Review by VF5SS
Bootlegs and knock offs often take a strange and winding path in order to reach production. Some are simply complete copies of existing toys while others merely emulate the style of a popular brand. And sometimes you get a toy that is a little of both in the most bizarre way possible.
Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the Robotic Aeroplane. This figure was kindly given to me by fellow CollectionDX writer Nekrodave while we were both at the East Coast Summit 2013. While I had been busy coercing my friends to buy things from me, Nekrodave suggested I take this guy from him and give it a good look over. By the end of the day I was at least one Gundam and one terrible art book poorer, but also one strange monstrosity of a toy richer.
Please check out my video review of the Robotic Aeroplane.
The Robotic Aeroplane comes in a large Styrofoam tray topped off by a thin cardboard cover which itself is marked with some incredibly powerful box art. Someone out there was paid to create an image of this figure that would captivate young persons into nagging their parents so they would buy this thing. I hope that artist feels proud of what he has done here. This Battery Operated toy with Super Walking Action is apparently part of the Trans Toy line that is in no way a ripoff of some other popular brand that has the word "trans" in the name. The logo in the upper left is that of the Tai Fong company who were based out of Taiwan.
Before I get to the toy itself I want to go over all of the amazing things printed on the box. We get a smaller picture of the box art alongside a clean version of the mighty ROBOTIC AEROPLANE logo. To an American such as myself the term "aeroplane" seems delightfully outdated and quaint.
The sides of the box have a handy list of things to note about the Robotic Aeroplane.
"USE 2PCS UM-3 (AA-CELLS) BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED"
"SUPER ELECTROMAGNETIC ROBOT WARRIOR"
"GRUMMAN E-3 EARLY WARNING AND CONTROL AIRCRAFT"
Ok let me put on my airplane expert cap and point out that Grumman made the E-2 Hawkeye while Boeing made the E-3 Sentry. This sketchy Taiwanese toy can't even get basic military aviation facts correct. Then again, given the cartoony ACME rockets mounted on the tailfins I don't think this figure was going for accuracy.
Moving on the bottom of the box has another pair of stock photos and a list of important features of the Robotic Aeroplane.
" * It is Grumman E-3 early warning & control aircraft and can be varied to super robot."
" * It can move back or forth whatever it is a airplane or robot."
" * Signal light of pilot cabin will flash, when aircraft is moving."
The underside of the box has a full set of instructions for Battery installation, "WHEN FORMED TO BE A ROBOT WARRIOR," and "WHEN CONVERT TO BE A AIRPLANE FROM A ROBOT WARRIOR."
Also written on the inside is a mysterious message or possibly a person's name. "CRISI CALLED" or is it "CRISI DALLED?" What major ramifications for someone's life could have centered around this simple note?
And now for your delectation, I present the close ups of all the instructions for the Robotic Aeroplane:
Step Battery Installation.
And now after I have tortured the overview of the box long enough, let's look at the toy itself as it comes nestled inside a Styrofoam tray. For accessories you get a chromed techno axe, a chest plate, and a radome piece.
The Robotic Aeroplane is quite a sizable figure that stands about a foot tall. Save for the electronics and rubber tires, it is all plastic. As a Super Robot Warrior its only articulation comes from a pair of strangely familiar arms.
The rear of the Robotic Aeroplane betrays its rather simple transformation that mostly consists of standing the jet mode on end and unfurling the arms. The goofy lightning bolt sticker and US AIR FORCE markings add to the charm.
You will see the tears of time.
One of the Robotic Aeroplane's most salient features is its powerful looking mechanical visage that looks like some kind of Gobotic god being given flesh... er I mean plastic. Note the three position switch right under its chin that makes the toy move forward or backward. The direction of movement triggered by the switch (forward or backwards) is swapped around between modes.
The massive chest plate serve to cover up the somewhat plain looking battery cover that normally serves as this figure's body. I really dig the holographic sticker that is prominently displayed on the belt buckle.
The two blue panels on either side of the waist can be removed. Underneath, one side has the connection from the battery compartment to the motor while the other is empty.
Despite what the box shows, the Robotic Aeroplane's legs are fused into one big block. They do at least have some semblance of being separate limbs and the additional stickers manage to break up the dreary gray plastic with a splash of color.
Underneath the Robotic Aeroplane's solid leg block are the copyright markings that identify this toy as one of Tai Fong's own original creations and is patent pending. I appreciate how Tai Fong's logo is also molded onto the toy. The two innocuous looking slits on either side provide the Robotic Aeroplane with locomotion while in Super Robot Warrior form.
When armed with his mighty axe and Radome shield, the Robotic Aeroplane is ready to conquer the universe at a slow walking pace. Check out my video to see his electronic functions in action.
The highly articulated arms are really too good for the rest of the toy. It should come as no surprise then if I told you those arms are not a Tai Fong original design.
In fact they are quite blatantly just a pair of Takatoku VF-1 Valkyrie arms that were slightly remolded and re-purposed to be used with this chimera of a toy.
The thievery doesn't stop there as even parts of the VF-1's backplate and wings were reused in the Robotic Aeroplane. Curiously though they were incorporated upside down in order to facilitate the wings swinging upward on the Tai Fong toy. The original wings are still in there with much of the same detailing being present on the Robotic Aeroplane, but now they have extra remolded extensions to make them face the other way. And that single diecast landing wheel seen in the middle of the Robotic Aeroplane's forehead is just the same part from a Takatoku VF-1!
For a little comparison, here is my Changing Robot Fighter Plane which is another battery operated transforming jet. I wish it still worked so I could show it racing against the Robotic Aeroplane. Changing Robot Fighter Plane was pretty fast in his prime.
And here's Transformers: Dark of the Moon Air Raid with his grandpa. They both even use their radomes as a shield! You might even say Air Raid's mutant mace arm thing is kind of like an axe too.
With a simple transformation the Robotic Aeroplane assumes its "E-3 EWAC" mode. Given how several parts of this toy were taken from the Takatoku VF-1, I have to wonder if anything else was swiped from an existing airplane toy.
This guy ain't built to look sleek. The tiny engines on the wingtips and silly ACME rockets molded onto the tailfins are pretty daft but again add to the charm.
When the power switch is set to move the airplane mode in reverse (which is forward for robot mode) the cabin lights up. I have to wonder if it was meant to light up if the plane was moving forward as well and this is just not working right. The cabin lights do not pipe through the robot mode's face.
The Changing Robot Fighter Plane really edges out the Robotic Aeroplane in terms of alternate mode sleekness. Again I must lament how the former no longer works as he'd surely show this newcomer a thing or two about being battery powered.
Air Raid and grandpa look happy together.
The Robotic Aeroplane is an excellent example of how numerous companies all over the world were trying to cash in on the transforming robot craze. In this case the figure actually reused parts from a proven toy design in order to cut costs and development time while given the finalized figure a bunch of features that seem too good for the rest of it. In a way though, the Robotic Aeroplane is rather majestic in its clunky awkwardness and I'm happy to have it as a part of my collection.
|Posted 28 August, 2013 - 14:37 by VF5SS