Review: Alter’s KOS-MOS Ver.1

Got an oldie for ya today from a time when I thought figure collecting was far too expensive a hobby to get in to, back when the Canadian dollar would get you ¥101 and a figure would cost a measly ¥4,750. What on earth was I thinking? Now I only get ¥86 to the Canadian Dollar and figures cost ¥9,800!


Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get this post written for Monday like I usually do. I sat down Sunday night to watch some Formula 1 racing, fully intending to write the review afterwards as all the pictures were already taken. As the race finished, I loaded up my web browser and hit up my WordPress admin page. Just then my roommate walked in and asked my assisstance, his girlfriend had a flat tyre on the side of the highway. Skipping the details, we weren’t able to remove the spare tire from the bottom of her Caravan because the over complicated mechanism that would allow the tyre freedom, was seized. In the future I hope Chrysler and many minivan manufacturers learn that over complicating things is not a good idea when they’re exposed to the weather and salt of winter. Either make it a simple bolt/screw straight into the center of the wheel, or store it inside the car.

The second excuse as to why I wasn’t able to post earlier today is due to changing my brake fluid last night, and being overly tired from a 12 hour shift at work, after being up late with the car tyre thing. Uguu~!

On with the Review

Getting back to KOS-MOS and loving to blame people for my purchases, this figures blame goes on Tier from Tentacle Armada. So much time has passed however, I can’t entirely remember why he’s to blame, I know that it has something to do with his post on the 1/4th scale KOS-MOS Ver.4. Beyond that I can’t remember.

Back in December of 2005 when KOS-MOS was released I imagine some fans were a bit startled if they’d seen the original promotional shots of her. In these shots KOS-MOS had wonderful blue hair that one could in no way see anything through, quite opaque in nature. However the finished product that Alter shipped differed greatly in this regard. Not only was KOS-MOS’ hair translucent but much of the visible detail due to the contrast between the highlights and shadows were lost making for a much flatter appearance, dramatically changing the feel of the figure. I personally feel this was a poor choice as I liked this added contrast, however the translucent nature of her hair does leave some interesting play with lighting, if one were creative enough.

Takahashi Tsuyoshi, the sculptor of this figure is still active 5 years later working on figures such as Aozaki Touko from Kara no Kyoukai as well as the quite detailed Senhime from Hyakka Ryoran. It’s rather interesting to see the transition he’s made, along with Alter in detail and design over the past 5 years. What’s neat though for me is how KOS-MOS doesn’t feel dated like some other figures from the same era. While she doesn’t look the quality of your modern Alter, she does have a well sculpted appearance with very few flaws which I found very interesting when comparing to my 2007 Eri Sawachika figure. What happened to Alter in 2007? Eri’s not the only one.

Alter’s paintwork on KOS-MOS has held up remarkably well, the previous owner never removed her from her original box and must have stored her in quite decent conditions. Her skin is much more pale than the original shots by Alter, and while my shots make her a little more pale than the figure appears to my eye, she’s a much much nicer colour than the promoshots. The details are well painted with little overpaint, and a great deal of blending and shading throughout, a rather impressive 2005 figure if you ask me.

I prefer this KOS-MOS over Alter’s later attempts mostly due to the original characters design.Ver1 she has exposed skin in all the right places, while not appearing like an exhibitionist or a slut, but most of all she appears quite feminine with just enough badassness to make her a formidable opponent. The swimsuit KOS-MOS figures don’t feel very cannon to me, and seem to take only the womanly appearance and none of the badassness and thus losing all aspects of the character appearing rather bland and boring. Ver.4 KOS-MOS seems to take all the badassness and forget the feminine aspects of her. Sure she’s still got breasts and probably some upskirt shots (that’s a feminine character trait?), but she comes off as too masculine with such artillery and the legs to support it, it just turns me off. To me it seems the original character design had the right mix from the start.

Ver.1 KOS-MOS isn’t all win though, she does have a few little flaws that I’d love to point out to you.  Down both of her legs there’s a not-so-wonderful visible seam line but this isn’t overly apparent for the most part. The worst issues seem to be on her right breast and her right leg. On her right breast there’s a paint smudge where some of the gold paint has rubbed off onto her breast creating a yellowy mark and can be seen in this photo in the top left. The right leg issue is gap where the two parts of her legs join together, mostly only visible from the back. Other issues are more seams, and some specks, most more or less minor. The specks may or may not be hard to find in pictures, as the sensor on my DSLR appears to have dust coating it in it’s entirety creating little dots that I’ve tried to remove in every single picture, but likely missed a bunch.

I think some of my favourite aspects of this figure are actually her back, she has this spinal column like object following up the middle of her back illustrating quite well her arched and twisted pose as well as drawing my eye up from the base of her back to her exposed shoulders, or vise versa. The exposed skin mentioned earlier is also pretty attractive giving only hints, we can see her hips but they hint towards ass and draw my eye down and even trying to look down through her skirt, and you can look down through it, assure you, front and back.

All in all, I’m quite happy Tier some how convinced me to purchase a KOS-MOS figure, and I’m happy that this is the one I chose. I think she’s managed to be the first figure I own who’s breasts are too large for my usual tastes, yet appear quite pleasant and attractive. Quite possibly because they’re not popping out of her clothes and are actually relatively subdued and conservative, a nice contrast to the rest of the costume. It’s too bad about her translucent hair, it really gives the feeling of lost detail, but I think only does so because of the original promoshots. When I first received her I thought she looked great, went to write this review and looked up the originals and was suddenly reminded that she looked better before. But as Tier would say “She’s got a dynamic pose that nails the trifecta; you can see her face, breasts, and ass all at once.” Ok maybe her ass isn’t entirely visible, but almost!

I can’t remember anything about Xenosaga, other than it was like watching a semi-playable movie.



  • Great detail for the age of the figure, holds up well against modern figures
  • Version 1 KOS-MOS is superior KOS-MOS
  • Right amount of skin showing
  • Pleasant skin tones


  • Changes made to her hair from prototype to production differ too greatly
  • Seam on her legs as well as a gap on her right leg
  • Paint mark on her right breast



  1. Miette-chan says:

    Ah Kos-Mos my first figure, bought before I even knew anything about figures.

    I too overall like this figure, not really a fan of asymmetrical designs but I do find V1 Kos-Mos to be one of her better designs.

    • Aka says:

      Ah really? your first, my first was a less than stellar Horo figure, which has grown on me over time.

  2. radiant says:

    Ah… Mine has been proudly on display since Day 1. A rarity considering how often I swap my figures around in and out of storage. She is indeed one of my favorite purchases. My Version 4 is still in storage, sealed. O_o

    I would have to disagree with you in terms of her not looking dated. I compare her to figures like Saber Lily, or Lineage II Human Mage, and you can tell that she comes from a simpler era.

    I too prefer the more streamlined design of Version 1 over Version 4. I think Version 4 has a bit too much going on!

    Nice review btw. I’ve got quite a number of oldies that I need to pull out for shoots too, including this one. 🙂

    • Aka says:

      You swap about? just limited in space? I wonder what’s going to happen when I run out…

      I guess I meant more the overall figure scene today. If you compare her to an average figure, not an Alter, or GSC figure, she looks like she could have been produced yesterday. Simple perhaps, but I feel she still lives up to the standards of today. Where I might say my Eri figure from 2007 doesn’t live up to the average, she’s become less than average due to colouring and manufacturing defects.

      • radiant says:

        I do have to agree with you on that. She still displays very nicely and comparable to today’s standards in that regards (which is probably why she’s still on display after so long).

        Yeah, I swap out because I’ve run out of shelf space. I’m starting to run out of closet space now too, unfortunately. Just the numerous Nendoroid boxes I have alone are taking up a quarter of my designated figure storage space.

        I’ve been selling and buying figures for a couple of years now. That may end up being your road if you’re not careful.

  3. Chag says:

    Hmmm, funny how you say ver.4 is more masculine than ver.1 when ver.1 looks like she has 8-pack abs. Between a triple minigun and a set a ridiculous washboard abs, I’d take my chances with Ms. Rambo any day. =P

    I do agree with you on ver.1’s great curves, though, but I’m not a big fan of that oversized headpiece that makes her head and hair look out of proportion.

    • Aka says:

      lol I never pictured those as abs, just armour. Though I can see what you mean, I refuse to continue doing so though.

      The headpiece does muddle up the scales a bit with regards to her head sure, but I’m still down with it, her head looks fine to me.

  4. Fabrice says:

    Very nice! to me the best thing about her is her hair <3
    love the way it changes color.
    The pose, i dont know im really keen on it, but meh it looks good overall. i cant wait for the figma version ^^

    • Aka says:

      Really? I still think that’s the worst thing about her.

      Figma KOS-MOS? is there such a thing in the works?

  5. Tier says:

    It is pleasing to know how far-reaching my influence is. Now I need to find some people to write blogs about my blog so that I can ascend to my rightful place in hobby superstardom.

    KOS-MOS’s first design is still my favorite; I’m not a big fan of the babydoll look of the fourth version, and I’m sorta sad that it’s become her most popular look. I was dusting off some figures a month or so ago and looking at KOS-MOS, she’s a bit rough up close compared to newer figures, especially with some of her details of her face, but on a shelf, I think she still stands up very well among her peers (figuratively speaking; mine is actually leaning forward rather badly). Alter released her around the same time I started collecting figures, and back then, I don’t remember many figures that could capture one’s attention like like this one; a lot of figures were really boring, like a lot of the early Ikki Tousen ones, or Alter’s early Rei and Asuka figures, and a figure with a dynamic pose really stood out. I remember GSC’s early 1/8 Saber also was very eye-catching, although that’s an example of one that really suffers in comparison to contemporary figures.

    I ought to take some snaps of KOS-MOS standing next to Metatron, I think they’d complement each other really well. The one photo of yours with the two-toned hair gives me an idea.

    • Aka says:

      Feelin’ a bit like Danny Choo? I think I’d like to be in his position in some ways, free stuff is always nice.

      I heard about leaning issues with KOS-MOS, and I kept thinking it as I wrote my post. Yet I don’t think I wrote anything about it, despite constantly telling myself to do so. The oldest GSC 1/8th Saber I can find is from 2007, a maid version. Is that the one you’re talking about? The 2006 one I have is 1/6th scale and quite poor.

      I was going to try and experiment more with the lighting and transparent hair but I got lazy.

      • Tier says:

        Ha, not a chance. I try to keep a very low profile, which might be an unusual thing in the blogging business. I don’t mind free stuff but I’m more comfortable reviewing stuff that I buy. Getting free stuff might compromise my objectivity (not that I make any claims to such), and I’d feel bad if I were sent something like that figure of the little K-On girl with the guitar and ripped it. I guess I wouldn’t mind bashing the hell out of some nendoroids if someone sent me some, though.

        It’s this one here. I remember it was quite in demand for some time, but it looks like preowned prices are a lot more reasonable now than they were a couple of years ago. And they should be, since looking at it now, it isn’t a great figure (although I did try to buy it just a few months ago).

        • Aka says:

          Yeah, I had someone ask me if I wanted to do DVD reviews, I’d get the keep the DVDs afterwards and it sounded great in that respect. But I basically told them, if I was honest, I probably wouldn’t be getting DVDs for very long. That isn’t to say I hate on everything, but I don’t necessarily write overly glowing reviews either… or do I? I guess sometimes.

          Ah that Saber, oddly she didn’t come up in my search. She does look a bit dated, especially after the recent run of Sabers and GSC’s upcoming Saber.

  6. Rico-sama says:

    You mad genius. You put KOS-MOS on some glass and got under her for some of those shots, didn’t you? I think this is the first time I’ve seen that trick.

    There is a fantastic quality to your pictures in this review. The light is soft but also strong enough to cast a few dramatic, if subtle, shadows. I think what I like the most is that you lessened the amount the intensity of the lighting a bit, which allows the background to have a subtle gradient to it while still letting the figure pop. Wonderfully done.

    I actually own this KOS-MOS and I’ve never liked her hair. It always felt like a big, bulky, amorphous blob of plastic on her head. I think you hit the nail on the head as to why – the use of the translucent material really does take out the definition in her hair. I really like everything else about this figure but that hair. Ugh.

    • Aka says:

      Those shots were the most uncomfortable and hardest shots I’ve ever taken in my entire life. The plexiglass is very thin and flexible, so the space I had to work with was narrow. Topping it off, it was fairly low and trying to look through my camera lens to take those pictures (since it doesn’t have a live LCD display) was damn near impossible. I wanted to be more creative but after those two shots, I was already incredibly sore. Next time I’ll use a real piece of glass and work on removing the reflection.

      I’m glad you noticed! I decided to try out something new, going almost back towards my original days of this site, but with a few twists. Instead of my usual where I have my 2 lights over exposing the white and 2 shining on the figure, I opted to have all 4 lights shine on the figure from various angles. Back in the day this always created a softer light, but my setup was smaller so it also created a pretty even non-white background. Since I have more depth to play with now, it created a nice gradient effect. Additionally I twisted the lights so that they wouldn’t shine so much on the back and tried to get them more on the figure or away from the rear. If I had some way of holding up some pieces of cardboard in certain locations I could have had the fade more pronounced I think as well. Or if I had more depth to play with.

  7. lovelyduckie says:

    I haven’t played Xenosaga but I prefer KOS-MOS’s outfit from the first game. BUT in terms of figures I prefer Ver. 4, even though figure 1 has the outfit I prefer. But none of that matters too much, because in the end I admire both of these figures and am happy to have them.

    Although I really should re-shoot my KOS-MOS 1 at some point with a more subtle background.

    • Aka says:

      I suppose Ver.4 has the more modern Alter quality, but I just don’t like the design at all.

  8. Superb pics as always! Love the pose on this KOS-MOS although v4 is still my favourite. =P

    When I got this figure I noticed something odd about her left hand, the fingers are painted a little brown, it’s a different skin tone than her arm. It’s like they painted the brown glove colour then decided to paint the skin colour over the brown. I don’t recall her hand like this in the original artwork/game, but then again I never paid all that much attention. Never did figure out why her left hand was painted this way though.

    So this figure has some leaning issues? Haven’t really read into it much either, my KOS-MOS is still sitting in her box waiting for her review. But I hope there’s no lean – she’s a great figure. =)

    • Aka says:

      Thinking back on my review, I don’t think when I was examining her I ever even looked at her hands. Ooops. I think I was busy elsewhere.

      Yeah I’ve read others having issues with her leaning, I’ll just have to keep an eye on her I suppose.