Showdown(updated): And you thought you’d never live to see the day
Packaging & Extras: Toynami
In many ways this post is just a summary of what you can already find in the two dedicated posts to these products. If you haven’t read them already, take a moment to read my Mega Reviews on the CMs Legioss and Tread products (which includes the stand alone Legioss toys that were released), my Toynami and Aoshima Alpha/Legioss review, and my Toynami and Aoshima Beta/Tread review. As you’ll see in those reviews, one of the real highlights of the Toynami products is their packaging. Toynami’s book-style boxes are nicely decorated, uniquely decorated for each repaint, feature flip-tops that reveal the toy inside, and the only real downside is the amount of space on your shelf these two boxes will take. The CMs package is smaller (still not small by any means) but it’s the same for all releases and not really a collector’s quality box. The CMs comes with a sword, extra missiles for the Legioss, more miniature ride armors, and an extra missile box, all things you do not get with the Toynami products. The Toynami does come with a better stand though which will probably mean more to you than all those extra CMs items… not to mention the much better connecting booms. If I had to, I probably would include the Aoshima toys in front of the CMs products here also simply because they have unique packaging, even if it’s not as nice as Toynami’s. CMs does come with the little ride armor figures though and that’s a very cool perk.
Charm & Collectability: Toynami
This is tricky but since the Toynami features diecast and is more faithful to the line art it seems like it should be more popular than the CMs. The CMs product, while not labeled as a limited edition, was made at only a small fraction of the number of the Toynami products so there is a lot of potential there. Just the same, if Scott’s MPC Alpha is any indication, the Toynami will probably prove the hotter item. So far this prediction is holding true although, as of March 23rd, 2011 both toys are selling at very steep discounts. The mark-down is even more dramatic in the case of the CMs toys where the intial MSRP was so high. These days even the CMs products that come with the “improvement parts” can be found very cheap.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: Toynami (honorary mention to CMs Dark Legioss and Pilotless Legioss types)
Here’s a quick run down of the strengths and weaknesses of the two toys:
Toynami Alpha’s (and Aoshima’s Legioss) nose doesn’t slope down as it should which throws the look of fighter off, including combined fighter with the Beta. Soldier and diver (Battloid and Guardian) modes look good.
CMs Legioss has a needle nose, more under wing kibble produced by the knees, very poor head placement and a sloppy-looking back end to fighter mode. Soldier mode doesn’t have the right amount of chunkiness and the fins don’t collapse properly into the forearms which is also a problem in combined fighter mode with the Tread.
CMs does receive additional praise for their Dark Legioss and Pilotless Legioss types. The Dark Legioss incorporates the unique features of the model (head, canopy, shoulders, VTOL delete, canopy, intakes) whereas Toynami opted to only incorporate the head, chest, and VTOL delete. Obviously CMs Pilotless type has a lot of unique features and Toynami apparently felt that version of the toy was too unique to bother making.
Toynami’s Beta (and Aoshima’s Tread) in bomber mode suffers from large gaps between the legs and the center array but is otherwise a very solid effort. The Battloid (soldier) mode suffers from not concealing the cockpit.
CMs Tread looks excellent in bomber mode but the connection cradle is far less visually appealing than Toynami’s boom and separate landing gears. The worst aspect of CMs’ bomber mode has to be the center array which can’t properly rest between the legs leaving you with a choice between one toy that has way too big a gap for the array and another which doesn’t have enough of one. I would say CMs has the better looking Soldier mode as the chest cleverly conceals within the main body.
Both these sets of toys have lots of strengths and lots of weaknesses. Toynami’s Alpha is way too complicated for its own good and has too much diecast for its joints to support. The CMs Legioss has an odd transformation and a sloppy feeling fighter mode. Both fighter toys do get kudos though for having all the proper missiles whereas only the CMs bomber has all the proper missiles (Toynami omitted the shoulder missiles). Where Toynami trounces CMs is in the engineering of the connection to the Alpha/Legioss toy. The CMs looks like two unrelated toys parked next to each other connected by an unwieldy heavy metal arm (with permanently affixed landing gears). The Toynami, on the other hand, actually brings everything together properly. The display stand provided with the CMs also only works for displaying the toys with the Legioss in soldier mode with the Tread acting as a booster. Toynami’s display stand allows you to display the toy with both in their flying configuration (although a better display rig would be a smart purchase). CMs did release a version of this toy with “improvement parts” that, once installed, greatly increased the effectiveness of the connection. Unfortunately, this required another part and still seems like a sad after thought when one considers that CMs was building the Legioss and Tread toy simultaneously and should have integrated ways for the toys to come together.
Durability & Build: CMs
While it appears Toynami has made LARGE strides forward with their new Beta toy the MPC Alpha has always been a game of quality control roulette that only diehard Alpha fans should play. Once you’ve handled the much better Beta the Alpha seems like an even more pathetic effort. To this day I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone breaking a CMs Legioss or Tread. The only issue I’ve seen first hand is that the paint on the faces can be chipped off by the plastic of what forms the chest while the Legioss is in fighter mode. The CMs toys are so solid that they become a lot of fun, you can pose them and transform them without worry.
The CMs Legioss toy is microscopically less poseable than the Toynami (although, as mentioned above, you do get to pose it without fear of breaking, a luxury you’ll never have with an MPC Alpha). The CMs Tread though is more poseable enough for CMs to win this category. As outlined in my Toynami Beta review, the Toynami can not twist at the waist, can not angle its head upward, and can not angle its knees outward like the CMs can. That’s not to say the Toynami is so stiff it’s not fun, it’s just not as good as the CMs.
It’s such a terrible shame that the MPC Alpha is not a better toy. It’s also a shame that CMs threw the line art to the wind when they came up with their package. As you can see, the CMs Tread doesn’t even adhere to the scale of the CMs Legioss. Neither of these sets represents the perfect effort, but of the two Toynami managed to get the closest. Remember the winner in the durability and build section though. After you’ve had a few Alphas become floppy broken messes you may start thinking that that section is worth more than all the other sections combined. I’ve added some pics below so you can see that, while CMs eschewed strict line art adherence, they did do a good job getting the unique bits of the Dark Legioss.
Note: this review has been updated. Original posted December 22, 2008.
Some existing pictures had their resolution increased, many new pictures were added and content was updated.