10.11.07

Gakken 1/8 Ride Armor (Cyclone)

Posted in Cyclone/Ride Armor, Gakken, MOSPEADA/RT New Gen at 9:12 pm by micronian

Ride Armor Intro Pic.jpg 

   REVIEW (Updated): Motooooorcycle FREAK!

Henshin Ride Armor Box.jpg

Packaging and Extras: Japan (4/5), Singapore (3.5/5)
As you’re likely aware, Japanese toys benefitted from more lax child safety laws.  This lead to Japanese-sold products having cooler accessories like guns that really fired.  In the Ride Armor’s case, Stig received gauntlet missiles that actually fired.  It’s not really a huge plus but it’s fun none-the-less.  The second picture below shows the blue caps used to eliminate this feature in the Non-Japanese varieties of the toy.  The original Japanese packaging is also pretty stylish in comparison to the Singapore releases via Henshin Robo and Excite’s Robotech line.  No matter where the toy was made, they were all shipped in the same styrofoam tray that secured all the various parts very nicely.  This is definitely a quality product in a quality package.  For some odd reason the toy includes an over-sized gun that looks similar to the gun Houquet/Rook used.  It’s not accurate but it’s a nice touch to make the armor look even tougher.  The sticker decals do really spruce the toy up and the instructions are clear for a toy that is somewhat difficult to transform.
 

Large Ride Armor 30.jpgLarge Ride Armor 23.jpg 

Charm & Collectibility: Japan (5/5), Singapore (3.5HR, 4RT, 4.5MB, 4.5GCM/5)
Some of you may be having problems with what exactly the scoring means on the Singapore variant.  First is Henshin Robo.  Henshin Robo products are a bit of a red-headed stepchild in the Gakken world.  They’re precisely the same as the Robotech product but true MOSPEADA fans generally prefer the Japanese product and Robotech fans want the Robotech product.  The second score is for Excite’s Robotech packaged Cyclone.  It’s the most common version of the toy released in the United States.  The rarest Singapore version of the toy was the one briefly packaged and distributed by Matchbox.  It is more collectible than the Henshin Robo and Excite versions but it is precisely the same toy which makes it less desirable than the original Japanese release that featured the firing weaponry and the MOSPEADA label.  Arguably equally collectible as the Matchbox version is the Singapore version that was sold in Japanese-style packaging.   This final variant looks similar to the Japanese but has English writing on the back explaining the Genesis Climber backstory and the transformation of the bike.  This toy remains the best Ride Armor product available making it highly desired regardless of where it came from or how it was packaged.  The manufacturer mark is located above the left rear tailpipe (as pictured).

 

Large Ride Armor 24.jpg 

Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: Japan & Singapore (8/10)
Considering the era in which this toy was made, the sculpt is truly amazing!  Easily recognizable as the vehicle from the animation which is truly impressive when one considers the huge amount of “anime magic” that went into pulling off this vehicle’s transformation in the show.  In fact, the sculpt is so good that the toy still looks great by today’s standards.  There are a few areas that could use some improvement but its genuinely difficult to find any major faults on a purely physical appearance level.
 

Large Ride Armor 16.jpgLarge Ride Armor 17.jpgLarge Ride Armor 20.jpg 

Design: Japan & Singapore (8/10)
As mentioned before, this vehicle relied on a lot of anime magic to transform within the series so the designer of this toy certainly had several obstacles to overcome.  It’s really quite a wonder to see how well they succeeded.  However, as wonderful as this toy’s design is there is also one glairing deficiency that greatly detracts from its enjoyment.  The rider figure can not ride!  You can get the rider to kind of straddle the bike but it’s certainly not convincing.  Other issues are the difficulty in getting the clip to lock underneath the rider’s rear in armor mode (it’s pretty scary for a toy this old to try to force anything).  The design of the toy also fails to support a lot of articulation, note the difficulty encountered when trying to get Stig to aim his missiles forward.  Also, don’t expect to see the shoulder guidance system here, just a sticker indicating where it should be.

Large Ride Armor 13.jpgLarge Ride Armor 12.jpg

Durability & Build: Japan & Singapore (8/10)
This toy has a lot of small tabs, pegs, and hooks and while it seems some of these parts could be easily broken they are actually surprisingly durable.  There are lots of small tabs though and this is certainly not something you want to man-handle and I would think a child would quickly manage to break something.  The transformation is complicated and patience is a virtue.  Trying to force anything would like cause one of the tabs, pegs, or hooks to break and they all seem pretty vital.  Just the same, when fully transformed in either mode the toy feels hefty and solid and I can imagine that it would actually take a fall fairly gracefully (although I would never dare test that).
 

Large Ride Armor Rider.jpgLarge Ride Armor 10.jpg 

Articulation: Japan & Singapore (4/10)
Well, the honeymoon had to end somewhere.  I was a bit generous on the design side but this is where the piper gets paid.  The rider figure has some neat points of rotation and mobility but overall it just doesn’t work to help much of anything.  There is no swivel at the waist so the ride armor will always be facing forward with the legs.  The knees connect to the chest when the Ride Armor is equipped which limits the leg movement as well.  This leaves the arms as being the major point of articulation but those are hindered by the vehicle’s large chest.  Add that to the fact that the rider can’t truly ride the bike and the result is a dismal score.

Large Ride Armor 1.jpgLarge Ride Armor small 29.jpg 

Total Score: Japan (37/50), Henshin Robo (35/50), Excite (35.5/50), Matchbox/GCM (36/50)
This is a fantastic toy.  In fact, it’s so great that it’s depressing.  Why depressing?  If Gakken could make this toy in the early 1980s why hasn’t anyone since made anything comparable for ride armors?  With the wonders Yamato has pulled off in the Valkyrie market just think what a modern company could do with the ride armor.  In fact, this toy could easily be used as a base.  Lots of modern tweaks could be implemented to improve the sculpt and dramatically improve the articulation (hopefully without too much of an expense to durability) and I have to imagine it’d be a surefire winner.  If Yamato believes there’s enough of a market to sell the Garland then you’d have to think Toynami could sell a Cyclone.  Back to the subject at hand, if you’re a vintage toy collector, a fan of transformable motorcyles, or a huge Genesis Climber MOSPEADA (Robotech The New Generation) fan then you need to pick up one of these.  Don’t expect the toy to be poseable and you won’t be let down.  Update – Okay, Toynami and some other companies have announced that we can expect new Ride Armors soon (undoubtedly because they read this review and realized how right I was).  Be sure to check back here for reviews of these new toys when they’re available!

NOTE: This Review has Been Updated

Original Post Date: May 21, 2006

21 Comments »

  1. Robert said,

    September 22, 2006 at 6:54 am

    Hi,
    I’m pleased to see your thorough and excellent commentary/reviews on these great toys and collectables.

    Thanks a bunch and its good to see a dedicated fellow Anime/Macross fan out there like myself.

    PS. Are you into Orguss? If so it is one of those more obscure anime shows out there (but one that many Macross fans love) and it might be a good thing for you to add the products from that line of toys as another extra to the Macross reviews here seeing as that is all you really have concentrated on (Excepting of course your Mospeada reviews.)

  2. micronian said,

    September 23, 2006 at 7:45 pm

    Hi Robert, I hope you don’t mind but I edited out the non-public domain portions of your comment and sent you an email in response to those inquiries.

    For those of you who love Orguss I really wish I could accomodate you by including some Orguss toys on this site. Unfortunately, while I do really enjoy the show, I do not own any toys from it. Maybe I can set something up where people send me reviews and pics and I simply post them? Maybe we could do it wikipedia style? If anyone is interested, let me know! I’ll suggest this in the site news at some point also…

  3. Jared said,

    January 8, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    Hey,

    I noticed that you said you have an additional ride armor for sale. Is it still available? Ive been looking for one. Thanks,

    Jared

  4. micronian said,

    January 9, 2007 at 1:28 am

    Sorry, i have deleted the reference to the extra ride armor. I may occasionally sale toys going forward but if I do I’ll go ahead and place a link up on the main page. This particular toy was sold several weeks back.

  5. Marcelo said,

    June 11, 2008 at 3:23 am

    Great article, and great toy. I own one of these beauties myself.

    You mentioned the “difficulty in getting the clip to lock underneath the rider’s rear in
    armor mode”. There’s a trick to accomplish that, without forcing it.
    Pay attention to the two small black wheels that sit near the waist, in armor mode; they have a tab that allows you to rotate them. In armor mode, the tabs should face forward, otherwise they’ll take space between the armor and the rider’s chest, thus preventing the clip to reach the rear part of the armor.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards!
    Marcelo

  6. Dennis said,

    July 24, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    This is one of my favourite childhood toy. So nice that you could share the knowledge of Gakken Cyclone bike with us. It’s really an eye-opener for me to learn the different variants!

  7. Rob said,

    November 26, 2008 at 4:57 am

    What does a Gakken Ride Armor go for nowadays?

  8. micronian said,

    November 27, 2008 at 1:31 am

    I haven’t been in the market to buy one in a long time so I’m afraid I couldn’t tell you. I imagine it’s around $200 for a minty one though, that was the going price for a long while. The upcoming release of the Beagle/Toynami MPC might drive the price down a bit.

  9. Fede said,

    December 11, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Hi, first of all i wanted to congratulate your great work reviewing macross / robotech toys. You have helped me to make my buys much more easy.
    I want to ask you a question, i got a Gakken Ride Armor, the box says Mospeada and the texts on it are in english, wich one of the reviewed ones would it be?

  10. Chaos Incarnate said,

    December 22, 2008 at 4:34 am

    http://wildcats.pupui.jp/mt/archives/2008/12/sneak_review_pa_3.html

    Nuff said.

  11. Malcolm said,

    February 28, 2009 at 8:25 am

    I have a Mospeda 21 (ref: VR-052-F) Gakken Armor bike/riding suit called The Henshin Robo. Can anyone put me in touch with collectors of this toy as I am concidering selling

    Regards

    Malcolm

  12. micronian said,

    February 28, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    The best place for selling that ride armor is definitely on eBay. Mospeada collectors/Robotech The New Gen typically do their best selling items there as there.

  13. Sammy said,

    February 28, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Hi micronian. This is a great review of a great toy. This toy is truly highly engineered considering the time that it was developed in the early eighties. I don’t know of any toy then that involved so many steps when it comes to transformation.

    I own one myself, and compared to the newer “cyclone” releases, I preferred the look of this old toy. However, I don’t have any of the new releases yet, but I do appreciate your reviews on them.

    Keep up the great work!

  14. Brad said,

    March 27, 2010 at 4:10 am

    Great review! Gakken and Mego will always be my favs! The magnetic gig figures from europe are also sweet toys. Gakken cyclone and large alphas are the best.

  15. Brad said,

    May 1, 2010 at 4:15 am

    I am still having trouble with purchasing a japanese version of this. The firing missle version is very expensive. Around 500$. Hey Micronian I never knew there was a non firing japanese version. Thanks!

  16. Frogze said,

    June 13, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Hi Micronian,
    I noticed in your picture of the back of the knee of your rider that they have the same problem that mine had (and I guess that many others too) which is that the knee joints are assembled backwards. The knee joints have a square part and an round part and the square part should be at the front allowing the knee to be bent backwards at 90 degrees (this operation also doesn’t degrade the ride armor mode, the knee joints are strong enough to support the whole weight). The fix requires to disassemble the whole figure to get to the knee though but nothing is supposed to be glued on so it should be easy.
    Can the corrected rider ride? Mine is now much more convincing than the one I’ve seen above ;)

  17. micronian said,

    June 14, 2010 at 7:01 am

    I REALLY have to update this post now that the Beagle is out. Thanks for the info on the knees. I have heard that the Japanese version of the toy has a greater range of movement at the knees. I wonder if the instructions sent to the Singapore plant weren’t just wrong on the knees so all the knees made in Singapore were built backward thus limiting articulation? I’ve owned a few Singapore variants and all of them could only bend their knees back as far as this one did.

  18. robotoy said,

    June 24, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Hi, Recently acquired a mospeada 21 cyclone which I believe is a Singapore version. Does anyone has any links to the transformation guide? My loose set does not come with any manual. Looking forward to your help!

  19. micronian said,

    June 25, 2014 at 5:54 am

    I have been meaning to do an update and include a video. When I do I’ll put up the scan of the transformation guide. Maybe someone can shoot you a link somewhere in the meantime.

  20. robotoy said,

    June 30, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Hi, there is in fact a link on youtube that covers the transformation. Not that difficult after all. sharing the link to all whom need it.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A2rUrLUnLG4

    Cheers!

  21. workpath said,

    August 25, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I just reconnected with this toy after 30+ years and am in love with it! I have a couple questions: 1. is there a variant that has painted hair/eyes? 2. How in the heck do you keep the left side shield on (the one with the black hinged “claw”)? It doesn’t seem to want to insert/snap anywhere. Great work on this blog, it’s an amazing resource.

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