GX-05 Daiku Maryu
Review by JoshB
People have often asked me why I never reviewed the Soul of Chogokin GX-05 Daiku Maryu Gaiking, and I never really had a good answer. The truth is that while I thought the toy was fine at the time, the box and accessories got stored away in the attic and I just never thought of it. But when the time came to bring some things to the summit to sell, I saw the GX-05 on the shelf and it just didn’t do it for me anymore. Off to the summit it went…
So what was it that made me fall out of love with this toy? Ten years ago I thought this was the greatest thing, but now when I found myself re-packing it all of its flaws came to light.
Simply, it wasn’t what I wanted in a Daiku Maryu toy. It was early on in the SOC line and while they had some great engineering, it was too fidgety and fragile. Compare it to the current crop of SOC offerings and it seems very toy-like in comparison to its modern counterparts, but over-engineered and awkward. Join me as we dissect this early example of modern Bandai diecast.
The box maintained the pattern set forth by prior SOC’s with the textured, colored border and glossy product shots. Inside you got a Styrofoam tray, two plastic trays, stand parts and an instruction book.
There’s a ton of parts in here. The core of the Daiku Maryu is a block of diecast with connection points for the head, tail and legs. To assemble the Daiku Maryu you need to attach the head and feet via magnetic joints, and the tail needs to snap into place. Various red wing parts need to be attached, in addition to the rear tread parts.
Getting the damn thing to stand was the first hurdle. The leg joints just are not strong enough to support the bulky mass of the diecast body. Also the magnetic connections to the feet came off easily. You could easily spend 10 minutes trying to find that perfect pose for the Daiku Maryu. One would think the tail would offer support, but it does not.
Once you get it to stand, it looks regal. Be careful not to bump those spiked rings on the knees – they are only held in place with friction, and come off if you breathe on them.
In this mode, there is some serious play value. Each leg has real rubber tank treads, and the tail is individually segmented. The treads on the tail are real rubber as well.
Included with Daiku Maryu is a miniature, fully combining Gaiking, affectionately known by collectors as “Wee-king”. More about him later.
The neck is jointed in two places, and the jaw of the head can open. The head has two horns that can be removed/lost/broken easily, so I applied a bit of clear nail polish on the stubs to make a more secure fit.
The tail has the secondary cockpit with the sub-machine guns.
There are several add-on accessories for Daiku Maryu.
Starting with the head, you can put a pointy placeholder for when the skull is off being the chest of Gaiking.
This is the Hawk Eye, or “Vogue Eye” ヴォーグアイ which appeared later in the series.
The “Big Horn” plugs into the chest cavity, and each “horn” is movable.
This big blade is called the “Giant Cutter”. Yes, it is sharp. There are also small “Dragon Cutter” blades that clip onto the wings.
The tail can wrap underneath the Daiku Maryu and a metal part in the tail connects to the magnet in the head. In this mode, the spines get closed together. This is called the “Volution Protect”
The treads can be removed and replaced with the Missile Drills. Each missile is segmented in three parts. You have to balance the whole beast on the spiky wheels in this mode, so be careful.
Also included with the set are three miniature support ships:
These three vehicles can be stored inside of the Daiku Maryu. Lift up the top half of the body and unfold the platform. There’s space at the bottom when the Gaiking parts are docked. The joint between these halves is weak, and it can slam down at any minute. There’s no tension here at all.
The separated parts of Wee.. I mean Gaiking can be stowed inside. The transformed head of Gaiking can be stored as the head, although it doesn’t look as pretty as the regular one.
Like in the show, the three components combine to form Gaiking. But this Gaiking has a tragic flaw – the connection method used to secure the parts together is basically friction, and it falls apart easily.
The Gaiking figure is a fully equipped figure in its own right. It’s quite articulated considering its size, and has a bunch of accessories.
You can display Gaiking in his normal mode, with normal sized limbs and the normal head. The stars on the legs are removable and can be placed in the hands as weapons.
There’s also Enhanced Gaiking version with larger arms, legs and head. The limbs connect magnetically, and here the leg stars are removable as well.
Gaiking’s Open Face mode is represented, as well as the Drill Missile hands.
I never realized that in this mode the top of his head looks like a chicken.
Finally, a stand is included to tie all the parts together. But like most SOC stands, bump it and pieces fly everywhere.
Bandai would also release a black version (GX-05B) and in 2004 release a re-color version (GX-05R). I don’t know if they fixed any of the issues in that release.
When the GX-05 was initially released, people felt cheated. They wanted a Gaiking, but all they got was this tiny figure that fell apart. People failed to realize that this release was all about the Daiku Maryu, and that a proper Gaiking release would come years later.
In the end, the magic was gone. Too many things that could have been done better and enough nitpicks that it had to go. Perhaps Bandai will revisit in later on in the line, or maybe the torch will be passed to another company?
|Posted 6 September, 2011 - 22:28 by JoshB|