Mega Review: Includes all variants
Packaging & extras: (3.5/5)
Toynami signed on to distribute these toys outside of Japan so there’s a chance the one you purchase will have a Toynami sticker applied to it. There was some hope that Toynami might repackage these toys entirely (as they later did with the Beagle MPC product) but that never came to pass. The boxes for these toys lack collector-grade frills such as a flip-top lid. The toy is featured prominently in two windows in front and the box is adorned with images of the toy in various poses. Once you’ve opened the box you’ll find the instructions behind the cardboard insert sleeve. The toy itself is nestled in tightly secured plastic trays with a stand taped to the back of the plastic. Beyond the rider figure and bike you’ll receive the following extras:
1) 2 sets of fixed pose hands
2) helmetless head
4) Kick stand
5) Display stand (with adapter so you could lean the toy against it or mount the toy)
6) 5th hand with gun attached in VR-52F variants, no hand but GALLANT in full dress in VR-41 variants, 5th hand without gun for VR-52T
7) Some assembly required saddle bags for VR-52T, staggered chest missiles for VR-41H
8) Stickers (for event exclusive black variants)
9) 1 page transformation instructions (front and back)
While stickers were included with the event exclusive black variants, stickers were also available for regular releases but they were only available at select retailers. Mega House later offered a mail-away promotion for a stripped down GALLANT and another gun. At an industry event (the Mega Expo in 2008) Mega House handed out the mail away weapons in a package that also included stickers (including a mustache so you could convert a Black Limited figure into a Jonathan Wolfe lookalike).
Charm & Collectability: (3/5) Regular Releases, + 1 for Black releases
With the Mospeada renaissance now behind us it’s a bit easier to judge how collectable these toys are. At the time of their release these toys were not markedly better than their contemporary competition, the CMs 1/18 Ride Armors. After the Mega House had been on the market for a while Beagle released their phenomenal figures permanently relegating the Mega House toys to the second tier. The Mega House toys have three other factors which greatly diminish their collectability:
1) The toys are not perfect transformation
2) The toys lack metal
3) The line is incomplete, there was never an attempt at the female ride armors. One was said to be planned from the beginning but Mega House never managed to make it so far as the physical prototype stage.
Mega House’s original plans for the line were a bit more robust, they even toyed with the idea of releasing a 1/15 Inbit Iigaa, but sales must not have been as strong as hoped. If one really wanted to nitpick the score here it’s a pretty safe bet that Stick was the most popular (despite build issues), then Yellow, then Dark Stick, then Ley’s VR-52T. Stick & Ley both debuted in February 2008 for 5,800 Yen, then came the 2008 Winter Wonderfest black VR-52F, then Yellow’s VR-41 in August 2008, the Dark VR-52F in February 2009, then black VR-41 at various events in 2009. The hardest to get Mega House toys are the black VR-52F and black VR-41. Neither toy comes in a box that states specifically the limited nature of the product but, since Mega House has moved on, it seems unlikely we’ll ever see reissues. The gloss black, matte black, metallic trim of the paint scheme was really well liked by some collectors making these toys even more popular than CMs’ event exclusives ( their metallic/clear parts and generic soldier version ride armors). The black VR-52F was available 1 day at the 2008 summer Wonderfest and 2 days at C3. The black VR-41 was sold later, originally at event shows but more trickled out later to retailers (presumably stock that couldn’t be sold at events).
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (7.5/10)
For Stick and Ley Mega House opted for more militaristic colors than CMs did, a move which was generally well liked. However, Mega House didn’t compete with CMs when it came to the level of painted on detail, a fact you’ll easily note on the included comparison pictures. You would expect the parts-forming nature of the Mega House products would allow them to really nail the bike and armor with a decent rider figure but this toy smacks of compromises. The under-sized tires on the Stick, Ley, and black VR-52F were rectified with proper size tires on latter releases. Armor mode is definitely the toy’s strength as the armor covers up the awkward proportions of the riding figure (heck of a neck) but the rear or the armor doesn’t come together as tightly as it should. The bike mode and the riding figures both do well to capture the most important aspects of the designs but also have pretty glaring deficiencies. The VR-41 riding figures come with awkward looking helmeted heads so you’ll be tempted to keep the visor down at all times (or use the included unhelmeted head).
Design: (6/10) -0.5 for Stick/Ley versions
Obviously this toy loses points for featuring a transformation that requires parts be removed from bike mode and never placed back on the toy in armor mode. The original Stick and Ley releases lacked a swivel at the elbow which made it impossible to simply pop off his gun gauntlet and apply it to his arm. Instead, the gun had to be removed, put in the hand, and then a separate piece had to be used for the arm cover. In armor mode the toy suffers from insufficient attachment points to the riding figure which makes handling the figure more precarious than it should be. To help alleviate the weight problems armor mode creates (a preponderance of weight is carried behind the riding figure) Mega House included a gimmick that allows the foot to expand forward but in most cases you’ll want to adopt a kneeling pose or use the included stand as a prop. In bike mode the wheels don’t spin freely. The first three releases (Stick, Ley, Black VR-52F) come with under-sized kickstands which didn’t do much to keep the bike standing, this was replaced with a longer kickstand in later releases as was necessitated by the larger tires. All toys come with a slot to attach the included scope, on the VR-41 this slot is concealed in the inner missile bay. Unlike CMs, Mega House actually did include opening chest missiles on the VR-41 toys and they also gave us a staggered missile launching set if you’d like to mimic Yellow firing. As mentioned in the Sculpt section, the VR-41 toys look better when you attached the helmetless head, unfortunately the long hair restricts where the rider can look.
Durability & Build: (5.5/10) Stick/Ley versions
With the initial Stick and Ley releases the problem isn’t so much with the toy breaking but rather the toy’s inability to stay together. From my very first transformation with these toys I experienced parts popping off that were intended to stay solidly in place. Handling the figures became more of a nuisance than a joy. Fortunately for Mega House, their toys fared slightly better than CMs initial 1/18 offerings which had the same difficulties staying together compounded with parts actually breaking. The initial releases also seemed to have a higher than normal instance of manufacturer error with some toys lacking crucial parts (the pegs that attach the hip armor in armor mode) and other toys coming with two left or two right wheel connecting rods. Paint overspray was also a common issue on the first releases.
Durability & Build: (7/10) Later releases
Mega House never really achieved a toy so sturdy it inspired tough-handed confidence but they did manage to make a toy that could be reasonably expected to transform without errant pieces flying off. The later editions include a swivel at the elbow that some complained was too loose and made it difficult for the toys to hold certain poses. My dark Ride Armor had the front fork break during the first transformation so care should be used when removing the fork. Speaking of the dark variant specifically, care should be taken with the white paint as it is easily scratched off. All variants could benefit from having the torso joint tightened up somehow (clear nail polish or tape). This joint is typically very loose right out of the box which makes the toy more prone to falling over backward when the armor is attached.
Articulation: (7.5/10) – .5 for Stick/Ley versions
You might think this toy would score better given all its impressive points of articulation but I tend to penalize ride armor toys for their many weight distribution issues. This toy is not well balanced and the stand doesn’t offer a whole lot of flexibility. I would encourage you to hunt around for an aftermarket stand as the one included here sucks. You might have heard the MH stand allows for some cool flying poses… don’t be too fooled by this. The implementation of the flying pose attachment is all sorts of poor. If the weight of the figure is leaning to either side the attachment to the stand becomes unseated and the figure falls. If you opt for MH’s backpack assist attachment instead you’ll probably just end up using the stand as a prop since any dynamic posing will move the backpack from its area of support. The initial Stick/Ley toys score half a point less here due to their lack of an elbow swivel.
Total Score: (32/50) Stick/Ley Releases
It’s a shame that Stick is always the first ride armor toy sold since both CMs and Mega House clearly had some kinks they ought to have ironed out before releasing their most popular variant. As things stand, I simply can’t recommend anyone buying either Stick’s or Ley’s toys. They’re not horrid but they’re not good either. If given a choice between 4 Mega House toys, 4 CMs toys, and 1 beagle toy I would choose the Beagle.
Total Score: (34.5/50) Yellow, Dark Stick
For a long while there were numerous people struggling to decide between picking the Mega House line or the CMs line of Mospeada toys. When Mega House failed to produce a Fuke version a number of people kicked themselves for having chosen Mega House. Ignoring the failure of the Mega House line to reach completion, the Mega House was often chosen over CMs because it was more enjoyable to handle (especially the later versions). The CMs toys had durability issues and were so small that it seemed something was always getting pressed out of alignment. With the Mega House toys you got something which seemed to have lower aspirations but less complications which generally gave it more of a fun factor. My preference always leaned toward the CMs toys but I seemed to be in the minority. Then the Beagle toys came out…
Total Score: (35.5/50) Black Ride Armors
These toys scored in additional point for their charm and that constitutes their entire difference from the other later variants. Sadly, these are the only Mega House toys to score approximately ‘average’ and while the collector’s might really enjoy they’ll be an easy pass for the average fan.
Note: this review has been updated, all new pictures were added, a video review, and all variants are now included in one post.
Originally posted April 4, 2008
Updated July 22, 2011 As part of my continuing effort to make this website easier to navigate, I have condensed the following posts into this one Mega Review:
Mega House Black Ride Armors (June 19, 2009)
Mega House Dark Ride Armor (March 30, 2009)
Mega Hobby Exclusive – First Look Black Ride Armor (February 2009)
VR-41 CMs vs Mega House (November 3, 2008)
Mega House VR-41 Yellow (September 15, 2008)
VR-52F and VR-52T CMs vs Mega House (August 17, 2008)
Mega House VR-52 Toys (April 4, 2008)
Updated October 14, 2012 to add a transformation video
Updated August 9, 2014 with new high definition mega review