I’ve always felt that there had to be a better way to display my builds during public events. I thought maybe putting some builds on top of a rotating base would be a great way to do this and thus the hunt for the ideal rotating base began.
For my past public exhibitions, I’ve been using my Foldio 360 turntable in white but because it had to be plugged in a power source and was really meant to be used indoors with the Foldio, it was too expensive of a solution to my turntable dilemma. This and with the Foldio360 costing 139$ at their online store, it was too expensive of a tool to expose to different conditions for events.
My ideal turntable would have to satisfy the following:
- Stable and not wobble the display piece on top of it
- Built-in power source
- Would be fine running all day
- Preferably black (my table cloths for displays tend to be black)
I’ve been looking at different turntables locally and most of them were for small models only (under 100mm in radius). Having gone to Japan last March, I made it a goal to look in the shops in Akihabara for a good display turntable and found 2 options while I found 1 more online.
For purposes of this review, I’ll be referring to the 3 turntables as such: 200MM-KOBO for the Turn Table 200 made by the MM-KOBO, Velvet Top for the one made by Bluecell, and BB for the Turntable [BB] made by Wave Corporation.
Overall Impressions and Comparisons
|Size||195 mm||172 mm||195 mm|
|Stability||Really Smooth!||Smooth but has difficulty with heavier models||Has bumps even without a model|
|Rotation Speed||2 Speed (change battery voltage)||2 Speed||2 Speed (change gear inside)|
|Rotation Direction||Two-way (set by hand at start)||Counterclockwise||Two-Way|
|Surface||Gray Matte / Mirrored||Mirrored only||Black Velvet only|
|Power Source||2x AA batteries||2x C battery||1x D battery|
|Portability||Awkward shape but solid||Solid shape||Detachable top makes it hard to transport|
|Price in PHP||1065+ PHP||1080+ PHP||980+ PHP|
|Price Purchased||2130Y||2160Y||18.85$ USD|
|Overall Impressions||Great Value for Money||Good Value for Money||Don’t get this|
The MM-Kobo is a pretty wide turntable with an interchangeable surface (mirrored / gray matte). It can also be used without the detachable surface.
If you want to change the speed settings for the rotation, it comes with a built in spring so you replace one battery with the spring and it cuts the voltage and speed by half. Pretty nifty option if you wanted a slower revolution speed. Rotation speed would also be affected by the weight of the object on top of the turntable. Rotation direction is set by hand at the start. If it starts turning clockwise, you can turn the disk counter-clockwise and it’ll go in that direction and vice versa. You turn on the turntable by pressing on the on/off button (on is when the switch is pressed).
The packaging is also very helpful with enough diagrams to help with the use of the turntable. It even gives directions on how to properly use the turntable and cautions to put the turntable on a leveled surface as well as placing whatever object being displayed on the turntable in the exact middle to ensure smooth rotations. This is also written in English so it helps a lot for non-Japanese customers.
This is personally the best among the three turntables I bought as it offers a lot of options for a decent price. I can opt to use the reflective surface or the matte surface that has a little more grip to it. I can even remove the extra circular surface to just have it as the matte black plastic although this tends to be a little slippery. It also only uses AA batteries which are pretty common in my country. The spring included that allows me to change the speed setting is a little weird as I was hoping for just a toggle to change rotation speed but it works fine.
Note: Both the reflective and gray matte side tend to scratch easily but as it is removable, it’s easy enough to just make your own custom version (thinking make an acrylic base with something printed underneath).
Note 2: It takes a while for it to completely turn off (around 30 seconds after pressing the on/off button). It just slows down in rotation until it comes to a completely stop.
I found this one in Yodabashi Camera Akihabara Branch (the one just by the Akihabara JR station) and was stocked quite generously. You can find it on the Toy floor near the Gunpla / Plamo hobby area with the LED lights and display cases.
Turntable [BB] by WAVE Corporation
This is actually a pretty good turntable by WAVE and honestly looks the best among the three. The turntable comes in two rotation speeds (hi / lo) but like the MM-Kobo, only rotates clockwise.
The annoying part is that the reflective surface on this is fixed and there’s no way to remove it. It also tends to scratch easily as seen in the photo. There were already scratches on it upon removing it from the box. The good part is that it’s really stable and was fine even if I was shifting weight on one side of the top circle base.
The other thing with this is that the battery cover is secured with a screw so it’s a little harder to remove / replace the batteries. It also uses 2x C batteries. As for the speed, there’s a little toggle if you want to turn it on as H.Speed (high) or L.Speed (low) or off.
Still a pretty good turntable and not far from the price of the MM-Kobo turntable. Has fewer options to it and a smaller top surface but looks better in my opinion. I just might not always want to use the reflective surface especially with all the scratches. It also seems to be more heavy duty as the packaging lists “up to 1.5kg” (in Japanese) and I’m assuming that means you can put something up to 1.5kg on it and still have it rotate. No English instructions whatsoever on the packaging so I can’t make out what else is on the back of the box.
I found this one in the Kotobukiya Store in Akihabara. Not quite sure if it was heavily stocked but only saw it once in my entire stay in Japan (found the MM-Kobo two more times going around the other buildings in Akihabara).
Bluecell Velvet Top Turntable
No packaging photo for this or anything. It came in bubble wrap and nothing else :p
You access all the options to this turntable by pulling out the top platform. You’ll find the slot for the 1x D battery, the gears to change the rotation speed, and the steel balls in square slots to help keep the platform balanced. The top platform is covered in black velvet and cannot be replaced. The one good thing about this is that it can rotate in 2 directions (clockwise / counter clockwise) depending on which side you toggle the on switch.
Lots of issues with this one and I’ll start with the unstable rotation of the top rotating platform. Basically the 4 balls placed equidistantly along the edge of the base should smoothly keep the base from wobbling but due to the poor construction, it wobbles quite frequently. Swapping the gears to change the speed from high – low also means you cover your fingers in grease and the top platform easily comes off so you can easily knock the top cover platform off the whole thing.
If I knew what the insides looked before placing the order for this then I would have skipped on buying it. It fails the very first and most important criteria for my turntable needs which was it needed to be stable and rotate smoothly. Price wise, its cheaper than both the turntables I bought from Akihabara but the quality is far from the ones I bought previously.
I ordered this one from Amazon US (link).
Conclusions and Recommendations:
I would recommend getting either the Turntable 200 by MM-Kobo or the TurnTable [BB] by WAVE Corporation and it really depends on which one you like more aesthetically. Both perform well as turntables but the MM-Kobo one has more options for you to go with. If you’re sure you’ll always be using the reflective surface though then the one by WAVE Corporation would be a good purchase.
Don’t get the one by Bluecell haha its nowhere as good as the other two and is almost the same price.