B2Five (Beaver) 1/28 Scale Ride Armor Toys

Review: Now we need a 1/28 Legioss

Packaging & Extras: (5/5)
This toy comes in a no frills box that doesn’t feel too large at 22cm high, 18 cm wide, and 9cm deep. There were Japanese and International (English) boxes available. The Japanese box is a Genesis Climber Mospeada product with Japanese text. The international version is a Robotech licensed product with English text. All art and everything included is the same whether you get the Japanese or English language package. Stick/Scott’s VR-052F comes with the bike and the rider figure as well as:
1) Heavy cannon/Particle Beam
2) Gallant in pistol configuration
3) Gallant in rifle configuration
4) 3x saddlebags (L/R and center rear)
5) A stand adapter for bike mode
6) 2x ‘front fairing holders” for bike mode. One is for the 52T/F model, the other is for the 041H, but both are included with all toys
7) 2x Open thruster “maneuver jets” (Armor mode only)
8) Helmet visor
9) Helmeted head and upper body (upper body part is for armor mode)
10) 2X Bracers (forearm armors)
11) 2x missiles for bracers
12) 13x parts and connectors for the display stand

13) Instructions
I said it when I opened my Hi-Metal R VF-0S toy and I’m saying it again here… there’s a point where the contents become overwhelming. I think the presentation would have improved if the display stand was moved to a second tray just leaving the stuff you need to take it out and go ‘zoom zoom’ front and center. Obviously, the toy doesn’t need to come with an extra fairing holder for a different toy. It would have also been less overwhelming if the display stand came as three parts, a base, an arm, and an adapter that could be disassembled into its constituent part instead of the 13 small pieces. The only obvious thing missing here is a plug-in scope for the chest but at this scale, it was wise to abandon that feature.

Ray/Rand comes in the same box but with unique art. All contents are the same with the following modifications:
1) Bracer-mounted beam weapon unique to 52T Ride Armor
9) 1 x bracer (forearm armor) as seen on the 52F
10) 1 x 52T ‘heavy bracer’ with separate beam weapon mounting part (used only in bike mode)

Yellow comes in the same box with unique art. All contents are the same except Stick’s particle beam weapon is replaced by Yellow’s bracer mounted blades (one for each bracer). You also don’t get missiles or a bracer mounted beam weapon (item 10) since those are unique to the 52T and 52F toys whereas the 41H only had the internal sword weapons. My Japanese language Yellow toy came with two right-hand bracers. In bike mode, the left-hand bracer has the number painted on upside down… which means it’s meant for the right-hand side.

The English version of Yellow’s toy adds an extra baggy that includes another set of bracers. When the Japanese version was shipping, B2Five discovered that the factory wasn’t checking the bracers to determine if they were left or right. This means, if you get the Japanese version, you might have an upside down “10” on one side of the bike because you received two left or two right bracers. With the English version, the extra baggy of bracers guarantees you’ll have at least one right and one left so no need for an upside-down “10”.

Charm & Collectability: (3.5/5)
It’s too soon to weigh in here definitively but these toys sold well enough to avoid steep markdowns in the Japanese market and seem to be selling okay internationally. The scale is 1/28 (figures are about 2.5” tall, almost 8 cm) which goes well with B2Five’s other licenses; Acid Rain & Votoms. Part of the draw of B2Five’s shared scale is interchangeability between the various toys. Unfortunately, the Mospeada figures are about a head taller than other B2Five figures and have big knees and feet so they won’t fit into the cockpit of most other toy lines. You can pop off accessory/weapon parts and mix and match and you can put the pilot figures from other lines on these motorcycles. You won’t be able to have other figures wear the ride armor in armor mode. Until B2Five picks up more licenses to make the 1/28 universe larger, the scale won’t be a draw on its own. 1/28 is really small, these toys only weigh about 30 grams. These are not perfect transformation and there is no metal content; the two items that most frequently drive collectability.

Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (7/10)
I am impressed by the character figures. They look better than the MegaHouse figures from 2008 despite being 4.5 cm shorter. The proportions look downright human and though the joints are visible, they’re not unnatural looking. The only awkward concession to the size is the inclusion of large pegs on forearms; it would have been more natural to have slots at those locations and put the pegs on the bracers. The face sculpts are good enough for their tiny size. The visors feel a little too dark, completely obscuring the rider’s face, which is fine, but it makes you wonder why they went through the effort to make a face on the helmeted head.

In bike mode, the proportions look a little off, but the package is so small, it’s easy to dismiss. There are two major concessions to the size and need for simplicity that hurt bike mode. First, there is a void in front of the seat. If the character is positioned on the bike, this void is generally obscured. Second, the 52F/T bike mode is supposed to have headlights that retract and are replaced by sensors in armor mode. This has been abandoned with black squares permanently on the front fairing. You can resolve the gap in the front fairing by using one of the included parts, more on that in the design section. The armor’s cod piece does hang a little low under the bike but that’s a minor nitpick and, though it means not tabbing in the hip armor, you can alternately rotate that piece up higher and not impact the spinning of the back wheel.

Before I nitpick this thing to death, let me set the tone by saying I am impressed by armor mode. It does some things better than its larger cousins here. Like bike mode, if you look closely, you’ll see the compromises to accommodate the size. The grips are concealed behind the shoulders but you may still see them. Speaking of the shoulders, like the CM’s toy, they sit a little high. The windscreen towering over the back of the armor is probably the biggest deviation from more complex toys. The maneuver jets on the wheels are also a little big which draws attention to the fact the wheels sit a little too far apart from each other. From the side, the back of the bike protrudes too far (but every toy has struggled with that aspect of the design). From directly behind, the back reveals transformation mechanisms. While the toy has all these shortcomings, I was pleasantly surprised by the end result. This toy is about half the size of the MegaHouse 1/15 and it is superior in both modes.

Yellow does have a unique mold meant to capture the elements that made his bike special. This extends to the character figure. I really like what was done with the helmet-less head though extreme close-ups won’t do it justice. I also appreciated that B2Five gave Yellow his unique helmet that lacks the chin guard and a unique visor that better fits the shape.
Yellow’s bike has many aspects unique to this mold, including the bracers, front fairing, and rear section. The back of the bike is oddly shaped. While it captures the spirit of the line art, it’s too big. The wheel goes inside the back of the bike (it still spins free) but the line art has this area being smaller with the wheel below it.

Design: (5/10)
This is a smaller toy so you won’t get some of the frills you may have seen on much larger, more deluxe ride armor offerings.
No visor that can be swung up on the helmet. I wish the visor could at least be installed in an up position and the down position. Unfortunately, if the visor is on, it is in front of the face.
No integrated kickstand – but props to B2Five for the separate stand they included. CM’s gave us a small scaffolding that easily broke. MegaHouse gave us the tiniest piece of plastic that was easily lost. B2Five, working on an even smaller scale, came up with a single-piece cup for the back tire that is simple, solid, and effective. It would be nicer if it was less conspicuous (clear plastic?), but I appreciate that it works and doesn’t introduce any headaches.
No integrated foot pegs
No perfect transformation – just like the MegaHouse 1/15 Ride Armor toys, the front fork and radiator part must be removed to transform the toy. Ray/Rand also has a gun attachment piece in the bracer that is removed from the bike and not used in armor mode. On the riding figure, you need to swap the chest for a chest that has the chest strap connectors already installed. There are clever slots on the back of the riding figure and on the chest that receive tabs on the armor that lock everything together securely. Once you’re in armor mode, you can fish out the maneuver jets and attach them to the wheel hubs… or not, I thought the toy looked fine without them. I am impressed that the hip armors don’t disconnect to complete transformation. In armor mode the toy is capable of standing on its own, but it will be back-heavy so using the included display stand will increase the fun factor.
No integrated scope on the 52 toys and no integrated missiles on the 41H.
Those are large concessions. CM’s tried to give us perfect transformation and foot pegs at 1/18 scale and that created a sloppy toy that was a durability nightmare. This toy is small and you must lower your expectations. The character figures are designed intelligently to be able to naturally ride the motorcycle.

Many of my bike mode pictures show that I did not use the included fairing holder. I’m not a fan of additional required parts so I tested out how well I could live without it. In theory, the first time you take the toy out, you would install the fairing holder, then you would leave it there forever and it would help the front of the bike stay together. The fairing-holder is only a separate part from the forks because B2Five didn’t want to make a unique fork mold for Yellow’s bike so they crafted tiny adapters instead. To be fair to B2Five, the system works decently on my 52F toy but on the 52T, which should be no different from the 52F, the holder makes transformation very frustrating. Once installed, it does a great job pinching the fairing together, but it’s a struggle to get the fairing inside the holder and another struggle to get it back out of the holder. I think these solutions would have been superior:
1) Make the center rod on the forks a little longer and have the fairing holder piece slide up and down on the rod. Slide it up to lock the pinched together fairing in place, slide it down to free the fairing for transformation. Add a fingernail slot to the piece.
2) Add a couple pegs to the bottom of the windscreen and slots in the fairing. When the fairing is pressed all the way together, press them up to lock them into position on the tabs at the bottom of the windscreen.
3) Add a peg to one fairing and a slot on the other. It wouldn’t look amazing in armor mode though.
4) Make the sensors on the front rotate and put the peg and slot on them so they rotate into the chest in armor mode
There’s probably a hundred other ways this could have been done in a less frustrating way. Sometimes at the expense of the looks of the toy, sometimes it would make the toy more expensive, but I really don’t like the solution we got.

The included saddle bags fit securely on the toy. While they impair more aggressive rider poses, you will be able to have the rider on the bike with the saddlebags in some decent-looking poses. Though the saddlebags don’t open, the lids are removable which exposes a slot that allows you to mount other B2Five 1/28 scale weaponry which is a super cool gimmick if you’ve bought into their universe.

Assembling the display stand is intuitive and the finished product is solid. Using the display stand adapter in bike mode is clumsy and ranks up there with the stupid fairing connector in poor design decisions. You need to disassemble the front of the bike to access the connection point for the adapter. After reassembling the front of the bike, the adapter is firmly stuck in place. I would have preferred something that allowed me to just pop the bike on the display stand’s peg. A slot in the bottom of the fork piece seems like a CRAZY OBVIOUS better solution. One cool thing, if you choose to use the extra display stand adapter parts to do a driving and leaning pose for one of your toys, you can use the extra display stand arm parts to make a longer arm to display a high flying armor mode which is a really, really cool display option. The display stand base has slots in it that you can peg some of the accessories but most fit a little too loose and I was scared parts would bump off and get lost… go the baggy route.

Yellow’s bike can not stow the swords in the bracers in bike mode. If you want to display armor mode with the swords out, you simply attach the separate sword parts to the bracers. You can also put them on the toy while in bike mode… but that looks bizarre.

Durability & Build: (7/10)
If you were to strictly compare the build quality and durability of these toys to the CM’s 1/18 and MegaHouse 1/15 toys, then these are stellar. In the grander scheme of things, these are very small with lots of moving parts and no metal so there are numerous areas that should be handled thoughtfully, though not fretfully. One area that I found frustrating were the elbow joints of the rider figures. It only took minor handling before these joints became loose which is problematic for many ‘holding the gun’ poses. Fortunately, nothing is broken and there are lots of techniques for tightening simple joints up. The fairing holder part often had me putting pressure on the fairings I didn’t like and it seems like that will lead to some people breaking the pegs their fairings are attached to. Be patient the first few transformations as the toy is very stiff and things take a little more effort to get into the right spot. As the toy loses its ‘new toy sheen’ it goes through those paces more comfortably (less fiddly).

Articulation: (8/10)
One of the strengths of this toy is the articulation of the underlying rider figure. There is no neck articulation but the head rests on a ball joint which gives you all the cocking and twisting motion you could need. A neck joint may have allowed the toy to look up a little higher which can come in handy when doing bike-riding poses. The shoulders are similar to Revoltech joints being split balls which allows the arm to swing all the way around and extend fully away from the body. Elbows are a simple pivot that allows a bit more than 90 degrees of motion. There’s a clever swivel right above the wrist that allows the armor’s bracers to get out of the way and achieve the pose you want. The hands peg in so they can swivel around but they’re not ball joints so you can cock or angle them. A pivot in the torso allows the toy to lean forward about 75 degrees or lean back about 20 degrees. You can twist the toy a full 360 degrees at the waist just above the pelvis armor. The hips are very simple exposed ball joints which works great for mobility in all directions and even some twisting of the leg. Just below the hip is another point where the leg can be twisted. The knees are simple but well-designed hinges that allow about 120 degrees of backward motion. Though obscured by the boot armor, the feet attach via a ball joint allowing them to twist, cock, and pivot up/down.

Things are more limited once the armor is on the toy but the underlying character articulation is so excellent, you’ll still have a lot of fun handling these things. The head will just barely pass over the chest armor which limits looking up and down and cocking the head. The shoulder armor will reduce some angles of arm movement. The waist swivel and back crunch articulation are eliminated. The right hip armor is more restrictive than the left hip armor which prevents you from getting the widest stance symetrically.

Total Score: (35.5/50)
While I take issue with the fairing holder and the display stand adapter for bike mode, the toy has strengths which are impressive given the scale. The riding figures are chief among those strengths. They beat MegaHouse’s 1/15 effort in looks, articulation, and durability while being almost half the size. In fact, I prefer nearly every aspect of this toy to the MegaHouse incarnation. I still have a soft spot for CM’s, and all they ATTEMPTED to accomplish, giving us over-engineered and fragile armors, but I think these B2Fives are a much better solution for the average ride armor enthusiast not looking to break the bank on a Beagle (Holy Grail) or Sentinel (Great – but different) figure. I already get the sense that loose joints will be an issue. It doesn’t seem like they’ll be getting to Houquet/Fuke/Rook (no teases yet) so for those of you who insist on buying a whole team, Sentinel and CM’s remain your only options. On the plus side, B2Five worked with Prime1 on developing these figures and Prime1 used that as the basis to mock-up a massive 1/28 scale Legioss/Alpha toy. They brought mock-ups of that toy to some shows and, if it ever gets made, it will enhance the value proposition for these ride armor figures.