Review by Prometheum5
Taken from Wikipedia: “Chodenji Machine Voltes V, lit. "Super Electromagnetic Machine Voltes Five" is a Japanese anime television series that was first aired on TV Asahi starting April 13, 1977. It was created by Saburo Yatsude (a pseudonym referring to a committee within Toei) and directed by Tadao Nagahama. Voltes V is the second part of the Robot Romance Trilogy of the Super Robot genre which includes Combattler V and Daimos.”
Voltes V has always intrigued me as the pinnacle of early Gettai-style robot design. Combattler V got more attention and was brought to the US under the Shogun Warriors line and used in the Shogun Warriors comic, but I’ve always thought Voltes V had better proportions and weapons. Unfortunately the vintage Chogokin toys of Voltes (DX and ST) are both fairly difficult to find in nice condition and quite expensive. A few years back, Bandai produced sets of Gashapon trading figures of miniaturized PVC reproductions of many of the most popular early Chogokin designs. The series included staples like Reideen and the Getter Robo trio, but Bandai also made the excellent move to include reproductions of the Popynika-release versions of the machines that make up both Voltes and Combattler
Voltes V is made almost entirely of PVC like the rest of his Gashapon Chogokin brethren. I believe the sword may be made of ABS plastic, as are likely the clear plastic bits and some of the Voltes Cruiser. Each of the Capsule Gashapon boxes are no more than 2 inches in any dimension and the toys inside are small. Each toy comes in a box modeled after the Popynika releases, and is in pieces inside a plastic baggie. The biggest flaw of the set is that there are no directions for a Voltes newbie. The toys are mostly molded in white PVC and feature almost complete paint jobs. We’ll go through each vehicle and then onto the combined mode.
The Voltes Cruiser, Voltes Machine 1, forms the head of Voltes V. The Cruiser is molded mostly in ABS plastic so the hinge mechanism will work. I am not sure if the red is the molder color or not, as it looks really good and not translucent like red molded plastic often does. The clear plastic cockpit opens and the seat is painted, adding a nice detailed touch to this little fighter. The paint apps look OK, but under close scrutiny (and a big Macro camera lens) look a bit sloppy. The detail on the top of the fighter behind the cockpit is very crisp, and appears to be printed on (likely Tampo printing). The biggest flaw on the Cruiser is the rear landing gear. These are made from separate pieces of PVC painted silver, and are incredibly small. There is no hinge mechanism, so to deploy the rear landing gear, the pieces have to be removed, and then re-pegged into some really small holes. I cannot see any other way to have the gear function at this size, but the problem is that the gear struts are incredibly thin PVC and bend a lot while you are mounting them and feel really fragile. Still, the Cruiser looks good sitting on its gear, so I am glad they included the feature, and the gear do secure in nicely, so they should not fall out and get lost. To transform to combination mode, the entire jet folds in the middle on a two-layer hinge, revealing the face of Voltes V.
Next we have the Voltes Bomber, Voltes Machine 2, which forms the arms. The shoulder bars feel like ABS plastic, and the rest is PVC. The moldings are generally crisp, and feature good detail, but the fit of parts around the elbow joints is a little off. The tail fin assembly is one piece of ABS that slips over what becomes the neck of Voltes, and is warped because of the thin PVC material. The fists are separate, allowing the Bomber to look mostly like its larger counterpart. The Bomber is completely painted, including the great metallic blue used on the body bits of Voltes. The 2 on the top of the Bomber appears printed. What is interesting is that all of the landing gear is molded, but not functional due to the size. Transformation to combination mode involves removing the tail piece, adding the fists, which are nice and snug, and spreading out the shoulders. The fit of the parts is generally good here, although the hinge pieces for the shoulder bar can become detached, but they fit right back in place.
The Voltes Panzer, Voltes Machine 3, is the bulkiest piece of PVC and forms the torso of Voltes V. The Panzer features tank treads mounted to a large bar on top of the chassis, with a large gun mounted on the bar, and all of these pieces are separate to allow parts to move or be removed for transformation. The parts fit well together, although there is a little play mounting the tread bar to the body and the cannon to the tread bar, as both share the same peg slit. The distinctive digger claws on the Panzer are separate swappable ‘stowed’ or ‘deployed’ pieces. The stowed pieces fit nice and snugly, but the fit on the deployed claws is a bit flimsier, with a lack of a good slot to really peg the arms into. Despite being made up of many parts, the Panzer fits together well and looks good. The Panzer also features the Voltes V logo printed on the belly of Voltes V like the DX figure. To transform to combination mode, the tank tread arms are swung around behind the body, the claws are stowed, and the hardest part to do is to ‘open’ the red cockpit piece, which requires some fingernails or a knife to pry open the first time.
The Voltes Frigate, Voltes Machine 4, is next, and features the most separate parts. The Frigate has separate swappable coning towers (deployed and depressed), and the wings feature pegs for their deployed or folded back positions. The Frigate is solid, and does not really do much of anything. The wings have nice printed detail visible in Voltes V mode. Transformation to combination mode involves placing the wings in their folded back position, and the depressed conning towers installed, with the silver antenna replaced on the towers.
The last machine is the Voltes Lander, Machine 5, which forms the feet. The Lander is a fun little vehicle, with printed details that look good and great molded detail. Something I discovered while taking the pictures for this review is that the front panels actually open up to reveal the hidden front cannons! No drills, sadly, but the detail is great inside the cannons. This is why something this complex really needs directions Bandai! The only problem with the Lander is that the two halves do not lock together tightly. To transform to combination mode, the top parts of each module is removed, and replaced with the folded down ‘tops’, and the little bitty silver antenna replaced to the ‘tops’.
Now that we’ve gone through each vehicle separately, we can discuss the main attraction (for most!), Voltes V. Combination is easy; starting at the feet, the big square pegs from the ‘ankles’ of the Frigate mount on the grooves on top of the Lander feet, the Frigate cockpit area then slides into the bottom of the Panzer firmly (assuming you figured out that you have to fold up the Panzer cockpit!), the Bomber slides into the groove at the top of the Panzer, and finally the Cruiser mounts on the neck slot of the Bomber. The fit is generally good, but the Cruiser to Bomber ‘neck’ attachment point is loose, and the head will come off if you try to pick up the toy by it. All combined, Voltes V is solid and well proportioned, just like the big DX Chogokin toy it emulates. Articulation is at the shoulders, double jointed elbows, and wrists. The balance of Voltes is generally good, but with the tank treads left on, Voltes can tip backwards.
Voltes V’s only weapon (on this toy!) is his sword. Four of the Voltes Machines (I am not sure which) come with a sword segment, which slot together tightly. The hilt is the M-shaped emblem on the chest, which secures tightly to the chest, but comes off without too much fuss. The handle of the blade slots into the hilt, and now Voltes is ready for battle! Thanks to the hinge mechanism of the Bomber, the shoulders have a little lateral motion, allowing Voltes V to look surprisingly dynamic with his sword.
Voltes V also features a full-robot transformation, to Voltank Mode, which is basically Voltes lying down. This figure can almost transform to Voltank Mode, thanks to the double jointed elbows, but lacks the ankle joints or pegs to really do it. By un-pegging the feet from the ankles and resting the legs on top of the feet, it looks like you have achieved Voltank Mode, but the feet cannot be attached in the proper position.
Considering the amount of little fidgety parts and PVC material, this toy could easily have been a mess that did not stay together at all. Bandai did a great job engineering this set to work really well, and it shows. The toy is solid, with almost no floppy bits, and gorgeous thanks to it being almost fully painted. The toy looks very faithful to the DX Chogokin toy, and looks great with its Gashapon Chogokin brethren.
|Posted 23 April, 2009 - 16:06 by Prometheum5|