by: Peter Ong [ ]
What makes Garage Kits so appealing to the figure modeler stems from Garage Kits’ originality in design, appearance, custom craftsmanship, pose, subject matter, and unique features. Many resin kit builders feel and believe that the uniqueness, limited production, and craftsmanship of Garage Kits warrant their higher prices compared to stock plastic model kits.
Toi Ogunyoku Jr.’s 1/6th scale Futuristic Space Astronaut falls into the category of a “Wow-knock-your-senses-into-orbit” resin Garage Kit figure. First off, the size of this figure towers at about 12 inches tall (one foot) and the mere weight of the kit indicates the amount of quality light gray resin poured to produce this fine product. Secondly, this figure lacks any connection to the military: No guns, no body armor, no ammunition pouches, no camouflage pattern, no combat knife or boots, nothing to militarize the subject matter, a rarity in itself considering the Garage Kit market gets dominated mostly by monsters, superheroes, vampires, almost-naked women, barbarians, warriors, and soldier subjects. No, Mr. Ogunyoku’s 1/6th Futuristic Astronaut passes the “Political Correctness” and “E(veryone)-Rated” categories with flying banners and colors as a welcome original addition to the market. Third, this figure has details, designs, and eye-candy that stun even the most critical resin kit builder; the tech and number of original parts are all over this figure and yet placed in agreeable locations so as not to clutter the uniform. Finally, the designer and sculptor thought through the entire kit in terms of what the astronaut needs, what he should stand on, what he should be equipped with, what he should be doing, and what the scene should depict. Mr. Ogunyoku sculpts for movies after all, and the creativeness of his ideas and quality of his sculpting show extremely well in this kit. Very few large-scale original-designed resin figure kits are made that are not Anime-related, and even fewer are made with any degree of realism outside of fantasy or comic book characters. Mr. Ogunyoku has really captured human realism and possible future astronaut technology with his figure because even this astronaut seems plausible in terms of suit, helmet, and backpack design and purpose. The design was done by a friend of Mr. Ogunyoku, Kemp Remillard, who's a lead concept designer at Massive Black Inc.
My package arrived quickly via the mail. The parts come in plastic bags surrounded by Styrofoam popcorn. Some of the larger pieces were carefully wrapped in bubblepaper and tape.
The 1/6th scale Futuristic Space Astronaut comes with the following parts:
• One-piece cast body complete with legs, boots, kneepads, uniform, shoulders, and waist belt
• Textured resin base with footprint imprints and rocks
• Head and neck with soft helmet cover
• Backpack frame parts and keypad
• Hip pack control unit
• Helmet radio antennae and camera/lamp assembly
• Clear plastic for the facemask glass
• Four backpack power (or air) cylinders, two long thin ones and two shorter thicker ones
• Helmet breathing apparatus parts complete with glass faceshield frame, two ridged airhoses, two rubber tubes, and hip pouch.
• Two bent arms, one with molded-on wristwatch and the other with embedded keypad. Arms come with molded-on soft gloves and soft elbow pads.
• Backpack base for power cylinders
• Backpack top cover
• Three sheets of instructions color printed on 8X11 paper
I can honestly say that this kit really stands out in terms of molding quality and texture. The entire uniform has a soft subtle texture akin to a drywall gone over with a paint roller, leaving that smooth slightly textured feel of paint with some slight pitting here and there that the roller missed depositing paint…you could see and feel it and know that the wall’s painted compared to bare smooth drywall. The uniform’s subtle texture works to separate cloth from metal, leather, or plastic belts, brackets, bands, straps, electronic gadgets, and “armor.” The fine texturing doesn’t even look like fine grit sandpaper, but smoother, subtler, more refined. The entire cloth uniform gets covered in this minimal texturing, front, back, and sides and really looks remarkable. The body piece just pops with outstanding details: boot threads, control devices, airhose connectors, gizmos and gadgets, all with molded-on straps to hold everything in place.
The sculptor, Toi Ogunyoku Jr., did most of the construction work already by casting the vast majority of surface details onto the body. Electronic gadgets, straps, kneepads, gloves, boots, vents and hose connectors, and buckles are molded-on in crisp detail and fashion with no air bubbles, huge flash, blobs, or errors. In fact, I didn’t see one airbubble on this figure at all. The pour blocks, most of them on the glue surfaces where they won’t be seen, have been cut off and sanded. There are some very minor seam lines that fine grit sandpaper should take care of. I should also mention that this futuristic astronaut has an athletic build as a real astronaut should have. The sculptor and caster spared no putty or resin in creating a “beefy” figure for this is not a thin astronaut sent to another planet. This figure surely represents a futuristic astronaut who has passed the fitness regimen.
The Power Unit Backpack and Power (or Air) Cylinders look awesome. The raised detail lines and plumbing appear consistently even as they curve and run in the background. Corners are sharp and eye-candy detail gizmology crisp. Mirrored pieces reflect each other perfectly in size and scale. The sculptor really spent attention to refining the plumbing and workings of the backpack unit in terms of functionality and part connections. The scale of the backpack and cylinders also isn’t so large as to topple the figure over when glued on.
The engineering of the pin-to-hole connections look large and solid. The kit has some large pins and holes to securely hold the resin pieces in place. The backpack cylinders, arms, boots-to-base, head, and large parts all use the pin-to-hole principle so it’s almost impossible to fit and glue these parts on incorrectly and have alignment problems. I testfillted some of the parts to the holes and the fit was excellent.
The head, another outstanding piece of craftsmanship, has a soft-cloth helmet cover and embedded sensors, connectors, and light “armor.” The facial expression with the focused concentrating narrowed eyes, relaxed arced eyebrows, and semi-pursed lips gives the astronaut a very professional calm business-like demeanor. I have never seen a face more stylish and realistic to a human’s since the vast majority of large-scale resin kit figures are fantasy monsters, creatures, or comic book warriors. The narrow face, tall forehead, and long nose really adds character and age to this astronaut…not too young and yet not too old either. The face goes with the fit body also in terms of proportion and scale.
The helmet faceshield glass comes in a clear transparent plastic sheet, vacuum-formed into bubble shape. One has to cut along the blue line clearly drawn on the surface and slide the plastic into the helmet as shown in the instructions. This plastic part makes for a nice touch and allows the viewer to see the nicely-sculpted face. One could paint the clear plastic a certain tint if so desired.
Other smaller resin parts are included: a large hip pouch for storage (good idea), a helmet attachment with antennae and two round frontal portholes to symbolize cameras or lights (awesome idea), ridged airhoses for breathing and rubber hoses for power (nice!) and a plastic keypad. It’s this keypad, complete with raised keys and circular touchpad on the side that becomes the main focus of the astronaut’s attention, pose, and function. Even the keypad has detailed buttons and engineering that has great fit, form, and functionality as if designed by an elite team of the nation’s best engineers.
The base looks remarkable. The four embedded footprints complete with thread marks kind of indicates the amount of gravity the alien planet has. The deep holes where the boots should go should be enough to secure the figure onto the base. The rough and different textures and addition of rocks of varying sizes help set the scene for this figure. Furthermore, the base is pretty thick, able to support the figure well.
“Prepare to be amazed!” best sums up this figure. I have to say this is one of the best large-scale non-military figures I have in my collection and it was worth the price paid. The details, texturing, crispness, gadgetry, and Sci-fi engineering of the figure and its accessories seem to reflect a plausible future for astronauts and space exploration. The realism of the face, suit design, and appearance makes this figure really stand out in the realm of large scale resin figure Garage Kits.
Special Thanks to my wallet and Toi Ogunyoku Jr. for the discounted resin kit. Painted photos from Toi Ogunyoku Jr.’s website and are used with his permission.