Review: Robot Damashii Alvaaron DX (Core of Alvatore)

It’s been several years since I watched Gundam 00 in its entirety, but my memories are very fuzzy regarding the first season villain Alejandro Corner. Much of his actions and character were greatly overshadowed by the antics of one of the most magnificent bastards of the franchise, Ribbons Almark, in season 2. Though my memory of his character is fuzzy, what did stand out was his stupid golden mobile armor/mobile suit that he used at the end of the first season. The MA (Alvatore) was big and ugly, and the suit inside it (Alvaaron) was boring and ugly. It was so ugly that the Alvaaron never got a model kit release, only a Robot Damashii molded in a godawful yellow plastic, which made it even uglier. However, the Alvaaron, for some reason, got a DX release including a small pod of the Alvatore MA and a coat of lavish gold paint. A mixture of curiosity, pity, and the very cheap price led me to pull the trigger on Robot Damashii Alvaaron DX the core of Alvatore.

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Appearance

I will give this thing some credit, it manages to look better in physical toy form than in the anime. Still… it’s a solid gold suit with almost nothing interesting about its design aside from the wings and the bits of blue scattered about. His head looks weirdly GM-ish. The arms feel too long and spindly, and the shoulders don’t mesh with the torso at all. Unlike the amazing Reborns Gundam that Ribbons helmed at the end of Season 2, the Alvaaron is just dull and boring.

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But damn does that gold paint make it look pretty. It’s hard to get across in pictures how delightfully shiny this paint is. The finish is a sparkly matte-ish that manages to make this suit nice and eye-catching, especially when you can manage to get the oddly-shaped wings posed in full view.

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Articulation

This is a Robot Spirits figure, so posability is not going to be much of an issue… for the most part. The rundown is: ball-jointed neck (x2), shoulders, wrists (x2), torso (x2), hips, and ankles; double-jointed elbows and knees, additional hinges in his shoulders, ankles, and toe; and his foot and skirt armor are on ball joints. The only real problem area is is shoulder movement: the joint that allows them to move in and out is very tight and also barely movable, which wouldn’t be too big a deal if it weren’t for the joint assembly of his wings, which tends to bump into the shoulder armor a lot. The wing assembly itself is okay, but it can be difficult to make them look good in a pose.

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Accessories

The Alvaaron comes with two main sets of weaponry. The first are his two beam rifles, which fit into the holding-things hands quite snugly. The hands themselves are really difficult to swap due to the tightness of the ball joints, but from what I remember of my old 00 RD’s, this was common for the era. Like the rest of the suit, the guns are kind of boring and generic.

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Alvaaron also gets a pair of beam saber hilts, as well as a combined hilt for Darth Maul-style action. The typical pink beam blades are included in the regular packaging, but mine came with a two yellow versions in a small bag taped to the inside of the plastic tray. I’m not sure if these are just exclusive to the DX version or not, but I like the yellow much better than the pink. Posing with the beam sabers is one of the few ways to make this figure look legitimately really cool.

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The final accessory, and half of the DX version’s selling point, is the “core of Alvatore.” It’s really just a big chunk of plastic with some indentations that allow the Alvaaron to snugly cram inside, then the wings rotate around to close it all up. It can be tricky to get everything locked in properly, but the connection is a lot more secure and a lot less fiddly than I expected.

IMG_1018In the end, you’ve got a silly golden egg-thing with two guns and a head sticking out. It’s… really dumb. I realize that no one wants a huge version of the full Alvatore mobile armor, but did anyone really want this? It looks more like a little hover car thing that the Alvaaron rides around in for protection. I honestly don’t know if it’s stupid enough to be endearing, or just stupid. If nothing else, that gold sure is pretty.

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Overall

For such an ugly robot design, I can’t deny that the Alvaaron DX looks quite pretty. The paintjob really is the selling point of this figure, and also probably explains why Bandai never bothered with a model kit. Without the gold, this would (and does) look like one of the ugliest and most boring things ever put to plastic. The core of Alvatore is a neat addition, but it’s also really dumb and needlessly kicks the price up further. Despite its flaws, this really is your only option for an Alvaaron figure, if you’re one of the handful of people who actually like the thing.

Where to Buy

The DX version used to be expensive and hard to find in the past, but a few have popped up on Amazon for a reasonable $35 shipped. The regular release is also available for about $8 less, but if you’re going to get this figure, you might as well get the DX.

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