Review by The Enthusiast
When Hasbro raided the Diaclone and Microchange catalog to assemble the Transformers, it left a few choice cuts on the table. Takara released three entries in its Gun-Robo Microchange line, but Hasbro re-purposed only one of these, the P-38, which would become the iconic Megatron character . For whatever reason, Hasbro selected the ugliest mold. While Megatron holds a dear place in the hearts of TF fans, one can’t escape the fact that the actual G1 toy was a homely, awkward thing, scarcely deserving of its elevated status. The P-38’s brothers, the Magnum 44 and Browning models, were superior toys.
The Magnum remains a rare and expensive toy. The Browning was released on a limited basis in Japan as a Transformer, but is most commonly available as a bootleg under the King Dam label. I own the King Dam version, and it’s awful. Given the exorbitant prices commanded by the originals, I had made peace with owning only an inferior simulacrum. But while perusing Tformers recently, I noticed a solicitation for a slick-looking new boot of the mold, offered at a reasonable price. Holy god am I glad I bought one.
While this piece is technically a bootleg, I choose to think of it as an unlicensed reproduction. There is nothing bootleggy or knockoff about this product. It’s a high quality replica of a great toy.
The plain brown cardboard box is a sly nod to its ‘non-official’ status. The illustrations and graphic design are nonetheless sophisticated and handsome.
Inside, a luscious styrofoam coffin, two decal sheets, and an instruction sheet.
Accessories include two chrome guns and a sprue of bullets.
The two decal sheets offer subtle variations for autobot or decepticon livery. The Browning is available in both red and blue variants, expressed in leg and arm plastic accents. I chose the blue for its slightly more Diaclone flavor, though I believe the original was red, and the Italian Gig release was blue.
The application of foil decals really elevates the piece. Really, look at this beautiful, glorious bastard. Is it shameful to salivate at the sight of a beautiful object?
I’m really stirred by the beauty of this figure, more than I expected. While I sort of liked the King Dam KO, this version is far, far superior. The Kind Dam has a doughy, sub-par sculpt, particularly in the head, and crudely tooled diecast, while this version nails every detail.
The metal hips and thighs are crisp, as is the head sculpt. Diaclone & Microchange were among the best robot toys ever made, and this version is totally consistent in fit and finish with the originals. Every joint is tight. Tolerances are precise.
The gun accessories activate the figure.
Transformation to gun mode is fun, complex, and conceptually similar to the Megatron mold. The resulting gun is noticeably more compact than the P38. The chrome finish is excellent.
This is a rare beast: an exquisite bootleg. It’s exactly what a bootleg should be: not an inferior, slapdash imitation, but a quality reproduction of an object unavailable to most fans. Mysterious producer, please keep making such things and I will keep buying them. How about that Magnum?
|Posted 21 September, 2013 - 20:53 by The Enthusiast|