Gakken 1/20(ish) Transformable Ride Armors


Review (updated): Not the hot collector’s item it once was

Packaging & Extras (3/5)
This toy is available in no less than four different packagings.  You can get the original Gakken of Japan packaging which includes a version of this toy that is made in Japan and may have some slight differences from the Singapore version reviewed here.  Gakken of Japan offerings come in boxes that usually contain almost no English writing and prominently display the Genesis Climber Mospeada name.  Another box that’s available is Henshin Robo variety that appears to be amongst the most prolific.  Henshin Robos are Singapore made toys.  Another common option would be the Robotech-branded version of this toy which is an exact repackaging of the Henshin Robo product.  The final version is a gift-set which is also a product of Singapore but this version comes bundled with Gakken’s 1/72 Legioss toy.  All versions of these toys, regardless of box or which character’s ride armor you purchase, will come with a black scope piece, a gun, decals, and instructions.

Charm & Collectibility (2/5) + 1 for Giftset & Japanese versions
Many people out there have gained a true hatred of these toys from hasty purchases made online at prices that were far above what these toys are worth.  People saw auctions for Yellow’s transformable ride armor and leapt at it bidding the price up only to one day receive a box in the mail that contained this rather pathetic offering.  Anyone who assumed they were purchasing something akin to Gakken’s stellar 1/8 ride armor toys was in for a huge let down.  For those that do know what they’re purchasing, the Japanese version of the toy is slightly more sought after as is the case with all Gakken products.  In this particular instance though, I’m not sure there’s any difference at all between the Singapore version and the Japan version, I only have Singapore samples and I can’t imagine a toy this small having anything that shoots.  The gift-set is also a bit tougher to come by and it offers two toys in one.


Sculpt, detail, & Paint (4/10)
In motorcycle mode this toy doesn’t to a horrific job of emulating the bikes from the show.  I give Gakken credit for doing more than a simple re-color.  The bikes do feature quasi-correct front sections rather than being squared-off cookie-cutters of Stick’s/Scott’s VR-52F.  Sadly,the figure that rides the bike is a horrific rendition of the characters from the show and features pieces of the ride armor at all times rather than the standard armor.  When the bike is actually transformed it sorta folds in half to become a giant back pack that isn’t believable at all.

Design (4/10)
I really don’t get what the makers of this toy were going for.  It seems like it would have been very easy to make just a few pieces of this toy removeable to make it similar to the vehicle from the show.  Unfortunately it seems like some huge importance was placed on keeping this toy a “perfect transformation” toy and boy does it ever suffer as a result.  What makes even less sense is that you do have to remove the engine from the toy to transform it so it isn’t even perfect transformation anyway.  The armor actually requires a hook to keep it attached in armor mode. 

Durability & Build (5/10)
To be fair, these are very old toys now so the rigidity of the plastic seems to be going which isn’t something I could ever see coming on brand new toys.  My toys feel frail.  Any peg on the toy seems proned to breaking including the ones necessary for holding guns and the ones that keep the front shocks attached to the handle bar area.  The arms are pretty easy to dislocate.  Joints that need to be stiff also can become sloppy after this many years.

Articulation (3/10)
The wheels move in bike mode.  The head turns, the shoulders and hips rotate, and the knee bends.  Once the ride armor is attached the toy can pretty much just stand.  In bike mode the rider looks uncomfortable at best.  This toy really just isn’t good for any sort of display beyond a static pose (I recommend the rider standing next to the bike).

Total Score (21-22/50)
Don’t buy these toys unless you’re an absolute Mospeada completist; they’re honestly quite lousy.  Save your money and some day purchase Gakken’s 1/8 Ride Armor as that’s easily worth the additional cost.  If anyone wants to help, I could use pics of the other packaging, drop me a line at  Thanks!

NOTE: This review was updated to include all new higher resolution photos, line art comparisons, comparisons to other toys, and a video review.  Original Post date: April 15, 2007.

2 Replies to “Gakken 1/20(ish) Transformable Ride Armors”

  1. I had the dark blue one back in the 80s. The pegs broke on the hands then too. :\

    This was one of my transforming toys that really didn’t get much play because it was so crappy.

  2. I also had the blue one.

    One thing I don’t see referenced at all in the review, though, is that the centerline armor section can be removed from the rider figure. Nothing you can do about the hips, but you can at least make the chest look a little bit more correct.

    Of course, with increased vintage fragility, I could see not wanting to risk it, as it does require flexing the piece a little. There’s a peg in the torso somewhere and a peg in the underside of the crotch, if I recall correctly. It’s been many years since I actually held this toy.

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