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Super Mario Diorama Playset C

SH Figuarts
by yo go re

Mario came out with two Diorama Playsets to keep him company. So naturally, now we have Luigi, and a third set has appeared.

Diorama Playset C is a lot like Playset B, in that it comes with scenery, instead of just items. Its piece-count is lighter than the other sets (which makes sense, since Luigi already came with so much stuff), but depending on how you count, it either comes with seven or 12 parts: three warp pipe pieces, a coin, a display stand, a beetle, and a Piranha Plant that can be broken down into several constituent segments.

The coin is the same we've seen three times before. It's nice, and the base to hold it upright is even better, but there has to be some middle ground between flat yellow and the hated vac-metalization. It's possible to just paint things gold, you know? It looks plenty nice like that. We only get the short base, not the tall one.

The Warp Pipe(s) is also the same we've seen before, but this time it's in red rather than green. Why red? So it doesn't feel like we're being forced to buy the same thing twice, duh. Also, in more recent games, red pipes lead to secret areas, so there's that as well.

At a glance, the set seems to include two pipes: one 3¾" tall, and the other just over 1½". This is nice, because it adds a little bit of "height variety" to the display, or even allows you to fake a side-entry pipe by leaning the short pipe against its bigger brother. And that's all fun, but it's not what's really going on.

The "short" pipe is not a pipe at all - it's just the upper rim of one. The top of the tall pipe is removable, and can be replaced with the short one. What's the point of this? Depth. The standard pipe cap has a solid black surface a little more than ¼" below the upper edge, while the second one is 1½" deep. The tripartite design of this piece adds a lot of display options to the set.

And this time, we get a Piranha Plant to go in the pipe! Well, the original instruction booklet called them "Pirana" plants, but that's likely just a typo. The point is, we said getting a Piranha Plant would be cool, and now we have one!

Man-eating plants that live in the flowerpots. They show their faces quickly and without warning, so watch out! You can't kill them by jumping on top of them.

Flowerpots? Way to go, manual writers. I remember that confusing me as a kid - when you're young, you take adults at their word, and assume an official publication (say, for instance, an instruction manual included with a videogame) would know what it's talking about. So the first few times I played, I was trying to figure out where the flowerpots were and how they were different from the pipes. Soon enough I forgot about it, and could get on with my nerdily obsessive life.

The plant has a flat black base that fit inside the opening of the warp pipe (not a flowerpot). It has a three-section stem with two jagged leaves sticking out of the middle. The stem can be removed from the base, and the top third of the stem can be removed from the rest. What advantage does that convey? You can make the plant shorter, putting it farther down into the pipe. Fun!

The head of the Piranha Plant is red with sculpted white dots and big white lips. It has nine sharp fangs, a pink tongue, and even a sculpted uvula! The only thing we might have changed about it is the way it attaches to the stem: instead of a swivel joint, a balljoint would allow it to tilt around and "follow" our heroes, rather than just trying to bite the sky. But maybe that's greedy.

Quite the toughy, fireballs don't even faze him.

In Japan, Buzzy Beetle is known as "Met." If you think that sounds familiar, it does: "Met" is a shortening of the word "helmet," which is why the Mega Man enemies are called that. And sure, the beetle kind of resembles a helmet, but I'm more interested in where the "Buzzy" comes from.

Rather than black, the shell is a dark midnight blue. He has a pointy little face, and bright red eyes glowing in shadow. There are ridges on his tummy, and little circles sculpted on the bottom of all four feet. He's even got a pokey little tail in the back! This is more complex than I think of Buzzy Beetles as being, but it's a very cute design.

Diorama Playset C doesn't feel like as good a value as A or B did, but even if you don't want to get Luigi, these are more fun backdrop pieces for Mario.

-- 03/07/15


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