Legioss & Tread
Review by JoshB
I’ve been kind of dreading doing this review for a number of reasons. There are so many expectations for this toy and I don’t know if I can accurately portray all that is good and bad with this without being a little biased. The fact that a Tread toy has been made sort of makes the set worth it for me, but for others, not so much.
The CM’s Brave Gokin EX-01 Legioss & Tread (Eta) (レギオスwithトレッド ブレイブ合金EX (エータ)) is the first Brave Gokin toy to get the EX designation. EX must stand for Extra Deceiving, because a Gokin toy this is not. In fact, the only metal in this toy is in the joints of the Legioss, the landing gear, and the large cradle that connects the Legioss and Tread. If you are expecting metal, you will be disappointed.
That’s not to say this isn’t a good toy – in some respects it’s a great toy. The engineering on each individual piece is marvelous. It is only in the connection of the two that the toy fails horribly.
Another point of contention with this toy is the price. At a Japanese retail price of 28,000 yen (figure about $350 USD once you factor in shipping), this thing is horribly overpriced. It’s cool but not $300 cool. So when I mention that something is really great about this toy, remember - $300 for the set, and almost no metal.
Nothing special here with this packaging. The box features nice product shots and inside is a large clear plastic tray that holds the Legioss and Tread. There are very few accessories as most of the play value is in the units themselves. Included are a stand, gun, fists, sword, small ride armors in various modes, and a sticker sheet.
The Legioss comes packaged in Armo-Soldier mode. It’s about 6.5 inches tall and weighs about 6 ounces. That’s pretty light, considering Toynami’s Alpha fighter weighs in at 15 ounces. Both the Toynami and CM’s Legioss are about the same size, but have drastically different proportions.
The engineering and QC are fantastic on the Legioss. Each part fits perfectly, the joints are tight, and nothing about it feels half-assed. Although the toy is light, it is extremely durable due to its use of POM plastic and diecast metal in the connecting joints. Articulation is great with some standouts being a waist joint and innovative elbow joints that allow for an amazing array of movement. One notable omission is the lack of any kind of head articulation.
The toy is molded in color with small amounts of tampo printing for the finer details. The paint is clean and sharp, with no visible over spray. Included with the toy is a sticker sheet that serves all three versions of the toy, but I think the toy looks great as-is. CM’s has also included a bunch of screw hole covers, but once again, I think it looks just fine, screw holes and all. It reminds me that it is a toy I guess, albeit an expensive one. The mold detail is crisp and clean, with etched panel lines, vents with interior detail, and few sprue marks.
One thing you may want to watch - there are two holes in the chest where the front fuselage locks into the body - those seem to be showing some stress marks
In Armo-Soldier mode, the Legioss can make use of several weapons. The EP-13 80mm 3-barrel Gatling beam gun features a moveable stock, and a removable armor clip. The hands of the Legioss have articulated trigger fingers, but there is no peg in the handle or hand to secure the gun to, making a weak connection. The Legioss also includes a sword, of all things. In episode 13 of Mospeada, Ley has a dream that he is fighting off monsters with the Legioss, brandishing a sword. I think it’s cool that CM’s included this as a sign of respect to the series.
In addition to the hand held weapons, the Legioss features two snap-on missile banks that attach to the underside of the chest, and a third, auxiliary missile bank that attaches to the left shoulder. And if the Legioss was not already armed to the teeth, it is covered with opening doors that reveal missile banks all over the figure – I count 14 of them. Not too shabby.
The Legioss is fully transformable into all three modes – Armo-Soldier, Armo-Diver, and Armo-Fighter. The Armo-Diver mode is similar to a Gerwalk mode from Macross – it sits somewhere in between fighter and soldier mode.
In fighter mode the Legioss looks good, but there are a few things that could have been done better, especially for the price. Once transformed into Armo-Fighter mode the parts just kind of sit there – there aren’t any pegs to lock parts into place. For example, it would have been great to have some kind of connector on the back of the legs to lock them together, or pegs on the bottom of the arm assemblies to attach them to the legs. As it is, you just have to put it in the position that looks best. Granted, the parts stay where they should pretty well, but it is not precise. Just look at the placement of the arms in fighter mode – things just don’t line up as well as they should.
The extra missiles and gun can all be attached to the Legioss in Fighter mode. The gun can be stored either under the wing, or in the back of the optional third missile bank. The gun slides into the back of the part by using a replacement gun clip.
The landing gear is all metal, and the wheels spin freely. Each landing gear is hidden behind a panel that is easily opened. The cockpit can also be opened, as well as a storage door on the underside for the Mospeada Ride Armor.
Those of you not intimately familiar with Mospeada or Robotech: The Next Generation may not understand the big deal about the Tread. The Tread fighter (or Beta Fighter) is a support mecha that “docks” with the back of the Legioss for added firepower. Back in the day when Gakken came out with the original Legioss toy, they had planned on a Tread, but it was only released in limited numbers in Europe, and only for the smaller version of the toy. The toy has become a thing of legend, and when a specimen appears, it fetches a LOT of money. Fans have been clamoring for a Tread toy for years, and while Toynami announced theirs first, CM’s beat them to market with the first Tread toy since 1985.
The AB-01 Tread is a fantastic toy. It also fully transforms into three modes: Armo-Soldier, Armo-Bomber and Armo-Diver mode.
In Armo-Soldier mode the Tread is about 8 inches tall and weighs 10 ounces. It is extremely toy-like in its construction and articulation. In fact, I might go so far as to say the Tread is MORE articulated than the Legioss. The Tread has clicky joints all over the place, fantastic elbow joints, articulated fingers, a waist joint, and even head articulation. The toy is the same quality as the Legioss, but this time with almost no metal connector joints (the only one I can see is in the neck).
In terms of armament the Tread has 2 missile banks that open up on the chest and 2 that pop up on the shoulder, as well as cannons molded into the arms. The Tread can hold the Legioss’ gun, but the same issues occur. It’s really really great, and this makes the set for me. It ALMOST convinces me that it’s worth the money.
Transformation has an almost playskool-like simplicity. Fold up the legs, fold in the arms, and fold out the cockpit and the wings. That’s pretty much it. The wingspan in Armo-Bomber mode is a fantastic 14 inches. The cockpit can open and reveal a small pilot – a nice touch.
In Armo-Bomber mode, the Tread has no built-in landing gear, so it relies on the metal cradle to rest on. The cradle is secured to the Tread by way of 2 spring loaded ball connectors in the tail section. Unfortunately, the Tread is a little back-heavy and there is no way to connect it to the front, so it tends to tilt to the back. This is an example of one of many little things that CM’s could have done to go the extra mile. Why not also make connectors for the front to make this mode stable?
Legioss + Tread = FAIL
Here is where it all goes horribly wrong. Each toy on its own is pretty awesome, and if CM’s could have nailed the connection of the two it might, MIGHT have justified the price. But it is as if someone simply gave up when trying to engineer this. A little background information may be helpful here as I explain what went wrong. See, the Legioss was designed as a stand alone toy by Shinji Aramaki.. Gakken decided that they needed more transforming mecha in Mospeada so they had another designer, Hideki Kakinuma design the Tread, with no set means to connect them. In the show, animators relied on “Anime Magic” to make the transformation work. Unfortunately, that left today’s toymakers in the dark as to how they connected, and each maker has to come up with their own solution. Both CM’s and Toynami have come up with a connector bar solution, but CM’s is the first one we have seen in production.
Essentially, the connector bar is a solid metal cradle that attaches to the Tread in the rear and the Legioss in the front. The connection to the tread is reasonably secure aside from it being back-heavy (see above). The connection to the Legioss seems like a total afterthought.
First, you have to move the arm assemblies on the back of the fighter together, and push the tail wings down. These parts have no kind of peg or connector to keep them rigid, so they just mash together. The legs need to be splayed out to the sides so that they look like frog legs. To connect the Legioss to the metal cradle, you have to line up the hip connectors with the U-shaped connectors on the cradle. There is virtually no tension in this connection, so it just rests there. From there you have to “tuck” the Legioss in behind the front of the Tread.
Don’t let the pictures fool you – it’s a floppy mess. Nothing really connects to anything, and if you pick it up it’s just going to separate. This is a real disappointment – shame on you CM’s. For $300 you couldn’t have figured this out? Added a couple extra clips to lock it together? It feels like you didn’t even try. How can you put so much love into one facet of the toy and completely ignore something like this?
You can also put the dock the Legioss and Tread when the Legioss is in Armo-Soldier mode, but this too suffers from the same issue. The included stand is more like a crutch to hold the unit up. While the pictures on the box show the combined unit floating up off the ground, the stand is not tall enough, nor is the toy balanced properly, to get its feet off up of the ground.
Taken as individual toys, the Legioss and Tread are great. Not $300 great, but as well engineered toys they succeed. These should probably be priced around $60 each. Look at what $300 gets you for other toys – Soul of Chogokin, Fewture EX gokin – no other toy gives you so little for so much. It’s like an Otaku tax – we pay the premium to get these short run toys of obscure mecha, and even though we are disappointed, we come back for more. It’s like its some kind of sick game at the CM’s head office to see just how ridiculously priced these things can get. The upcoming CM’s Dancougar Nova will be around SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS. Well, here is where I throw in my towel with CM’s. I’m done with toys like this. If you are going to charge me over $100 for a toy, it better be worth it. For this price I demand that the quality and detail and engineering are nothing but the best.
It just kills me that this was the price I had to pay to get a Tread toy.
So obviously I have mixed feelings about this. I don’t think it is worth it, but maybe you are a bigger Mospeada fan than me. I can still say though I would recommend this one over the Toynami version. Hell, I would recommend something my 3 year old son made out of Lego before I recommend one of those. What the hell were they thinking? But I digress…
You can get your Legioss & Tread at HobbyLink Japan if you are so inclined, but you will not be able to get the Red or Green version there. Those are going to be magazine and convention exclusives, which will undoubtedly drive up the already high price, even higher.
Good luck with that.
The Mospeada Trilogy
|Posted 16 April, 2008 - 23:31 by JoshB|