Yamato 1/15 Proto Garland

Review: The only Megazone23 Part II review on anymoon!

Packaging & Extras: (4/5)
This toy comes in the same size and style box as Yamato’s previous Megazone23 Part 1 Garland toys. Like those toys, it has some nice art on the cover and a flip top lid. Unlike Yamato’s 1/48 VF-1 toys, the box doesn’t seem ridiculously large but it’s still on the big side. Inside the box you’ll find the Proto Garland and:
1) Shogo figure (Part II style)
2) Rifle with removable magazine
3) Net attachment for rifle (swaps with original barrel)
4) Hargan shield
5) Hargan rifle with removable magazine
6) Locking piece for bike mode (comes installed to the bike)
7) Stickers
8) Instructions Yamato Proto Garland Instrucitons Web
9) Yamato GnuDou advertisement
So what more could you have wanted? A standing Shogo figure (or a figure that could stand)? A Yui figure? How about stickers? Yamato sold them separately but they weren’t canon, more for fun customs.

Charm & Collectability: (3/5)
This toy should be a very hot collector’s item. It hit shelves in January 2008 with an MSRP of 17,800¥ and was never reissued and it never will be since Yamato is out of business. It’s a good-sized toy with perfect transformation but it lacks metal and its build quality makes it an incredible gamble for a collector to purchase. Megazone23 Part II also doesn’t have as large a fanbase as the original.

Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (8.5/10)
Make no mistake, Yamato did not take shortcuts here to maximize usage of their existing Garland mold. This toy is almost entirely brand new. From the feet to the tips of the shoulders there are new contours and details. I’m not a fan of the dark gray plastic but perhaps that’s a complaint for Aramaki and the color palette used in Part II. The larger problem with the gray is that the red and the bronze are very bold colors which makes the gray look flat. It really seems like a panel line wash of some sort was necessary to make this paint scheme work. The clear plastic of the turn indicators from the original Garland is replaced with a touch of paint here. Unlike the original Garland, there’s no painted trim around the visor though there is still nice detail behind the visor. The rider figure does look like Shogo from Part II (it is really tough to move on from his Mikimoto design). The Sex Wax jacket (a surfing product) has been replaced by a “Six Wax” jacket to either duck licensing costs or to avoid any misinformed people who may feel the jacket was vulgar.

Design: (9/10)
This toy is so cool (if you ignore the next section)! Here are the design elements that deserve lauding:
1) Pop up monitor below windscreen
2) Pop out mirrors on cowl
3) Side covers that pop up revealing engine detail complete with rubber hoses and articulated thrusters
4) Sliding connectors on front of cowl (totally gratuitous)
5) Peg in hand for better holding of the gun (though this caused some long-term durability issues)
6) Baffle in feet for thrust vectoring
7) Front tires rotate more easily than original Garland release
8) Shogo figure still fits in the cockpit in slave mode… though it’s still such a tight fit I don’t recommend it.
There’s some other elements I have mixed feelings on:

1) Lock for front of bike mode. That’s great… but why is it a separate piece? Couldn’t that have been integrated somehow?
2) New magnet mechanism to attach legs in bike mode. It rotates and extends, rotating again locks it into place. There’s now a peg on top replacing the second magnetic point on the original Garland. It seems more complex, uglier, and doesn’t seem to do a better job.
3) Speaking of uglier and not doing a better job, the legs on the Proto Garland have tabs that go into the body of bike… the tabs are small and don’t do enough (especially if your swing bars are broken).
4) I was never keen on putting the Shogo figure in slave mode as it is a struggle and, of all my Yamato Garlands, this was the hardest time I had squeezing him in..

Durability & Build: (2.5/10)
This toy is awful… AWFUL. Do not buy unless you’re a customizer or like a project. It’s such a shame too because the initial feedback was pretty good. A few people reported broken hips right out of the box but no release is perfect right? There were some reports of broken handle bars also. Mine came with one broken handle bar and two broken leg attachments where the leg connects to the body.

When transforming the toy, a horseshoe shaped piece of bronze plastic fell out. This is another very common breakage point. The horseshoe is a claw that wraps around the swinging mechanism. Once that claw breaks the toy easily splits apart into two pieces.

DO NOT move the vent inside the leg! When the toy was new, moving this vent would cause the bronze tubes above it to flex. When this toy is old, moving the vent causes those tubes to break. There are numerous reports of the bronze plastic disintegrating as this toy gets older.

The fingers also suffer from the brittle bronze plastic disease. To avoid breaking them, don’t use the Proto Garland gun with the peg in the palm or try to put a finger in the trigger area of the Proto Garland gun. The front orange visor is supposed to stay up via friction but there’s insufficient friction so it’s always sliding under the cowl. The hips were so loose the toy could barely stand and that has nothing to do with the fact the connection to the toy was broken since that’s a totally different joint. The only silver lining is that the metal swing bars that move the wheel into shoulder position and the shoulder housings don’t crumble like the very first Garland release… indeed, they’re about the only things you can rely on now!

Articulation: (8.5/10)
If you’re familiar with the original Garland here then you’ll find articulation to be very similar with one big improvement: the elbows now have a range of movement greater than 90 degrees. The shoulders on this toy also seem stronger and better able to support the arms when they are extended forward or away. Everything else is the same from the ball-jointed head, dual twists near the bicep, articulated fingers, ball jointed hips, twist at the thigh, 90 degree knee, and ankles that allow you to pivot in/out and up/down. The ankles on these toys don’t extend as far as the original Garland release but it doesn’t hamper your ability to achieve poses. The foot doesn’t seem as capable as the regular Garland of pivoting the toe upward which can be problematic.

Total Score: (35.5/50)
This total score is pretty high when you consider the toy’s disastrous durability. Had I reviewed the toy when it first came out, I would have been another reviewer telling you to rush out and buy one. It really would have been a great toy but it couldn’t stand the test of time. If you have some skills and a 3D printer you may be able to make a pretty interesting project out of this toy but the far better choice at this point would be to wait and hope either Fewture, Freeing, or Arcadia take a stab at an updated Proto Garland toy. If you do make 3D printed replacement parts for this toy, let me know!

Leave a Reply