Observations & Critique: Make your toys more fun
The FEXT System Utility Display Stand comes to you in suitably minimalist packaging that will ensure you’re not over-paying on shipping. There are a fair amount of contents in the bag that have been tucked in tightly. Open the package reveals:
1) Display stand base (B01)
2) Display stand arm (DS2)
Inside a separate baggy you will also find
3) Display stand arm mount (DS1)
4) Display stand arm extension (DS3)
5) Additional pivot point/connector (for use with the extension) (DS4)
6) 4 x feet for the base (S01)
7) Clasp for the arm (DS5)
This display stand competes with the Tamashii Stage Act 4/5 which are generally about $10 for a pack of two. At its highest extension the Act 5 display stand is 16 cm to the top pivot, the FEXT is 20 cm (the clasp can add another 2 cm to either). Tamashii Stage Act displays are extremely utilitarian but flimsy (30 g) and easily broken. At $6.20 each (before shipping from Hong Kong or about $12 elsewhere), the premium for the FEXT System Utility Display Stand gets you a more solid display stand with an additional 50% of heft (46 g) and ratcheted knuckles in the middle and end of the arm (these are friction based on the Act 5). For many people, that alone is probably enough to opt for the FEXT, but if you’re someone who owns a FEXT System display, there should be no doubt which stand to get. These display stands will integrate into your displays to help you get more value from both.
The base of the FEXT stand is the same tile used on the roof of the FEXT system displays. If you have a FEXT system, this might be a bonus benefit for you. If you don’t have the FEXT system, you may prefer the sleeker base used on the Tamashii stands. Though transparent, the LEGO-like peg construction means this base won’t disappear into your shelf, glass or otherwise. If you’re using the FEXT System, then there’s a good chance you won’t be using the base at all. You can peg the display into numerous places throughout the floor and ceiling.
The display stand arm connects to a housing that then connects to any of the corners of the base. The housing provides a deeper peg hole and more solid connection than you can achieve by connecting the arm directly to the base. I thought it was odd that there wasn’t a center mount for the arm but I never missed it. The two crucial aspects that set this stand apart from the Tamashii are the ratcheted middle and top joints (they’re friction on Tamashii stands) and the compatibility with FEXT systems. The ratcheting knuckles combined with the heftier base allowed you to get a bit crazier with your poses. The included clasp is also nice (and no nipping it off sprues) and was strong enough to allow me to pose a Bandai Robot Spirits Griffon (from Patlabor, about 100 grams) while being supported from the roof of a FEXT system. The pegs that extends from the top of the arm is the same diameter as a Tamashii stand allowing you to daisy chain with Tamashii parts (like additional extension pieces) and use Tamashii effect parts and display stand adapters included with many Bandai toys.
Most my Tamashii Stage Act stands that see regular use are cracked along the ends of the extensions. Fortunately, in most cases, the display stands still work and you can only see the cracks when examining closely. Though my time with this stand is still very limited, I have not had any cracks.
The FEXT display stands allow nearly 180 degrees of movement at the base joint whereas a Tamashii Stage Act 5 can only do about 120 degrees (Stage Act 4 can do 180 but is not a ratcheted joint). Otherwise, the joints in the arm and the swivel at the base function the same for either stand.
A special thank you to FEXT for sending me this sample. I’m super happy they did because playing with these stands and the Sci-Fi 03 system has been the most fun I’ve had with my toys in a long time. If you purchased a FEXT system display then you should buy at least one, probably two utility display stands. Jumping poses suspended from the ceiling or second level are phenomenal fun. If you’ve been frustrated by the disposable nature of Tamashii Stage Act stands then you finally have a better option that doesn’t involve going up to the next tier of display stands. If the FEXT systems haven’t appealed to you and you just need the cheapest possible stand to elevate your figure for an action pose with the least visual impact at the base, then the Tamashii Stage Act stands can still work for you.