Mega Review: This eventually will be an exhaustive look at all CMs Votoms toys
Like my other Votoms reviews, it’s my intention to gradually add to this review until it covers all types of Armored Troopers (ATs) that saw release. For now this review focuses primarily on the most traditional release of the series, the Scopedog with Parachute Pack.
Packaging & Extras: (2.5/5)
CM’s did a decent job of keeping the box size down while including plenty of windows for buyers to see the goods within. The Scopedog comes packaged in a plastic tray that houses all the parts. The plastic packaging is interesting in that there’s a vacuum formed tray for the parts with corresponding cover and then another flat plastic tray apparently meant to protect the exterior windows of the box. Inside the box you’ll find the following in addition to the AT:
1) 2 fixed posed hands
2) Gun with fixed posed hand gripping it
3) Parachute Pack
Note that other toys come with different accessories and that I’m focusing on the pictured Scopedog release for right now. Also note that there is no Chirico figure (a pilot pack was sold separately). You also won’t get stickers or instructions.
Charm & Collectability: (2/5)
With releases ranging from early 2006 to mid 2011, CM’s did manage to cover a broad swath of the Votoms universe. The total release count has been inflated by a limited metallic release of nearly each toy. I will include a full list of releases with their release date and MSRP in a later update. MSRP for the individual toys ranged from 3800Yen to 8200Yen for the Berserga WP and DT releases in 2011. The most expensive release was a gift-set of red and green Calamity Dogs which sold for 9800Yen. The toys attempted to be a deluxe niche to the 35Max competition but it seems these days that 35Max achieved a stronger following while delivering a less robust catalog.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (6/10)
The dearth of painted on detail here combine with the exclusion of stickers is impossible to overlook. If this toy meant to be the premium option in the mid-sized arena it should have tried harder to pop visually. I do like the matte colors that were chosen which have a very militaristic vibe, and there are a few painted details like the wheels on the bottom of the feet, the piping inside the cockpit, and the parachute in its pack.
Here’s a checklist of the perfect design elements for a Scopedog toy:
1) Scopes rotate: Yes. Scope tracks left to right: No. Head twists left to right: Yes.
2) Visor opens upward revealing the pilot: No.
3) Opening cockpit: Yes.
4) Internal controls: Yes. Articulated: No. Gun stowage: No.
5) Removable Pilot Figure: Yes. Articulated: No
6) Opening foot well: No
7) Articulated armor panels on hips, feet, and wrist: Yes
8) Articulated shoulder mounts: No.
9) Removable armor with internal mechanical detail: No.
10) Back that accommodates different accessories: Yes.
11) Foot wheels: No (detail that looks like a wheel only)
12) Functional foot pivot spikes: No.
13) Punch mechanism: No.
14) Dog mode: Yes
I was a bit let down that these toys seemed less deluxe than Takara’s 1/48 Actic Gear toys (which are tiny in comparison). The opening cockpit mechanism doesn’t feature a lock that prevents you from pulling the door completely off when you open it (something the Actic Gear toys do include).
Durability & Build: (5/10)
It seems like every time I purchase a CM’s product I’m let down by the quality of it. Maybe I should stop buying CM’s products. From the onset I thought the scope on my toy wasn’t perfectly aligned in the center of the head. Convinced the head was supposed to rotate (which it does) I tried twisting the head only to have the antenna snap cleanly off. So, lesson learned, be very careful of that antenna or you’ll be hunting down superglue like I was. Next, one of the panels on the back of the legs fell off. It looks like in the manufacturing process the panel was made and then two beads of plastic were touched to the right spot to form impromptu pegs which were meant to go into slots on the leg and lock the panel in place. One of these ghetto-fabbed pegs must have sheared off the first time I moved the leg so once again I had to resort to the superglue, this time to make the world’s smallest faux peg. Just like with gluing the head antenna on, the superglue peg worked like a charm, but I hadn’t even gotten started on handling the toy. When I tried to assume a shooting pose the left arm fell out of its socket. It seems to have enough resistance to stay where it’s supposed to but not enough to handle any force away from the body when the toy is being posed. Word on the Interwebs is that these toys also have a nasty tendency to get loose. I’ve come to find most Scopedog toys are fiddly but this one proved to be more of a pain in the butt than most.
There are a couple bright spots, like the range of motion in the knees and elbows which are too often limited on Scopedog toys. There isn’t an articulated toe on the toy though. To get the head to rotate expect putting an ungodly amount of force on it the first time and be careful of that head antenna. Once you do get it to rotate you’ll realize that you’re still bummed the scope can’t slide in either direction.
Total Score: (28/50)
If this toy were a scaled up equivalent of Takara’s Actic Gear line with a ton of tampo printing it would have been amazing. Instead it’s a product that strives for mediocrity and comes up just short. If one takes a more historical viewpoint and compares it to Takara’s classic Dual Model toys it does much better as it’s a bit smaller but more articulated. I’m posting this review in 2012 though, not 2006, so it’s a lot easier for me to tell you you’re better served collecting the Actic Gear, Dual Model Zwei, or Yamato lines.