Review by NekroDave
Wakusei Robo Dangard A (惑星ロボ・ダンガードＡ (エース), (aka Danguard, or Dangard, Ace) aired on TV Tokyo from March 6, 1977 until March, 26 1978 for a total of 56 episodes. But more importantly to me and others in the New England area, it was imported into the US by Jim Terry Productions as part of his "Force Five" cartoon, an anthology of edited and dubbed Japanese animation shows. Others in the group were UFO Robo Grendizer (called simply "Grandizer"), Gaiking, Getter Robo G (retitled "Starvengers") and Science Fiction Saiyuki Starzinger (retitled "The Spaceketeers".). This show was hugely popular with children in the area and is one of the biggest reasons many collectors of Japanese toys live here. For most, Danguad Ace, which was shown every Monday, was a distant fourth in terms of popularity among the group, but for me it was number one with a bullet. And as an adult just beginning to rediscover my interest in toys, it was the discovery of the existence of a Dangard Ace Jumbo Machinder that made me throw myself headlong back into the hobby.
I had had Jumbos as a kid in the form of Mattel's Shogun Warriors line of toys, but had always wanted ones of all the robots from the Force Five shows, especially Dangard. Finding out that one existed 20 years later, I made it my goal to get one, but at the time, it was considered a very rare toy and my hopes were low. About a year later, one did appear on Yahoo!Japan auctions, but it was missing one of the double lancers and the box was in poor condition. Regardless, I HAD to have it. I had thought it would be my only chance ever. So I bid and won and for awhile I was happy. Shortly afterwards, I was off to Japan for my second trip there and the first where I would be seeking out Jumbos. Well, I would manage to find a second Dangard Jumbo at the now gone Tokyo Robot in Koiwa but it did not have the parts I needed. It had less in fact. Still, I told a friend about it and he purchased it. Later that year, he would find another specimen online and this time it was PERFECT! Complete and in a beautiful box. It looked like it had never been played with. But the price was high and since mine was missing only one piece, I couldn't justify spending what it would take to get it. So it went to my friend and between the 2 of us, we suddenly had 3 Dangard Ace Jumbos!
But over time, I would become increasingly frustrated at my specimen's lack of perfection and my friend would grow further and further away from toy collecting. It was decided I would buy the perfect specimen from him. A price was agreed upon and the sale made. (Furthermore, this would be the beginning of an incredible run of Jumbo scores for me, as within a few weeks, I would manage to get my first two Jumbo villains, Hasami Jaguar and Green Ghost C3, as well as the very rare Ultraman Leo, Cosmos 2000 and a bootleg yellow Dangard Ace Jumbo!!)
Since I haven't seen the show since I was a child, I can't even remember why I used to like it so much. But the reason for my love of the Jumbo is obvious. It's simply the best Machinder ever made!! A beautiful sculpt with great colors and gimmicks from head to toe, it's a true masterpiece. 23.5" of toy majesty. Dangard has all the appeal of regular Jumbos but is more complex. Starting at the top, you can remove the Gard Rancher helmet to reveal the soft vinyl head beneath. The only complaint I have with this toy is that this is easier said than done. Ideally, it would simply slide off with no problems but it really needs a little coercion to make it happen. I don't like to even do it for fear of causing any damage and these pictures you see here mark the only time it's ever been done to this specimen.
The chest of the toy opens up to reveal two missile launchers hidden within. The same mechanism for this was re-used by Mattel on their Jumbo version of Gaiking.
Both sides of the interior here have stickers for detail. With the exception of the face and helmet, all other color details are from stickers. The arms are jointed not only at the shoulders, but also at the elbows on both sides, allowing for a greater range of motion than most Machinders. Both fists also shoot as well. The double lancers on the legs are detachable and have a rod that folds out allowing you to place them in it's hands!
Furthermore, the ends of each have openings that let you join the two together to form one mighty weapon.
If you like winged Jumbos, well, Dangard has you covered in this regard as well. Two separate wings are included and can be easily attached to the back for added play value. These are often missing though.
Dangard has two large wheels on the bottoms of each foot and comes with 5 short vaned Machinder missiles on the outside of either leg. But the fun doesn't stop there. It also comes with a full color poster!
The only other thing I should say can be a problem with this toy is that over time the silver stickers can start to become corroded.
There seems to be at least two different releases for this toy. Some come with the stickers pre-applied while others feature a separate sticker sheet. It seems some specimens come with the poster while others don't. Also, some versions have a yellow missile-firing mechanim in the back, while it is blue on others. I'm unsure which version, if either, is more commonplace.
What I am sure of is that this isn't as rare as it was believed to be 5 years ago. I've seen many more specimens of varying conditions come and go since my first foolhardy rush to get one back then. That doesn't mean it's an easy acquisition, just that if you want one, it can be had if you are willing to spend the money to do it. How much you will have to spend depends on condition (as it always does), but it's worth every penny if you are a Jumbo collector or Dangard fan!
|Posted 17 December, 2006 - 19:22 by NekroDave|