Many of these fans have prayed long and hard for a release of the vanship as a collectible and in May 2007, their prayers were answered.
The manufacturer was esteemed figure maker, Good Smile Company, which prior to this release had almost zilich experience in making vehicular models. GSC is well-known for girly figures, not manly machines. So what would their release of the vanship be like?
The most prominent feature of the collectible I noted upon receiving it can be summed up in the following paragraph.
According to the latest price of silver on the market (45873 yen per kg), Claus Valca’s Vanship, released in May 2007 by Good Smile Company for 7800 yen, is worth 170g of pure silver. But wait, that’s not all! The vanship itself weighs only about 70g at the very most, thus we have the equation:
How shockingly ridiculous is this price? 7800 yen for a piece of plastic the length of my palm and 1/3 the width. Anyway I still bought it because I have a compulsive urge to collect all things Last Exile and Range Murata-designed. The esteemed artist’s art deco and steampunk hybrid style is so beautiful that many like myself throw our hard-earned cash at the man whenever he declares a new release.
The light weight of the vanship is due to the ABS and PVC used in its construction, which had its pros and cons. The upside is that with plastics, GSC was able to add plenty of details to the craft. Each individual bolt on the fuselage is visible and distinct and the various parts are sharp like how it was designed. The downside of course is the lack of weight makes the expensive figure seem cheap when held.
The details are frankly, fantastic. Some of them, I did not even notice with the naked eye. It was only through the macro lens of my camera did the sheer amount of detail was apparent. There was not a blemish in sight, despite the possibly hundreds of little bolts, lines and grills. The colours of the vanship may not be eye-catching, but my tastes have always veered towards the realistically-coloured, rather than the outrageously flashy such as Gundams. The paintwork was successful in replicating the matte metal finish of the vanship, dull enough to look the well-used vehicle it is, yet reflective to give the impression it is metal. The ample shading also add much depth, such that it looks nothing like a miniature figure if viewed up close through a picture.
Its two riders, albeit really tiny versions of them, come with the vanship. They fit snugly in the cockpit, which is also painted with the details of the various instruments, like the joystick and control panel. Also included in a large, shiny black ABS base with the Last Exile logo tampa-printed on it. Strangely the base has absolutely no point of attachment to the vanship, and with the latter’s rollable wheels, makes for a poor grip. Perhaps the base should’ve have little grooves for the ship to fit into, to prevent it from rolling off the base and landing on the ground, where the tiny size makes for a high probability of a warstomp erasing its existence.
Overall, while GSC’s release of the vanship is an excellent piece of work, it is hampered by the disproportionately high price, a substandard base and unsatisfactory size and weight. I dare say that only the most avid fans of Range Murata or Last Exile will be interested in this item.