Review by JoshB
I had high hopes for the CM’s corp Brave Gokin Grendizer, but those hopes were quickly dashed when I got the toy in hand. Despite CM’s recent string of hits, this one just falls flat.
The box is enormous. It’s as big as a Jumbo Machinder, despite the toy only being about 8.5” tall. Expect shipping on this to be a killer.
Inside the reason for the size is clear - the beefy styrofoam tray. I’m thinking they could have cut the package down to about half if they used clear plastic trays for everything but the figure itself. There’s a lot of waste in here.
Grendizer has a nice look to him at first review. The proportions are nice and are very close to its anime appearance. The lines are smooth and not at all stylized. It’s a pretty pure representation of the character.
The head is exceptionally nice. I love the use of transparent plastic for the cockpit in the mouth, and the horns are just perfect. If you look close, you can see a tiny Duke Fleed inside. I was a little taken back by the white plastic around the back of the head and neck, but I guess that’s how it looks in the anime.
I like the choice to do white limbs instead of chrome, but I question why the gold chrome horns instead of yellow, as they didn’t make them chrome in the original show. A limited edition version was also produced with yellow horns, but those suffered from poor, sloppy overpainting.
Articulation is good but not extreme. You can get some good heroic poses but nothing that Grendizer would not do on the show.
All of the joints are clicky, and the knees and elbows have solid metal jointwork with exposed, unpainted metal. It’s a nice look if not anime accurate.
The metal-on-metal joints can cause some unsightly paint scratches where the parts meet. This kind of flaw is unacceptable on a high-end piece.
The ankles work perfectly well but just look odd. A tiny rod and ball joint supports the metal feet, and when posed at extreme angles leaves a huge unsightly gap.
The hips have that pull-down action that comes with recent Brave Gokin releases, but it still is not enough to make the leg clear the hip, causing again another concern for paint rubs. You can also see some paint and mold flaws in the body in this image. They could have made the extending joints extend just a bit more to clear the other part.
Many of Grendizer’s gimmicks have to do with the arms and hands, so we will spend some time on them. To start, the red sleeves on the forearm are made out of flexible rubber so that they bend out of the way when the arm bends. The rubber does not hold it’s shape too well so they lack the rigidity you would want to see with these.
The default hands for Grendizer are these giant oversized hulk hands. They are just comically oversized and don’t look good at all.
The open hands look a bit better despite having the same palm size.
I admire that CM’s included fully articulated hands with this release, but the execution of the hands is so poor that I wish they left them out. All the joints in the hands are stuck together out of the box and unsticking them is to dance with the devil. You wait for that snap which either means the paint freed up or the part broke.
To add insult to injury, bending the digits often results in said digits popping out of their sockets.
You can remove the fist, flip around the sleeves and attach the replacement small fists inside to mimic the “Screw Crusher Punch” attack.
While there is no launching action, you can remove the arm above the elbow by pulling on it. A lot. The metal on painted metal joint shows wear after one removal. It does get some points though for putting fan-like detailing on the inside of the arm.
But wait, what if you want to mimic the exact action that the sleeves use to reverse themselves on the show? Is flipping the part around too laborious? CM’s has you covered with these ugly as sin reversible sleeves.
These things not only look bad, but they don’t hold in a position worth a damn, and even pop off when trying to move them.
There’s those tiny hands.
The Harkens can be removed from the shoulders but are not used as the Harken weapons. That would require engineering. Instead a second set of Harkens are included that plug into the ends of the staff handles. The chrome scratches off easily.
An additional set of hands are included to grab the handles, but they suck. The gap is too small to slide the handle in and the rubber too rigid to easily wedge the handle in between the thumb and fingers. If you don’t damage the paint you run the risk of snapping the handle outright.
You can attach both handles together to form the Double Harken. It looks cool, but when I tried to separate them the peg broke off in the other handle. That, and the blades fell off because the chrome on the pegs wore off and that was the only thing causing friction.
I’m not bitter.
This release lacks the screw hole covers that come with other CM’s releases. I never use them, but it’s nice to know that they are there. Also visible on the back is a spring loaded panel which is likely the docking point for other, future spazers. If CM’s is smart, they will cancel them immediately.
At first glance, the Spazer looks really good. It’s impressively large and solid feeling. The main body is plastic with the wings being metal. It’s almost 16 inches wide from tip to tip.
Each wing features a removable weapon. You get your choice of two weapons - Spin Drill and Spin Saucer. Both can mount securely to the wings when closed.
The Spin Saucer features a bunch of tiny blades that fold out on either side. The blades are nice and sharp but have a tendency to pop out of alignment sometimes.
The Spin Drill folds open and you push up from the bottom to reveal the drill missile. Sort of shake the missile forward to get the drill to come out. Also don’t forget to pull the wings out from the sides. With the drill pushed up you can’t mount them back on the wings.
With no weapon on the ends are just a sharp metal arrow.
At the bottom of the Spazer there is a spring-loaded disc that collapses when you place the Spazer on a flat surface. This keeps it from rolling around.
The Spazer has a few QC issues on the outside, including the small panels on the front not quite closing right, and one of the red panels on the top is lifted off of one side.
Preparing the Spazer for Grendizer is a chore. Moving the panels is over-engineered and needlessly complicated. First the red parts on the top need to be split open. Then the white doors open and you can see the inner mechanism. In order to have the doors sit flush when closed they are set on tracks that require you to push in, then back. This isn’t a smooth track. You have to push it much harder than you should, and there is always that fear that you are going to break something. Trying to close the doors is an even worse process with the doors frequently derailing and nearly impossible to get back on track.
It’s best to watch the video for this process.
Once you get the door all squared away it’s time to dock with the Spazer.
The rear door needs to be opened first, and it reveals two steel balls on the back panel.
Slide Grendizer in from the rear with his arms out front and then rest his feet on the steel balls. It’s best to use the articulated hands for this. The magnets in the feet will snap to the balls. Push the back panel back up and snap it in place and Grendizer will emerge from the front. During his process Grendizer will activate a lever that makes a miniscule Duke Fleed emerge in the spazer cockpit. It’s a cool, well executed gimmick.
When Grendizer is pushed through and you tilt his head up, the small duke fleed disappears from the clear plate in the head.
Grendizer in the spazer looks pretty good actually. You have to mess with the arms and shoulders to make it look right, but when it’s all set it looks good. There’s a big concern though when pushing Grendizer through that the figure is going to get scratched up. There’s plenty of plastic on metal contact.
While this mode looks good, it doesn’t make up for the flaws in the material, construction and execution. Grendizer deserves better. On the surface it may look better than the SOC but in terms of quality and construction the SOC wins hands down.
I’m frustrated with CM’s corporation and their spotty track record. Some pieces are shining examples of what makes a perfect gokin, and others are gokin in name only. I can’t pinpoint what makes one better than the other. Are there different design teams? Different factories? Who knows. I had extolled the virtues of this piece to friends prior to this release as it had all the hallmarks of a quality toy. Now I don’t know what to do about future releases.
For now I’m going to stick to the classics. The SRC has funky proportions, and while the SOC isn’t perfect it’s still a better toy from 14 years ago.
|Posted 29 November, 2013 - 19:27 by JoshB|