Oh the disappointment...
So if you've been contemplating the purchase of this highly anticipated X2 Toys BG-A2 Big Computer, you might want to read about the pitfalls tied its hefty price-tag.
Upon opening this display piece, I was taken back by the size. While I may have had fun with my Episode 1 re-enactment, it was totally impractical on my shelf. Yet, given the potential to add more console to the left and right of the Big Computer, the size makes sense, but is unnecessary. After making this purchase with my 20% ebay discount and saving $36 of my purchase price, the sting isn't so bad in hind sight. Although, I can't help but think about making my own with the shared design by Ninja Steve, located here. However, if you're a stickler for anime accuracy, you'll be most pleased with the detail, but not perhaps not the price and features.
You may be turned off by the lack of desperately needed paint detail once the Wow factor starts to wear off in the first minute.
So thankfully, there's more to the display than just the Big Computer and lights, but it isn't enough for impact. The X2 Toys BG-A2 Big Computer comes with a scanner satellite and clear pipes for a levitating effect, two mini bots (you'll need to build them yourself), stickers for added detail (caution before applying), audio jack and 4 panels that I can't figure out what are for.
The Scanner Satellite comes with clear piping that attaches to the right of the display. While it doesn't eject from the console, like in the first episode of The Transformers animated cartoon, it does plug into the right side of the display. Although, it would be make more sense to have a vertical wire to hold it in place.
While I had problems with photographing the actual color and getting the right shade or orange, I included the Toy World backdrop to give some readers a feel for the actual color.
The Mini Bots are impressive in that they're posable. While they may be a serious pain in the @$$ to put together, I appreciated their addition, but not sure how they'll be utilized. I'll probably paint them some time down the road.
Putting the mini bot together took a little bit of effort. It was a pain to fit the ball joints together on a 1/4" arm piece or leg piece. The mini bot also comes with earth magnets that need to be glued into the feet and the base of the stand. There are two little plates with double tape that the earth magnets can connect to. I would recommend a fast drying glue and make sure you glue the parts prior to assembling the robot. It's a real pain to handle powerful magnets the size of micro-chips.
Stickers, Plates and Audio connector
These are probably the weakest of the inserts. I would have applied the stickers, but some reviewers seem upset after application and the lack of major change to the display when they're applied. The plates... I have no clue. I haven't been able to figure out where they go, but I'm sure I'll figure it out. Although, honestly, they're not even the same color tone, so I'm at a bit of a loss.
The audio cable, it is what it is... an audio cable to connect sound from a device, to the speaker. Yah!
So the features of the X2 Toys BA-2G Big Computer were the most exciting and is the most disappointing. Where to even begin.
Certainly, the first thing I did was burn $8 on AA batteries that really hated being plugged into this thing. if you get the chance to own this, the trick is in the spring that contacts the negative end of the battery. The electronics on the inside look cheap the moment you open it up. The cheap battery compartments and electronic board, and speaker a dead giveaway. It's kind of like opening that birthday gift you can't believe you got. You just stare at it, hoping it will get better, or that maybe you're misunderstanding something.
The tablet tray is really only good for an Ipad Mini which fits properly in the viewing window. I tried using an old Samsung tablet, but the 7 inch tablet wasn't big enough for the window.
Although, something careful to consider, even if you do remove the plastic plate to access the touch screen on the tablet, and sure you can access the touch screen option, but you can't turn on or off your tablet or press the home button. Every time you put the tablet in, you'll have to take it out, by opening the back of the display to access power features. Unless you have a spare tablet to leave in there, even if your tablet goes into a power save mode or sleep mode, you'll have to press a power or home button to power it back up.
If the impracticality isn't shameful enough, once you plug in the batteries, you get feedback from the speaker that sounds like it's gonna catch fire or short. It isn't even a low hum, but a mid-pitch wining that makes you quick to turn it off.
For those needing exact measurements, we're looking at about 4.15 inches in height and 6.15 inches in length.
The lights are also pretty weak. They don't reflect light well enough in a way to make the display light up evenly and the bulb locations are quite visible. I tried putting a light strip inside, but then the light was visible through the orange plastic. This will definitely require some custom work.
Oh but hey, at least the reanimator gimmick works.... manually.
If you can get past the electronics issue and if you're willing to dish out about $170 to $180 for the display piece, then scale is probably an important factor, and scale looks great. In the images below are Masterpiece Prime, Masterpiece Bumble and Toy World Jazz
Playability is really limited with this unit. Unless the Autobots plan on popcorn and a movie, there isn't much to be done except get really creative. However, many of us collectors aren't newbies to custom work on figures and models. Painting, adding lights in the appropriate places, adding more visual effects, connecting new speakers, adding switches to the front panel and cutting in a cable line to access the back are just some modifications I plan on making with this unit.
Unfortunately, at a price tag over $160 (about $50 dedicated to shipping), there should be many other features to something this size and cost.
X2 Toys has produced a mediocre product for the collector market, but probably didn't anticipate the cost of shipping for its insanely large box. I can see a lot of people on the fence about whether they should just take the plunge. Luckily, there are many other options on the market, such as the new Autobot Base diorama from Extreme-Sets. There's custom work available through the link shared at the top of the page. I'm a bit tired of the mediocre products that hit the shelves when we are so well advanced in design with the Transformers collectibles market.
If the X2 Toys BG-A2 Big Computer is for you, you have a lot to think about. If there's someone out there with questions or recommendations, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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