Review by JoshB
Like many of you, I passed on the Chogokin Franky released last year. I have never watched “One Piece”, the anime which he comes from, and just aesthetically it didn’t fit in with my collection. I even had a chance to handle it at Toy Fair last year, and while It had a decent amount of metal, I just wasn’t feeling it.
I had also planned on passing on the Chogokin General Franky. Once again, no love for the character, and I also thought the inclusion in the SOC line was odd. Imagine my surprise when it showed up in a box of samples from Bluefin Tamashii. I guess fate was telling me to check it out.
I am so glad I did, because this toy is freaking awesome.
Before we check the toy out, a little background is in order. Franky is a character from the hit anime “One Piece”. Apparently he is a cyborg that starts out as a bad guy but ends up being a good guy. As the series progresses Franky enhances his cyborg body with more ridiculous upgrades, each getting a numerical designation. Eventually a giant robot is built that Franky drives that also happens to resemble Franky. This robot is called General Franky or Franky Shogun. This robot is actually a combination of two vehicles - the Furosai FR-U-IV cycle and the Brachio Tank V.
Franky Shogun has a designation of BF-38. Each of Franky’s massive weapons (usually ships) has Battle Franky (BF) number. They were mostly ships until BF-37 when Franky upgraded himself and gave himself that number.
The box has a somewhat typical SOC artwork on the front but this is only a slipcover for the actual box inside.
The proper box is a full-on homage to a classic Chogokin box. I had questioned why General Franky was given an SOC designation, and now I see why - they were positioning this as a tribute to some of the odder Chogokin that came out at the time. It wasn’t always super robots in the original Popy line.
The Furosai vehicle is a three wheeled motorcycle driven by Franky himself. It has the appearance of a rhinoceros with a number 4 painted on its nose.
All the wheels turn freely, and Franky is removable from the seat.
Franky is a nicely detailed plastic figure with moveable forearms. Although nothing secures him to his seat, he can hold onto the handlebars of the Furosai.
The Brachio Tank is an enormous beast of a vehicle. It weighs a ton and looks fantastic.
It’s got an animal face on the end of the cannon barrel, and it’s driven by a little guy named Tony Tony Chopper.
Tony stands in a circular stand that plugs into the extended cockpit. In the bottom part of the cockpit there’s actually a seat and a control panel, but Tony cannot peg into it.
What really does it for me is the honest to goodness working treads. And these aren’t crappy rubber treads, these are individual plastic links that roll freely around the axles.
The weight of the thing is all in the back where you can see the tucked in legs of General Franky.
To combine these two vehicles into the mighty super robot, you’ve gotta take some stuff apart.
First, separate the two halves of the cycle.
The front wheels fold over the hands and then slide down and click into the forearms. You have to make sure you leave enough clearance for the hands to go through by moving the thumb inwards.
Next, take the tank and unclick the treads from the side.
Open the doors on the back and front of the cannon, rotate the cannon to reveal the head, and push down.
Close the doors, then click the treads together in the back.
Extend the legs, and then swing out the arm connector pegs on the sides.
These pegs appear similar to the ones used on modern Super Sentai toys. I wonder if they are compatible?
Click the arms into place and add the second cockpit and General Franky is formed!
The cockpit in the belly opens to reveal Franky at the controls.
Over the right shoulder is a scabbard for General Franky’s sword, but his full size sword cannot fit inside. Therefore, a dummy sword handle is included for display.
The arm articulation is so great that Franky can actually reach around and grab the sword handle while it is still sheathed.
The large chrome sword has a peg on the handle to secure it to the palm of the right hand.
Articulation is great enough that Franky can easily hold the sword with both hands.
All the joints in the arms are solid and clicky. There’s an astounding range of motion, and the hands with articulated fingers are fantastic.
General Franky’s head is fully articulated with a dual ball joint and a moveable jaw. The drill can also turn.
The legs are entirely heavy diecast metal, all the way up to the hip joints. The joints are massive and sturdy.
While General Franky can stand just fine, over time there may be a concern about the weight making the toy topple over. To alleviate this Bandai has included a stand that snaps in between the legs. The stand has a few places where you can adjust the position.
This toy is all about fun, and as if to drive home the point Bandai included a cardboard backdrop that looks like a disco.
General Franky is awesome, and the most fun I’ve had with a modern toy in a while. Everything is solid and toy-like, with impeccable build quality and detail. I think i’m better off not knowing about the show or the character as it lets me revel in the absurdity of the design. The thing has presence, and will dominate on your toy shelf.
Bandai Tamashii Nations "One Piece" Chogokin General Franky Action Figure is highly recommended. He’s available wherever Bluefin Tamashii products are sold.
|Posted 21 November, 2013 - 08:01 by JoshB|