Mega Review: This eventually will be an exhaustive look at all 35Max lines
Like my other Votoms reviews, it’s my intention to gradually add to this review until it covers all types of Armored Troopers (ATs) that saw release. For now this review focuses on the first release in the series, the standard Scopedog toy.
Packaging & Extras: (2.5/5)
These toys are similar in size to the CM’s offerings and are similarly packaged in boxes that aren’t too large with windows for prospective buyers to see the goods within. The Scopedog comes packaged in a plastic tray that houses all the parts. Inside the box you’ll find the following in addition to the AT:
1) 6 sets of fixed posed hands (Gun gripping with wrist up, wrist down, and opened)
2) Gun with adjustable second grip
3) Antenna (you need to install this)
4) A pin for poking out plastic bits on the side
6) Info “Color File” card (doubles as a sticker application guide)
Note that other toys come with different accessories and that I’m focusing on the pictured Scopedog release for right now.
Charm & Collectability: (2.5/5)
Collectability for these toys varies significantly from one release to another. All releases were broken into three series as follows:
AT Collection Series
01 – Scopedog (released June 2006 for 4,800YEN)
02 – Standing Tortoise (June 2006, 4,800YEN)
03 – Turbo Custom (September 2006, 5,800 YEN)
04 – Bloodsucker (September 2006, 4,800 YEN)
05 – Strikedog (December 2006, 5,300 YEN)
06 – Standing Turtle (January 2007, 5,800 YEN)
07 – Light Scopedog & Ecrevisse (October 2007, 11,000 YEN)
08 – Fatty Space Variant (December 2008, 5,800 YEN)
35 Max Limited
01 – Brutishdog (October 2006, 4,800 YEN)
02 – Red Shoulder Custom (January 2007, 5,800 YEN)
01 – Rane Custom Scopedog (May 2007, 4,800 YEN)
02 – Vorct Custom Scopedog (May 2007, 4,800 YEN)
03 – Norden Custom Scopedog (July 2007, 4,800 YEN)
04 – Weapons Set
05 – Rane Custom Assault Variant Scopedog (January 2009, 7,800 YEN)
Of all of the toys above a few have become hot properties. Releases 07 and 08 of the AT Collection and 05 of the Commander Vorct line all routinely sell for more than their original MSRP (in Japan). The other releases generally sell for slightly below MSRP but since the Votoms market has vanished as quickly as it became over-saturated it seems the 35Max toys are remaining more collectable than their CMs counterparts.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (5.5/10)
Like the CMs toys there’s a dearth of painted on detail here combined but at least the 35Max toys give us stickers. The most visually peculiar aspect of this toy has to be the ill-proportioned head. The head is a focal point of the Scopedog so having it over-sized is both immediately obvious and awkward. If you can get past the size of the head the toys do have a nice gentle wash to them that makes them look militaristic. This toy doesn’t have the gimmicks of many other Scopedog vehicles so there is no interior detail.
Unlike other Scopedog toys which tried to cram in a bunch of premium gimmicks, the 35Max line aimed to provide people with extremely articulated action figures (unfortunately at a price point that would make you expect gimmicks). The one bright spot is that the gun features a second hand grip that swivels (this is fixed on some of the more basic toys). Here’s how the rest breaks down:
1) Scopes rotate: No. Scope tracks left to right: No. Head twists left to right: Yes.
2) Visor opens upward revealing the pilot: No.
3) Opening cockpit: No.
4) Internal controls: N/A. Articulated: N/A. Gun stowage: N/A
5) Removable Pilot Figure: N/A. Articulated: N/A
6) Opening foot well: No.
7) Articulated armor panels on hips, feet, and wrist: Yes
8) Articulated shoulder mounts: Yes.
9) Removable armor with internal mechanical detail: No.
10) Back that accommodates different accessories: Yes.
11) Foot wheels: No (detail that looks like a wheel only)
12) Functional foot pivot spikes: No.
13) Punch mechanism: No.
14) Dog mode: No.
Durability & Build: (5/10)
Having to decide between the easily broken CMs toys and these easily broken 35Max toys was a catch 22 for consumers. The plastic used for the 35Max is rubbery and prone to getting loose. It’s the same rubbery type of plastic that gashapon toys are sometimes made of so it feels cheap. The plastic also has a tendency to freeze up. I literally took a pipe wrench and pliers to my toy to get the head to pivot like it’s supposed to. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that some people just assumed the head couldn’t pivot and the artwork on the box was just some cooler prototype. Of course taking a wrench to this cheap plastic left teeth mark in the head of the toy but hey, it’s a Scopedog, it just looks a little tougher now (in the future I’d do the smart thing and cover my tools with a cloth before gripping them down on the toys). All that futile twisting of the head eventually caused the scope to pop out in the front. I imagine many people accidentally popped their scopes off doing this same exercise or by trying to rotate the scope (it doesn’t rotate) or slide the scope left or right (not an option). After posing my toy for a little while I noticed that the shoulder armor had scraped off some of the arm paint.
Starting with the negatives, the head doesn’t have the best range of motion and the fact the scope doesn’t slide on the track was a bummer. I was surprised that the knees didn’t have a better range of motion. You don’t get articulated wrists or fingers. What you do get is the best range of motion in the hips of any Scopedog toy; this toy can do the splits in either direction. You also get elbows that can bend the full 180 degrees and leave the hands near the shoulders.
Total Score: (29/50)
Comparing the CMs toy to the 35Max toy, I gave the 35Max toy just a bit higher score. The reason for this is pretty straight forward. The CMs toys were mediocre in all capacities while the 35Max is mediocre or worse in most categories but it is exceptional in terms of articulation. If all you want is a Scopedog toy that can hold crazy dynamic poses on your shelf than this is a solid option… until the plastic starts to wear and the joints become too loose.