sets of two.
This is yet another kit that does not use polycaps. I failed to mention this in my quick review of the HG00 Over Flag, but it too does not use polycaps. Instead, ABS plastic is used for the joints and inner frame which is a harder material than polycaps, which has its advantages and disadvantages.


The instructions start the build with the arms. This is because without polycaps, attaching the arms to the torso is much easier in mid-assembly rather than attaching the arms to an assembled torso. Unfortunately, due to the design, the shoulders have quite limited articulation. At least the rest of the arms are good.
The head, like the Over Flag can hide inside the torso, however, the mechanism is a simple sliding piece of ABS plastic with no locking mechanisms like the Over Flag has. It does not seem to have any problems, but if the plastic were to be worn down, I do not know if the head could stay up easily.

Push the head back in its shell!
After building the back and the legs, I found this kit has a few weak connections: the waist, the back, and the knees. The two pieces that make up the majority of the waist tends to separate, bringing the legs with it. I will have to glue the pieces together. In addition to the weak waist, the suit also has weak knees - the pieces that make up the knees come loose quite easily. The back itself is a strong piece, but while turning the rear treads, the back tends to separate from the torso. Overall these problems are all minor and can be easily fixed.

Did Grandaddy Guntank have these problems?
In mobile suit mode, the Loto is quite top heavy. The articulation in the legs are sufficient enough to be able to hold a pose, and despite the shoulders being relatively static, the arms have great articulation, but it is hard to stand, especially when the heels of the Loto are treads.

Good thing a stand adapter is included.
I find that the Loto is much more comfortable in Tank Mode where its center of gravity is much lower. To transform, the rear treads are turned outward with the guards shifted out and rotated accordingly. From there, the waist joints are turned forward (The front skirts are connected by outer joints rather than a center rod) and the legs rotated 90 degrees forward and scrunched in. Once the head is pushed in, we have ourselves a tank.


In both modes, the color separation is quite nice. There is a mix of gray olive and tan which makes for a great military looking vehicle. The only stickers used for color separation is the light gray for the chest vents and orange for the visor. Other than that, the plastic separation is sufficient.


For play options we are given quite a few between the shoulder mounted weapons to the utilities in the arms. To start, we have the main weapons: Dual 120mm Cannons and a Mega Machine Cannon. These weapons mount between the shoulder armor and the head and can easily be swapped between the two. The articulation is good, but it has slight problems staying in the same position. Nothing too hard to fix.


On the shoulder armor, the cylinders placed on the top can be replaced with two items: a machine gun and some sort of light and/or communications unit. These items cannot articulate, but are held quite nicely in the shoulder.


The last two items, held in the arms, are the missile pods and Beam Burners. In their closed positions there are no complaints. Because the play options are simply replacing what exists, one would think these alternatives would not be finicky in any way. Unfortunately that is not true: The Beam Burners have trouble staying in place, though like most problems in this kit, a little glue can fix the problem. Another downside to these items is the lack of color separation. A little paint may be required.


My verdict for this kit involves asking myself why I did not pick up the kit years ago. It is a fun kit with sufficient articulation for what it is. Obviously there are drawbacks due to its size, but they are nothing that cannot be fixed, even for modelers just starting out. If you are looking for a fun quick build, this may be a good option, especially if you are looking to build with a friend.