It's been almost four years since I bought my Revoltech Danboard. Ever since then, I've been wanting to make my own Gestalt Danboard, but since 2009, the price on the RT Danboards have skyrocketed. When I first got mine, I got a quote for 6 pieces and it was something like Php 6,000. Nowadays that would run you well into Php 15,000 for the same quantity, depending on which version you got. Even the RT Danboard Minis were too expensive for my blood.
Along comes Kotobukiya's Yotsuba To: Danboard Mini Model Kit. At Php 600 each at WasabiToys, they're a steal! Of course I pre-ordered mine back in October and it looks like they've run out of stock, but good news is there's another pre-order up for the same price.
First thing to remember about this is that it's a model kit, not a toy. What's the difference you ask?
This is what you're going to get in that big, flat box. It's a whole lot of itty-bitty parts on plastic runners that you need to cut out and assemble. Fine by me. "Some assembly required," but the more the merrier.
If you're really picky, you'll need to go to your local Japanese hobby store and buy yourself one of those shears that they use specifically for Gunpla (Gundam model kits). It will run you about Php 500 or 600. I am not picky. I used a Php 30 nail clipper and my sister's nail file to smooth out any leftover bits where the runner met the part. You Gunpla geeks can stone me later when I'm done putting this together.
Eventually, once you've deciphered the instructions (or if you're an idiot like me who thinks he does not need the instructions, made several irreversible mistakes), you'll get a few pieces like this:
These are mostly what you'll have after you've glued together (some may not want to glue things permanently, but I hate figures falling apart) the various parts. The torso and legs won't be something you can disassemble, but the head and arms do come off fairly easily. You can't really glue the appendages to the torso because the articulation requires them to be free moving. You'll also want to avoid gluing the head together, since you may want to open it later on. Danboard comes with alternate eyes; one black set, and one made of translucent yellow plastic (in case you've got the skill to place an LED in his skull... which I don't).
All together, the piece looks absolutely beautiful to me. The proportions are slightly different from the Revoltech version (mostly, it's his arms that are a tad bit shorter); I actually prefer the way this version looks. There aren't any paint applications like the other one, and the finish is just that of plain, smooth acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic. It has the little details that the Revoltech toy has, like the switch on the side of his head and the little button on his chest, but they aren't painted. I guess you're supposed to do that yourself, but 1) I'm too lazy, and 2) damned if I'm buying a whole bottle of paint to dab a few drops here and there. Maybe when I get really into model making, it'll make more sense.
Articulation is about what you'd expect from a boy (I know the character is a girl, but I like to imagine it's me inside the cardboard) made out of boxes.
He's got an excellent range of motion for what he is, with joints at the neck, shoulders, and hips. There's a combination of swivels and compound ball joints. His hips in particular are nicely designed to allow him quite a lot of flexibility. They look odd when his "skirt" is up, but the little flap hides the joints pretty well.
You do need to be very careful with the figure once you've opened it up, however. Since it's made of ABS plastic (which is rigid), and because several of the pieces are so small, if you apply force in the wrong direction, pieces can snap. I already had to glue an arm back on because I was an idiot and tried to force something I shouldn't have.
Assembled, Danboard Mini stands a little shorter than a G.I. Joe, which makes his Php 600 price tag is about the same price point as those 1/18 scale figures. I'd say that is definitely one in the "pro" column. However, remember that this guy needs to be put together, has no accessories, paint, or decals, and is basically just a bunch of boxes stacked together. It's gonna be up to you to run the numbers before you buy one yourself.
Me? I think the ordinariness of the little toy is part of it's charm, and I love the little guys to bits.
I'm not sure that I have enough of them to really put together that Danboard Gestalt I've been wanting. I probably should have gotten one of the regular-sized Danboard Kits from WasabiToys while I was there. Then I could have used that as the "torso" for my monster cardboard robot.
I also need to spend some time, figuring out where to drill holes and how to stick the pieces together. Right now, all I've got is this: