REVIEW: The best Legioss toy…. ever?
Packaging & Extras: (3.5/5)
This toy was originally released in Japan and later repackaged for the rest of the world. There are numerous different packaging variants:
Genesis Climber Mospeada: These are the original Gakken of Japan releases in unique boxes for each variant (Japanese language). All Gakken of Japan toys come in these boxes, all other boxes contain products from Gakken of Singapore.
Henshin Robo: Available in English and French language boxes with corresponding instructions, generic box for all variants
Robotech: Distributed by Excite, these are probably the most common Robotech release, generic box for all variants (English language)
Robotech: Distributed by Matchbox, these are also common, generic box for all variants (English language)
No License: The final release of the Legioss came in a non-branded anime box, generic for all variants (Japanese language)
All boxes are 22.5 cm wide, 32 cm tall, and 11 cm deep, if the box has a flap on top total height extends to 37 cm. The packaging has a good mix of art and depictions of the toy but the plastic window up front (not present on the unlicensed final release) is prone to being punctured or otherwise damaged and allow sun to damage the toy inside. The Japanese version of the blue Legioss also comes with a plastic card taped to the Styrofoam to protect the box’s window, I have seen this card be either clear or yellow tinted. No matter the packaging, you’ll find the toy inside a Styrofoam tray and the following items:
2) Standing figure in REF armor
4) Sticker application guide (for green AFC-01I and red AFC-01Z since the instructions show AFC-01H)
If you purchased a Gakken of Japan toy, you also received:
6) 6 x bullets
7) An advertisement for Mospeada comics
8) A music-themed Mospeada data sheet
The sticker sheet for the Japanese release is a little different than the wider release but the big plus is clearly the bullets which were phased out for the international release due to tightening child safety laws. As you would expect, the Gakken of Singapore toys also lack the spring mechanism in the gun so even if you tracked down bullets you could only use them in a gun made in Japan.
Charm & Collectibility: (4/5)
Despite the release of more modern Legioss toys, there’s still a lot of love for this classic. I don’t have specifics on the release information but it seems MSRP was $22.97 in the US and would have been on shelves around the time of Robotech’s airing in 1985. The red Legioss piloted by Houquet (sometimes listed as Fuke due to the imprecise art of Romanizing the Japanese language) is the rarest Japanese version of the toy. As mentioned previously, the Japanese toys have packaging specific to the contents which adds to its charm. Beyond that, all the Japanese toys are slightly more collectible due to their scarcity and perceived (warranted or not) superiority. Some people may also feel a connection to the Robotech name and thus choose the Excite or Matchbox model over the Henshin Robo. To be clear, the red “Alpha fighter” sold by Gakken of Singapore is no more collectible than the green or blue toys, it’s is only the Gakken of Japan toy that demands a premium. At 31 cm long in fighter mode and 23 cm tall in soldier/battloid (still the tallest production toy to-date), fans have long loved the deluxe size. At 448 grams, this Gakken toy is also heavier than the beloved Takatoku/Bandia 1/55 VF-1 toy which weighed in at 354 grams. Found a loose Legioss/Alpha and you’re not sure if it’s the Japanese version? Check below the intake for the manufacturer’s stamp.
Sculpt, Detail, and Paint: (6/10)
The strong suit of these original toys wasn’t their likeness to the line art. The paint schemes are significantly different from the ones represented within the show and the proportions are altered. There is some detail present but just enough to not look overly plain. In soldier mode the toys arms are too long, or legs too short, and when coupled with the chunkier proportions it looks a little like a gorilla.
Things can be a little awkward in diver mode. The toy looks stocky, the long arms are awkward, and the legs can’t angle out to get a more natural looking gait.
The toy does fighter mode well and it’s only the inability to angle out the vertical stabilizers that’s truly irksome. Unlike the CM’s and Evolution Toy Legioss offerings that followed more than 20 years later, the head tucks in very well and the chest doesn’t protrude too far down. Like most Legioss toys, this one suffers from legs that can’t sufficiently collapse leading them trailing too far behind and creating massive air dams with the kneecaps. The cockpit opens to reveal the pilot figure (not removable) but the red toy uses the same mold as the blue and green, there’s no female pilot. Despite these shortcomings the toy is still a solid representation of the Alpha/Legioss in all modes and is a significant improvement over Gakken’s smaller offerings.
This toy is an excellent example of how keeping it simple can have big returns. On the plus side you get:
1) Perfect transformation, including the shoulder array! The transformation is straight forward and the extending mechanisms seem quite clever.
2) Integrated die-cast landing gears that work well are tucked nicely into recesses of the figure allowing for better display capability.
3) Opening cockpit that reveals a seated pilot figure.
On the down side, the landing gear aren’t in the line art accurate position, they’re integrated into the thighs rather than the calves. There are no integrated missile bays, no collapsed ride armors being stowed in the chest, and you can’t stow the gun in fighter mode as we would see on later renditions of the craft. Diver mode is also a little awkward with the legs pressing against the intakes and the instructions indicating the nose should be parallel to the ground rather than pointing down somewhat. Another shortcoming of the transformation is that the shoulder array can be seen when viewed from behind, modern toys have added a door to better conceal it. Fighter mode is generally pretty good but it can be difficult, if not impossible, to get everything symmetrical due to all the ratcheted joints. It can take some time to learn how to handle fighter mode as to not inadvertently twist the intakes.
Durability & Build: (8/10)
This is a hefty toy that feels solid, but it does have some areas where you’ll want to exercise some caution. The kneecaps are prone to breaking and are sorely missed once they’re gone. The pins in the wings also have a tendency to become unseated causing winglets to go missing. Over time the wings also begin to sag and can break off at the connecting rod. My red toy is either missing a screw in the chest or it’s somewhat stripped allowing the nose to wiggle. It also has an issue on one of the wing hinges that prevents it from folding straight. This same toy also has a front landing gear that sweeps too far back allowing the head fin to touch the ground. This toy feels absolutely unused otherwise so it just goes to show you that production in the 80s was subject to the same occasional QC issues we see today.
For the era this toy came out in the articulation offered wasn’t half bad. By today’s standards, this toy leaves a lot to be desired. The head has very limited ability to twist in either direction and looking up or down is problematic when things start loosening up. There are no ball joints here so don’t expect to cock the head to one side. The shoulders are a strength. They allow full ratcheted rotation and you can lift the arms up and out at the shoulders as part of transformation. Within the shoulder housing there’s also a ratcheted joint allowing you to move the arm out away from the body without employing the transformation mechanism. There’s a twist point at the at the bicep and then a ratcheted elbow that allows 90 degrees of articulation. It’s a shame there isn’t a twist point at the wrist because the arm mobility can lead to interesting poses but have the hand at an odd angle that is compounded when you put a gun in that hand. There isn’t a waist swivel. The legs can kick out straight forward (90 degrees) before the chest will cause issues and they can go back more than 90 degrees before they run into the wings. You can also point the toes outward at the hip (a must for transformation). There’s no rotation point at the knee but it can pivot forward a bit (for diver mode) and come back nearly 90 degrees. The heels, foot, and toe all allow up and down articulation but there’s no angle left/right or rotation of the foot.
Total Score: (33.5/50)
It’s important to remember that this toy is being reviewed as if it were released today. In its time, this toy was a sterling example of what could be. By today’s standards, it’s a bit plain and stiff but it still does well otherwise. The construction of this toy would be the envy of newer Alpha/Legioss toys and there are very few areas that require any special attention at all. Being the largest Alpha and best vintage effort, this toy remains a must-own for any Robotech or Genesis Climber MOSPEADA toy collector. To put this in perspective, if you offered me this toy, an Evolution Toy Legioss, a CM’s Legioss, or a Toynami Masterpiece Alpha… there’s a very good possibility I would probably still take this toy. It was always tough being a Mospeada fan… at least we got phenomenal Beagle Ride Armor toys for our patience. More recently, Sentinel has taken on the Mospeada license and has done some excellent interpretations of the ride armor and will release a new Legioss in 2020 so let’s keep our fingers crossed that it delivers in ways this classic couldn’t.
Original Post Date: May 17, 2006
Updated June 11, 2007: All new pictures were added, content was updated.
Updated December 1, 2012: Added HD pictures and transformation guide.
Updated May 18, 2011: Added All new higher resolutions pictures, line art comparisons, video review, and content was updated.
Updated November 24, 2019: Added 4K transformation guide, new pictures, and updated content and format to conform to current releases.