Galaxy Cyclone Braiger
Review by JoshB
Yamato’s Galaxy Cyclone Braiger is an interesting piece. If it weren’t so expensive it would be a damn fine toy. The Braiger has a lot of toy-like qualities. It’s fun, durable, and has a lot of play value. But at $168 USD you really can’t think of it as a toy at all.
Braiger comes from the 1981 series Galaxy Cyclone Braiger that focused on the three member Team J9 who fight against the enemy Khamen Khamen who are bent on destroying the planet Jupiter. Galaxy Cyclone Braiger was the first in the J9 trilogy, followed by Baxinger and Sasuraiger.
The Braiger is the first entry in Yamato’s GNU-GOU line. Yamato describes the line as follows:
“Drawing upon Yamato's time-tested experience through the development of countless high-end transformable toys, the GN-U GOU is the culmination of intensive manual labor, the latest in CAD design, and the manipulation of ABS material for sharp, precise detail to fully express the image of each individual Super Robot as it appears in the original anime without sacrificing any play value. While faithfully maintaining proportions and details, the GN-U GOU maximizes playability through an ingenious method of transformation through the combination of interchangeable parts. The GN-U Gou, a perfect marriage of form and function.”
Reading Yamato’s description of the GNU-GOU line, you begin to understand what they were going for, and why the Braiger is what it is.
My Braiger, let me show it to you.
Braiger comes packaged in a large, gorgeous box. The front has a nice painted rendition of the Braiger, while the back features images of the product in action. The front flap opens up to reveal the product through a clear window.
The components of the Braiger come packed in 2 clear plastic trays. The top tray features Braiger in robot mode while the bottom has the car mode parts. Included in the package is a DVD, sticker sheet and instructions. Before you get too excited, the DVD is just a 30-second opening animation from the TV series.
Braiger in robot mode is a fun, playable toy. It just feels like it should have come out in the late 80s, during that period when metal made way to plastic. The details are incredibly sharp and although light, the Braiger is sturdy. The parts fit is excellent with one exception. There are small tabs on the inside legs that need to be removed for transformation – on one leg this tab falls out easily. If the fit on the leg were a little better, this wouldn’t be a problem. It’s minor, but it’s a noticeable flaw on an otherwise great piece. The toy is almost entirely ABS plastic, and has a similar feel to Yamato’s Scopedogs.
While in robot mode, the Braiger makes use of several weapons. The signature Brai-Cannons are attached to the back of the figure via pegs. Each cannon swings over the shoulders and extends with drop-down handles so that the Braiger can grab on and aim.
The Brai-Sword is a yellow-bladed sword that can be held in either hand, and the Brai-Spear is a 2-part Javelin. The handle can be separated and connected with a section of chain to be held in both hands.
The jet mode of Braiger is called Brai-Star. Transformation from Braiger to Brai-Star involves so much parts swapping, that its practically a LEGO set. I won’t go into the details here about how to get from one to the other – you can watch the video for that. But I will say that it’s actually very easy. The parts are very sturdy and there is very little ambiguity as to where parts go. Sure, Yamato could have made some sacrifices to make the transformation more self-contained, but the goals is to make as anime-accurate of a toy as possible without sacrificing playability. In that regards Yamato succeeded.
The Brai-Star is sturdy and large. It features landing gear that can be plugged into to ports on the underside that are concealed by rubber panels. You can shake the hell out of it and nothing falls off.
To transform from Brai-Star to Brai-Thunder, you have to use a different set of parts, adding more parts to the pile.
I really recommend you set aside a large workspace when playing with this. Due to a fantastic system of magnetic connection points and tight tolerances, the car mode is fantastic, and maybe the best of the three modes.
Braiger’s car mode is reminiscent of 70’s muscle cars, with an exposed engine and large rear tailpipes. The wheels are made out of a hard rubber that gives it a smooth ride across your floor. This mode is also fantastic – when fully assembled you would never believe that there is a robot hidden inside.
The big problem is the price. The cost is way too much for this piece. I think at this cost there should be some metal, or something that shoots. Yamato has produced larger, more intricate pieces for less money. Perhaps the reason is that there isn’t as great of a demand for Braiger, and thus they made less, raising the per-piece cost. Maybe it was the tons of tooling and molds required by all of the parts? I don’t know. But if this toy was $50 less, it would be perfect.
Price aside – it’s a great toy. If this came out when the show was popular it would have come in a big Styrofoam tray with all the parts laid out through clear windows.. It really would have fit right in with the times, but even then it would have been a DX box set, handle and all.
If part swapping annoys you, then this is not the toy for you. But I found that half the fun of this toy is the swapping, changing back and forth between all three modes. I like it, but I wish it were cheaper. Unfortunately that seems to be the trend these days, and there’s not a lot we can do. It’s not a cheap hobby.
Braiger was available from Yamato Toys USA, but they are all out. Check with our sponsors to see if someone has it in stock.
|Posted 6 April, 2008 - 22:42 by JoshB|