Review by JoshB
The SOC Gunbuster has so many features that it is going to be hard to cover it in just one review. I made 3 videos that show you all of the features, if you want you can just skip directly to to the videos.
Gunbuster is from the OVA series Aim for the Top! Released in 1988, it is notable for being Hideaki Anno’s directorial debut. Anno is most famous for directing the influential Neon Genesis Evangelion.
While Gunbuster has been a fan favorite for some time now, it has gotten little respect in the world of toys. Kaiyodo made a few non-transforming figures, and recently Studio half-eye made an expensive resin toy. While the SHE toy is nice, it is priced out of the average consumers’ budget.
Leave it to Bandai to bring us an amazing Gunbuster toy. The Soul of Chogokin GX-34 Gunbuster is a remarkable work of engineering. It is interesting to note that Gunbuster was never meant to be a toy. While most robots in anime are designed with the toy in mind, Anno wanted Gunbuster to be a mix of Getter Robo, Combattler V and Ideon. The Robot was designed with the visual impact in mind, and the transformation became an afterthought. For a design that was never meant to be a toy, it’s very cool. I got my Gunbuster from betatoys.com
Gunbuster is made out of 2 spaceships – Buster Machine 1 and Buster Machine 2.
Buster Machine 1 forms the upper half of Gunbuster. The ship comes partially assembled, so the first time out of the box you have to attach a few parts. The rear fins, side shields and bottom plate all need to be attached to be completed. In ship mode, it is what it is, there are no gimmicks or features. My only complaint with the Buster Machine 1 is that the bottom panel does not like to stay on.
Buster Machine 2 forms the lower half of gunbuster. This too needs some assembly out of the box to be complete. The bottom panel on this machine has a long metal landing gear that can be retracted. Unlike Buster Machine 1, this part has no problem staying attached.
Transforming Gunbuster seems daunting at first. Looking at the directions can be intimidating, but it is really not that bad. Just be patient and follow the instructions carefully. I am not going to cover each step here, for that you should watch the video review. Instead, I will mention a few key points:
- Gunbuster is not a perfect transformation. Parts have to be removed off of each Buster Machine to achieve the final robot.
- The Panels on the arms and legs of Gunbuster are designed to pop off, so don’t panic if one comes off during transformation.
- The fists are tricky. To swap fists, hold the back of the elbow and pull the fist off. Do not pull on the grey ring. To put the new fist on, open the arm panels, push the arm shaft in, and then apply the fist.
The completed Gunbuster totally rocks. It’s about 12” tall, heavy and surprisingly sturdy. There is a large amount of metal in all of the right places. For a robot that’s this intricate, it has a lot of articulation and gimmicks. Most of the joints are detented and sturdy.
The Buster Shield is a large fabric cape that stores in the right shoulder of Gunbuster. A pane lifts up to reveal the folder up shield. It is anchored in place by a removable plastic tab. On all the images of Gunbuster that I have seen, the inside of this cape is red, but here it is all black.
The left shoulder features a hidden compartment that holds small versions of the Buster Home Run and the Buster Tomahawk. The small Buster Home Run has a collapsible handle that enables it to fin into the compartment.
The Buster Home Run is a giant baseball bat. While not seen in the anime, it was mentioned in the radio drama.
The chest plate is removable to reveal the metal inner mechanisms of Gunbuster. There is a wired mechanical assembly that can attach to the ribs and held in the hand. This is meant to replicate a scene in Gunbuster when Noriko rips out the power generator core out of Gunbusters’ chest.
The panels of each arm open to reveal parts for the buster collider. Each panel has a set of silver plastic prongs that can be lifted out. These prongs need to be securely attached to the panels for the panels to close properly.
The Buster Missile Might is a series of missile launchers that actually fit around the right hand of Gunbuster. You have to open the panels on the arm and remove the silver parts to apply this weapon, and even then I could not get the Buster missile Might to stay on properly.
The Buster Tomahawk is actually made of three different pieces. The two tomahawks are very similar to the ones used by Getter Robo. The two tomahawks can be combined by using a third metal connector piece to make one large double sided tomahawk.
The final gimmick is the formation of the Buster Collider. This is Gunbuster’s ultimate weapon. Both the arm and leg panels open up to reveal the silver weapons. You need to use a special set of fists to make this pose anime accurate.
There are a series of different hands that can be attached to Gunbuster, and each has a different purpose:
- Articulated hands – these hands have individually articulated fingers and are used to grab the buster Tomahawk or Buster Home Run.
- Open hands – These hands are used when using the Buster Collider weapon
- Flat hands – these hands are when you want to cross Gunbuster’s arms, as seen in the series.
- Closed hands – These are your standard fists.
- Buster Missile Hands – these hands have missiles in each fingertip. The missiles slide in and out by moving a lever on the side.
- Landing Pad Hand – This hand has paint detail reminiscent of a landing pad, and a small indent in which you can place the small RX-7 figure.
The stand is very cool and can accommodate gunbuster in either mode. The base lifts off and each and every spare part can be stored inside of it. The fists can be stored in the back of the tower. The tower features articulated scaffolding that can be moved out in front of Gunbuster.
One interesting thing about the base is the nameplate and the odd spelling of chogokin. While it is spelled “Chogokin” on the package, on the nameplate it is spelled “Chougoukin”
The stand can also support Gunbuster up in the air for a flying kick mode.
Despite a few minor flaws, the Gunbuster is a really impressive toy and well worth the money. It is solid, large and most of all, fun.
Gunbuster would make a great addition to your Soul of Chogokin collection. He is available at betatoys.com
|Posted 7 February, 2007 - 15:09 by JoshB