1/72 Crest CR-C98E2 Nineball Ver. Review (Part 1)

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Just got this yesterday, and while HGUC Hrairoo and Advanced Hazel are still in progress, I can’t contain my excitement and planning to build this right away. This is my first Armored Core variable Infinity kit, and the third after Kotobukiya made after 1/144 SRW OG Alteisen Ver. Progressive and Gespenst MK.II Kwai (Albero Custom) from the same line. Before we take a look at the item itself, first the history of this red mecha.

 
Copy-paste from Armored Core Wikia: “Nine-Ball is the name given to the famous red-colored AC that has appeared through various installments in the Armored Core franchise, often as a testament of challenge towards players at the end or after the end of the game it appears in.”. You can check more on that wikia article. As for me, my encounter with Nineball was in Armored Core: Master of Arena (MOA).

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Nineball as seen in its Playstation era.
Kotobukiya is going to release a model of this version later.

 
 
This version of Nineball I bought however, came from Playstation 2 era AC games. This one is particularly modeled after the one appeared in AC Ninebreaker game box cover.

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AC Ninebreaker cover. I bought the game just for the cover alone. No, really.

 
 
And then similar (not Nineball, but look the same) AC appeared in AC Last Raven. And while the real Nineball never appeared in Last Raven, it was in that game that I have the most memory of Nineball. Because I tried so hard to obtain parts I need to recreate Nineball. I even beat VR Arena just for the sake of getting Nineball’s head part, YH-12 Mayfly. I’m not really good at AC game, especially in vs AC mode. But I went all the trouble of fighting every VR Arena ranker just for that part. And it’s not like Nineball configuration is godlike or anything. It’s pretty average and kinda useless without OP-I optional part (which the player can never have). I guess I just like the look.

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Code: Crimson, the impostor in Last Raven

 
 
But there’s another personal motivation for getting this kit. Years ago, I saw this particular kit in local toy shop. But I don’t have enough money back then. And I just recently wasted my money on something useless. After searching for more info on the internet, I found out that this kit is limited edition (or maybe not, not sure; I managed to find this kit now somehow). I really regret it. And thus this is some sort of vengeance lol.

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Now it’s in my hand har har har!
 
 
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Box thickness comparison with another Kotobukiya kit (1/144 Alteisen Ver. Progressive)
and Bandai MG 1/100 00 Qan[T]. They all on the same price range.
 
 
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Manual front and back cover. Classy minimalistic design and different from other AC kits
(from what I’ve seen on the internet)
 
 
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Manual inside. Parts list and painting guide.

 
 
This kit has insane number of runners. From A to V, some of them doubled and ended up in grand total in 31. FREAKING THIRTY-ONE runners excluding THREE runners for polycap. It has a twist though, that some (if not most) runners consisted of small number of parts. Even as less as two parts. This huge inefficiency and mild inconvenience is a proof of how difficult it is to attain Bandai level of excellent parts placement for future release strategy.
With this huge parts number I won’t do preview for each runner but will only highlight important and interesting stuff on them.

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Pile of said runners
 
 
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Just like 1/144 Alteisen, some of the parts came pre-painted. But the amount is on another level.
Instead of trying to invent something like Bandai multi-gate technology, Koto just went “Eh, let’s just paint those parts,”.
 
 
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As one might expect, the emblem is nicely printed. Decals and stickers are rare things in Koto kits.
 
 
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Clear parts for the visor(s). Very considerate of them to include another set
in case you want to paint it in different clear tint.
 
 
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Most of the parts recycled from previously released AC kits.
But this one runner with 93RL linear gun is new despite there is another AC kit with the same gun (C01 Gaea).
Poor planning from Kotobukiya?

 
 
Next, I will start with the core.

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