hi there. didn't know there's a patlabor thread here.
i just built a 1/35 Patlabor recently i give you abit of insight:
1.Design wise IMO it's the best available Ingram in the market. The proportion might not be as accurate but definitely best looking. many times the Ingram looks bulky in the shows like the vintage Patlabor DX. Downside is the cockpit cannot be lowered as is permanently Up.
2.Poseability is limited by the rubber sleeves and armor spacings & lack of additional articulations. It's impossible to remove the nub marks and seam lines. you can only paint it using weathering powder and AB thin layers of clear flat on it. Anything else it would most likely crack when you handle them. You are stuck with fixed hands and the articulated hands are only good for gun griping. There is an elusive Manipulator upgrade upgrade pack from B-Club but i have not seen them outside Shaft Enterprise. Chest cockpit can be opened.
3.There is no full inner frame. i don't see any reason why because it's mostly covered by the armor & sleeves. Most joints are tightened using screws which is good. Only few parts like neck/cockpit/right wrist/right leg/feet has exposed frame that you need to paint (if you are going to paint them). Also the nub marks are located at obvious places so you'll have to sand them to look good.
4.Fitting can be abit loose/tight if you paint them. The Ingram 3 has bad fitting on the shoulder armor that leaves a big gap that requires putty (spacing on the shoulder lights section too narrow). The Chest section leaves a small gap between the white & black piece (even pro modelers have this issue). Not really noticeable since the lower piece is black. Lower Right leg revolver compartment has a big gap around the opening area and it's hard to get it fully opened. If you paint, the compressed stun stick might be too tight to fit the shield so you need to sand the holster, same goes for the Revolver clip. Orange shoulder light might be too tight if you paint. Head & Chest Antennas, Knee armor might be abit loose so you might want to glue them up. Rubber sleeves abit tricky to install you have to slot the sleeves into position before assembling the armors. Glue is needed to keep the shoulder sleeves together with the plastic round frame. It's easy to misalign the inner part of the shoulder lights so make sure they are in position before snapping the armor together.
5.There are Flash unit upgrade parts available in the WXIII Ingram 2 & Ingram Special box set which is compatible with normal Ingrams. you just need to use the LED set & back piece that came with the set. The non-LED parts are also included with all the sets. Installing the LED onto the shoulder part can be tricky especially if you putty & paint it. Even on the promo pics they did not putty the seams like they did with the non-LED release. Suggest cutting the armors out so you can post install the LED after putty & paint. it has 4 LED on front & 2 LED on rear for each side, the 2032 battery compartment & switch is located inside the backpack, you need to remove the black lower part of the back pack (clip on) to reach the battery & switch. You can check how they work on youtube.
6.All except Ingram Special Box comes with dry transfer & sticker type decal (J9 comes with dry transfer only). The dry transfer is very difficult to apply due to many curvy parts. I only managed to use the dry transfer on the shoulder, shield & backpack, for the rest i used the water decals from special box. Special Box set comes with Precut Water Slide decals for all 3 units. you have enough decals for all 3 Ingrams except the "Shinohara" tummy name plate (you get 2). Note it comes with parts for all 3 Ingrams but you can only build 1 complete Ingram with the box set. Box set comes with special high gloss finishing.
This is the kind of kit that you need to paint few small areas to look good. WXIII Ingram 3 comes with different face armor than Normal & Special Box & they came with full transparent face armor so you have to paint white & semi-clear green on it. All pilot & figures come unpainted so you have to paint them as well. some clear parts come unpainted so you need clear orange & clear green. also gunmetal for the crotch tow wires.
Normal 1 & 2 & Reactive Armors (1, 2+3), EX Command Car & another EX model are sold out, WXIII, Special Box, Ingram 3 & Griffon Flight & Aqua are still available. Special Box is a must have for it's water slide decals & patlamp flash unit. it also has enough spares to convert any ingram to any other if you can't find for example Ingram 3 you can convert Ingram 2 to 3 after building a full ingram. Main difference are the shoulder armors & head. Also Reactive Armor 2+3 comes with different unit 3 Head (movie ver) that is used in the Patlabor PSOne Game on normal Ingram 3 body. Each release comes with some different 1/35 human figure(s), you have to get Special Box, Reactive Armor 1, 2+3, Griffon both types & Command Car to get all the figures available.
B-Club also released 2 rare conversion kits for Early Days OVA Ingram 1 & 2. Patlamb flash unit was also sold separately.
No comments on Griffon yet as it's still under construction. I read there might be some fitting issue on the leg armor.
If you are interested, "Patlabor Model Works Memories" has a rather detailed information on them and has alot of great mods from famous modelers in Japan. It's an updated version of the Patlabor 3D from 2002. There's also Patlabor 3D Show vol 1,2,3, Diorama book that covers older bandai kits.
When you look back at it, it's pretty impressive what Oldskool modellers can do with the less superior old kits. you can also see how the modelling & painting techniques has evolved over time.
Overall. If you like Mechs, Patlabor kit is something you should not miss despite it's short comings.