Back when I wrote my review for the retooled RD Arbalest I mentioned about its exclusive flight pack. After waiting for more than half a year it got released and I finally received it.
Here’s the characteristic cardboard box and monochrome packaging that is associated with Bandai’s exclusives. It came in a surprisingly small package and I had to go down to the post office to collect it just because it was sent via registered mail and the postman couldn’t just stuff it in the mailbox.
After some opening of nested boxes. The package is densely packed, with one tray holding the booster and catapult parts while everything else is packed in bags taped under the tray.
You get the XL-2 emergency booster, the proto demolition gun, attachment for use with a display stand, and a pair of replacement mount parts to attach the booster on the Arbalest.
Topping off the set is a display stand that looks like a launch catapult. The base of the main arm has a ratchet joint. What I don’t like is the extension arm – it connects to the upper joint of the main arm via a small peg just like the first version of the Tamashii Stage so despite being able to rotate about the peg it cannot hold up any weight at all. It simply disconnects. I would have preferred a figma-style stand design which takes away one degree of motion but allows it to hold up more weight.
The catapult parts are for displaying the Arbalest during launch. The 4 parts are simply placed on the rails of the base and can deploy for the Arbalest to assume the party escort submission position.
Here’s the booster with the demolition gun mounted. The gun parts are mounted via jointed clips. The mounting arms that hold the gun parts have numerous joints to allow motion in all directions. It’s a nice touch but you can’t use the joints as the guns are already touching the vertical wings. To be able to swing the guns around you need to remove the wings. It took me a while to figure out that the gun parts are supposed to clip into the mounts and not just get held in place by the jointed clips which by themselves aren’t secure enough.
The original shoulder parts are replaced with the ones for mounting the booster.
The booster connects to the pegs from the back, and locks securely at the front. With the booster attached, the Arbalest becomes too back-heavy to stand on its own. You also lose the flexibility associated with the shoulders as they cannot swing now. The head cannot rotate as freely too, and you cannot switch the faces to have the anti-tank dagger mounted on its mouth. It is still possible to mount the shot cannon and monomolecular cutter on the back and side of the waist.
Here I’ve used the included stand to keep it standing. You can see the differently coloured engine nozzle – that is the only painted area on the entire set.
Both parts of the gun come with arms which can be mounted on the back of the shoulders using the original shoulder parts that came with the Arbalest.
The arms have multiple joints allowing the Arbalest to pretend to be the Buster Gundam. I guess it’s also possible to pose the guns over the shoulders Guncannon style.
Remove the mounting arms from both parts of the gun, put them together and you’ll get the completed demolition gun. The bipod actually unfolds without the need to swap any parts and this makes it quite fragile. The magazine is removable, and the grip can rotate about its long axis to make it easier for the Arbalest to hold as it does not have much range of motion in its wrists.
The weapon-holding hands grip the gun quite snugly. The swiveling trigger grip allows the gun to be held under the arm without any worry of the hands dislodging.
Getting ready to launch. It’s a challenge to get this pose right. You have to clip the feet onto the catapult parts (not sure what they’re called) and they will damage the paint on the back of both feet! The hands hold onto the grips fairly well, but the entire figure is quite heavy so you have to delicately balance everything. The booster can bend so you can get the wings to be parallel to the ground in this pose.
I removed the vertical wings so that the demolition gun can be displayed pointing in other directions.
Coincidentally you can see the joints on the mounting arms on the booster.
The XL-2 set is a simple-looking but interesting add-on for the Arbalest which provides more play value that stands out from its original accessories. Despite its appearance it is well-made with a ton of joints on all mounting arms for lots of flexibility. The display stand is a great much-needed bonus to display the normally ground-based Arbalest in flight. The addition of this set also puts this iteration of the Arbalest almost on par with the Revoltech Laevatein Final Battle Custom which comes packed with the superior XL-3 booster with a whole bunch of guns and missiles.
Given that you would end up paying more for this set than the Arbalest itself in my opinion it’s more of an added luxury, rather than an essential add-on, unlike many other exclusive add-on sets.