Tobikage & Houraioh
Review by chachipower
This review sample was provided by HLJ.com
It is with great pleasure that I bring to you the second installment in Bandai's Soul of Chogokin Tobikage lineup. The GX-54 was an immediate favorite so it is only natural that we would expect the GX-55 to be just as good or better.
If you have dealt with other SOC releases, then by now you are familiar with their glossy thin cardboard boxes. They did a great job with the Tobikage releases. They are very colorful and show off some great photography of what awaits inside. Once you pull out the tray which is completely plastic, you are greeted by many accessories. Underneath the accessory tray lies Tobikage and Houraioh.
There is also a full color manual that not only helps out with transformation, but also has some lineart and color artwork. I can't read Japanese, but I'm sure it's loaded with cool info.
Once we pull apart the plastic trays, we are greeted with two figures. I am going to start with Tobikage. I love this figure. I could collect a whole series of figures like this. It is definitely not a "filler" figure.
Here we get up close and personal so we can check out his face detail.
This pose doesn't mean anything, It just looks cool.
Like most collectible figures, Tobikage has an assortment of hands available. Below you can see the different types you can choose from to use depending on the pose or weapons use you want. Each hand is carefully sculpted and molded out of durable PVC.
Another optional hand he has is an open hand with an extended chain. I feel showing it in use has a much more satisfying effect.
Aside from an assortment of hands, Tobikage has access to an assortment of cool weapons. Some of which combine to form more powerful weapons. On the left is a rather simple gun. On the right is another weapon that consist of a red gun-like sheath with a sword attached to it.
Here is another twist on the weapon shown above. I love how weapons can be combined and arranged to form other weapons.
When he wants to engage in hand to hand combat, he can stow away his weapons on his back ninja-style. To do this you must remove a plug on his back to activate this feature.
Once the plug is removed, you can attach the weapon to his back archer style.
That same sword shown above actually comes in two variants. One normal sword and another sword with an extended dagger at the end of the handle.
If there is one thing he's good at, it wielding a sword. He looks stunning with this bladed weapon.
He is just tons of fun to pose. Don't be surprised if you find yourself fiddling with it for hours.
He's also got this bow weapon which fits neatly into one of his optional hands. On the right hand side, it is shown with optional attachments.
Now, if you have the GX-54 you will remember that Tobikage's thighs had fins that would pull out to reveal missile launchers. This version also has said missile launchers. However, they do not pull out. The fins have to be removed and missile launcher pieces have to be attached to get the effect. Why they could pull this off on a figure half the size of this one and not this one is beyond me. It does the job, but too bad you can't just do it on the fly when you want to show your buddies. You either have to have them on, on standyby in the box or stored somewhere nearby.
While we're at it, let's compare the GX-55's Tobikage with the GX-54's smaller Tobikage. The GX-54 has a very cool little Tobikage, but in my opinion, the GX-55 has a much nicer version with more athletic proportions. It's not loaded with diecast apart from the articulated ankles and entire foot which happens to have folding toes. These feet have more articulation than some old Chogokins.
Now let's welcome the main attraction. This is Houraioh.
Not shown in the picture above are four little fins that need to be pulled out to the sides.
Here we get up close and personal so we can check out his face detail. Rather plain, but cool looking.
Like Tobikage, Houraioh has an assortment of hands available. Below you can see the different types you can choose from to use depending on the pose or weapons use you want. Each hand is carefully sculpted and molded out of durable PVC. I love the hand sculpts of this release.
Aside from an assortment of hands, Houraioh has access to a couple of cool weapons. There is a pair of double bladed weapons.
These weapons are hinged in the middle so that they fold into each other.
When combined, they form this huge Ninja star. Way cool. He has an alternate hand which holds this piece nicely.
Isn't it annoying when toys are made safer by rounding off missles, teeth, swords and other normally sharp objects? Obviously it's for safety, but I love toys/collectibles that draw blood. Which is why I love my old tin toys, Aoshimas Shin Getter 2 and CM's Brave Gokin Goshogun (who's weapons almost required me to get stitches!) among others. Well this toy has some pretty sharp plastic pieces that haven't drawn blood yet, but has manage to scrape my hands up good with moderate handling. I wouldn't have it any other way.
With this figure, it's rather easy to get parts to hit/scrape/chip together and/or possibly break a thin fin or two. Here are examples of some spots that require care whether it be to avoid scuffing or breaking.
Another spot you want to be careful with is the rear fins. If they are in the down position, they run the risk of being broken if they are not moved out of the way of the diecast arm claws. The fins are really thin. I assume the plastic is flexible enough to resist breakage, but I cannot nor want to confirm this.
This figure is very well balanced. It has a pleasant amount of diecast in the chest, arm claws, hips/joints and toes. None in the legs, but it's understandable due to the legs becoming wings. All diecast is well placed giving this figure a nice balance as seen in this picture that required no stands or Photoshop magic.
Houraioh has an alternate mode which is the Phoenix Thunderhawk. To get to this mode, it requires a fun and well-engineered transformation. When I first started, it seemed overwhelming without instructions. I started unfolding stuff and realized I may need the instructions. Here you can see the amount of engineering and moving parts used in this figure.
After a few minutes of fiddling I was left with the Pheonix Thunderhawk which has a wingspan of about 93 feet..ok more like a foot and a half. This wont be fitting comfortably in a standard display case.
The wings do bend but they never completely retract into the body to form a compact alternate mode.
This is one mean looking bird.
Tobikage combines with Houraioh to form Kuuma ("Sky Demon") Houraioh. To do this, there are some clips that attach to Houraioh to allow Tobikage's wrists to slip in and be held during flight. There are also little metal fingers that fold in around his ankle also.
Not only can Houraioh combine with the included Tobikage, but he also combines with the GX-54 Tobikage to more closely match the anime!
To use the smaller GX-54 Tobikage, you need to do a couple of things. First pull down the flap on tiny Tobikage's back to reveal a small hole.
Next, you will need to fold down a tab on Houraiohs underside. The tab will fit into Tobikage's back hole.
Once attached, you are once again left with Kuuma ("Sky Demon") Houraioh. He fits equally as snug as the bigger Tobikage.
From this view, you will see that the wrist clips are not needed for the smaller Tobikage.
Kuuma Houraioh in flight!
What's great about this release is that you do not need to be a fan of the anime to enjoy it. It's a fun all around figure with great engineering and excellent Bandai quality. Some people felt that buying this release required buying the GX-54. As you can see, that is not necessary as this release has it's own Tobikage. Although not in true scale, Bandai went the extra mile and gave us an updated deluxe Tobikage that could have been released on its own and still have the qualities of a great figure.
I do highly recommend picking up the GX-54 and the GX-55 as they really blend old school and new school tech together. If you missed out on the review for the GX-54 Tobikage & Kurojishi, you can check it out HERE. I am very happy with the outcome of this figure, it now resides in my display case with the rest of my most favorite figures. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
Get your very own GX-55 at HLJ.com
|Posted 15 December, 2010 - 00:05 by chachipower|