CMs 1/18 Ride Armors

CMs Ride Armor Intro 1B

Mega Review: Includes standard, dark, and limited edition releases

Dark CMs Ride Armor Inserts 1CMs Soldier Ride Armor Boxes 1ACMs Ride Armor Boxes 1

Packaging & Extras: Stick and Ley and all VR-52F/T versions (3.5/5)
The release armor, quantities, and packaging for the CMs toys were as follows (duplicate numbers represent simultaneous releases):
1) Stick: Box 1 (Green with pictures of VR-52F and 52T), red label, mass produced, January 2008
1) Ley (aka Ray): Box 1, blue label, mass produced, January 2008
3) VR-52T Soldier: Box 1, green label, 100 units at Winter Wonderfest 2008
4) VR-52F Soldier: Box 1, red label, green dot, 300 units, Summer Wonderfest 2008 and F3
4) Stick Clear/Metallic: Box 1, red label, red sticker, 300 units, Summer Wonderfest 2008 and F3
4) Ley Clear/Metallic: Box 1, red label, blue sticker, 300 units, Summer Wonderfest 2008 and F3
4) Yellow Clear/Metallic: Box 1*, red label, “Limited Edition” sticker, 300 units, Summer Wonderfest 2008 and F3
8) Yellow: Box 2 (Blue Yellow-specific box), mass produced, July 2008
9) Fuke: Box 3 (Red Fuke-specific box), mass produced, October 2008
10) Shinobu: Box 4 (Black box for Dark Armors), 1000 units, December 2008
11) VR-52F Dark: Box 4, 1000 units, December 2008
11) VR-52T Dark: Box 4, 500 units, December 2008
13) Fuke Clear/Metallic: Box 3, “Limited Edition” sticker, 300 units, Winter Wonderfest 2009 and CMs events, (300 units)
The CMs packaging generally feels cheap, with multiple tape strikes, and no collector’s style lid that lets you see the toy inside without opening.  Stick and Ley versions come with the following:
1) Rider figure with helmeted head
2) Bike
3) Saddlebags
4) Triangular bike stand
5) Targeting scope
6) 1 set of extra fixed posed hands
7) Armor-mode stand (twig)
8) 1 pair of replacement swing-arm locks (only with original and VR-52T LE versions)
9) Instructions
Stick’s figure also comes with:
10) Gun attached to fixed-pose hand

CMs Clear Ride Armor Boxes 1CMs Clear Ride Armor Boxes 2BCMs Ride Armor Instructions

Packaging & Extras: Yellow versions (4/5)
Yellow’s comes with all the same extras included with Stick’s toy except the pair of replacement swing-arm locks which were no longer necessary since CMs upgraded these to metal parts.  The clear/metallic version of Yellow’s toy excluded an accessory and was packaged in the wrong box with a mail-in certificate to get the proper packaging and extras.  Yellow’s toy benefited from packaging specific to his bike as well as including:
11) Rider heads without helmets (Stick, Ley, and Yellow)

CMs Yellow 3CMs Clear VR-41 Ride Armor 1

Packaging & Extras: Shinobu (4/5)
Shinobu’s toy didn’t come in a unique box but it did have extras on par with Yellow’s.  As with Yellow’s, the extra swing-arm locks weren’t necessary.  The targeting scope was also dropped but I don’t consider that a loss since Shinobu was always using her view finder anyway.
10) Camcorder with flip out screen (no hand attached)
11) Helmetless Shinobu head
12) Additional fixed posed hand for use with camcorder

CMs Fuke Armor 5CMs Fuke Armor 2

Packaging & Extras: Fuke (4.5/5)
Fuke came with the greatest amount of goodies.  Like Yellow and Shinobu, she has no swing arm locks because of the improvements CMs made.  Like Shinobu, Fuke lacks the targeting scope but I don’t believe her ride armor is supposed to have one.
10) Fuke’s gun (no hand attached)
11) Helmetless Fuke head
12) Additional fixed posed hand for use with the gun
13) Mint (Annie) figure in riding position
14) Mint (Annie) figure in standing position

Dark CMs Ride Armor 7

Charm & Collectability:  Ley, Shinobu, VR-52T/F Dark (2.5/5)
Ley toys are never highly sought after since they’re eventually less fun versions of the Stick toy.  The CMs Ley also suffers from being poorly constructed.  While Shinobu and the other dark ride armors may have been good for CMs mold milking purposes they still proves easy to find despite their limited quantities.  Since CMs produced the most complete line of Mospeada products there’s always a chance that some day these will be collector’s items… that day appears to still be a ways away.  All of these ride armor toys originally MSRP’ed in the ballpark of $70 US which seemed ludicrous then and is typically quite a bit more than what they sell for today.

CMs Yellow 8CMs Yellow 6CMs Ride Armor Scale 2

Charm & Collectability: Stick, Yellow, Fuke (3/5)
The pic above is (Left to right) Gakken 1/8, Gakken 1/20, Gakken 1/20, Gakken 1/35, CMs 1/18 as specified by the manufacturers).  I’m being generous by including Stick in this scoring group since he seems to have had the largest quantity produced and can still be found with minimal searching at or below MSRP.  Yellow and Fuke sold fairly well and seemed to be released in smaller quantities but they too can be found with a bit of searching for less than MSRP but not quite at the bargain basement prices of the Dark ride armor releases.

CMs Green 1CMs Ride Armor Types 1

Charm & Collectability: Clear/Metallic and Soldier releases (3.5/5)
Since these CMs toys feature a minute amount of metal (swing bars and chest cover in armor mode) and transform with minimal parts removal there’s a chance that some day collectors will look on these toys more favorably and, if that happens, then these might become hot items.  At present, it seems someone trying to sell theirs off may have a hard time recouping what it cost them.  You can tell the soldier releases that came with the ride armor toys apart from the soldier riding figures that came with the Wolff Riding Figure Set but the slight amount of tampo on them.

CMs Bike Comparison 1ACMs Bike Comparison 3CMs Bike Comparison 5

Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (8/10)
This is really the strong suit of the CMs 1/18 line.  As you can see from the line art comparisons, the figures aren’t bad representations even at this tiny scale.  Sure, the wheels come up too high in armor mode but to rectify that CMs would have needed another mechanism in transformation and this product is so fiddly you’ll immediately be happy they didn’t try to pull that off.  The level of tampo-printed detail is pretty remarkable (with exception of the generic ‘soldier’ types).  You may have noticed that no decals are included with these toys and largely that’s because you shouldn’t need any.  Some people have felt the screws were too obvious but generally that means higher quality than a glued together product.  There is a large seam running down the chest in armor mode but ‘large’ is relative as the product is so small and I find the seam less evident in person.  The helmet-less heads included with Yellow’s bike are not a very good likeness to the characters they are meant to represent.  Yellow did get two-tone saddlebags and his bike and Fuke/Shinobu’s do have the necessary changes to differentiate them from Stick’s/Ley’s.  CMs paid attention to the differences from bike-to-bike right down to the different helmets.  Even the extras have nice details such as the buttons and view finder on Shinobu’s camcorder.  It is too bad CMs couldn’t figure out a way around the large round cut-outs in the cowl of the Bartley-style bike that are necessary to provide clearance for the shoulders in armor mode.  The clear/metallic offerings will likely be loved/despised by different types of people but the only thing that rubbed me was how similar the clear/metallic Fuke was to the regular release.  I like that CMs gave the VR/52F/T dark and soldier versions modified heads so they don’t look like the heroes.

CMs ride armor close-upCMs Designs 2ACMs Ride Armor Designs 1

Design: (5.5/10)
These toys are over-designed for their scale.  For example, the hip armor, which is about the size of a thumb, has a mechanism that swings out to be a foot stand, a peg that flips free to become the leg attachment, a slot for attaching the armor to the toy, and a peg for a slip-on saddlebag.  With all that going on in such a small space there’s bound to be something that could go wrong and in this case the weak link is that foot stand which is connected by the tiniest of pins and becomes easily unseated (watch my video review).  The headlights don’t really lock into position so those too will become easily unseated with moderate handling.  In the end this toy is just too full of little pins and pegs that can be unseated which will inevitably suck all the fun out of it for the owner.  Usually the pegs are just too small to work as they’re intended such as the pegs that affix the swing arms to the center of the bike or the chest armor to the center chest piece in armor mode.  The worst evidence of pegs that are too small comes in the form of Ley’s gun which comes no where near connecting to the front shock in bike mode (unless you pull the front cowl apart).  While Yellow’s bike does come with pull out blades in the forearms, and Stick, Ley, and Yellow all come with missile targeting sensors, don’t expect any bike to have a door that opens up to reveal internally stowed missiles (which only Yellow is supposed to have).   While Stick and Yellow can’t attach their guns to their bikes (and thus have hands permanently affixed to their guns) CMs did rectify this on the women’s bikes.  Fuke’s gun and Shinobu’s camera can be attached in bike mode.

CMs ride armor issues1B

Durability & Build: Stick, Ley, & VR-52T soldier (4/10)
These three toys represent the first editions of the CMs ride armor toys.  All three came with extremely delicate windscreens which all new owners should take great pains to avoid.  There were several complaints of these windscreens being broken straight out of the box so if that happens to you just apply a spot of super glue (that appears to be how CMs resolved this on later releases).  These toys also came with plastic swing-arm locks (and replacement swing-arm locks) although I still have never heard of anyone breaking them.  While this toy will fall apart frequently in your hand, most of the time nothing will be truly broken.  You should take special care with the plastic peg on wheels though as your desperation to get this toy to stay together in bike mode may cause you to apply too much pressure to snapping those parts together which may cause the peg to snap when you try to take it apart (see pics).  Generally speaking, the fit of the parts here is just way too loose and things only get worse once you’ve handled these toys a few times.

CMs Stick Armor 1

Durability & Build: Fuke, Shinobu, Fuke Metallic (5/10)
These toys all included sturdier windscreens (with obvious additional glue) and metal swing-arm locks.  You should still exercise some caution with the windscreens but I’ve never heard of anyone receiving a broken windscreen with these toys.  I did find Fuke to be a big disappointment after the improvement I had seen on Yellow’s toys.  What was most annoying about these toys is that CMs used the wrong screw size in the swing arms which creates slop in armor mode (thanks to Drifand for pointing that out).  The next big bummer was when my Fuke figure had a piece of her knee joint break off… it appears the extra slop that made the figure loose straight out of the box allowed the kneed joint to spin into an awkward angle so it broke when it bent.

Durability & Build: Yellow, VR-52F solder, VR-52F/T Dark, Clear/Metallic Yellow/Stick/Ley releases (6/10)
You get the upgrades of the improved windscreen and swing arm locks as well improved fit and finish that actually makes it seem like handling these toys isn’t impossible.  My Yellow was so nice and tight I never felt compelled to use the stand in armor mode.  I had so much fun with my Dark VR-52T/F and Yellow toys that I considered making the score a 7 here but I think that’s more a function of how bad the first releases were.

Dark CMs Ride Armor 11CMs Yellow 4CMs Ride Armor Figures

Articulation: (7.5/10)
There are loads of points of articulation and loads of ball joints but there are also lots of impediments that will keep you from getting that full range of movement.  On its own, the character figure is extremely impressive.  In armor mode the small stand the toy comes with will be necessary but it’s questionable how well that rounded piece of plastic will help keep this toy erect in an extreme pose on a glass shelf.  Beyond that I’ll try to let the pics speak for the fun you can have with these things.

CMs Ley Armor 1B

Total Score: Ley (31/50)
Ley’s never been a fan favorite as far as ride armors go which is why we haven’t seen many toys of him even though his figure is so similar to Stick’s.  In the case of the CMs, you get all the problems of Stick’s toys with a character fewer people want.

MH vs CMs 4MH vs CMs 1CMs Bike Comparison 2B

Total Score: Stick (31.5/50)
These are flawed toys that cost a lot of money.  When they first came out they were a bit easier to stomach because of the dearth of ride armor toys we’d had for years.  A short while later we had a glut and it was obvious just how flawed this toy was.  If you want a good VR-52F toy, hunt down the soldier version and pretend that’s Stick or find the clear metallic versions.  Pics above show a comparison to the Mega House toy which also had a very poor first showing as well as a line art comparison.

CMs Green 4CMs Green Soldiers 2

Total Score: (32/50) VR-52T Soldier
This toy should be a hot collector’s item since it was released in such limited quantities but it has all the same problems as the Stick and Ley toys.  Only extreme Mospeada-philes should spend their money and effort hunting down this toy.

CMs Fuke Shinobu 6

Total Score: (32.5/50) Shinobu
This toy is a definite step up from the first three releases but it has the problems of Fuke’s release without the charm.  If you’re a fan of Shinobu, for whatever reason that might be, this is the only game in town.

Dark CMs Ride Armor 10Dark CMs Ride Armor 8ADark CMs Ride Armor 4

Total Score: (33/50) VR-52F/T Dark
These toys are actually pretty solid Stick/Ley substitutes in black.  They have less tampo-printed detail (as you’d expect since they’re anonymous) and their paint scheme drowns out some of the detail but they do handle MUCH better than the original Stick/Ley releases.

CMs Fuke Ride Armor 1CMs Bike Comparison 6

Total Score: (33.5/50) Fuke
This toy is a slight improvement over the first three releases in terms of its ability to be handled but it has a couple big things going for it.  First, this is the only Fuke toy that has made it to market since Gakken’s atrocious 1/20 scale transformable line.  Second, this toy comes with two Mint figures which go perfectly with the CMs gashapon set.

CMs Bike Comparison 4CMs MH VR41 2CMs MH VR41 6

Total Score: (34/50) VR-52F soldier, Clear/Metallic Stick/Ley/Fuke, Yellow
The clear/metallic Stick and Ley are the best alternatives to the very flawed first releases.  The VR-52F has all the same improvements and is equally hard to come by.  The clear/metallic Fuke has all the benefits of the regular Fuke and is even more rare.  Of all the standard releases, CMs did Yellow the best.  Included above are some pics of him squaring up against his Mega House incarnation and a line art comparison.

CMs Ride Armor Regular vs Metallic 1CMs Ride Armors Bikes

Total Score: (34.5/50) Clear/Metallic Yellow
I think this is the toy to get out of the entire CMs line up.  Finding one with the metallic helmet might be exceptionally tricky to track down.  The pictures above demonstrate the differences between metallic releases and their regular release counterparts.  Remember the general guideline.  A 35/50 is a completely average toy and anything below that is recommended for diehards only.

13 Replies to “CMs 1/18 Ride Armors”

  1. This review took a lot longer than I thought it would so there might be a delay before my next post. I’ve condensed six previous posts into one:
    1) Clear/Metallic Releases
    2) Dark Releases
    3) Fuke/Shinobu Releases
    4) Soldier Limited Edition Releases
    5) Yellow’s Release
    6) Stick/Ley Releases
    As always, I’ve saved the old posts and will update this information if I see anything I’ve missed reviewing them. Sorry about the deleted comments but I assure you this post won’t be deleted like the posts that were rendered obsolete by the mega review.

  2. Your Mospeada posts were sorely missed for the past 2 months, glad to see you back and congratulations on the wedding!
    I must say that although I can understand why this figure has so many haters (small, fiddly etc…) it is my second favorite Mospeada toy from the various recent releases, the Beagle being first of course.
    Like you noted in this post, the proportions, detail and very intricate design (maybe too much so indeed) is something I really enjoy, and I wouldn’t even bother comparing it to Megahouse’s planet-of-the-apes-tribute version.

    Among the problems you describe I only disagree about the articulation in armor mode. In my opinion it’s the most posable armor mode I’ve ever seen : I’ve recently got CM’s Ley and some screws were too tight, making the ankles unable to go up and down and the legs to spread apart side to side.
    Untightening/tightning screws is really the only thing you need to make this figure stand on it’s own in armor mode and be very stable in bike mode(you have to tighten the 2 screws that hold the diecast arms inside the bike’s gas tank). I never use the support rod to pose Ley in armor mode, and he just stands perfectly and securely, and even holds many dynamic poses (which my Beagle can’t, unless I use its support piece).
    The figure’s shoulders go up and down (pivot inside the figure’s chest) so that when you pull a shoulder down you can easily have the arms pointed forward (or even pointing the beam gun up) or sideways in armor mode.
    I ‘d totally recommend every Mospeada fan to have at least one of these, tune it up (small screwdriver required) and enjoy the smallest fully transformable ride armor toy ever made!

  3. Just noticed something I think you mean C3XHobby where you have Summer Wonderfest 2008 and F3. Not sure but does the Fuke Clear/Metallic “Limited Edition” have clear parts too, I’m not sure but I thought it was only metallic.

  4. Sorry, I don’t have much experience when it comes to the Japanese hobby shoes :(. You’re probably right about C3XHobby. The “clear/metallic” Fuke is the only “clear/metallic” release to have no clear parts. All of the clear/metallic toys only had clear parts on the rider figures. There’s a pic of Fuke’s rider above the final “Total Score” section above.

  5. Hello,

    Your review has been a big help to me. You mention above that the Stick Type was produced in large quantities and can be found easily. However, all I can find are the metallic, and dark versions of this CM figure. (eBay, Google Search, I found them wholesale by the case only for roughly $650.00) Could you lead me in the right direction? Know where I can still get one? Thank you for the help you have already been, and any additional help you can provide.


  6. You’re probably falling victim to two factors. First, even the largest CMs run isn’t huge. Second, it’s been a long while since they were released and the vast majority of people who buy a Ride Armor toy buy Stick’s and that’s it. When I posted this on 9-22 there were several available on eBay.. perhaps I was mistaken when I felt I was generous to score Stick a little higher. I did just check eBay and there are no more listings. I’d just keep my eye there.

  7. Hi,
    the Fuke and Shinobu releases have both a manufactoring problem that make the knee joints break (if not already broken out of the box), which is due to a slight deformation of the joint (as far as I know, it’s only present on the female figures). I think your looseness problems are due to the knees being already broken when the figure was in the box. The durability of these 2 releases should take that into account, your broken knee problem is not isolated, it’s a widespread production issue with these figures… a major flaw, and sadly, no easy fix :(
    Can you check if your metallic edition is OK?

  8. The bikes are a little dated. I would have liked to have seen a more sleek sports bike than the transforming dirt bikes in this series. Maybe before my time.

  9. I guess you could hope that Harmony Gold gives the Cyclone a remake in future installments of Robotech (should there be future installments of Robotech).

    EDIT – Frogze, the metallic toys are too rare for me to fiddle with. If the knees really do suffer a design or manufacture flaw (as mine indicates they might) all the more reason for me to leave my metallic one alone!

  10. I really like the looks of these CMs, I ordered my first one, the Bartley version. Having built the original Imai 1/12 transformable kits, I can see they were a heavy influence on these toys.

  11. I give CMs a lot of credit for completing their line when no other company has ever managed to do so. They must be doing something right.

  12. I love my CM Riders and bikes.

    I have about 6 bikes and riders and another 10 riders from the twin figure sets (all MALE characters). I stayed away from the female due to the manufacturing issue on the figures BUT have to say I am sorely tempted just to add to the collection.

    As a customizer I have found these figures manageable to customize by having faces that pop out so new faces from other 1/18th scale (GI JOE, Microman, and other 4″ tall figures) figures can be added instead. Also that you can switch to have full un helmeted heads on these figures (again GI JOE, Microman, etc). Custom hands and repainting, weathering.
    I am currently trying out revoltech joints to further the articulation on the arms/hands of these figures.

    Need to find some of the Gakken 1/20 Cyclones just to supplement my riders force of transport LOL

  13. I finally got one of these. The dark rand type. I have to say i’m really disappointing. This things is so loose and frigidity. I have never been so frustrated just simply trying to put together the thing, i haven’t even transformed it yet. Impossible to even touch without it falling apart. The front spokes and the way they attach is a total fail. I only paid $25 and i have never felt more ripped off (even the toynoami alpha). It took all my will power to not throw this across the room.

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