Kotobukiya is a company that’s very good at producing models that can be really easy for people of any skill level to build, but can still look really great and be fun when you do the bare minimum. While Its Frame Arms and Megami Device lines can be a bit more complicated and involve sci-fi sorts of characters, the new Sousai Shojo Teien line is more down to earth. Each one of these Kotobukiya characters looks like an ordinary schoolgirl, and the Madoka Yuki model kicks things off. She also happens to be an easy and enjoyable build.
The first thing to note about the Madoka Yuki Sousai Shojo Teien model kit is that the resulting figure isn’t going to be all that dissimilar from the Frame Arms and Megami Device lines. Things like the heads, hands, and accessories could be interchangeable in general, and the kit even comes with a separate neck part to ensure it could work with heads from other Kotobukiya model kits. She comes with more hairstyles and faces than the other kits, but doesn’t offer the same level of articulation. There’s no glue required for her either, though I might recommend a dab for some of her errant strands of hair in her pigtails and ponytail hair options. You will need nippers, a file, and tweezers for the waterslide decals and fourth blank faceplate. But it’s very manageable and not intimidating, especially since there are under 200 pieces here.
Really, the most challenging part about putting together Madoka Yuki is working on her three hairstyles. She can be displayed with her hair long, in pigtails, and ponytails. For an added sense of realism, there are a number of extraordinarily tiny “strands” you will have to pop into place. The tiny curls for the long hairstyle are the smallest, but are easiest to pop into place due to having a lot of surface area to hold while trying to place them. The ponytail is the easiest, but the dual strands that attach to the top have a habit of popping out on their own. (A little dab of glue helps with that.) The pigtails are the most frustrating, because the angle of the hair makes it difficult to properly place everything.
Her hair is also one of the three places where you might want to paint the kit. (You honestly don’t have to apply paint anywhere else to make the Madoka Yuki model kit look the way she does on Kotobukiya’s website.) She also has two raised lines for “barrettes” in her bangs, which would require paint and don’t have waterslide decals. Due to the size, having painter’s tape and practicing with one of the three bangs parts provided in the kit can help quite a bit. Even then, with the proper materials I still couldn’t get it right and ended up with one “big” barrette, so keep that in mind. The other two parts that might need some paint, if you felt so inclined, are her cell phone’s camera/screen and the straps and zipper of her bag.
Once you get to building the rest of her body, it’s honestly really effortless and enjoyable. Parts come together easily and it’s a very natural build. Everything fits together well as-is, and I didn’t experience any joins that were too loose or stiff. The only “tedious” part is that her hands are extraordinarily detailed. Each one has a cuff part that goes with it, since this Madoka Yuki Sousai Shojo Teien model kit has her in her winter uniform with a slightly oversized sweater. In many cases, there are varying degrees of the cuff going over her wrist and hand. It’s a fantastic detail, but it takes some time matching things up properly.
The different level of articulation also means that you can’t just pose Madoka Yuki sitting like you would a character from the Frame Arms Girl or Megami Device model kit line. She actually has a separate skirt, for poses where she’s standing still or moving, and a whole extra bottom half for if she’s sitting. Which is a great detail! But the downside is, her waist part is difficult to snap into place compared to the extra head parts. This is because of the joint in the skirt and how her sweater hangs over her skirt. I found it challenging to get things line up and, while she’s a pretty sturdy kit, I was worried about possible damage since I couldn’t really see what I was doing. So… my Madoka Yuki stands or “leans” instead.
I’m going to be frank. There are two other reasons why I’m a big fan beyond this being a fun and quick build. One is that En Morikura is behind the character designs for each Sousai Shojo Teien character. (Morikura did designs for characters like Kizuna Ai too.) The box for this standard version of the model kit even has a gorgeous picture of Madoka Yuki on it. But the other is… I love the opportunities for possible fun scenes. For example, she’s about the right size to pose with figmas, just a tad taller. So I could pose her with the Astolfo/Rider figma and pretend she’s a Fate/ series Master. She’s also the right size to pair up with certain Bandai’s Pokemon model kits to become a Pokemon Trainer Lass. Maybe I’ll eventually use the Megami Device Bullet Knights Lancer model’s head with it and pretend she’s a robot trying to pretend to be a normal high school girl? She works in a number of situations.
Basically, I feel like the Kotobukiya Sousai Shojo Teien Madoka Yuki model kit is a perfect “first” kit for people who want to build a figma-like figure. There are a very manageable number of pieces. You honestly don’t have to do any painting. (Her bangs look fine without the barrette accents.) She’s incredibly versatile, thanks to coming with three ready-to-go faceplates and hairstyles. The final figure has parts that fit flush and joints that fit together perfectly, though swapping between her sitting and standing lower body parts might be a bit harrowing with that fiddly joint. It’s a really fun build and the final figure gives you so many display opportunities.
The Sousai Shojo Teien Madoka Yuki model kit is available in standard and Dreaming Style Fresh Berry variants for $56.99 each. The next characters in the line are Koyomi Takanashi in her winter uniform and Ritsuka Saeki in her summer uniform.