Gakken 1/55 Alpha/Legioss

REVIEW (Updated): Stuck in the middle with this

Packaging & Extras: (2.5/5)
Like most other Gakken products, the packaging is stylish and functional.  The Japanese packaging of the toy is the most appealing while the Robotech releases could have benefitted from being less generic (the box could contain a Rook Alpha or a Scott Alpha, there’s nothing on the box to indicate which particular Alpha is inside).  All versions of the toy (Mospeada, Henshin Robo, or Robotech) come packaged with a large clear window showing off the battloid/soldier mode toy within.  Each toy comes with the following:
1) 2x Wings
2) Gun
3) Landing gears on sprue
4) False back
5) Stickers
6) Instructions
The false back included with the Japanese version is painted white simulating the folded back wings… but since the wings that come with the toy are molded in the primary body color the Singapore system of leaving the false back true to the mold color makes sense.  As with their bigger brothers (Gakken’s 1/35), the little guys feature a twist tie that keeps them from moving forward and puncturing the window of the box.  The extras all seem pretty necessary. .

Charm & Collectability: (2/5) +.5 for Gakken of Japan
There’s not a lot of love for this vintage toy within collector’s circles.  As one might expect, the original Japanese offering retains greater collectibility as it is harder to come by and exhibits a little extra effort in that false back.  This is definitely a product with a limited fanbase due to the superiority of the larger Gakken offering and subsequent Toynami Masterpiece Alphas.  If you have a loose Alpha and want to know if it is a Japanese or Singapore release check the outside of the chest/intakes for the manufacturing stamp.  A height comparison picture has also been provided.

Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (4.5/10)
For the most part this toy doesn’t do too bad of a job emulating how the vehicle looked in the cartoon series but there are several key deficiencies.  First, the toy is, for the most part, unpainted.  As such, there are several areas of the toy that are the wrong color.  The next two major issues could have been brought up as part of the design but I think they more accurately fit here.  First, the fins from the fighter mode are supposed to collapse into the arms for soldier mode but on this toy they do not.  Instead there are awkward fins jutting out which makes the battloid look somewhat silly.  Also, to assist in transformation of the vehicle the shoulder sensor-array was deleted.  The fact the toy uses detachable wings means that the Armo-diver (Guardian) mode looks somewhat off.  Of all the modes it seems fighter mode has suffered the least but Gakken did include a little pilot that looks more like it’d fit in a WWII toy than it does Genesis Climber (see pics below).  A reference picture is provided below of each vehicle in one of the available configurations.


Design: (4/10)
I’m no fan of toys that require parts removal/addition for transformation.  Things could have been better here in lots of ways.  As mentioned previously, the shoulder array has been deleted but it seems that one could have easily been added as a removable accessory.  Also, the front landing gear provided for the toy can only be used by the blue Legioss (Alpha) because the head fin on the other versions interferes with the peg of the landing gear (pictured below).  In fighter mode the arms could have benefited from some sort of locking mechanism to keep them from flopping around when the toy is in hand.  Speaking of flopping around, why do the hands have a cicular hole to hold the gun?  The result of this is a gun that can spin in circles when being “held.”


Durability & Build: (5.5/10)
This toy isn’t large and it isn’t made of metal (other than the feet) so there are lots of areas that can cause problems.  First, the removable wings attach to the vehicle via a peg on either end of the wing.  A little strain on the wing or the toy can then break the peg off lodging it permanently within the toy’s body.  The wings themselves are very thin plastic and can be broken easily in other ways also.  The metal rods that attach the arms have been known to break free from the toy’s body with minor mishandling.  The most common weak point would have to be the fins on top of the head of the green and red versions of the toy.  Those fins, as mentioned earlier, block the landing gears and so it wouldn’t be difficult for a stubborn owner to snap the fin off trying to get that landing gear to work.  Even without involving the landing gear, the head fin is very thin plastic and its positioning at all times is precarious.  Finally, the paint job on the heads of these vehicles often seems smudged or otherwise flawed.  Since the feet are painted metal there are often issues with the paint wearing off.


Articulation: (4/10)
You do not get the following points of articulation: Swivel at the waist, swivel at the neck, swivel at the knee, swivel at the wrist, bend at the elbow, swivel at the elbow, or an articulated heel.  You get movement at the shoulder, hip, and knee but the range of motion of the knee is severely limited.  Long story short, don’t expect this toy to be fun to pose.

Total Score: (22.5-23/50)
This is certainly not Gakken’s best effort but it wasn’t meant to be either.  It filled in a niche between it’s extremely cheap offering (the 1/72) and its top of the line offering (the 1/35).  This was a cheap toy that could be easily transformed and replaced if broken.  These days it seems to only appeal to diehard collectors who need to have one of every Legioss (Alpha) toy ever created. 

NOTE: This review was updated on December 22, 2006 to add more pictures.  The review was updated again on May 24, 2012 to add all new higher resolution pictures, a line art comparison, comparisons to other toys, and a high definition video review.  Original Posting Date: 5/21/2006

2 Replies to “Gakken 1/55 Alpha/Legioss”

  1. Hello, my name is Marco from Italy. I love Mospeada with Macross & Orguss.
    Thanks…thanks 100000 for this important informations and for this beautifull pictures.
    This data will give order in my toys list.
    Please, let me know if you find the original Japan 1/55 (plastic and metal) in green and red version and the 1/72 in original Japan version.
    I never saw its.
    Thanks again.

  2. I saw one of these with all the stickers applied once and it actually didn’t look too bad. It’s just a shame that those wings are known to be so fragile. Otherwise I would love to have one of these.

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