Dual Model Zwei Strikedog & Ypsilon
|Character Design||Kunio Okawara|
Review by The Enthusiast
DMZ Strikedog was the second figure released in Takara’s Dual Model Zwei series, a 2006 revival of the original Dual Model series (zwei is German for ‘two’).
The original DM series produced some of the most iconic real robot toys of the eighties, most notably the 1:24 Armored Troopers from Votoms and the 1:72 and 1:48 Dougram mechs. Actually, what other DM toys were there?
With the mid-ought explosion of moldering eighties properties, Votoms toys flooded the market. While Yamato’s 1:12 offering was immensely popular among ATV fans, the DMZ’s fell flat. Whether because of the flooded market or the high prices, fans weren’t biting, which is a shame because the 1:18 ‘dogs are among my favorite toys of all time.
Takara went all out for this toy. Everything about it says quality. Collectors wax poetic over the legendary Takatoku boxes, but the original Dual Model boxes were things of beauty, with heavy, textured cardboard, minimalist graphics, and sliding sleeves like the MPC Toynami boxes.
The (10.5” x 14” x 6”) DMZ box is sturdy and glossy, and the art is sophisticated and understated.
A hinged front flap, held closed with Velcro buttons, opens to reveal the Strikedog on the right, the Ypsilon figure and accessories on the left.
The the only quarrel I have with this toy is the packaging of that left flap. There’s no way to remove the contents without cutting the plastic. This was a huge oversight for Takara. It’s inexcusable to make collectors mangle their otherwise re-usable packaging to play with their toy as intended. I imagine many collectors will leave Ypsilon and the additional accessories forever entombed, and this kills much of the Strikedog’s play value.
The Strikedog itself rests within a heavy-duty plastic clamshell, itself in a sliding tray.
Paperwork includes a beautiful color manual (with history and design notes, as well as photographs of all play features), a Votoms brochure, and a Microman brochure.
The Strikedog accessories include a shoulder cannon assembly, (4) plugs to conceal screw holes, (2) alternate silver antennae for its head, and (2) additional hands. There aren’t a ton of accessories, but that’s fine with me. Votoms sets, and collector’s toys in general, tend to get carried away, and I usually leave most of extra stuff in the box anyway.
Ypsilon is the Preternaturally-gifted AT pilot who antagonizes our hero Chirico throughout the series. He’s a typical modern Microman figure, with excellent articulation and play value. He feels flimsier than a full-fledged, solo-released Microman though. The finishes are minimal, but well-executed.
The Ypsilon figure comes with an alternate helmeted head, extra hands, and a display stand.
It’s cool to finally have an Ypsilon figure, but he’s not the real draw here.
First off, the Strikedog is huge. It never occurred to me that Ypsilon’s machine was so much larger than the Scopedog. Strikedog stands at 11 inches, as opposed to the Scopedog’s 9.5 inches.
Strikedog is not merely a repaint with extra bits tacked on. It’s a whole new mold, which was a hugely welcome surprise.
Strikedog is about ninety percent plastic, with most of the visible diecast in the lower-leg assembly, consisting of a central hinged block on each leg (principally in service of the down-form transformation). This is a pretty serious digression from the original DM toys, which usually featured a diecast inner-frame. It could be an issue, and I’d like there to be more metal, but once you hold this toy, all doubt vanishes. Again, the piece oozes quality. The plastic is all high-grade ABS, and the build is so complex and detailed that the overall weight is substantial.
The matte plastic is mostly cast in the final colors, but has been discreetly weathered and panelized, more subtly so than the mud-drenched Scopedog. Tampo printing abounds; there are no decals. I usually don’t care for weathering, but it really brings this toy to life.
The paint apps at the leg and backpack thrusters are particularly lifelike.
I’m a sucker for the 1:18 scale. Having grown up with G.I. Joe and Star Wars figures, and having developed a healthy appreciation for the Microman/Micronaut toys, the scale just feels “right.” It’s the most relatable scale for me, neither too fiddly nor too overwhelming, with just the right amount of potential for gimmickry.
The cockpit and head assembly does everything you’d want it to. The helmet turns (without falling off, as with the DMZ Scopedog), the visor opens, the eyepiece slides back and forth.
The cockpit itself is sumptuously detailed.
The right forearm is spring loaded, naturally. The left forearm features a spring loaded, highly articulated claw.
Strikedog can achieve the Down Form.
I rarely use it, but it’s a neat feature, and the transformation is smooth.
I’ve gone on and on, but I love this thing. Buy two. They were initially pretty steep, and the large, heavy box didn’t help, but you can find them much cheaper now. I got mine at hlj.com at a huge discount.
*******as a side note, I'd like to apologize for my absence from reviewing. I was laid off and otherwise occupied. I'm now re-employed and have more reviews in the works*******
|Posted 10 August, 2009 - 20:23 by The Enthusiast|