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
Comments25 comments posted
It's a shame, because in pictures it looks so beautiful.
I think CM's corp has such a great potential, and they need to start, as you said, going the extra mile if they want to start competing with the big boys like Bandai. I mean, I have the Brave Gokin Griffon, and it is just a wonderful figure, and I see all this potential, then I see this review and the Ride Armor review, and it looks like they might gain a reputation for inconsistency and mediocrity rather than just making all around good toys.
Well-! Quite an impression you've made here, Josh.
I've never had money burning my pockets. But even if they were, I would not spend $300 on this! I like my toys solid, well crafted, with reasonable features and range of motion. I don't like loose toys; frustrates the sh*t outta me. And as I've learned in the last year-or-so, if it's too small, that's a strike against it in my mind as well. (Ex: if it's smaller or weighs less than a quarter, I don't wanna hear about it.)
I know nothing about either "MOSPEADA" or the Robotech equivalent. I also know that I will always favor any VF-1 type Valkyrie over a Legioss, so that's $150 wasted right there. The only- the only -reason I would shoot for this set is that bad-ass-lookin' Tread (I thought it was "Tlead"?) and then that it can hook up with a properly-scaled Legioss. In other words, I want a Tread only; and if it just-so happens to be able to link up with a Legioss later on, then yahoo.
As a set, is it over-priced? Oh, yeah! I'm not gettin' this one.
Thanks for the great video review(s), Josh. Though I do have to wonder about that little MTV moment there at the end. But I suppose it's better than disco Asuka-chan...
Ya know what? I am jealous! Yes.
And rather envious as well. All yous CDX founders are all together over on the East Coast and are all buddy-buddy, and then there's just little-ole me over here on the West all by me onesome-self. I don't really like that. No.
I'm here in So Cal, and I've been doing this here since the days of Pony Toy-Go-Round.
Besides, humidity and snow will slowly destroy their toys, the dry heat of the desert preserves ours like the pyramids.
Well, then the Pacific Northwest, is the best of both those worlds. Not too hot (lest you're east of the Cascade Mtns.), not too cold (repeat:), and humidity is no problem.
I'll tell ya, though- the rubber bands on my first Lego Bionicle sets from 2001 all broke down by the following spring... and they wouldn't replace them. Why they rotted so easily, I don't understanmd since most of them had no tensile strength being applied while sitting on the shelves.
And as for age, note I said "CDX founders", not "anime collecting old-timers" or some-such.
Those were the days! I still have all my catalog mailers from them! I'm glad I'm not the only person who remembers the place ( read my Spiral Zone Sentinel Bear review)
We'll fight them on the Beaches!
Haahahhaa...I just caught the end of the third vid! CLASSIC!!
I pre-ordered mine back in November, before Toyfair and the Toynami reveal. Owning a few Toynami pieces and following the "progress" of their Beta for years, I made the decision that I was sticking with this for the Tread. This was also when the US Dollar was around 118 yen. Unfortunately the place I ordered from doesn't take that into account and went with the current yen at the time of shipping, 98 yen, ouch.
It's got issues, it's over-priced, but given the alternatives it's the only choice available for the foreseeable future. I gave up waiting on Toynami, and their QC issues are worse than ever if you've been following the Aoshima Legioss debacle. I've got my Toynami one pre-ordered for what it's worth, but if you've been wanting a Tread/Beta toy since 1984, buying this is almost a reflex action, and I think CM's knew that going in.
CM's has made me angry and ecstatic at the same time with this. I don't know how I feel about that, but now I'm very concerned what they are planning with my favorite toy of all time, the Mugen Calibur from Dorvack. They are making one this year and the price is still unknown. Will it be $200? Will I buy it anyway? Will it have odd design choices? Who knows.
Thank you Josh for your wonderful reviews! You have saved me $300. I understand for those love this bot that this is still a small price for nostalgia but $300 will buy me some vintage gokin or multiple SOCs. I will wait and see what the Toynami looks like but if it is anything like my Legioss I will pass.
Now I would be interested if CM would release them separately depending on the price. But not as a set.
I doubt it. CM's knew going in that the Tread is the draw of this set. It's been a holy grail of toys for decades. If they made them separate they'd be stuck with a load of Legioss. What would they be priced, $160 each? The combo is always cheaper, otherwise what's the point.
The Mospeada theme is the only song worth dancing to anyway.
The s****y combination aspect sort of reminds me of that Getter Robo set where you actually transform and combine the planes. The sad (for toy collectors,at least) fact is that because this is anime,none of this s**t had to actually work in real life. That's going to result in a questionable combination for the toys,no matter how you design it. Still,it wouldn't have been THAT hard to put a couple more pegs in there. It's sad when Hasbro's $19.99 Transformers you can buy at the local Kmart work better than a THREE HUNDRED DOLLAR "collector figure".
Mmm! I agree completely!
Design choices were limited by adherence to line art and/or costs. We'll never know the reasons but it is obvious they just gave up at some point and figured it's just going to be on a shelf anyway so it doesn't matter that it just rests on the stand. You can't please everyone and for every guy that keeps it in a case there's one that "swooshes" it around like he's 8 again.
Remember that Hasbro's $20 figure is mass-produced in the hundreds of thousands, made of crappy plastic and shipped via slow boat from China. It's like comparing a Ferrari to a Hyundai. And believe me Ferraris aren't without flaws considering their cost.
I made the argument before that the price is largely due to the limited run, QC, and expensive materials. I'd estimate that no more than 10,000 of these were produced and I wouldn't be surprised if it was much less.
Up until now, POM plastic in toys has been used in some key joint areas where even metal was too fragile. (Yamato Valkyries two main hinges are POM) This appears to be made almost entirely of POM. I've seen many a comment how crappy the plastic looks, "like model kit plastic". It's deceiving since POM is strong like metal but still looks like styrene. I'd guess the materials are a large part of the cost, it's just that most assume it's the same ABS that everything else is made of so the price seems way too high.
I know most people don't follow plastics and their use in manufacture, so it's a hard sell for CM's to try to educate people about some new plastic being the reason it's so costly. Maybe they should try to do what Popy did in the 70's with "Chogokin Super Alloy", aka zinc. Maybe that's what "Brave Gokin EX" is. A commercial of it being thrown against a wall and the house falling down or something.
Could it be cheaper? Yes. I'm sure CM's knew that interest was high so they inflated the price a bit. But I bet the unit cost for CM's is around $160-$200. I've seen these wholesale for no less than $200, so that says something about their costs if you remember your economics.
Just to add, the Iota (green one) is available through CM's directly. You can go through a broker like celga or something to get it, and the Zeta (red one) is being sold normally after all.
My guess is you're going to see many of these for sale on auction from disillusioned buyers, so either cash in on someone else's misfortune or wait and laugh at us saps when it goes on clearance at HLJ for 70% off like the Ingram.
Your review was entertaining and informative at the same time. I appreciate the insight and historical perspective that you bring to these things.
Hey Josh, it's pronounced "Leggy-oss" :>
300 bucks... I bet this thing will sell at 400$ at my country... greatly overprice if I might say...
by the way, does the Cm's Ingram really that bad. I'm planing to get mine since HLJ discounted the item.
the ingrams are great - and a steal at that price. Get it!
The Toynami Alpha is perhaps what the Brave Gohkin EX line should have been. TA's had real heft to it due to much much higher diecast content and feels like a quality product - notwitstanding some QC issues but overall it is superior.
The BGEX is like a kids' toy - the Legioss Chest panel is nothing more than a cover - there is no more compartment there, has "hollow" knee joints which looks really bad, proportions are bad mecha wise and all the plastic just hurts it - feels like a $20 toy.
I had a look again at the Toynami the other day and rues how many crap products have been produced in the Mospeada line - first was the CM's Cyclone which was absolutely bad - followed by the Megahouse Cyclone - which fell apart if you so much sniff at it (literally) and now this.
I just get the feeling that CM's put in the diecast landing gear and joints etc to justify the "Gohkin" part otherwise the fans would feel completely cheated!
the best of times and the worst or times, well the only good thing about the economy...is holding out and get deals on overpriced toys, this toy is marked down 110USD at angloz.com right now
Well, I certainly appreciated your insight of the "plastic issue". However, the bottomline is at $300 this toy is a piece of overpriced crap. Now at $110 it would be a great consideration.
POM is a bit more expensive than your average plastic, however at $300, I would expect alot more and some metal to go along with it.
Production cost is no way around 100 to 110. Matter of Fact, given the design and the flaw of the connection between the two pieces. I can guarantee you that the two units were designed by two separate person. Anyone will some knowledge and skill in art and design would probably designed it better.
The COGS on this unit is around $50 tops. Sold to distributors for around $90 to $110. Distributor than sold it to online stores or retailors for around $170 to $200. To consumer around $250 to $280.
Why HLJ sells it a bit higher price than angolz? maybe was due to location as HK is closer to China then Japan and shipping cost is lower.
I stand corrected on the $110 price as Angolz was selling it at that price range.
Have anyone heard of the re-issue of this with updated connection piece? anyway to tell which is which?