Review: Look mom, I caught a unicorn!
1) The “TREAD” is more accurately named “TLEAD” (Transport Legioss Escort Armored Dreadnought) but since “TLEAD” defies the English-speaking tongue, I tend to use “TREAD”. Someone back-solved for that acronym at some point saying it stands for “TRans-EArth Deployment” but… that makes less sense than TLEAD.
2) The creators of Mospeada played it fast and loose with the dimensions of the vehicles in the show. The official stats of the TLEAD state that it is 8.72 meters long in bomber mode and stands 10.5 meters tall in soldier. The Legioss, for comparison, is 8.75 meters tall in soldier mode, so less than 2 meters shorter. It’s not difficult to find line art that makes the TLEAD look huge in comparison to the Legioss and then find something that makes the TLEAD look just a bit bigger. Likely because much of the art depicts the TLEAD being much larger than the Legioss, the Robotech staff (perhaps Paladium made the numbers up for their RPGs and the Robotech crew just rolled with it) went with a length of 9.7 meters in bomber and 13.7 meters high in battloid but did not change the Legioss/Alpha dimensions… this makes the Beta absolutely gargantuan in comparison to the official TLEAD. It appears Gakken of Singapore used the original officially published dimensions.
Packaging & Extras: (2/5)
The Lansay Tread was only available as a bundle set with a Legioss toy. The included Legioss may not have always been blue but as the included Legioss is the same as any of the sold separately Legioss toys, most have been swapped for matching blue in the 30+ years following release. Both toys were manufactured by Gakken of Singapore for distribution by Lansay in France under the Henshin Robo brand (similar to how Matchbox distributed Bandai-made toys under the Robotech name in various markets). The box has one Styrofoam tray housing both toys. Next to the Legioss you’ll find sprues with the following attached:
1) A Legioss gun
2) A Legioss shoulder sensor pod
Underneath the Styrofoam tray you’ll also find:
3) Legioss transformation instructions (French language)
4) Legioss stickers
You won’t find instructions for the Tread but you may find Tread specific stickers as illustrated above by the pictures provided by Lionel Tosan. There was no marking guide for the Tread stickers so you may see used ones with the stickers applied incorrectly. My suspicion is that Gakken started making stickers then decided not to print a transformation/marking guide and cut the sticker run short. They included the stickers already printed with the first toys in the run. As far as instructions go, be sure to check out my 4K video transformation guide!
Charm & Collectability: (5/5)
This toy is widely known as one of the rarest, and most sought after, vintage Robotech or Mospeada toys. The rarest Tread toys are the prototypes stamped “Gakken of Japan” that were produced for marketing test shots before Gakken of Japan exited the toy business. There’s photographic evidence of blue and red prototypes and rumors persist of a green and even shadow variant. The prototypes have no box and stickers were applied since they were meant for photo shoots. Gakken of Singapore is believed to have produced one run of 1000 units which was delivered to Lansay for distribution in France. The Treads were packaged with a 1/72 Legioss toy but it wasn’t always the blue Eta version. This giftset retailed for 99 francs and I think went on sale in 1985. The toy is small and fragile so it’s not likely many survive 35 years later. Gakken’s 1/72 line was their budget offering so, predictably, this toy lacks any metal content and weighs a paltry 114 grams. Bomber mode is about 13.5cm long with a 21.5cm wingspan which, by Mospeada measurements makes it about 1/65 scale. Combined, the Legioss and Tread are about 22cm long, almost half the size of Toynami’s gargantuan Alpha/Beta combination.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (4.5/10)
In bomber mode, this toy does a surprising good job when viewed from the side. From a paint/color perspective, the toy would look better if the bottom of the chest were blue like the top. You won’t find any clear plastic used for detail parts like the ‘eyes’ on the cockpit or signal markers nor will you find much in the way of painted on detail. The bar with the front landing gear would look better as a solid piece and the gear itself is simply, bulky, and detail-less. The line art calls for the thighs to connect toward the front bottom of the toy but that doesn’t happen here. The front toe of the Tread is very long with a wheel at the end so the toy can roll when the Legioss is attached in soldier mode. Spinning the toy to look at it head on reveals giant holes on either side of the cockpit that receive the arms from the Legioss. Since the arms on the Legioss don’t collapse at all, the Tread needs to have the big holes to give the arms somewhere to go.
When combined to a Legioss in fighter mode, the Legioss chest/intakes angle downward. Since the budget Legioss has a garish fighter mode, it is easily the weak link in combined fighter mode where the big gaps in the front of the Tread are concealed. From above you can see the Tread is surprisingly faithful to the line art though the central yellow weapons sit too far aft. In an ideal world the connection to these weapons would recess but that was asking a lot for a toy from this era and at this price point.
Combining the toys with the Legioss in soldier mode/Tread in bomber mode would look a lot more intimidating if the Legioss had any upper body articulation. My Legioss doesn’t have the shoulder sensor array attached since it’s still on the sprue. As you can see in my pictures, you’ll need something to prop up the Tread in this configuration. The Legioss will again conceal the big holes in the front of the Tread so the overall look of the Tread isn’t bad. That said, the Tread sits pretty low. Fortunately, the permanently attached front landing gear is so far down it doesn’t look like dangling testicles but it doesn’t look good.
This toy is a simplified version of an already simple design at a small scale. There is no opening canopy, no pilot figure, no clip on wing weaponry, no integrated missile bays in the chest or above the shoulders, and the landing gear are permanently affixed and exposed. As noted above, while it is ‘perfect transformation’ the head and hands are absent and the center booster does not fold down leaving the toy with a tremendous rear end. The inability for the Legioss legs to collapse better in fighter mode required Gakken to develop an awkward swing bar for the legs of the Tread that is more complicated than the original design and doesn’t function well in soldier mode where it can be accidently knocked out of position with the slightest touch. In more recent Tread toys by Toynami/Aoshima and CM’s, the connecting rod is a separate piece to optimize the look of those toys in soldier mode. On the plus side, the toy does connect securely to either a fighter or soldier mode Legioss and the connecting rod does recess for a perfectly ‘play-able’ bomber mode.
Durability & Build: (5/10)
I’ve seen several auctions for these toys over the years and there do seem to be some common breakage points. Missing or broken wheels tend to be prevalent. The connection of the shoulders to the bodies also seems to be a major issue as these toys frequently are sold with one or both arms broken from the body. Do not rotate the arms by bringing the fists upward while in bomber mode, they must move down and forward (see the video). There’s also a connection point for the legs to the body of the craft that is frequently broken.
In bomber mode the only articulated item is the connecting rod which recesses nicely when not in use. In soldier mode the toy is predictably stiff given the Legioss toy it connects to. There is no head, elbows, hands, or articulated toes on the feet. The only articulation is the ability to move the arms at the shoulders (though you’ll want to be cautious with this), the hips, and knees. While the hips are nicely ratcheted, the knees only bend in the opposite direction of a normal human knee (for transformation purposes) so the only pose you can really get is one that looks like the toy is pushing forward on huge roller skates.
Total Score: (23.5/50)
Growing up, lots of kids played with their Legioss/Alpha toys and thought “If only they had made Tread/Beta.” Later, some of those kids heard “There is a Tread/Beta toy out there… in France” and they weren’t sure if it was true. At some point the Internet came along and they saw pictures. While it’s not a beautiful representation of the design, it was surprisingly good-looking compared to the Legioss it mates to and its status as a legendary collectible was sealed. Since then we have received Tread toys from Toynami, Aoshima, and CM’s, all of which are bigger and better than this classic and can be had for SUBSTANTIALLY less. This toy is kind of like a snow leopard though… it may not be the most amazing in any particular capacity but it’s still a lot of fun to see one in the wild and realize how rare it is to do that. If you’ve got the collector’s itch to have every Mospeada toy, this will likely be your most expensive purchase. If you’re a more casual collector, there are obviously lots of better toys for your money, but few with this toy’s cache or mystique.
Original post: August 4th, 2019
April 13, 2021: Corrected information about stickers