Takara 1/24 Dual Model Votoms Toys

Mega Review: This eventually will be an exhaustive look at all Dual Model and Dual Model Revival tools

Overview:
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: (4/5)
The boxes for these toys are generally attractive with decent art and large windows showing off the good  within.  Of the classic toys (Scopedog, Brutishdog, Red Shoulder custom) the exception to this rule is the larger Red Shoulder box that eschews the windows and increases the size of the art.  This idea was  carried on with the later clear, metallic, and video game exclusives as well as the most recent Revival Dual Model (RDM) toys which lack windows in favor of box art (the RDM box art is fantastic).  The classic toys are bundled in Styrofoam trays with plastic inserts that lock the toy in place.  The later toys are stored in folded cardboard trays, one for the AT and one for the extras.  This was back in the day when deluxe toys did their best to blur the line between toys and models so expect some assembly and even painting.
1) 1 set of fixed posed hands (opened palm)
2) Gun
3) 1 extra ammunition tins
4) sticker sheet
5) Instructions
6) Standing pilot figure (unpainted except RDM-03)
7) Seated pilot figure (unpainted except RDM-03)
8) Armor flaps on sprues
9) Interior head details
10) Hand controls for pilot
11) Shoulder harnesses (x4 on separate tree)
12) Backpack*
13) Poster (Revival Dual Model toys only)
The backpack varies depending on the release.

Charm & Collectability: (2.5/5)
I read once that Votoms was able to be a long running anime series not because the ratings were phenomenal but rather because sales of the Dual Model toys were strong.   Like other Votoms lines, collectability of these toys varies significantly from one release to another.   Here’s a breakdown of your Dual Model choices which were sold for prices ranging from 4,800 to 7,800 Yen:
Scopedog (early 1980s)
Brutishdog (early 1980s)
Red Shoulder Custom (early 1980s)
Clear Scopedog (around 2000)
Clear Brutishdog (around 2000)
Clear Red Shoulder Custom (around 2000)
Metallic Scopedog (December 2000) 6,800 Yen
Metallic Brutishdog (December 2000)
Metallic Red Shoulder Custom (December 2000) 7,800 Yen
Blue Knight Game Exclusive  (1997)
Armored Troopers Game Exclusive
Lightning Slash Game Exclusive (1999)
RDM Space Scopedog (May 2005) 4,800 Yen
RDM Brutishdog (May 2005) 4,800 Yen
RDM Red Shoulder Custom (September 2005) 5,800 Yen
The space variant Scopedog (all green) is never popular in any line despite its pivotal role in the Sansa chapter of the series.  The
The clear, metallic, and video game versions are all considered limited releases although it doesn’t seem they were difficult to come by.  The RDM releases were followed less than a year later by Takara’s 1/18 Dual Model Zwei line of toys which were marked improvement in almost every respect of the original Dual Model series which reduced the value of the Dual Model toys on the secondary market.

Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (6/10)
I’ve heard Macross toy collectors refer to the Dual Model as the “Chunky Monkey” equivalent of Votoms collecting.  In many ways that seems appropriate given the inclusion of metal, the chunky proportions, and the manner in which the maker attempted to market these toys to both young adults and children as a hybrid toy/model.  As you can see from the line art comparison, while there are some shortcomings it was an excellent representation from its era.  The most obvious shortcomings are the bare metal parts and unpainted footwell door.  Takara addressed the shortcomings in the paint applications in their Revival Dual Model series decades later.

Design: (8/10)
It’s amazing how many bells and whistles were included in a toy that still feels this rugged.  Here’s my standard run down of features:
1) Scopes rotate: Yes.  Scope tracks left to right: Yes.  Head twists left to right: Yes.
2) Visor opens upward revealing the pilot: Yes.
3) Opening cockpit: Yes.
4) Internal controls: Yes.  Articulated: No.  Gun stowage: No.
5) Removable Pilot Figure: Yes.  Articulated: No.
6) Opening foot well: Yes.
7) Articulated armor panels on hips, feet, and wrist: Yes.
8) Articulated shoulder mounts: Yes (not pictured).
9) Removable armor with internal mechanical detail: No.
10) Back that accommodates different accessories: Yes.
11) Foot wheels: No (molded detail in bottom of foot).
12) Functional foot pivot spikes: No (molded detail, no mechanism)
13) Punch mechanism: Yes.
14) Dog mode: Yes.
Before the Yamato 1/12 and Takara 1/18 DMZ lines this toy would have been the standard for all other Votoms toys to be judged against.  Another nice detail to note, the ammo cannisters in the parachute pack are the same as the one that attaches to the gun.  You can also do some disassembly with these toys; note in the size comparison picture below the arms are swapped from how they appear in all the pictures in this review (screw forward in the size comparison, screw back in these pictures).

Durability & Build: (9/10)
I mentioned before that this toy has been called the “chunky monkey” of the Votoms universe and when you hold this toy you get the exact same vibe.  There’s metal in the legs that enable the ‘dog mode’ which provides a lot of heft.  Unlike newer, smaller scale Takara toys like the 1/48 Actic Gear line, the plastic here is thick and sturdy which alleviates some of the concerns with parts breaking or disappearing during installation.  The plastic antennae are rubbery PVC so they don’t break when you hand errantly puts pressure on them.  Gimmicks that could have potentially been fragile (foot spikes/wheels) have been excluded in favor of non-functional molded details.  This toy is a lot of fun to handle and it can be handled extensively with little fear of damaging it.

Articulation: (6/10)
This toy has only two major shortcomings (and some minor ones).  The obvious let down is that the hips aren’t ball joints or feature some other gimmick to allow the toy to obtain a true A stance.  Fortunately, the toy wasn’t constructed in such a way where the ankles are tight together but the fact you can’t bring them further apart really limits the poses you can achieve.  Of course, greater articulation in the hip wouldn’t mean much if there wasn’t greater articulation in the ankles so those two weaknesses are all the largest drawbacks here.  The fact the hands are removable means they can be rotated at the wrist which is an improvement over many toys of the era.  The range of motion is limited typically to 90 degrees are less.  Sliding poses are where this toy really excels.  The weight from the metal in the legs makes the toy very bottom heavy allowing you to pose the legs far forward and have the toy leaning back and firing.

Total Score: (35.5/50)
These toys should be considered amongst the historical greats.  It has that heavy duty feel to it that will remind you of your favorite toys as a child even if you never owned one of these in particular.  Sure, the articulation and paint applications could be better by today’s standards but for their time they were decent.  It’s almost funny how handling Yamato’s 1/12 toys or Takara’s 1/18 DMZ line will make you miss several aspects of these several decade old toys.

2 Replies to “Takara 1/24 Dual Model Votoms Toys”

  1. Hi,
    How tight do you feel the joints on the original? I have the red shoulder reissue of 2005, and it’s a little bit frustrating, since the hips and knee joints are very loose. The rubber/soft plastic used to make them smoother it’s not strong enough.
    On the other hand, the shoulder joints, having a metal bar inside the soft plastic, are just perfect.

  2. I’ve only handled the one so far and it was decently tight throughout the hips. That said, I have about 10 more to try out so I’ll be sure to take note and let you know.

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