Toynami 1/55 Masterpiece Collection Alpha and Aoshima 1/48 New Century Alloy Legioss toys

Mega Review: Includes all Toynami Alpha and Aoshima Legioss variants

Packaging & Extras: (4/5) -1 for Aoshima releases
The book-style box returns and I doubt anyone will lament that.  The case is sturdy and effective.  The outer white boxes continue to have a sticker with the build number attached to the top and a black-and-white version of the portrait on one side. On all of my New Generation releases, the white box opens left to right, on my Shadow Chronicles releases the portrait was on the other side so the box opened in the other direction. The toy is very secure so you can rest assured it will not be damaged during shipping. For volumes 1 through 3, once you open your book and slide out the inner tray you’ll find the toy in a plastic tray that also includes:
1) A tiny replica Cyclone (converted into the box that Scott pulls out of his Alpha upon crashing on Earth)
2) Gun with removable magazine and pivoting grip
3) Pilot figure
4) Shoulder-mounted sensor array
The Cyclone is a nice, if not useless, touch. You can tuck it into the Alpha’s chest compartment where it will jingle when you move the toy and likely fall out during transformation and never be seen again. The pilot figure is looking hard left… a little too left for my liking. Unlike Toynami’s VF-1 veritech offering, these pilots fit nicely into position although the canopy can be a little difficult to open. The shoulder-mounted sensor array has two pivot points and looks nice enough. Behind the tray the toy sits in you’ll find:
5) Stickers
6) Instructions
Unfortunately, the instructions do leave a bit to be desired but they are in color and unique for each variant. Unfortunately, Toynami had them taped to the printed back on the cardboard tray which means removing them potentially damages the box. Fortunately, I’ve got you covered. You can leaves your taped forever in the box and enjoy these scans of mine!
Scott Toynami MPC Scott Instruction Manual
Rook Toynami Masterpiece Rook Instructions
Lancer Toynami Masterpiece Lancer Instructions
The stickers look great on the toy.

Sue Graham was volume 4, the final New Generation volume, and comes with everything above except the shoulder array since the Shadow Fighter did not have a shoulder array. One of the biggest differences with Shadow Fighter is the destabilizer gun. The destabilizer gun included with the Shadow Fighter toys is also very nice and features a grip that folds out which presses a scope up. Like the other toys, she came with her own unique instructions and stickers. View the instructions here: Toynami Masterpiece Sue Instructions

Maia was the final MPC Alpha released, labeled as Volume 1 of the Shadow Chronicles. Her Alpha Fighter is a combination of Rooks VFA-6Z and Sue’s Shadow Fighter. Inside her tray you’ll find everything included with Volumes 1-3 but the gun has been replaced with the destabilizer. You can see her instructions here: Toynami Maia MPC Instructions

Several years later Aoshima worked out a deal with Toynami to produce a line of Legioss toys for the Japanese market under Aoshima’s New Century Alloy (Shin Seiki Gokin) line. The packaging is slick enough but you won’t get full collector’s regalia like you did with the Toynami MPC. Don’t expect a flap that opens to reveal a window showing off the toy or cardboard insert. Instead, you get a thin plastic tray that strives for nothing more than keeping the toy stable. You get all the same stuff that came with the Toynami releases and:
7) Missiles for attaching under the intakes
The Aoshima instruction manual is black&white (Aoshima Legioss Instructions Web) and not version specific. There are some new Genesis Climber Mospeada stickers on the sheet but otherwise the sticker sheet is very similar to Toynami’s. So, you won’t get the nice box or nice instructions that you’d get with a Toynami MPC but you will get two new missile clusters.

Charm & Collectibility: (3.5/5) -1 for Aoshima releasesThe Toynami MPC toys are limited editions so they are likely to become collectibles no matter how good the toy really is. They’re also loaded with metal and very nearly perfect transformation which works in their favor. Coupled with the fact that no other company seems capable of making a vastly superior Legioss/Alpha, demand for these toys may be quite strong. Limited to 15,000 worldwide and distributed in waves that create small supply shortages, Toynami aimed to keep demand for the toy present at all times.  An unofficial, not scientific, poll here confirmed that Toynami stopped production of the blue Alphas below the 7,000 mark so it’s always possible they may fire the factory back up and make more of the product but the design is pretty old so its unlikely.  The later release by Aoshima made the possibility of Toynami completing their runs less likely. True New Generation collector diehards should note that the first 3,000 Scott Bernard MPCs had a different color chest vent that may very well make them more collectible in the future.  The Maia MPC Shadow Fighter is limited to only 5,000 units but as Shadow Chronicles has proven far less popular than the original series, it’s unlikely this toy will become a hot collector’s item but it’s also a bit of a Robotech curiosity so only time will tell. Buying a Maia toy is particularly perilous because the first issue of that toy was an abomination made of incredibly brittle plastic. It has the dubious distinction of being the only Toynami product that was so glaringly bad they actually recalled it! A couple years later, after the dust settled and the tears dried, they reissued one that was at least the same quality as previous MPCs, some would even say it was better. A Marcus Rush Shadow Chronicles toy was teased but never released. Releases included:
New Generation Volume 1 – Scott Bernard, October 2004, $79.99
New Generation Volume 2 – November 2004, Rook Bartley, $79.99
New Generation Volume 3 – Lancer, January 2005, $79.99
New Generation Volume 4 – Sue Graham, June 2005, $79.99
Shadow Chronicles Volume 1 – Maia Sterling, December 2008, $79.99 (original release – avoid!)
Shadow Chronicles Volume 1 – Maia Sterling, January 2010, $79.99 (reissue)

Stateside, at least, more people will clamor for the Robotech version of this toy than the Aoshima. This might have changed if the Aoshima Legioss was the promised improvement over the Toynami MPC. Instead the average consumer will look at this as an uglied Alpha thanks to the inclusion of details from Imai’s model kit (that’s where the missiles underneath the intakes and third missile cluster come from).  The missiles under the intake are removable so, if you can get yourself past the center missile pod, this might meet your needs. Some people prefer how the missile pod between the arms on the Aoshima toys creates a smoother transition to their Tread counterparts. The gun can be attached to missile pod between the arms or the more traditional under wing hard point. The release of these toys was followed by rumors of Aoshima being so flabbergasted by the build quality that they immediately cancelled a planned joint product with Toynami to build a Tread/Beta toy. Fortunately, those project continued, allegedly with Aoshima taking the lead in selecting a different factory, and shipped with far superior build quality. Aoshima markets this toy as its 1/48 Legioss but the dimensions are unchanged from Toynami’s “1/55” Masterpiece toys. The true scale of the toy (in soldier mode) is somewhere between 1/48 and 1/55 so both companies were able to select the scale they preferred. There were three Aoshima releases:
New Century Alloy Eta Legioss, October 2007, 9,800¥
New Century Alloy Zeta Legioss, October 2007, 9,800¥
New Century Alloy Iota Legioss, October 2007, 9,800¥

Sculpt, Detail, and Paint: (8.5/10) -1 for Aoshima releases
This is one beautiful representation of the Alpha.  Fighter mode isn’t perfect.  The “back” of the plane appears arched, the nose should slope down more.  This arched effect is often exaggerated by mistransformation but even when you get everything perfect there’s a chance, a likelihood even, your MPC’s chest will touch the ground. Despite later releases by CM’s and Evolution Toys, the Toynami fighter mode is still the most compact package with only very minor gaps when viewed from above (surrounding the VTOL vent) and the head nestled tightly under the cockpit.

Guardian mode is excellent and only fails to capture the line art due to the limited articulation of the arms. The slight upward slope of the nose that negatively impacts fighter mode improves the overall look here.

Some complain that Battloid looks stocky, and it is definitely wide through the chest, but the head size and overall proportions do a great job capturing the chunkiness of the design. There certainly could have been a lot more pre-painted detail but it was good to finally see a New Gen or Mospeada toy get a more anime accurate paint scheme after years of Gakken’s “close enough” treatment.

The Shadow Fighter, or Dark Legioss as it’s called in Mospeada, deviates from the line art of a traditional Legioss/Alpha in some key ways. To their credit, Toynami captured the following changes:
1) Unique head, paint, and gun (obviously)
2) Re-shaped chest intakes
3) Claws replace the hands
4) Deleted sensors/lights on top of the hips
5) Deleted VTOL vent
The head looks great (complete with metallic paint on the eye). I would say that captures the spirit of the Shadow Fighter pretty nicely but there are a few details they elected to carry forward from the original mold that could have been updated.
1) Chest has not been updated
2) Cockpit canopy should be one piece with a different frame
One other item that some may miss are reshaped shoulders.. While I do like the look of the reshaped shoulders in Battloid mode in the line art, the line art curiously shows the original shape in fighter mode. It seems like the best Toynami could have done was to be half right in this regard so I’m okay with their erring on the side of simplicity and sticking with the original shoulder mold. Toynami decided to add a dash of red paint in the forearm jets for effect.

Maia’s shadow fighter is a mash-up of existing design elements specifically used to make creating a toy easier to accomplish. The design is mostly Rook’s VFA-6Z but with the shadow fighter’s intakes and gun. Unfortunately, the first edition of Maia’s shadow fighter had Rook’s intakes on the toy, this was corrected when Toynami reissued the toy later. The paint job is pretty bold and the inclusion of painted stripes on the wings and stabilizers was a very nice touch.

Everything about the Aoshima releases is brighter than the Toynami MPCs right down to the guns. If anything is the same it might be the little pilot figures. So, if you like a more cartoony-looking color palette, here it is! There’s a bit of a matte quality to the paint which I didn’t find all that attractive in a few parts. Personally, I’m one of those people who views that third missle pod as a derivation from line art so it annoys me. Otherwise this toy is pretty consistent in paint and look with the MPC, right down to the forearm missile bay detail being too low set… something I was hoping would be fixed by Aoshima. Though not the most attractive, Aoshima’s removal of numerous screw covers should make any repairs you need to do to the toy easier to accomplish.

Design: (7/10) + 0.5 for Aoshima releases
The designers of this particular toy really were out to do the vehicle justice (and that goes all the way back to the designers of the original model this toy is based off of).  Unfortunately, the toy tries to accomplish too much given its size and manufacturing.  While much of this is caused by Toynami’s using a very complicated Japanese model kit as the blueprint for their MPCs, they didn’t do themselves any favors with the touches of their own.  If you’re interested in trying to build the original model, Aoshima reissued that model shortly before contracting with Toynami to make a toy version so it should be readily available online.  Like the Aoshima toy, the original model is marketed as a 1/48 scale product but don’t be confused, it’s exactly the same size as the Toynami MPC as noted above.  It is my understanding that this kit is very difficult to build, extremely unstable, and easily broken when complete so it’s no wonder there are so many issues with both the Toynami and Aoshima toys.  Let’s start with the pros:

1) Integrated landing gear. The landing gear on the MPC tuck away nicely into the fighter but when fully extended there is less than a centimeter of clearance between the lowest portion of the fighter and the ground when everything is positioned perfectly.

2) All missile bays are represented and hidden by opening doors. They are a wonderful touch but they completely fail on the forearms where the trap doors reveal only where the missiles should be.

3) Opening canopy. It can be tricky to open; don’t pinch it too much, it will cause a splintering effect. Hold the toy by the nose, the weight will put pressure on the other side of the toy which should make the canopy much easier to open.
4) Gun stowage in fighter mode. You can remove the magazine for a more attractive look or, if you hate tracking down parts like me, install the gun the opposite way and have the magazine sticking out.

5) Cyclone stowage in chest

6) Perfect transformation (for Sue’s Shadow Fighter at least, the other variants require installation of the shoulder-mounted sensor array)
When handling this toy you quickly get the feeling there’s a little too much going on in such a small package. You’ll soon encounter these cons:
1) The shoulders are not ratcheted so they struggle with the weight of the gun and the metal in the arms. They quickly become loose eliminating many poses
2) The shoulder-mounted array needs to be removed to finish transformation into fighter mode or added when transforming to Battloid.  Many original owners broke the plastic door off the back of the toy trying to keep the array attached or pulling up too hard when trying to free the door the array sits on. DO NOT DO THAT.

3) If everything is transformed perfectly and your MPC was built very well at the factory, you have a tiny bit of clearance between the ground and the chest of the toy in fighter mode. More likely, your chest will be touching the ground. You should be able to get all the landing gear touching the ground but more clearance would have been ideal.
4) Perhaps related to the item above, the toy often appears to be sagging in the middle in fighter mode with the nose pointing up. It’s unclear if this is a design problem, a tolerance issue, or a build quality problem, but a better Alpha would have the tip of the nose lower down.

5) Maia’s MPC comes with a gun designed to fit the Shadow Fighter’s claw hand and doesn’t really work with the standard hand of her vehicle.  With a little effort you can make the hand work with the destabilizer gun but you’re probably never going to be happy with it. Fun fact, Maia’s first release of the MPC forgot to include the slot between the arms for holding the destabilizer gun in fighter mode.

6) The gun on Maia’s and Sue Graham’s Shadow Fighters looks like it would fire into the cockpit in fighter mode.
I’m not going to list it as a con because no manufacturer has figured it out yet, but it would have been nice if the Sue Graham toy didn’t feature a flip out door for the sensor array since Shadow Fighters don’t have sensor arrays. A more elegant solution would have been a back plate that could be pushed in when transforming to battloid. Some day someone will make a Legioss/Alpha toy that abandons the flip out door method that Gakken crafted.

When I heard a company was taking the Toynami MPC and making it slightly more complicated in the hopes of building a better toy, I was skeptical. The last thing this toy needed was someone trying to make it do more. The Aoshima differs from the Toynami MPC in a few ways:
1) Ratcheting hip joints
2) Plastic thighs that eliminate the seam line down the front (these are die-cast metal on the MPC but the toy has plenty of metal still)
3) Plastic hands (the MPC has rubber hands that disintegrate)

4) Missile pod permanently affixed to the left shoulder
5) The ability to stow the gun in the missile pod behind the shoulder (without requiring a special magazine like CM’s and then Evolution Toy did). Gun can also be stowed traditionally to the wing hard point.
6) Optional under intake missiles
Fortunately, the ratcheting hips work and work well! The under intake missiles fit well, can be easily removed, and stay in place well enough. I don’t know how it happened but my green and red Legioss toys sit WELL off the ground with their landing gears deployed in comparison to my Toynami MPCs which had only the tiniest bit of clearance.

Another design con was the lack of any forethought for a Beta/Tread toy by either Toynami or Aoshima. What was truly impressive was that one got made anyway and the connection is far superior to the one CM’s concocted and CM’s made their Legioss and Tread at the same time! Check out my separate review for more discussion on the Beta and the connection.

Durability & Build: (4/10) + 0.5 for Shadow Fighter, -0.5 for Aoshima releases
The MPCs are complicated and weigh a LOT.  Die-cast metal was used liberally but the usage frequently seems gratuitous. Here’s a list of common issues:
1) Weak shoulders – As mentioned previously, this weakness is compounded through the use of die-cast in the forearms. The shoulder joints quickly become incapable of supporting the additional weight and fail more rapidly than they may have otherwise.

2) Broken arms – the collapsing portions of the arm all endure huge amounts of stress during transformation yet they are all plastic.  I have heard from others who have snapped the arms during transformations or have come home and found an arm has fallen off at some point.  I believe these random bouts of toy leprosy are caused by fractures that occur during transformation and grow as the toy sits immobile.
3) Cocked heads (very prevalent) – something about the neck joint causes the head to not sit evenly

4) Very fragile hands – they’re made of a rubber-like material and often crumble apart, be EXTREMELY careful
5) Landing gear issues – from mild cases of the tolerances being slightly off so the landing gear can only open or close with the feet in particular spots to moderate issues where the rear landing gear don’t lock in their forward position, to larger issues like warped/angled landing gear

6) Fit/build issues – most obvious around the arms and pegging them into the legs in fighter mode, there are usually several spots on the toys where there are gaps where parts should come together.
7) The front landing gear door could easily break when being opened

8) The panel the sensor array on is connected by two tiny pegs (like a dot of plastic). If manufacturing tolerances were off OR you forgot to flip the door open before trying to rotate the chest and strained the attachment, that door may pop off very easily and be a constant source of frustration.

9) Broken toes – the foot is incredibly over engineered. Toynami made the foot thinking that it would have camber in/out as if the hips were going to be ball joints. This was not the case and many of the design elements that would have allowed this articulation are ultimately restricted by the limited clearance in the foot area. The end result is a very difficult to repair foot that breaks off at a pivot point that is totally unnecessary.

10) Recently I’ve seen two Masterpiece Alpha toys with the same malady, a crack where a screw is holding the chest together. The design is peculiar and I haven’t figured out an adhesive that bonds. This effectively forces you to keep the toy in fighter mode.

The Shadow Fighter has all the same issues as the first three volumes with exception to the hands which are replaced by more durable claws.

The original release of Maia’s MPC has the dubious distinction of being the only Toynami product that was so bad it was actually recalled. Seriously, it’s awful, the plastic used to make it was exceptionally brittle. Mine was clearly broken in the box (with an arm disconnected) and as soon as I pulled it out, a winglet fell off and things just kept getting worse from there. How do you ensure you don’t buy one of these train-wrecks on the secondary market? Make sure any Maia MPC toy you’re interested in has a small slot between the arms in fighter mode to receive the destabilizer gun. This slot was omitted on the first release.

The latter reissue of Maia’s MPC was done after Toynami and Aoshima had paired up on producing Tread/Beta toys. The Tread/Beta toys are much better built so it stands to reason that the reissue is, at the least, far superior to the original Maia release, and at the best, the least problematic of all MPC toys. That said, being the least problematic of a very problematic line of toys is faint praise and there are plenty of reports of this limited edition suffering from the same faults that were outlined of the original MPC toys above.

It was hard to fathorm how Toynami could build toys as bad as the Aoshima-branded Legioss products after already having experience building the MPCs. The rumor was that Toynami was unable to secure the factory they had outsourced manufacture to previously so they chose a new factory that produced the subpar product that ultimately shipped in Aoshima boxes. There was a bit of a contentious time where Aoshima was quietly blaming Toynami for shipping out such a terrible product while Toynami was blaming Aoshima for recommending the factory and the two were working hard to prevent it from coming to a head just in case the planned Tread/Beta toy came to fruition… which it eventually did. Common complaints include:

1) Warped parts and odd fit. Compare how well the winglets on come together on the back of soldier mode.
2) Loose plastic bits rattling around inside the toys
3) Paint flaws and chipped paint
4) Unglued parts, glue smudges, and over-glued partsR
5) Right arms frequently don’t extend as far as the left arms. The difference is minor but it caught me off guard while transforming it
6) The wings don’t inset like they do on the Toynami MPC on all but one of my Aoshimas. Pushing the wings in really cleans up the fighter mode’s appearance on the MPC and keeps them from moving around so much when handled. I tried to wiggle them in on my Aoshima Legioss and they just wouldn’t go anywhere. I’ve heard it’s because the factory reversed the right and left pieces internally.

7) There is a fairly consistent factory flaw where the neck piece has been installed backward. This is a BIG problem as it means the head wobbles in soldier mode and worse, it keeps the nose section in fighter mode from being able to sit in the proper position. This adds to that “arched back” issue that was so rampant with the Toynami MPC toys and means the head will always look funny underneath the nose of the craft. Yeah, that sucks.

8) The crotch vent on my green Legioss appears to have either missed the gluing process or broken free during shipping.
9) None of the vents on my Aoshima toys move freely like they do on the MPCs. The lack of crotch vent mobility doesn’t appear to affect much and is probably a function of the new ratcheting system in the hips.
10) Not an issue so much as a heads-up, all of my Aoshima toys had the door on the chest installed upside down. You can simply slide it out and reinstall it in the proper direction.

11) The alignment of the shoulder peg and the wing was thrown off by some change Aoshima made (this might relate to the issue with the wings not being able to slide inward for fighter mode).
So is it all bad news? No, there are a couple improvements here:
1) The hands on the Aoshima releases are less fragile than the original MPC hands which crumbled apart. They are firmer and stiffer but I still wouldn’t test them too much.
2) The shoulder joints were tighter out of the box than my MPC toys. Of course, regular use will still lead to loose shoulders but at least these versions came with tight joints out of the box.
3) Unlike the Toynami MPC, the hinge behind the cockpit is not painted the color of the toy. On the MPCs this was painted and that paint was easy to chip away.  Sadly, the Aoshima’s also don’t have the top of what should be the sensor array storage area painted so there’s a big white square on the backs of all the toys in fighter mode.

Articulation: (7/10)
Originally I praised this toy for being the most poseable Alpha/Legioss in the transformable genre to date but I think that can be somewhat misleading.  Previous Alpha/Legioss toys had very poor articulation. The neck can swivel left and right. The shoulders spin all the way around. You can bring the arms away from the body at the shoulders a small amount but the arms are so heavy due to the gratuitous die-cast in the forearm that they’ll just droop back down along the side of the toy. There’s a swivel at the bicep and an elbow that lets you get just about 90 degrees of articulation. The hands can swivel around at the wrist and there’s a separate thumb and trigger finger with the other three fingers being one piece. There’s a waist swivel. The hips should angle out to the side but it’s very difficult to get this to happen in practice and the range in which they could angle out is very limited. The modified Aoshima hips can’t achieve any outward angle. Of course you can bring the leg forward or back at the hip and you can angle the toe outward (as you must for transformation). The knee is very limited with much less than 90 degrees of articulation and there’s no second twist point below the hip. The foot’s construction implies there should be more articulation than there is (when the toe breaks off and you have to take the foot apart, you realize how needless complicated it is given that there isn’t enough clearance for the parts to move independently). The heel and toe can twist left and right (on most toys, if it fights you at all don’t try it, there’s probably a little glue in there and you’ll break something if you force it) and the foot can bring the toe down/heel up to some degree but doesn’t offer much motion when bringing the toe up/heel down. Given that the toy has very limited ability to obtain a wide stance, the ability to twist the heel and toe loses all value. It wasn’t until Evolution Toy released their much larger Legioss that we saw solid improvements in articulation. That toy features ball jointed hips and feet with enough articulation to take advantage of it.

Total Score: Toynami Masterpiece(34/50), +0.5 for Shadow FighterAs great as this toy looks it’s a real shame that it fails to execute.  If handled very carefully it can really dress up a shelf nicely. Unfortunately, these toys are sometimes broken before you even get a chance to handle them. I have received one that was broken inside the box, one that had an arm that missed the gluing portion of manufacture (easily rectified), one that has horribly slanted landing gears, and another that has a paint defect on the tip of the nose. In my attempt to update this review the landing gear door on one of my Scott MPCs gave up and now dangles freely because it looks like the hinge that held it in place bent upon opening (very thin plastic). It should be noted that I have handled many Alphas so while I have seen my fair share of rejects I have also seen a few quality examples. Temper that with the knowledge I handle toys very carefully so to see this many flaws indicates some real build quality issues.  I am a huge fan of the Alpha design and this toy shows so much potential while falling short. The Toynami Beta, which was sold several years later, was a huge step in the right direction.

Total Score: Aoshima Legioss (31.5/50)The Aoshima doesn’t come in as nice a package, it doesn’t promise to be as collectible, and I felt the MPC was a better representation of the vehicle from the shows. Some of those points might be pretty trivial to you and, if they are, this can be a pretty decent substitute. It’s sad that the durability and build didn’t improve. While my red Aoshima seems to be an improvement over my Rook MPC my green MPC and blue MPC are preferable to my Aoshimas. Yet again Toynami hits us with an effort that seems to fall far short of its potential and this time it’s being sold under the name of a company with a strong reputation (which is bound to tick a lot of people off). So, if you have an MPC already, no need to get one of these. If you don’t own the MPC and are now feeling the itch for Legioss/Alpha toy, there still aren’t any great choices. The CM’s toy is built much better but it’s awkward in numerous ways. The Evolution Toy is better but it’s incredibly expensive for what you get and, given its flaws, it’s really hard to argue its worth its going price. If you do decide to grab an Aoshima, don’t think of this as a toy; it’s a completed model and should be handled as gingerly as you would a variable model (except when you’re breaking parts free of over-gluing or excess paint). If you’re just a moderate transformable plane collector look for something else, there are much better toys out there.

February 9, 2011 update: In my continuing effort to make the site easier to navigate, I have combined the following posts into this “Mega” review:
1) Toynami MPC Alphas (Volumes 1-3) as originally posted on May 17, 2006 and then updated November 12, 2006
2) Toynami MPC Shadow Fighter as orginally reviewed on May 14, 2006 and then updated on November 18, 2006
3) Aoshima New Century Alloy 1/48 Legioss as originally reviewed on February 8th, 2008
4) Toynami MPC Shadow Fighter (Maia Variant) as originally reviewed on February 9th, 2009
I haven’t just combined all the pictures from previous reviews, I have also updated the content, added many new pictures with increased resolution including comparisons to other toys and comparisons to the line art.  Also new this time around is a video review, enjoy!
Updated November 14, 2012: Added an HD fighter to battloid transformation guide.
Updated October 16, 2018: Added a scan of the instructions, added release information for all toys, updated presentation to agree to current posts.
Updated April 14, 2019, Added a 4K transformation guide and scans of all the remaining instructions manuals.
Updated July 14, 2019, Added a 4K transformation guide back to fighter mode and lots of new pics of the Aoshima Legioss toys.

18 Replies to “Toynami 1/55 Masterpiece Collection Alpha and Aoshima 1/48 New Century Alloy Legioss toys”

  1. Great and fair review. I agree that the potential is there, it was just built from the wrong hands. I myself bought the MPC Alphas (the first time)because I too am a great fan of the design and thought I would be money ahead then buying an old complete Gaken 1/35 (for 2 to 3 times as much as 1 MPC). I did replace them (after I was robbed) becuase of the Beta possability. Had I known that was not going to happen I would have only replaced 2 of them.

    I think you hit some of the greats deesign flaws. The one I miss the most is the ability to twist at the knees.

    Keep up the good work

  2. Great review and great pictures. A few of the problems I have with the Alpha MPC’s (Scott version in particular) which I would of liked Toynami to rectify.

    1. While the paint job is nice, Toynami could of gone a bit further and added panel lines to the toy.

    2. Transformation instructions are lousy. I was one of the many owners who managed to break the panel door that sites behind the cockpit. The panel door looks like it is supposed to open fully but only has slight movement. At least I could super glue the panel door back the way it was meant to be.

    3. I am disappointed in the design of the front landing gear doors. The plastic latch on the right side of the landing gear that holds the pin on the door is too thin and easily breaks. It is also very hard to super glue this door into position without glue getting onto the pin which would permanently close the door.

    4. Badly moulded plastic on one of the pieces underneath the head leaving the head slightly of centre and crooked.

    5. The red sensor eye on the Destabilizer gun for the Shadow Fighter may not be attached correctly. A friend bought a Shadow Fighter with the red sensor eye missing altogether.

  3. It is really one piece of fragile toy. Broken arm in less than one week. In my opinion, the durability and build should be less than 4 points.
    It is a shame to have it called “Masterpiece Collection”.

  4. Sorry to all the people who had comments on the Aoshima, MPC Shadow Fighter, and MPC Maia (first release) posts. This Mega Review won’t be deleted so feel free to leave comments here and know that they’ll stick around for posterity.

  5. 1/100 would be AWFULLY small for a perfect transforming Alpha/Legioss toy. I wouldn’t mind seeing all Robotech, Macross, or Mospeada merchandise done in 1/72 scale though… it seems like a great fit for all the various series.

  6. When are they going to make a legit Alpha/Legioss. Genesis Climber Military Operation Soldier Protective Emergency Aviation Dive Armor is one of my favorite old school shows. It really deserves the works. The Beagle Ride Armor is so cool. I’d love to see the Alpha get the same treatment. Personally I’d like to see it in 1/32 scale.

  7. There is a 1/32 resin model being created that looks absolutely phenomenal… it looks like us toy fans are out of luck.

  8. I’ve built the Imai 1/48 models, and these are like toy versions of the kit. Toynami did add some improvements, such as the sliding knee cap, tilted vertical fin and the correct folding of the side “wings” of the nosecone.

    The proportions are almost exactly the same as the original 1/48 imai kits, but toynami scaled down the pilot significantly. The original Imai pilot was still smaller than 1/48, but the toynami pilot is closer to 1/72.

    The inability to spread the legs really limits the posability in robot mode.

    Overall Toynami should get a bit of credit for making some improvements to the original IMAI design, but the poor manufacturing quality really makes this toy a disappointment.

  9. Yewwo :)

    I don’t know if you still check back here, but I just received a Maia Sterling MPC Alpha and I have to say the build quality is beyond awful. Do note that this is the *reissue* version that supposedly fixed QC issues…

    I’ll start with the fun part. My cockpit secdion upon pulling it gently away from the body to dislodge the retaining pegs resulted in it falling right off of its neck joint mount. Joy. I got that fixed and it usually (but not always) stays on. It came off at least three times during the attempt to transform the alpha to its battloid mode. Extra negative Karma to Toynami on this one for having a head that refused to sit locked in place in either fighter mode OR battloid mode. It felt like it was given the care and design of the Aoshima fighter in this regard, despite being attached correctly.

    Next up was the tail fins. The right arm had a decently stiff, but moveable tail fin, but the left’s fin was jammed in there something fierce. It took immense force to dislodge, and I felt like I was going to break it when I tried. Fortunately it did not break, but it became jammed again when I slid it back in as one would normally do. The thruster cover/door that hides the fists are very loose on both of the arms.

    Next up was the wings. The instructions tell you to gently pull the wings out, and by the pictures, you grip them at the winglet tips. Well, pulling mine resulted in the wings arching slightly out, making it feel like they were going to break at the pin joint, so I had to forego that and carefully fold them down.

    Then the arms…let’s just say I’m supremely glad I read and re-read the instruction manual not once, but twice on this step. I can see how many people would snap off the arms not fully realizing that unlike the Gakken 80s series, these use *swing out* joints, not the turn and pull downward joints of the older, yet much superior Gakken models. I can also see where the floppy shoulder syndrome kicks in, so I don’t plan on transforming this much, assuming I don’t simply return it for another and hope for a better build (I’m not done with the build gripes yet my friend…)

    At this point I was able to get ahold of the legs and move them to where I wanted (extended with kneecap stop cover in upward locked position. One kneecap cover was hard as hell to move while the other was relatively easy. The feet (both) had no issues with the toe movement, but the heel movement is problematic in that it’s uber stifff. Great for poses, not so great *getting* to those poses. Not much articulation going on in the legs either. In fact, I had *less* articulation in mine than in my best friend’s Gakken 1/35 Scott Bernard Alpha from 25 years ago.

    The annoying necessity of having to move the hip joint to differing locking positions for fighter and gerwalk/battloid modes is a major minus here.

    The landing gear gets a plus and minus at the same time. The minus is because despite the instruction manual not telling you this, you *must* open the toes to their extended position to pull out/put in the landing gears on the legs. And I had to get a straight pin to pry open the front landing gear since it had no fingernail catch like the rear ones did (Herp Derp QC there). On the plus side, my alpha with landing gears extended had just over three millimeters of clearance from the desk. Sadly in the wheels do not spin freely and allow you to roll the fighter on any surface when there is pressure on them.

    And that back panel. I’ll be honest here – if the other Shadow Fighters don’t have a shoulder array, why does Maia’s Shadow Fighter? It’s a ROYAL PAIN IN THE ASS to get seated back into its closed position So much so I almost broke it twice in five minutes. Major plus points for the Gakken here. Oh, and the Destabilizer/Synchro Cannon? Couldn’t get it seated in fighter mode. At all. The peg stub is barely 3/4th of a millimeter long.

    At this point, I’m doing an /EpicFacepalm at how badly constructed this is. It’s one thing to have to live with the gaps between the forearm and shoulder sections in fighter mode. It’s an entirely different thing to see so many QC issues abounding all in one tiny package. If it weren’t for the die cast metal in the legs, I probably would have snapped the legs off trying to butt them up against the hips for fighter mode.

    Needless to say, I didn’t even *bother* hooking this up to my Annie Labelle MPC Beta (which BTW is 1000% better in its build quality than my diminutive alpha is). I never felt like I was going to break my Beta at any point, but I felt like I was about to snap one thing or another off at every point in the Alpha’s transformation. That to me is the hallmark of a shoddy toy that can’t even muster Craptacular™ status.

    The upside of this whole month’s worth of waiting for my Robotech mecha to get here for me to enjoy? The Annie Labelle MPC Beta cost me a whole $36 after using my reward points from my Discover card, and that was on top of Toynk Toys (via so I at least had buyer protection) selling it for $76 instead of the $130 list price. I got a toy 2.5x larger and better built for less than I paid for this thing ($98 after shipping/tax from

    Don’t get me wrong, the figher *looks* nice. It just isn’t of good build quality. Or even mediocre quality. I’m asking for a refund on this one.

    The old addage of “if it ain’t broke, for pete’s sake DON’T FIX IT!” works well here. I don’t care if the Beta would have had to be that much larger – the Gakken design wasn’t broken at all. All it needed was a front wing redo for line art compliance, and more detail added in along with the missile bays (as those bays wouldn’t have impacted any of the articulation/build quality).

    If Toynami was building Mecha, Maia would have died in this thing the moment she flipped the “G” switch…

  10. I recently picked up a used Toynami MPC Alpha off of eBay, and I wanted to add a couple of points that were mentioned in the video review. Regarding the panel in back that sits between the arms in fighter mode and behind the sensor pod panel — in the video review you mention that the Aoshima version opens but the Toynami version does not. That’s actually not quite correct, as the Toynami Alpha I acquired has a panel that does in fact open. Additionally, it seems that having this panel open does serve a purpose in transformation.

    When transforming back into fighter mode, you correctly note that you should have the legs/hips just about touching the chest intakes, which requires that you push the entire lower half of the Alpha forward so that the gap between the legs and hips is eliminated. It seems that when you push these parts together, the little tab at the end of the sensor panel will sometimes collide with the panel between the arms — the one that you note in the video review as having no apparent purpose. This can prevent you from adequately mating the legs back with the chest intakes. It seems that if you open that back panel *before* pushing the legs into the chest, and then close it *afterwards*, it prevents said collision and enables you to better mate the legs to the chest. In fact, I was having a lot of trouble transforming my Alpha back to fighter mode until I discovered this little step, as I kept getting a gap between the legs and chest.

  11. Which MPC Alpha did you get? Was it a Maia MPC? On the original ones this panel does NOT move upward, in fact I’ve seen quite a few broken ones from people who did try to pull it upward so they could try to leave the radar array on the flip out panel (which obviously doesn’t work). That panel moves upward on the Aoshima releases so maybe it also moves upward on the Maia toys since those were released after Aoshima had used the molds. This also might be a matter of degrees since I don’t have an Alpha in front of me right now. It certainly doesn’t open all the way upward, I suppose it might open ever so slightly which might give people the impression it opens all the way.

  12. Mine is the red MPC Alpha, no. 01817. It’s definitely not the Aoshima version, as it lacks the missile pod between the arms, the ratcheting hips, and the plastic in the legs. And the panel opens up all the way — I’d say about 100 degrees relative to horizontal. As a matter of fact, I just re-watched your video review of the Alphas, and the panel on my MPC Alpha looks to have the same range of motion as the panel on the red Aoshima Legioss in your review. Nor does it look like someone modded that piece, or accidentally broke it to swing beyond is intended tolerance. Perhaps this is a quirk of the red Alphas? It would be interesting to see if anyone else who owns a red MPC Alpha also has a panel that opens up.

  13. Hmm, if I had mine handy I’d pull them out to double-check but the few I have left are in storage. Maybe it’s just a very common manufacturing issue with the Toynami Masterpiece toys that that door can’t swing upward and some lucky people purchased some where it can. Still, I’ve seen pictures of that door snapped and stressed so I’d recommend people to steer clear of fiddling with it (or at least, don’t force it if you feel it stop rotating).

  14. Masterpiece macross vf1s and Alpha warrior Sue Graham‏

    Several years ago a bought two macross masterpiece from one of your retailers I keep this items in a box far away from direct uv light exposure, heating sources, and any other king of of external exposure. For my disappointment after I open the box and took out the two figures out to display it one the sue graham alpha warrior fell apart on my hands, the plastic was dry and brittle… the quality feel horribly and cheap, now the vf-1s with the same result the plastic in the hands is dry and the backpack jet in robot mode just fell in to pieces like is made of card board…I know is to late claim my money back (witch at the time a purchase this thing was quite a lot $300 for the 2 of them more or less) now after all this years I ended with 2 pieces of junk in a box and a ruin collection.

    not good at ball I have seen better quality in knock offs

  15. I have the TOYNAMI alpha fighter and the hands just came apart. Keep in fighter ,ode connected to BETA until I can find another one for a reasonable price under $100.

  16. HI Micronian, though this is an old post , I will ask in case i cane get a good advice…looking forward for a good alpha sample …nowdays it seems they are not going to build alphas and betas anymore. …so
    I ve been looking for a decent alpha, most likely Rooks (red) Ive seen aoshimas around…is it safe ?, on the other side could a Beta MPC couple with the aoshimas?. is still seling the maia alpha “fixed reissue” but i think i will pass on that not bein a true fan of shadow chronicles.
    Thanks agian for the advices and such a good page you have. Thanks to your reviews i got Arcadias VF and YF , plus Frontiers DX as well. Now im in the hunt for mospeada . I will be glad to just get 1 piece of each mecha.

Leave a Reply