Like most figure collectors, from time to time I will pick up a figure on a whim, particularly if the figure is a lesser-known one or if the item checks a bunch of my moe boxes. Sometimes these items end up being really good finds, and so today, we'll be reviewing such an item, Bandai Spirits' Gambier Bay. A few of the shots below could be considered a little bit NSFW.
About the character: Gambier Bay is a character from the well-traveled Kan Colle multimedia franchise, and like all the characters in Kan Colle, she is the moe anthropomorphization of a famous naval vessel.
Her naval namesake (USS Gambier Bay, CVE-73) was a Casablanca-class escort carrier that was in service of the US Navy in 1943-44. The Casablanca-class carriers were slow, lightly armored ships that were produced in huge numbers (they were sometimes referred to as the Jeep of aircraft carriers) as the Navy presumably tried to get as many ships afloat in the Pacific Theater as quickly as possible. Because of their minimal armor and because they were quickly constructed, it became something of a joke that their CVE registry prefixes really stood for "combustible, vulnerable, and expendable".
Gambier Bay went to the bottom in November of 1944 in the battle of Samar, after the task force of which she was a part held off a much larger Japanese force. Because of their minimal hull armor, Casablanca-class class ships were vulnerable to conventional surface weapons (deck guns and shells) and Gambier Bay holds the distinction of being the only US carrier that was sunk by surface weapons during WWII.
As a result, Gambier Bay the character is very timid and leery of fighting, and she is particularly terrified of being asked to fight on the front lines. Although she tries to do her best, she is very afraid of being hit and she can be very pessimistic about her chances of surviving battles.
Bandai goes with a very eye-catching yellow package!
Each side panel features a large narrow widow.
As is the norm for prize figures, the back panel is pretty plain and text-heavy.
These days, it is sort of the norm for prize figures to get wrapped in plastic, taped to a slab of cardboard and thrown in the box, so it's always nice when a prize figure gets proper blister packaging.
She requires little in the way of setup other than to attach her to the base and set her abyssal lifebuoy counterpart in place.
Rather than using pegs to attach the lifebuoy to the base, Bandai includes a flat acrylic piece which allows him to stand. This is handy, particularly if you do not wish to display the figure with the lifebuoy since there will be neither "extra" holes in the base nor any unsightly bare pegs.
Gambier Bay is a relatively large figure, and the box is correspondingly large, measuring 30 by 20 by 14 cm.
With prize figures, sometimes the base options are either "cheap looking plain white disk" or "cheap looking plain black disk", and so I was pleasantly surprised by the design of Gambier Bay's base. The clear plastic design with the name of the character and the snowflakes is not super high-end, but it is definitely better than the typical prize figure base.
Note the slight asymmetry in the base, as the lifebuoy is meant to be placed off the side.
I really like the pose of the figure. Gambier Bay's slightly-slouchy pose is both consistent with the fact that she's toting a heavy bag of Christmas cheer and in addition it provides a little fanservice by drawing attention to her ample chest.
Let's have a look at her.
She looks good from a number of angles, and so I'd say that Bandai did just fine on the posing front.
This is an inexpensive prize figure, so these rankings are relative to other prize figures.
Prize figures have come a long way in the last few years, and little quirks in paint and sculpt are common in prize figures. Gambier Bay is no different; she has very neat features, but she also has a few noticeable flaws. Mix well, and I'd say that this figure is slightly above average relative to most newer prize figures.
One of my favorite things about this figure is her pretty face! Her blue eyes are very attractive, and the way she's glancing off to the side coupled with her little smile nicely captures her timid personality.
My figure had a few little spots on her face with some sort of gunk. My trusty Mr. Clean Magic Eraser seemed to clean them up well enough, though.
It's hard to tell if this was an intentional design choice or not, but parts of Gambier's hair have a very shiny finish (like her bangs), while other parts of her hair (her ponytails) have more of a matte finish. The difference is most noticeable under bright lighting, so this is not really a huge issue.
I really like her hair! One of Gambier Bay's key features is her very thick hair, and this element of her design was nicely translated into 3D. I also like the way Bandai sculpted a part in her hair as opposed to just giving the back of her head the "helmet head" treatment. Also note that she has a little fringe of hair on the nape of her neck; this is a nice subtle feature as opposed to just having her hair "stop" abruptly!
Her hair does have some sculpting imperfections in various spots, which is sort of par for the course with prize figures. Also, the painting on her Santa hat is a little uneven in places.
Her bag, presumably filled with presents, is nicely sculpted. The wrinkles and creases on there give it a realistic look.
In this shot, the lighting makes the different finishes on her hair very apparent. However, what I was trying to capture in this shot was the shape of her breasts. Gambier Bay has a very large chest, and the way she's leaning over, gravity would be having some effect here. It's always nice when large breasts aren't just shaped like ping-pong balls :). Also note that the straps on her bikini top are well-differentiated from the rest of her body; even on higher-end figures, that is a place where you sometimes see lazy sculpting, and so that small detail on a prize figure was nice to see!
I like the star on Gambier's bikini top as well as how you can see little creases in the material of her bikini as it stretches a bit to accommodate her ample chest.
Here, you can see some imperfections on her skin.
You can easily see some spots in her armpit area where a little more sanding might have been in order.
In her underboob area, there are a couple spots with some weird discoloration. I'm not sure what's going on there.
Again, note the painting where the red and white parts of her shorts meet is not perfect. However, I do like the way the fuzzy trim on the shorts is sculpted, and the button and buttonhole on the shorts is a nice little detail. I confess that I am by no means a Kan Colle expert, so I'm not sure what the rectangular objects on her waist are supposed to be. Life rafts?
A couple more instances of painting imperfections on her shorts.
One of my favorite things about this figure is her very short short-shorts :). The short shorts complement her awkward but sexy charm, so that is a good design choice for the character. Also, since the shorts appear to be made from a heavy material, there would be a seam running up the middle of the shorts, and if you look closely you can see that Bandai sculpted some stitching there.
I like how the star on her thighhighs is actually sculpted as opposed to just painted on.
I like the wrinkling on the back of her leggings, and the boots also appear to be made from a heavy material.
The painting on the buckle is pretty good, and it's nice that Bandai sculpted holes for the buckle.
With her slightly-slouchy pose, the figure measures about 23 cm (9 inches) at its tallest point. If she was standing upright, it looks like she would be about 25 cm (9.75 inches) tall. No scale is given from the manufacturer, but as we will see, in person she will look comparable to large 1/7 or maybe small 1/6 scale figures.
Blonde hair, blue eyes, and large breasts are all moe points of mine, and Gambier Bay's appearance is not completely unlike that of Sena Kashiwazaki. Alphamax's Sena ITEM #106566 is 1/7 scale for comparison. I also like the similarity of the poses of these two figures!
These two figures are both newer acquisitions of mine, and I like the blonde hair + twin ponytails combo in each of these figures. Their radically different body types also make them an interesting pair. Art Spirits' Kodama Himegami ITEM #156680 is 1/8 scale.
These two also make an interesting duo. Vertex's Super Pochaco ITEM #183891 is a very large 1/6 scale for comparison.
The "skimpy outfit in winter" is a favorite theme of mine! Orchid Seed's Yuka Yoshii ITEM #61722 is 1/7 scale, and so you can see that Gambier Bay may look just a bit larger than the typical 1/7 figure.
"Slightly dorky but cute" also is a theme that appeals to me, and it describes both of these characters pretty well IMO. Skytube's Hazumi Oomune ITEM #464557 is at the small end of 1/6 scale. I've also been meaning to write a review of that figure, but she kind of got lost in my backlog...
Overall verdict and enjoyment----------9/10
Arguments for: With her skimpy winter outfit, blonde hair, blue eyes, twintails, thighhighs, and dem shorts, Gambier Bay hits a lot of moe points, the large 1/7-ish scale is a good choice, some nice small details, nice base for a cheap prize figure, and overall good quality at a low price point.
Arguments against: A few distracting issues in paint and sculpt, particularly the painting where the red and white parts of her outfit meet and some rough patches on her skin, and the two slightly different finishes on her hair is a rather odd design choice.
Even though I'm not a huge Kan Colle fan, this figure has really grown on me, and I like her enough that I've got her displayed on a shelf right above my desk. The figure also turned out nice enough that I decided to pick up another ITEM #842596 Bandai Spirits figure of Gambier Bay. If you like the character, I would recommend this figure with no hesitation, particularly considering its low price point.
Availability (as of this writing)
From what I can gather and based on the lack of hentai dojinshi featuring the character >:‑) , I'd speculate that Gambier Bay is not one of the more popular Kan Colle characters. Judging by the MFC statistics (6 users own this figure), and the fact that I don't really see her too often when browsing the various figure sites, my guess is that this figure is not abundantly common. However, uncommon does not always equate to expensive, as I was able to pick up Gambier Bay for 1900 yen, which considering the decent quality of the figure, is quite a bargain.
THANKS FOR READING!
If you liked this review, here are some of my other reviews you might also find interesting:
Alphamax 1/7 Sena Kashiwazaki (Haganai) BLOG #9423
Gift 1/4 Sena Kashiwazaki (Haganai) BLOG #15917
Max Factory 1/5 Marie Rose (Dead or Alive) BLOG #41521
Kotobukiya 1/7 Miki Hoshii (iDOLM@STER) BLOG #42677
Vertex 1/6 Pochaco "Cowgirl" BLOG #30419
A-Plus 1/6 Pochaco "Beer Girl" BLOG #38809
Amakuni 1/7 Konjiki no Yami "Harem Gold" (To Love Ru Darkness) BLOG #43580
[NSFW] Rocket Boy 1/6 Slingshot Swimsuit Girl (Original Character) BLOG #38618
Sega Konata Izumi "Shimakaze Cosplay" (Lucky Star/Kan Colle) BLOG #22761
Sega Shimakaze (Kan Colle) BLOG #22889