CM’s Brave Gokin Tread Toys

Review: These were only available with Legioss toys

NOTES:
1) The “TREAD” is more accurately named “TLEAD” (Transport Legioss Escort Armored Dreadnought) but since “TLEAD” defies the English-speaking tongue, I tend to use “TREAD”. Someone back-solved for that acronym at some point saying it stands for “TRans-EArth Deployment” but… that makes less sense than TLEAD.
2) The creators of Mospeada played it fast and loose with the dimensions of the vehicles in the show. The official stats of the TLEAD state that it is 8.72 meters long in bomber mode and stands 10.5 meters tall in soldier. The Legioss, for comparison, is 8.75 meters tall in soldier mode, so less than 2 meters shorter. It’s not difficult to find line art that makes the TLEAD look huge in comparison to the Legioss and then find something that makes the TLEAD look just a bit bigger. Likely because much of the art depicts the TLEAD being much larger than the Legioss, the Robotech staff (maybe Paladium made the numbers up for their RPGs and the Robotech crew just rolled with it) went with a length of 9.7 meters in bomber and 13.7 meters high in battloid but did not change the Legioss/Alpha dimensions… this makes the Beta absolutely gargantuan in comparison to the official TLEAD. The CM’s toys follow the original dimensions while Aoshima/Toynami TREAD/Beta toys follow the Robotech dimensions.

Packaging & Extras: (4/5) + .5 for “bonus parts” version
The first three Brave Gokin Legioss toys (Eta, Zeta, and Iota) and the later reissue with upgrade parts came bundled with a Tread toy. Considering these were a gift-set that included a Legioss and all of its associated accessories, the score remains fairly high here despite the poor packaging. The boxes are not unique to each release, separated only by a sticker on the front. There is no flip-top lid on the box, it is made of thin cardboard and not decorated particularly well. The inner tray is braced with plain cardboard and seems terribly cheap. When spending nearly $300 for a toy it’s natural to expect the entire experience, beginning with the box, to be a ‘premium’ experience. Besides the Legioss & the Tread, this is what comes in the box:
1) Gun for Legioss (the Tread can hold it)
2) Missile pod for between Legioss’ shoulders in fighter mode
3) Angled magazine for installing the gun to the missile pod in fighter mode
4) Sword
5) Display stand (base and arm)
6) Missiles for below intakes
7) Combined Legioss/Tread cradle with attached Tread landing gear
Behind that tray of goodness you’ll find another tray of bonus items including:
8) Fists for Legioss
9) Fists for Tread
10) 1 x Standing pilot figure in REF armor (Iota comes with 2, Yellow and Ley)
11) 1 x Standing pilot in Ride Armor (Iota comes with 2, Yellow and Ley)
12) 1 x Pilot on ride armor in motorcycle mode (Iota comes with 2, Yellow and Ley)
13) 1 x Ride armor in collapsed mode (Iota comes with 2, Yellow and Ley)

Another bag includes the following:|
14) Instructions


15) 2x Stickers sheets
16) Warning flyer about how to properly handle the legs and rear landing gear
And the one last little baggy contains:
17) Plastic screw covers on sprues
I discuss all of the included extras not specific to the Tread in my Legioss review. The two sticker sheets provided are the identical. The included display stand is AWFUL and a better one would have gone a long way to enjoying this toy. More fixed posed hands would have been another welcome addition.

I’m pretty sure that CMs was just stuck with some backstock so they made some “bonus parts” to clear out the inventory. These parts can come in one of two packages. In the first version, the original toy and packaging is unchanged, the upgrade parts were in an extra box provided with your purchase of the original Eta Legioss/Tread. There were also boxes where the upgrade parts were placed inside the original retail box and a sticker was added (see picture above from a second-hand listing in Japan). The additional accessories consist of:
18) A big gun (from a very popular piece of Mospeada art)
19) Magazine for big gun
20) 2x fixed posed trigger hands
21) 2x new chest intakes with more line art accurate openings
22) Replacement missiles for the Tread’s chest
23) Scope for standard Legioss gun
24) 2x replacement chest cover for Tread
25) Legioss/Tread connection cradle
Conspicuously absent: instructions on how to upgrade the toy.

Charm & Collectability: (3.5/5)
The Tread has been a toy of legend for a long time now. Gakken’s 1/72 is one of the most rare and valuable Mospeada/Robotech collectibles in existence and the CM’s Brave Gokin toys are better in every respect (albeit more plentiful). These CM’s toys were priced well beyond the acceptable level for most casual collectors. The Iota variant was initially only available on CMs website and the Zeta was limited to Miyazawa distribution in Japan but eventually both made their way to many other retailers. These are perfect transformation toys with some (very minor, mostly just in joints) metal and old-school ratcheting joints. As mentioned in the notes preceding this review, CM’s adhered to the original stated dimensions for the Tread rather than then the back-solved ones used by Harmony Gold’s licensees. This Tread stands 20.4cm tall in battloid (making it between 1/48 and 1/55 scale) and weighs 266 grams. In comparison, the Toynami toy stands 24cm tall (making it about 1/57 scale at their measurements) and weighs a staggering 878 grams. The CM’s Tread as a standalone item is better than the Toynami/Aoshima in many respects but its high price tag, inclusion of a sub-standard Legioss, and inability to properly attach to said Legioss, meant that many would-be consumers opted to pursue the Toynami/Aoshima lines instead. Shortly after release, values for CM’s Legioss/Tread toys plummeted to less than 33% of retail before leveling off and starting to appreciate. More than a decade later they can still be had below MSRP. Once CM’s made the “bonus parts” version of the Eta toy available, collectability of the first release Eta toys predictably diminished. CM’s deserves accolades for their dedication to the Mospeada license. They created the most complete Mospeada universe of any toy maker to date with the Legioss, Tread, Ride Armors, and even character figures. As CM’s did not survive the Great Recession, these toys will never be reissued which ensures a gradual increase in market value but it may be some time before they get back to MSRP level. Below is a schedule of releases:
AFC-01H Eta Legioss & Tread, March 2008, 28,000¥
AFC-01I Iota Legioss & Tread, April 2008, 28,000¥ (CM’s site exclusive, wider release February 2009)
AFC-0Z Zeta Legioss & Tread, April 2008, 28,000¥ (Miyazawa distribution limited, wider release February 2009)
AFC-01H Eta Legioss & Tread with Bonus Parts, March 2009, 28,000¥

Sculpt, Detail, and Paint: (7/10)
This toy is only a very slight re-imagining of the Tread in comparison to the hack job which is CMs’ Legioss. Soldier mode is particularly good with only minor weaknesses. First, the yellow bombs should raise up higher above the toy. Second, the chest ‘nipples’ should be larger and more pronounced. Third, the shape of the thigh should be consistent but instead tapers down to a rounded area where the knee attaches. While Toynami left a cockpit hanging on the chest, CM’s developed a very nice means of retracting the cockpit in soldier mode and making the chest look like it’s supposed to

In bomber mode, certain parts of the Tread were thinned out, a few curves are more rounded, and it’s a little bit more streamlined which makes it go better with the CMs Legioss. On the positive side, the arms collapse better into the wings than they do on the Toynami/Aoshima toys. We’ve discussed the size discrepancy between Toynami and CM’s as owing to the different points of reference but fairly large liberties were taken with the size of the cockpit and pilot to accommodate CM’s clever retracting cockpit. CM’s was already using a small pilot for their Legioss and the pilot in the Tread is even smaller… which would look very strange if you wanted to display both toys with their cockpits opened next to each other. There’s plenty of detail etched into the plastic but, in comparison to the tampo-rich Legioss, the Tread does look a little bland. It would have been nice to see the gun barrels looking like barrels and more detail or fancier paint relating to the various thrusters. The really damning flaw when it comes to bomber mode is the inability to properly tuck the laser guided bombs that are supposed to settle between the legs. On the CM’s toys they’re left floating above the vehicle and look awful. Also, if you wanted to display this toy sitting on its landing gear, the included unpainted metal ‘cradle’ is a complete eyesore in comparison to the Toynam/Aoshima extended boom and plug in landing gear solution.

The unfortunate reality of ‘combining’ the CM’s Legioss and Tread toys in fighter mode is that it makes the flaws in both toys most prominent. Much of the Tread is concealed except for awful looking upraised bombs. The inability for the Legioss to collapse its vertical stabilizers into the forearms means they’re left poking out when the toy is combined. Since the Legioss doesn’t peg together in fighter mode and the arms can’t recess into the Tread’s chest, they usually look like they’re drooping down. The Legioss sits very low and the combined craft looks and functions more like a mecha fender bender than a unified vehicle.

The largest visual negatives to combining these toys with the Legioss in soldier mode and the Tread in bomber is that the cradle is largely exposed and, as mentioned earlier, doesn’t fit the aesthetic. The huge rear landing gear are also left exposed.

The “bonus parts” upgrade the chest area for the Tread making it more functional but less appealing. The parts do help the toys come together better in fighter mode both in function and look, but they do nothing to solve the issues with the vertical stabilizers that can’t collapse and the bombs dangling above the craft.

Design: (5/10) +1 for upgrade parts
This toy has a few features to be proud of:
1) Opening cockpit with (undersized) pilot figure
2) Integrated missile bays in chest AND above the chest


3) Perfect transformation including a cool cockpit concealment gimmick
The cockpit concealment and the above chest missiles are both features you won’t find on the Toynami/Aoshima products. Unfortunately, the list of what this toy does not do well is pretty substantial:
1) No integrated landing gear and the weird wraparound cradle with permanently affixed landing gear far inferior to the plug-in parts used by Toynami/Aoshima. The Tread’s landing gears are actually built into the connecting arm and not removable so they are eyesores when you don’t need them. To make things worse, the cradle only connects at round pegs toward the rear of the toy so the Tread has a tendency to slope back with its nose high in the air.

2) There is no apparent forethought put into how this toy will connect with the Legioss. No pegs on the Legioss that slot into the Tread. The shape of the chest doesn’t even conform to the shape of the Legioss arms. It seems like CM’s took three individuals, asked one to design a Legioss, asked another to design a Tread, and asked a third to design a cradle that would connect the two toys the other people made. It also seems like the management at CM’s forbade these individuals from talking to each other.


3) The cradle that works poorly as landing gear for the craft works even worse as a means of combining the toys. There’s a hinge in the front but it needs locking points if it were to function in a meaningful way. Perhaps the hinge was meant to keep the Legioss from sitting too low but it fails. The Legioss also needs to bring its arms all the way together, which isn’t how the mecha worked in the show. Some of these elements make you wonder if CM’s had to design and draft these toys purely off memory. When “combined” the two toys are simply parked very closely together. If the goal was to make it so two toys could be handled as one, CM’s failed resoundingly. This fault alone will be enough for many to disregard this Tread entirely in favor of the Toynami/Aoshima toys which combine MUCH better.


4) Okay, so you’ve cobbled the fighter mode Legioss and Tread ‘together’ and now you want to put the gun on the Legioss’ wing only to discover it doesn’t fit! In order to push the Legioss against the tread you need to flare the legs out so far that they block the hard point. The best you can do is angle the leg downward to free up a bit more space but the wing will look like it’s being pushed up and the leg will be angled downward so from straight on it looks awful.


5) The display stand that lifts the cradle holds it at a pivot point so it’s USELESS for combined fighter mode. It does work for combined solder/bomber but the soldier must be on the ground at all times and the stand is simply elevating the Tread. One cool bit is that you can have the Legioss in fighter and the Tread in quasi-diver mode BUT there are big pegs coming off the side of the cradle that limit what you can do with the Tread’s legs.

The originally designed linkage for these toys left a lot to be desired. The major draw for many people to the upgrade release is the improved connection. While the connection is certainly improved, it’s still flawed. The provided black cradle attaches to the connecting boom in such a way that it locks the Tread in place and creates a mount for the Legioss. The profile pics reveal the extent of the improvement. The biggest improvement is in handling. No longer do the toys feel like two separate toys parked close to each other. Now the toys can be picked up as one unit and whooshed around the room.

4K Review Coming Soon!

Durability & Build: (9/10)
The Legioss felt like a well-built toy. The Tread feels just as well built but less complicated so it’s hard to imagine someone breaking this thing unintentionally. All the joints are beefy and all aspects of the toy in any mode feel solid. It doesn’t have much heft so it might not immediately strike you how well put together this toy is. The paint application and build on my samples offered absolutely no reason to complain.
The one area that I have been less fortunate is the metal cradle that holds the toys together. The rear landing gear on one of my cradles doesn’t lock securely in position so the toy will fall over to that side during handling. That same cradle also tends to have the screw that holds the two pieces together start backing out which makes for a sloppy fit. Usually a twist of the screw sets things right. Since I’ve owned five of these toys and only had one cradle be problematic, it’s possible I was unlucky.
Upgrade parts do require disassembly and reassembly. Installation of the upgrade parts is very straight forward. Starting with the Tread, simply install the four screws under the chest cavity. The chest bay missiles and door are locked in place by pressure so they easily swap out. The Legioss intakes require the removal of three screws, two to open the chest area and a third to remove the intake from its housing. These toys are incredibly well-built, and I didn’t feel at all concerned at any point that I was on the verge of breaking the toy.

Ariticulation: (7.5/10)
The head is on a ball joint but there’s very little rock available. It twists left and or right and can go a full 360 degrees and can pivot to look up via a transformation mechanism so looking too far up will expose the big metal rod that might not look very good. The shoulders spin 360 degrees as well and the arm can pivot 180 at the shoulder joint. A swivel point at the bicep allows a full 360 degrees of spin. The elbows are limited to 90 degrees of motion but there’s an additional outward joint that also lets the arm bend outward at 90 degrees. The hands attach via ball joints and have one articulated set of four fingers. There is a swivel point at the waist, you’ll need to move the rear booster a bit for it to function but, once you do, you can spin the toy a full 360 degrees. The hips have a very impressive ability to flare outward, this toy can almost do the splits. The hips are also ratcheting joints that allow the leg to swing way forward or back (until some other body part stops you). You can even rock the leg at the hips so the toe points out/in, this isn’t something you can do on Toynami’s Beta toy. The knees are the weakest link from an articulation standpoint only allowing about 45 degrees of movement. All three toes can move forward/back but there is no ability to angle any toe left/right. So you can’t make the head look down or get much of an angle at the knee but otherwise, this toy is fun and is incredibly dynamic when compared to other Tread toys. Sometimes you may wish you could get a joint in between one of the ratchets but that’s a small price to pay.

Total Score: (36-37.5/50)
If we’re being generous we might call the Legioss toy “a bit below average”, the Tread toy “about average” and the connection CM’s came up with as “far below average.” It’s all well-built and fun to handle but over-priced. CMs was a confusing company, they did such a good job being faithful with the Ride Armor (but screwed up by making it fragile and tiny) and then did a horrible job being faithful to these vehicles but made them solid and fun. I have a bunch Mospeada toys I really enjoy but nothing I feel I can strongly recommend to anyone other than diehard Mospeada collectors. If you want a fun standalone Tread toy for soldier mode, then get the CM’s. If you want an accessory to your Legioss toy then you will prefer the Toynami/Aoshima toys… provided your Legioss/Alpha isn’t falling apart. Maybe someday Sentinel will rescue us from the well of mediocrity with new Mospeada offerings.