Review by JoshB
Daitarn 3 never aired on TV here in the states. Airing in 1978 in Japan, Daitarn is one of those legendary super robots that are still remembered fondly today. I remember Daitarn from the same bootleg toy Chachipower reviewed here, although I wonder if they were really bootlegs, or just foreign market versions. It's another part of the puzzle that is my childhood – one of many subconscious imprints that define what I am today.
While we do not know Daitarn, we know his cousins Ideon, Zambot, and Gundam. They are all part of the same family designed by Kunio Okawara, and so we welcome him with open arms. All part of the Super Robot Pantheon.
As such, it has earned a representation in the hall of heroes: the Soul of Chogokin line.
The GX-53 is a huge, well-built toy. It's one of the more elaborate SOC releases, with lots of parts, but fortunately you can just leave most of them in the tray and it doesn't affect the playability of the toy.
The box is large, but not as large as you think; it's not as thick as other big releases like God Mars or Dyguengar. Inside, the core toy is in a styrofoam tray, while the parts come in two clear plastic trays.
Fortunately, Daitarn 3 is just about ready to go right out of the box. You need to add the wings, but that's it.
Daitarn 3 is heavy. Using the patented Chachipower technology, we can see the diecast content.
Daitarn 3 is tall. Here's a comparison to the old diecast. He stands about 11 inches tall to the tips of his crest, much more modern looking than the original for sure. Some liberties have been taken with the likeness of the character, such as the chiseled angled upper thighs. A new Daitarn for a new age.
Daitarn feels rather brick-like, but he's pretty well articulated. The head rotates on a ball joint, and the face plate is swappable (from pensive to angry). The head crest is swappable as well. One is solid and the other can collapse to aid in transformation.
Each shoulder assembly can rotate along the body, and the large shoulder pads can move a bit to make room. The shoulders also swing out, and there is a swivel joint on the bicep. You can get a good 90 degrees of movement at the elbow, but be sure to have the forearms pulled all the way out.
The hands are a pain in the ass, and one of my few complaints about the toy. Daitarn 3 comes with a set of default hands that are (supposed to be) permanently attached to the arms. The idea is that each hand can be folded up and slid into the arm for transformation. This does work, but the problem comes into play when you try to get the hands out. There's no lever, nothing. I tried to shake the hands out, and eventually needed to use pliers to get them out. The hands themselves are fine: each finger is articulated, as well as the thumb, but be careful, the thumb comes off easily.
Variant hands are included that are larger and made out of hard rubber. These attach to plates that fit into the arm when the default hands are slid in. Each plate is fit to go in only one way – notched on one side to fit into the arm sockets. It’s interesting to note that the same arm is used on the left and right – it's the exact same part, just swapped around. You can tell because the notches are on the top on the right arm, and the bottom on the left.
The chest is one immovable part. No waist joint, no chest joint. Although this toy doesn't require it, I miss the opening chest used to stow the head on the old toy. These modern SOC toys could use more nods to the classic toys that inspired them. The crotch door opens to reveal the removable (but not spring loaded) Daitarn Missile.
The back has the signature wings of Daitarn, but I miss the large stickers of the old toy. The wings attach to two parts of a shell, with a small part connecting the third wing to the body. These shell parts will become a point of contention later on.
Down to the legs, they attach to the torso via hefty metal joints. The range of motion is limited forward and back, but a wide range side to side. The hips click.
Knees are double jointed, but that's more to aid in transformation than for articulation. The feet are solid blocks of metal, and need to be clicked down to move around. The joint for each is in the inside corner, and, while small, is made out of sturdy metal. This too is due to accommodations for transformation. The large leg fins can be pulled down to make up for this extended length.
Before we get into transformation, I want to talk about the weapons. Like any of the big SOC sets, there are a lot of accessories. It seems like any weapon ever used on the show makes an appearance in this tray.
We already mentioned the Daitarn Missile.
Two large chrome swords, called Daitarn Zanber, are included with the set. Each has a removable hilt, which has collapsible sides. The blades are very shiny, but very thin.
I've never seen the show, so I have no idea what this weapon is, but it's called the Daitarn Snapper. It's a multi-part whip weapon that can end in either a point or a large grasping claw. The total weapon consists of over 10 parts, depending on the configuration. Two sets of tubes are included – one flexible, one rigid, that can be used depending on what formation the weapon takes. It's an interesting idea.
Another odd weapon is the Daitarn Fan. As the name suggests, it's a giant fan. The toy comes with parts to replicate the fan in various states of openness. Chain handles are included that can be attached to any of the parts. Also, these parts can combine to provide a mechanism to attach the two semicircle parts to make one whole fan shield. A neat accessory, but back in the box it goes.
These two weapons are cool: first, the Daitarn Javelin. This large two-part weapon ends in a four pointed spear. It looks awesome.
Next up is the Daitarn Hammer. This is an awesome mace-style weapon connected to a long metal chain. We all know how much I love metal chains.
There are some more accessories, but we will wait for the end for those.
And now, we transform.
I did a pretty epic video review that goes over the transformation, so you can watch that, or skip below to the step by step.
Daitarn has three modes: Daitarn, Daifighter, Daitank, hence the 3 in Daitarn 3.
To transform from Daitarn to Daifighter, follow the following steps:
- Fold the hands and push into the arms, then push the forearms up.
- On the back, remove the back wing sections to reveal the dummy tank treads. These are more for show than anything. Fold these around until they are straight back, lift the little door behind the head, and then pull the back up to reveal the cavity.
- Inside, you will see 2 angled blue parts connected to the hip parts. Fold those down, then take the tank tread assemblies and fold those around front. These can be either stored inside the chest (for flight mode) or left out as front landing gear.
- Unfold the shoulder pads so you have 2 separate extended sections on each side. Collapse the head crest, and then begin to push the bars from the shoulder pads in and down into the chest cavity. Don't push it all the way in yet.
- Unclick the hip sections (this may take a little force) and swing towards each other. If it isn't already attached, attach the center wing section and then unfold down the length of the legs. As you are clicking the legs together, be sure the bar from the center wing is aligned between the legs.
- Click down the back section, and then push the head down and connect the nose cone section. This can be fidgety; take care that you are not bumping anything inside the body. Then you can click down those two blue panels which lock onto the back.
- Make sure the arms are alongside the body. Here you need to swap out the covers from the back of the figure with larger covers. You need to remove and swap the wings as well. Form here they click onto the shoulders, and the bottom has tabs for the tank treads to lock into.
- Lastly, add the landing gear to the back.
Daifighter is huge and heavy, but does not do much aside from look pretty. The choice of having the rear landing gear right next to each other is odd, but maybe that’s just how it is in the show.
At the bottom of the fuselage is a door to insert the miniature Mach Patrol car. This door is hard to open.
Transforming to the Daitank appears to be an easy affair, but there's a bit more too it.
- Pull out the whole head / nosecone assembly. Unclick the blue panels from the back, open the small door and lift up the back again. Remove wing panels.
- Separate the leg sections, remove the third wing assembly. I couldn't tell if tank mode was supposed to have this section or not. I left it off.
- Swing the legs down and click back into place. Swing the blue panels up and into the body.
- Close the back panel, and re-do the whole nosecone assembly as before. Keep in mind they have those blue panels in the body now. If they are not properly placed, the arms from the nosecone will have no place to go.
- Slide out each upper leg assembly at the hip to give more room between the legs. Bend the knees so that the legs bend back over the back of the body. The back of each foot has a tab that connects to the body.
- If they aren't already, rotate the tank treads so that the small tabs on them are pointing down. These treads are too small, so a tray with real rubber treads is included. Clip this tray onto the bottom by the tabs on the small treads.
- Pull out the cannon assemblies from the feet. These are made out of several segments, so they pull out quite a bit. Be careful not to pull too hard, or you will pull them out. Thankfully they click right in. The canons are a softer rubber, so they may not be straight when you pull them out. Just rotate them until they are straight.
- Turn the arms forward. That’s it!
Daitank mode is pretty cool, with the huge cannons and the rubber tank treads. Seeing the size of the tank treads here, you understand why they made it a separate piece.
Mach Patrol / Mach Attacker
Mach Patrol is a Hot Wheels sized vehicle that is the ride of the main character, Banjo. This cool little car has some diecast in the body, rubber tires, and fully transforms into Mach Attaker. Early production photos showed the cockpit as removable, in the finished version it is not.
In addition to this larger vehicle, the set contains three smaller in-scale vehicles. Each vehicle is of the Mach Patrol, in both Patrol, Attacker, and a mid-transformation mode. Each no bigger than a large grain of rice. Amazing detail in such a small item. I'm sure to lose them.
Rather than the traditional stand, this toy uses the rubber tank treads as a sort of roving stand vehicle. Most of the parts fit onto this stand if you use the additional stand parts. There's a crane part that needs to be added, as well as a couple small support parts.
Is that it?
I think that's everything. It's a nice DX set. It's big and heavy and complicated, but you don't need to break out the accessory tray if you don't want to. It looks good on the shelf.
With the recent announcement of Bandai's new Super Robot Chogokin line, will the Soul of Chogokin line shift towards these more elaborate releases? If they are as good as this one, that's not a bad idea at all.
I'd recommend this set. The pros outweigh the cons. The only real flaws I can see with it are the implementation of the hands, the need to have two sets of wing panels, dubious landing gear positioning, and that little door that's hard to open. Overall that's not too bad.
|Posted 21 June, 2010 - 11:56 by JoshB|