A while back I started seeing links and images of modular display bases for mecha (and other sci-fi) subjects. These M.O.D. (Modify Own Device) bases from Ashita are modular and you can stack and configure as many sets as you’d like to get the size you need. A pretty cool idea and something I wish I had a few years back.
Well, a few weeks ago I got an email from them asking me for comments and suggestions for their products. Since I’ve only seen images on their site, all I could offer up was a few suggestions. They decided to send me their pre-painted SS01 Base, the unpainted SS02, and their EX01 Cargo Set to review and also to get some feedback on. They’re a small company so I really appreciate the samples and what they add to the community with their new products. It’s not easy being the little guy, but do great work and people will come.
SS01 Base For Multi-Purpose
The first-up is the pre-painted SS01 base. This comes in a nice box with one floor, two identical rear walls, two railing/walkways, one control booth, one vent (to fit the other rear walls control booth hole) and a sprue with two connectors (to connect this base with another) and some unpainted pipe-mounts (pipe/tube not included, but styrene/metal tube can be used). The larger parts are all packed in individual bags to prevent scratching while the smaller parts come in one bag, but had no scratches whatsoever.
The parts are all crisply molded with nice wide panel lines. This would be bad on a kit, but works well on the base since they show up better against the wide flat surfaces. The floor has some panel lines and a vent while the walls have panel lines, doors, and a few raised rectangular details. The railings are molded in one piece and pretty crisp. The control booth is one piece and fits very snuggly into the slots on the walls. For the leftover slot there’s a nice vent part that perfectly fits there.
As for painting, the parts are painted in a nice neutral gray with slightly darker shading along the panel lines. These gray parts have a nice matte sheen as well. The windows are painted nicely with a sky-blue-to-white gradient. Other parts have black/yellow caution stripes. If I had one minor nit-pick with the painting it would be these stripes. They’re a great effect but they could be painted more crisply. The painting isn’t anything worse than I’ve seen in some high-end toys so really, for most this wouldn’t be an issue. Since I’m a modeler then I like to see crisper lines. I don’t think they’re hand-painted, but some stripes are slightly wider than others. They’re the exact same on all the parts so I’m assuming it’s an issue with the paint stamping tool during the manufacturing process and not all that noticeable unless you’re being very anal retentive.
Stripes aside, the base is very nice and I’ll use this pre-painted version, as-is, for something for sure. It stands about 11.25 inches high including the floor and is about 6.75 inches wide. Large enough for most Gundams, MG and HGUC. Now some larger MGs would need an additional floor to fit such as the S-Gundam and Rick Dias.
SS02 Base For Multi-Purpose
Next up is the unpainted SS02 which features a large hanger door. It’s the same size as the SS01 and in interchangable with all of its parts for an unlimited array of configurations. What I like about this set is the single 4.5 inch tall bay door. This base would not only be useful for Gundam kits, but is the perfect size for the 1/20 MaK suits such as the Heinrich and SAFS and would be great for bases for those.
This set contains the same floor as the SS01, one large bay door, two rear walls (one with a slot for the door), two railing/walkways (one straight and one with an observation-style outcropping) 6 pipes, pipe elbows, and pipe-mounts, and 4 additional add-ons (vent, and panel boxes) which can be glued anywhere you like for added details.
The set features the same crisp molding and panel lines as the SS01 with no flash. (other than the standard mold lines, but even MGs have that!) The pipes are a nice addition and would had been great if included with the SS01 as well. The door is one piece, but with some cutting can be opened. if that’s what you want.
My only complaint here would be the door is only as tall as one of the 2 rear wall sections. Unfortunately not large enough for an HGUC or MG head height. Perhaps a later release could have a taller door to accommodate these kits. Perhaps that’s not the mecha door… i.e. use your imagination. Large cargo, tanks, etc… Either way it makes a nice backdrop.
EX01 1/100 Cargo Set
Lastly is the 1/100 cargo set. This is a must for anyone doing a 1/100 (or even 1/60 and 1/72) mecha diorama. This set contains the following on two identical yellow sprues: two cargo transporters (14 parts each), four small containers, four large containers and 6 fuel drums.
The transporters are mostly snap-fit except for the roll-bars which have slots to fit into, but will need some glue. All of the boxes fit onto them nicely (the large ones would be a “wide load” however, but still look great on the carts.) and they could easily be converted to have mounts for transporting weapons. The crates are all two part slide-molded pieces (explaining the extra space between the large boxes) so that you have detail on all four sides. Each box has a lid which snap-fits. These are great for placing extra small weapons and such in for a diorama or can be sealed completely. The barrels are slide molded and are only one piece each. Thanks to the slide molding you have the outer ridges and the cap on the top with a solid bottom and no seams. There’s a mold line to remove on the sides, but that’s standard with any round model part.
Comparison with Mechanical Chain Bases
The base floor and walls are pretty flat and do not have a lot of raised detail on the rear wall such as the Kotobukiya Chain bases, but what’s nice about that is the freedom it gives you to add whatever you need/want to make it “yours”. In other words, they’re great on their own, or with as much or as little detail as you want to add. I have one of the Koto bases as well, and while both are nice, the Ashita M.O.D. bases give your more vertical display bases. They’re also wider, but do not have as much floor depth.
Overall the M.O.D. bases are great sets for those looking to create a fast diorama. While the rear wall is not as detailed as the Koto bases, you get more vertical space since each set contains 2 stackable rear walls (unlike Kotos’s one rear wall) and have a nice “base” for adding details to. The plastic is nice and heavy so there’s no worries about toppling or sagging. The parts that come with them for attaching multiple packs of the bases together are great and strong as well. You can use these for PGs, MGs, HGUCs, Evas, Armored Cores and more! I’d recommend them.
What I’d like to see them do in future products (since they asked for suggestions) is some more hangar equipment sets such as wheeled missile/gun racks, cherry-pickers (people lifters), and boxes large enough to hold a 1/100 beam rifle, Maybe another MOD base with cranes, wheeled and/or mounted inside the base like I did for my Zaku Diorama. A double height door would be nice too for those looking to display a kit walking in or out. Oh and a side wall and/or roof would be great too for making a corner dio or mecha cubby-hole. A lighted roof… well, that’d just be awesome. Not sure if they’d consider doing figures as well. Having ground crew in 1/100 would be a great addition as figures can add so much to a scene.
Thanks to Mr. Wu at Ashita for the samples for this review! You can view more info about all of their products on their site at www.hkashita.com.
You can purchase mod bases from MechaSkunk.com