The problem with sticking to a mostly 1-post-per-week format, primarily to try and ensure a fairly regular update pattern, is that one can easily end up with a considerable backlist of figures which are “forgotten” in the sense that they don’t get a chance to go on the blog.

This can be OK if the figure is a mass produced PVC figure and many others in the blogsphere have taken up the cause but what if it isn’t? what if it’s something very few people seem to have or isn’t shown often and it deserves a place in the sun?
Case in point…

This little number is Asuka Langly Soryu riding a race bike (which my friend believes is based off a ducati model, for any bike fans out there) and is a resin kit which was sculpted many moons ago by vispo.

Now, aside from the obvious links of the post title to the model, one could also link the band (AC*DC for those who don’t know) to the sculptor as recently, vispo has also been turning into a bit of a “one trick pony” (back in black, anyone?) but I digress.

I bought Asuka way back in July last year (check the archives if you don’t believe me!) and she was a departure from the norm as she was one of the Gathering selection from E2046, so basically, she was prepainted.
“Why would a painter of resin kits go out and buy a prepainted version from a site instead of doing it himself,” you ask? Several reasons.
One was because I was curious about the Gathering series as a whole. A fair few figure collectors have purchased one and all have raved about the quality of the work. Having said that, our views on PVC figures differ so I always wondered how good the gathering series really was, in the view of a figure painter.
Another reason was because I actually preordered the figure back when I was but a fledgling painter and wanted some sort of work to compare my own to. I think it was before I even finished my bunny Haruhi. It just took ages to actually get one, since Gathering releases are irregular, to say the least.
The final reason also tied to the fact that I was still nowhere near as confident about my painting skills then as I am now. I was damn well afraid fo the kit. Note to those thinking about doing one of their own, kits which effectively come in 2 distinctly separate entities, such as a vehicle and the rider, are the hardest figures to build as the parts often do not fit together well. I read nightmare stories about the Misato Katsuragi figure on a scooter…

So what I’m trying to say is that I didn’t fancy my chances doing this…

Vispo is known for 2 main things in their kits (3 if you count their usual insanely high price tags). one are the constant facial features. All the kits have characters which sport very pointy chins and noses, regardless of whether the original design had them or not. The other is the level of detail in the vehicles. Check the gallery on his site and check out any of the Asuka or Rei on bike kits. Even Yoko has an insane level of detail on her scooter. So you can see where my original fears come in.

Most of the front actually ended up being somewhat hollow. The engine itself was pretty much, just a block but E2046 did a fantastic job of giving the inner wheels a little worn in look. But the real kicker is in the back.

How’s that for detail? Everything from the clutch and ignition to the exhaust were actually separate parts to begin with! Most standard figures would have that all molded as 1 part.You can see the suspension spring as well.

And on the other side, you can see the drive chain!!! When I first received the kit, I was in awe of the workmanship of E2046, not so much the paintwork in itself, but the whole package of the build. Even now, I don’t think I could get the bike to this level. Certainly not very quickly. It would take me several months to build alone!!

Asuka herself is somewhat less impressive. I could tell straight away that the kit was not painted using acrylics but closer inspection of Asuka suggested that they used laqueur paints almost exclusively, as the finish is incredibly smooth and, while shiny, lacks the amount of sheen to suggest enamel paints were used (which would make sense, since laquer is all they stock on the site. I would assume the painters would get easy access). The paintjob on Asuka was solid and clean but not without a few niggles. Chief among them was the amount of paint which clumped in certain places, notably the hands. It adds further volume to the gloves which already look padded enough. Some details ended up blending together as well.

I think that I would have been able to do Asuka up myself to a similar level, but still, some areas impressed. The subtle change in colour of the hair is one. It goes beyond just simple shading as the change is noticable regardless of the lighting level. you can distintly see the yellow fade into orange. Loved that effect.

The other was the eyes. The painter really did an excellent job with the eyes and you can clearly see the different layers in the job, so it’s not a transfer or the like. Although I really would like to know how they managed to blend it so well, even artzone and cody Kwok don’t seem to do it as well. hmm…

A quick look at the helmet. Unsurprisingly, all the little details on the bike and helmet, like the nerv symbols and chibi Asuka with the evil smile were actually decals. You can also see the outline of each quite clearly when you look up close. However, there was one inexplicable painting decision. From what I can tell, Asuka is supposed to be wearing a full body racing suit, albeit unzipped. So why did the painter leavea massive hole in the crotch area to expose a tiny amount of thigh and her panties?

And the weird thing is, I never noticed until this photoshoot!! Free underboob shot included.

So, going back to the original question, Just how is the Gathering series? Pretty good. I can see why many buyers rave about their purchases but I do find that the price tag is a little hard to swallow. Of course, you are paying for the service but I keep getting a thought in the back of my mind asking if it’s worth the premium. E2046 try to spice up their selections by adding a little extra to the kit (in this case, it was a wooden base which was painted to look a bit like a racetrack. It was also heavier than the kit.) but such gimmics are unneccesary for the most part, although I guess they could use it as a means to try and help justify the cost. The severely limited availability is also quite a major liablility as well. the Gathering line has grown so big that, unless they are already in stock,  you can’t be sure when your desired figure will turn up!

Regardless, what you do end up buying is a solid and well painted figure. It’s up to the individual to decide if it’s worth it. I wouldn’t get one of the more basic kits tho. To me, it only comes alive with the really really complicated kits as I would rather have a go on my own on the simpler figures, not that I would mind tackling the harder ones later (or even sooner).

Doubt I’ll be getting another gathering figure for a while tho.