If you have Classics and Universe 2.0 figures in your collection, you've probably wished you have a proper background for all your Autobots to convene at. Or perhaps you're an old school G1 fanatic who always wanted to have a version of the Ark at your disposal. iGear has heard your pleas and is offering a mock up of the Ark, complete with Teletraan-1, with the Computer Control Center.
The set comes in a pretty good sized box. The front of the box gives a mockup of what the majority of the set looks like. There is one section that is not displayed, if you can believe that. There is, of course, the standard age warnings on one side of the box(Primus forbid a 5yr old received this set for Christmas, after all). Inside the box, you will find all the bits and pieces that are needed to make the kit up. Each of the pieces are contained in their own plastic bag. Needless to say, you're going to have plastic bags for days once you get everything unwrapped.
You actually get quite a bit of material in that box:1) Medical bed
What you won't find in the box is an instruction sheet. No worries, as there is a URL that links you to instructions. Too bad the link is incorrect. You will need to go to this link for the instructions, including proper decal placement and assembly (yes, there is assembly required). Let's take a look at each of the different stations (3 in total).
The first station is the medical bay. For this area, you have a medical bed, a 2 headed quartz worklight and a medical computer console. As you will see with the other 2 stations, everything is done in Ark orange. You get to spruce it up with the available decals. Or you can go further and add your own apps. The worklight also features a pivoting robotic arm, for Ratchet's assistance more than likely. The arm has 2 set of joints (shoulder and elbow) but sadly the claw is stationary.
Of course, the heart of the center would be Teletraan-1. You'll notice that on various spots of the 3 consoles, there is a transparent blue window. It's actually piping to let the decals 'come alive' with more stand out detail. You'll also notice Soundwave sitting on the console. Soundwave can actually be placed anywhere within the set, depending on where you want him to spy.
One of the Autobot's reconnaissance tools is Sky Spy, and the satellite console is fully done here. Not only do you get the docking station for the satellite, but you get the satellite itself. The satellite comes with a rod so that it can be mounted against the wall for a hovering effect. Now, you might be wondering why all the pictures shown are without the wall and floor set up. I'll be happy to explain that.
There are one of two ways you can set up the center. You can have a 2 panel cove, where one module would fit, or you can have a 6 panel center where all 3 modules can fit. You get (8) side wall panels, (8) floor panels and (12) back wall panels. The panels (floor and back wall shown) connect via a series of tabs. It is this interlocking system that is the achille's heel of this set.
The problem is that the tabs do not offer a positive lock, nor are the tabs deep enough to properly support the structure as a whole. Besides the tabs being too shallow, the fit rather loosely and have a habit of simply sliding off. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to build the entire wall up without it crumbling down. To make matters worse, constructing a left handed corner IS impossible due to the design of the connection tab, which NEVER wanted to stay on. I tried several different strategies and took over 90 minutes before finally throwing in the towel.
After over 25yrs of hoping, a true Ark interior model is now available. However, it's not without it's flaws. The decals don't have very strong adhesive, so their durability is questionable. Then there's the question of the walls, which lack proper holding strength. Using super glue would solve the problem, but then you're gonna need a lot of room (think coffee table) to house the entire set.
I do understand that this is a limited production item and that some people took time out to provide fans with a valuable product. I commend these people for their effort. However, some more time really should have been spent on a better locking system for the walls and floor. At $119, fans are being asked to part with a lot of money. They might feel disappointed if they can't get the full set constructed as intended. According to iGear's website, a Nemesis set is in the works. Hopefully, they can learn from the limitations of this design and make the Nemesis a better value.
|Date||December 31st 2009|
|Score||(4 out of 10)|
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