REVIEW(Updated): Gakken’s diecast collector’s toy
Packaging & Extras: Japan (4/5), Singapore (3/5)
Yes, the Japanese packaging is that much better for this toy than the Singapore packaging in either the Henshin Robo or Robotech varieties. The original Japanese release makes it seem like this piece was made specifically for collecting, not just another toy. The Japanese toy has no plastic window, instead it is completely intombed in Styrofoam. Once the top styrofoam blanket is removed the toy can be found nestled tightly in its tray as pictured below. The Japanese version also includes a gun that fires bullets, a feature removed from its Singapore brethren. The Henshin Robo and Robotech packages are more of the standard fare. A large window displays the toy prominently but makes the packaging a bit less stable and often, when buying these second hand, the see-through plastic will be damaged. A few extras would have been nice in a piece that apparently was meant to be more of a higher grade item.
Charm & Collectibility: Japan (2.5/5), Singapore (1.5/5)
This toy doesn’t receive a lot of love in collector’s circles despite the excellent materials used. It was never wildly popular in the first place and its flawed in too many ways to make it stand out. The large Gakken 1/35 toy simply over-shadows all of Gakken’s other Legioss products and this toy is no exception. To determine whether or not your boxless toy was made in Japan, check beneath the intakes as shown:
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (6.5/10)
Quite truthfully, this toy cheats. It achieves a very close look to the animation (a bit on the slim side) but it does so by foregoing one of the most important modes of transformation. Both Armo-Soldier (Battloid) and Armo-Diver (Guardian) modes look superb proportionally. The thing that really hinders this toy, like all other Gakken toys, from really reaching the next level is the lack of paint to achieve the look seen in the series. Had this toy been painted properly it would be an impressive likeness for the era. The line art comparisons were made a bit more cumbersome by this toy’s dearth of articulation but you could imagine if everything was supposed to move like it does in the art than the sculpt on this toy wouldn’t be half bad.
At least it was made clear to those purchasing this toy that it wasn’t a three mode transformation toy but I’m sure that hasn’t stopped people over the years from making that mistake. Have no doubt, this is a no frills toy. There aren’t missile bays that open, if the canopy opens there’s no point to it since there’s no pilot, the radar array on the shoulder isn’t articulated, and there’s obviously no trap doors concealing a ride armor. The transformation is amazingly simple. Still, it’s impossible to shake the idea that in a toy that deleted one of the most important modes there should be more going on to compensate.
Durability & Build: (6/10)
You should expect a high durability score from a toy primarily made of metal. Originally I scored the Japanese toy lower because the sensor array on the shoulder has a rubber fin which is often times slightly curved. On second-thought I don’t think I should penalize the toy for that since I’m sure someone somewhere broker the Singapore version’s antenna at some point and that wouldn’t have happened with a Japanese toy. Through the years I have seen several of these up for auction with heads or feet broken off. The head is attached via a pin through two loops so if the loops are bent it wouldn’t be difficult for the head to be removed. I think the head and feet both should only be considered fragile for those who intend to really abuse their toys. The real concern with these toys is floppy shoulder syndrome. Many of these toys can’t point their guns any more without the arm flopping down. Expect lots of chipped paint on well used toys.
Why, in a toy with such limited transformation, should articulation be this horrible?? There is so little that can be done with this toy. The knees bend, the elbows bend, the intakes move independently, but the head can’t be turned, the waist can’t swivel, and the shoulders are no help. In such a simple toy it’s a real shame to see the extra effort wasn’t made to really increase articulation here. Articulation should have been this toy’s real saving grace, not another weakness.
Total Score: Japan (28/50), Singapore (26/30)
There’s a lot left to be desired here and the toy easily scores below average in nearly every category. It was an interesting concept to fill in a perceived niche in the toy market but in hindsight I think many people would say that niche simply did not exist. As of the time I’m writing this the toy commands a pretty low price ranging from about $15 loose and abused to $80 for the Japanese version MIB. If you’ve got a Mospeada or Robotech New Generation display going these toys can certainly look good in the background (provided you don’t need more than a static pose) but if you’re looking for a cool Alpha/Legioss toy then don’t settle for these.
NOTE: This review has been updated twice. On the newest update I’ve added all new higher resolution photos, line art comparisons, and a video review.
Original Posting date: May 22, 2006
First update: July 18, 2007