Mega Review: Includes all variants, Tread toys have their own review
Packaging & Extras: (4/5) Original releases, (4.5/5) with upgrade parts, (3.5/5) Dark, (2.5/5) Drone
There were four different types of CM’s Brave Gokin Legioss toys released. The first three releases, the Eta, Zeta, and Iota came in gift-set that also included a Tread toy (reviewed separately). When spending nearly $300 for a toy it’s natural to expect the entire experience, beginning with the box, to be a ‘premium’ experience. The CM’s packaging is decidedly not premium. There’s no collector’s display flap, the box is thin and flimsy, the inner plastic tray is reinforced by brown cardboard and looks cheap and haphazard. The fact that the packaging is designed to be generic for all three paint variations further reinforces that cheap feeling. Besides the Legioss & the Tread, this is what comes in the box:
1) Gun for Legioss
2) Missile pod for between Legioss’ shoulders in fighter mode
3) Angled magazine for installing the gun to the missile pod in fighter mode
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:
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
So, the packaging and presentation are pretty awful but there is a nice assortment of extras. Given the cost, you could argue that the stickers should be painted on and the screw covers pre-applied but some people might appreciate the flexibility that including them separately provides. Oddly, while two sticker sheets are included, presumably one for the Legioss and one for the Tread, they are identical. These days we’re also used to getting an assortment of fixed posed hands; more would have been welcome.
CM’s later re-released the Eta version of the toy with “bonus parts”. I’m pretty sure that CM’s was just stuck with some backstock so they made the upgrade parts to clear out 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.
CM’s ditched the gift-set approach and released a standalone Dark Legioss. This toy doesn’t come in collector’s grade packaging but it is unique and pretty stylish. The box has a few less goodies. Inside you’ll find:
1) Destabilizer gun (with removable magazine)
2) 1x fist for holding gun
3) 2x missiles for below intakes
4) 1x standing pilot in ride armor
5) 1x pilot riding ride armor in motorcycle mode
6) 1x ride armor in collapsed mode
In a taped plastic bag behind the clam shell you’ll also get:
7) Stickers (same as Legioss)
8) Screw hole plugs on sprues (3x gray, 2x gray)
9) Warning flyer about how to properly handle the legs and rear landing gear
And finally, there’s one item not in any sort of bag:
The instructions are color, glossy paper, and specific to this model. The exclusion of a standing pilot figure not wearing the ride armor makes the inclusion of a collapsed ride armor a little less enjoyable.
The final CM’s Brave Gokin offering was the Pilot-less type or Drone Legioss. This toy comes in essentially the same packaging that the original Dark Legioss came in but with updated art (as you would expect). Humorously enough, it seems CM’s decided at the last moment to not include several accessories. As a result, the plastic tray has the spots for lots of extras that didn’t come with the toy. Don’t worry, it’s not missing parts, CM’s just got cheap. This time around you get:
1) Destabilizer gun (with removable magazine)
2) Fist for gripping gun
3) 2x missiles for under intakes
You’ll note empty slots for a central missile array and the ride armor bits that came with the piloted Dark Legioss. Behind the clam shell you’ll find a bag that contains:
4) Stickers (same as Legioss)
5) Screw hole plugs on sprues (3x gray, 2x gray)
Again, the instructions are nice, color, glossy, and specific to this particular Legioss toy.
Charm & Collectability: (3/5)
The Tread has been a toy of legend for a long time now and its inclusion in the gift-set definitely stirred a lot of interest. 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. At 17cm tall in soldier mode they stand roughly the same height as the Toynami MPC or Aoshima Legioss making them approximately 1/48 scale. At only 164 grams, you would need to hold three CM’s Legioss toys to surpass the heft of one Toynami MPC Alpha (which weighs 400 grams). Despite following Toynami to market by several years, there was no consensus CM’s had produced a better product. Many collectors simply pursued the Toynami and Aoshima offerings. 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. Specific manufacture numbers are only known for one toy, the Pilotless Legioss, of which only 800 were made. Given the unlikelihood that another toy company will make a drone version of the Legioss, the drone may become the most collectable of the lot. 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)
Dark Legioss, September 2008, 12,800¥ (“limited edition”, no specifics given)
AFC-01H Eta Legioss & Tread with Bonus Parts, March 2009, 28,000¥
Dark Legioss Pilotless Type, April 2009, 12,800¥ (limited to 800 pieces)
Sculpt, Detail, and Paint: (5.5/10)
CMs threw the line art in the rubbish bin and decided to start fresh with their own interpretation of the vehicle. It looks like they watched a few episodes and decided they wanted to go with something closer to what we see in the cartoon (remember, this was a cartoon animated by Anime Friend… a group not exactly known for being able to follow line art). So instead of the Legioss looking somewhat squat and brutish, like it does in all the original artwork, we get something sleeker. Fortunately, while inaccurate, the toy still looks decent as a new interpretation and has a ton of extra detail work. Unfortunately, much of the detail work is strange. The jets at the end of the forearms have been reimagined as backward facing intakes complete with fan detail. The big chest openings which house an intake fan and a maneuvering thruster have been shrunk down with a black intake fan filling the smaller diameter. So, with all those intakes where does the CMs Legioss produce thrust? Well, don’t look on the feet, there’s no thruster detail there. Isn’t that all kind of odd? Then there’s the pilot. CMs may claim this is a 1/48 scale toy but take a look at the Aoshima pilot… doesn’t he look bigger than the CMs pilot? Apparently CMs made their sleeker version of the plane have too sleek a cockpit so it couldn’t accommodate an appropriately sized pilot figure (not removeable but painted) so they just shrank him to make it work. Similarly, CMs again threw the line art out when adding the missile bays to the Legioss. On this toy the missiles are various sizes with different payloads than show in the art. An additional door was added to the legs to allow for the landing gear. There is a lot of subdued lines and rivets running through the plastic which is a nice touch even if rivets make no sense on a futurist space craft. The head in fighter mode sits too far down from the cockpit and the knees stick out ridiculously far below the wings eliminating any ability to pretend this thing could ever really fly.
In soldier mode the head sits in a deep valley of the chest and the forearms look really fat in comparison to the rest of the soldier-mode’s proportions. The vertical stabilizers may look good in fighter mode but they’re so long they stick out beyond the forearm in soldier mode.
Interestingly enough, the upgrade parts don’t have the Mars Base icon so it seems to me they were made to be generic. The upgraded intakes for the Legioss toy are a huge but superficial improvement. No, the BFG included is not from the original series, it’s from a popular piece of art
The Dark Legioss has all the faults of the previous CMs Legioss offerings but there are some bright spots. First, some of the detail work is very nice like the painted pilot within the cockpit and there’s even a bit of detail within the gun’s detachable magazine. CMs also did a great job in incorporating many of the design changes the Dark Legioss featured to differentiate it from the standard Legioss. Amongst these changes you’ll notice that the VTOL vent has been deleted, the canopy detail altered, the shoulders have been updated, and the chest intakes have been re-shaped (note in the picture below that Toynami went the cheap route and didn’t update the shoulders on the Dark Legioss toys). Speaking of chests, CMs didn’t bother to match the paint used on the chest intakes to the paint used on the toy’s face resulting in something a bit garish. This is definitely not the kind of effort you’d expect on a $100+ toy.
It is so hard to judge the pilotless type Legioss in this category. On one hand I love how faithful to the line art CM’s tried to be. They didn’t cheap things out and ignore several aspects that make this vehicle unique so they could use as much of the standard Legioss toy as possible. Unfortunately, the basis for their design is still a Legioss toy which only loosely resembled the line art. There are some nice details but for the most part the detail work is mediocre (good panel lines but not nearly enough tampo painted details). It’s refreshing to see just how different it is from the Dark Legioss to the trained Mospeada fan eye but it could have been a lot better.
Starting on a positive note, this toy has the following premium features:
1) Integrated landing gear that lock in their extended positions (made of metal with rolling wheels, no rubber tires)
2) Opening cockpit (pilot is not removable)
3) Integrated missile bays in all the appropriate areas (though detail is incorrect per discussion above)
4) Perfect transformation
5) Ratcheting joints
6) Optional third missile bay is removable and pivots
7) Gun can be attached to the wing in fighter mode (you can remove the magazine or flip the gun so the magazine is sticking out away from the body. The gun can also be mounted to the missile pod but requires the use of a special magazine. This is clearly inferior to the Aoshima Legioss where the regular magazine can be slotted into the missile pod.
The handling of the integrated shoulder-array was the best on any Legioss figure yet (even if you might think it looks a little small). The biggest plus is the ratcheting joints. Not every joint has a ratchet but the right ones do and the other joints are all nice and stiff.
Now let’s ponder what this toy is not. There is no indication on this toy that it was ever intended to mate to a Tread toy. There are no locking mechanisms in the forearms, there are no locking mechanisms on the feet, there isn’t even anything in the pelvis region that would help the toy connect to the extended boom of the Tread. It makes no sense at all. Toynami never had a Beta toy in mind when they made their Alpha but CM’s knew what they were getting into and still didn’t bother to try to engineer in some success? I give CM’s some credit for trying to design a very durable toy but they did this by removing sleeve-like collapsing wherever possible. Now, you might be thinking “but the Legioss has sleeve-like transformations in the abdomen, legs, arms, and possibly even the feet and nose of the fighter” and you’d be right. The arms remain sleeves that collapse within and they function much better than on the Toynami MPC. The CM’s collapsing forearms are smooth and collapse fully. If they could make buttery smooth transforming arms that work in the traditional sense why were they so afraid of using that same structure elsewhere on the toy? Everything else becomes Z-like accordion joints that extend and collapse. In the area of the head and nose of the plane this is rather tricky and may prove to make the toy less durable as everything is fairly stiff and requires a good amount of pressure (and the nose relies on two little plastic prods at the bottom to lock it into place). By far the ugliest example of these Z-joints are the legs. WTF? In order to pull off this type of joint the back of the leg is left oddly exposed and the mid leg is an arch! Now, you would think if they were going to make the legs so awkward they’d at least put some sort of twist point in at the knee but no luck there. This whole bizarre system of collapsing the legs leaves a huge gap between them in fighter mode (the calves touch in the line art) that will make you second guess if you have both legs transformed correctly. CMs also made the arm-mounted vertical stabilizers too long for the forearms they’re supposed to collapse into leaving them slightly exposed in soldier mode and jutting out when combined to the Tread. As if that weren’t all enough, the toy’s arms don’t lock to the leg and the wings are easily repositioned in fighter mode which makes it incredibly easy to knock that mode completely out of alignment. The upgrade parts don’t do much for the design of the Legioss but the fixed posed gun-gripping hands manage a death grip on their weapons so no more problems with the toy dropping the gun every time you bump it.
When it came to the Dark Legioss the toy retains all the positives and negatives but there are a few design attributes specific to this toy that should have been improved:
1) The destabilizer gun should have been designed with a collapsing magazine, not a magazine that needed to be removed for fighter mode (c’mon, Toynami already showed us how)
2) the gun should have fit over the toy’s hand, not required an additional plug in hand
3) the shoulder-array is missing on the Dark Legioss so the toy should have incorporated a fix that eliminated the shoulder flap in soldier mode
4) the gun shouldn’t be aimed directly into the back of the pilot’s head in fighter mode.
That pilotless type has a large chest that’s integral for the newly designed head which is the first CMs Legioss head to actually rotate left and right (mostly for the sake of allowing transformation… as, humorously enough, I believe this was the one head that didn’t turn in the actual show). The pilotless Legioss didn’t have shoulder missiles so you won’t find them here. The pilotless Legioss did have two missile banks hidden within its chest but you will not find those here. It’s sad to see so much of the upper body of this toy is new but CM’s didn’t manage to eliminate the flip door on the back which has no reason to be on the shadow variants.
Durability & Build: (8/10)
CMs might not have tried very hard to make this a faithful recreation of a Legioss, and they might not have had their most brilliant engineering team on the project, but they seemed to have made the right decisions in making this a toy that would last. I really hope someone at Toynami bought one of these so they could get an idea what a well-built toy is like. Sure, the toy feels light but if you look hard enough you’ll notice metal in all the areas that take the most strain. Some may not appreciate the glossiness of the plastic but it doesn’t feel brittle or flexible. It wouldn’t be hard to intentionally break this toy but there’s nothing here that looks like it’s a disaster waiting to happen (CM’s, I’m looking at the windscreen on those Ride Armors you made right now). I did encounter some issues after more than a year of ownership now I should point out:
1) the transformation to fighter mode causes the paint on the face of the blue version to rub against the chest and wear off.
2) the heels on mine are loose leading to the toy toppling. I initially thought a turn of the screw would fix this but it didn’t do the trick so a more involved fix will be in order.
3) the forearms don’t stay pegged together… a drip of glue would obviously solve this.
4) the wing hinge doesn’t have enough resistance to hold the wing up. The wing often rests on the knees below it.
5) I did have a hard point sheer off when I pulled the gun off. CM’s painted the wings and then glued hard points onto the paint which doesn’t make for a strong hold.
The head can’t cock left or right… it can’t even turn left or right. You can make it look up or down a bit by elevating the transformation mechanism but it does expose the metal rod the hit sits on to do this. The sensor array on the shoulder pivots upward a bit. The shoulder joints allow a full 360 degrees of motion and are VERY stiff. You can pivot the arm out away from the body at the shoulder about 45 degrees. There’s a full 360 degree swivel in the bicep. The elbow is very limited allowing about 45 degrees of angle in the traditional sense but also has nearly 90 degrees of swivel left/right which is super cool. The hands are on ball joints so they can spin at the wrist and they have three fingers articulated as one piece and a separate individually articulated trigger finger. There’s a 360 degree swivel at the waist. The hips allow the toe to be pointed outward or in and angle outward but only a small amount. The legs can move forward or back until they are stopped by a body part via nice ratcheting joints. The knee consists of two joints, one at the bottom of the thigh and one after the arch that connects to the back of the kneecap but this still only allows for about 90 degrees of movement. The feet have a minor ability to rock in/out but no twist. The heel can pivot at two places but the front toe can only move downward. The Legioss design calls for big feet but manufacturers haven’t learned that a little extra work is required to make those big feet adaptable for dynamic posing… this CMs toy might as well be wearing skis.
Total Score: (31.5-33.5/50)
When I purchased this set I thought I’d give the Legioss a much lower score but the look of fighter mode managed to grow on me (almost like a Super Deformed toy might) but it still handles awfully. What sells this toy more than anything else is that it’s the first Legioss toy since the Gakken 1/35 that feels like a good, old-fashioned toy. That said, it’s RIDICULOUSLY over-priced. If this Legioss had been sold by Toynami at $79.99 in the US as the MPC there would have been tremendous fan backlash but CMs is selling this as part of a combination package at more than triple that price… yikes! So, if you’re not a huge Mospeada/Robotech: The New Gen fanboy there are much better toys you can buy for less. At the time when these toys were released $270 could buy a Yamato 1/48 VF-1 ($120) and a 1/60 YF-19 ($150). The Dark Legioss and Pilotless allowed you to get a Legioss for much less but without the Tread toy that is the strength of this line. I’m glad they went the extra mile on the Dark and Pilotless types to include the mold changes. While I much prefer the look and handling of the Toynami MPC, I only handle those toys with trepidation due to their horrible build quality. This toy, on the other hand, looks funky, feels loose and disconnected, but also handles very well with clicks and tightness where you want it and buttery sliding where you need it.