Review by JoshB
When I was a little kid, at least as early as second grade, I knew I was not popular. I was maybe a bit too obsessed with Star Wars and Robots, and I had no desire to play football or whatever the kids were playing on the playground at school. As such I got bullied at times. I got picked on for being the chubby kid. I got plenty of skinned knees through dress pants I had to wear to school.
It's no surprise then that I began to identify with the underdog. Whenever people flocked to the popular thing, I would gravitate towards the less-popular option. I felt that the wanna-be's and the runner-ups: those were my people. As I grew older the trend continued with my peers, my music and my tastes.
I tell you all of this as a way to rationalize why I am so interested in the less-popular Voltrons. I've told you before how I got a vehicle Voltron for a birthday instead of a lion Voltron. But at some point I had ONE of the robots of the Voltron that never was - the Gladiator Voltron - Albegas. The fact that this didn't even become a Voltron makes it all the more attractive to me. I imagine Albegas also got picked on in school:
"Na na na na na you didn't get adapted into a show in America!"
Enough childhood trauma. Onto the toy. I just wanted you to know where I am coming from with this.
Evolution toy, out of the goodness of their hearts, have released the first modern high-end toy of Albegas. It's part of their Dynamite Action line of magnet-joint figures. It's a perfect match in my opinion.
The box is fine. The cardboard is a little thin, and inside is two clear plastic trays.
The top tray contains the figures and weapons. The bottom is dedicated to the variant hands. My god, so many hands. It's my one major gripe with modern high-end Japanese toys. Why did they do this?
There are FIFTY ONE (51) hands included with this set. A new record I think. I guess it makes sense if you want to have a full compliment of hands for both the individual robots and the myriad combined forms.
Thankfully nobody is putting a gun to your head forcing you to use them.
Before we get cranking, lets take a quick look at the included Super Abegas ships. In the show each of these ships docks with its matching robot, or they combine to form one ship. These would later be upgraded to the New Super Albegas, which was released under the Godaikin line,
It's VERY small.
Each robot is labeled with a greek letter, Alpha, Beta and Gamma. Alpha Robo is the main "hero" robot Sort of like Getter Dragon is to Liger and Poseidon.
Each of the individual robots are only about 4 inches tall but are fully articulated.
Each is made of 13 individual pieces held together by strong magnetic joints. Articulation is good, but not extreme.
In Alpha Robo mode the figure comes with 8 variant hands. These include closed fists, open hands, two sets of weapon holding hands. The hands are on a dual ball that pops out of the socket easier than it pops out of the hand. Teeth were often used to remove them from the fist. Interestingly, some fists are molded in color while others are molded in white and painted. No paint wear yet, but who knows...
Alpha Robo can hold his Alpha Sword
The Den Kung-Fu Jin are a set of Tonfa that Alpha Robo can hold. Yes, I know I have him holding them like guns.
Beta Robo is the blue robot, and unlike it's Popy predecessor, the plastic on this version is strong as can be.
This has all the same hands as Alpha Robo, so i'm not going to torture myself with that.
Beta Robo holds the Beta Sword.
And also the Denjin Lancer
In America, I always thought the red robot was the lead robot due to him being stacked on the top of the combined robot on the back of the box.
Gamma Robo wields the Gamma Sword.
The Denjin Arrow comes with both the bow and an electric arrow, which has a tab that enables it to be held in the hand.
Together, all three of them make a rad team. Kind of like the robotic three musketeers.
The real magic happens when you start messing with the combinations. Three robots each take three different positions, making for 6 main configurations. The magnet joints are practically made for a situation like this.
The combination starts with the assembly of the torsos in the desired configuration. Instead of having the arms swing back like the old toy, in this toy we have spacers that both help stabilize the figure and give the illusion of arms folded around back.
The combined Albegas stands 17cm tall. Not too tall, but standard SOC sized.
This mode - the hero mode - is called Denjin Dimension - Denjin meaning electric.
In the combined form the robot is reasonably sturdy, and is much more poseable than its vintage ancestor. Still, the magnetic joints are not precise so it takes a little bit to get a good pose.
7 variant hands are included for each of the three main colors. Why seven? I have no idea. But there are hands for every occasion, including holding the combined Denjin San Bai.
He's got grabby hands, closed fists, and weapon holding hands.
But wait, there is one more dimension, I call it the FUN DIMENSION
Thats right, in addition to the "recommended" modes, the magnet joint system allows you to create any number of your own combinations.
As kids we didn't know that the Gladiator Voltron wasn't supposed to have all six arms out, and the painted box art didn't help any. Well this set allows you to replicate that look.
But no, I couldn't stop there. I had to go further. I had to deconstruct what it meant to be a magnemo toy. I had to do things like this.
Or even make an Albegadragon!
Needless to say, I had a lot of fun with this. It's a little daunting to sort through a pile of parts like this on your desk. However it inspires such creativity!
I know that I haven't talked much about the quality of the toy, or its pros and cons. I've been gushing mostly over the gimmicks, which are fun indeed.
The good news is that the quality is great, with no QC issues and a solid build. The weight of the magnets makes it feel like it's a gokin even though it is not.
I do take a bit of an issue with the fact that the toy does not seem to be able to decide what it wants to be. For example, when you are in combined mode, the toy makes no effort to hide the arm sockets for the other two robots - a very toy-like feature when you think about it. In thinking of this item as a toy I can forgive that. But when you look at the inclusion of over fifty different hands, and special panels to give the appearance of the arms folded back, you realize that it's also trying to be a high-end collector item display model.
Not that I'm really complaining that much about the toy, I just wish it would commit to being one or the other. If you are going to be a toy, give me functional opening and closing hands, and ignore the inaccuracies created by the gimmick. If you are going to be a collector item, make an effort to hide the sockets on the arm and the glaring metal ball in the crotch.
I'll end this review with some shots of this toy alongside all of my vintage Albegas / Gladiator Voltron toys. I'd wager you won't find such a concentration of these toys anywhere else.
|Posted 22 August, 2014 - 21:59 by JoshB|