Review by JoshB
Muteki Shogun is the main combined robot from the super sentai series, Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, which aired in Japan in 1994. In 1995 it would become the basis of the third season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
I've always loved this design, having had the original Japanese DX toy, as well as the Pla-DX. Life circumstances meant I had to sell them off, so I jumped at the opportunity to get a modern version of the design. I was hoping we would see a Soul of Chogkin release for this guy, but a Super Mini-Pla is a good substitute.
The Super Mini-Pla line consists of model kits that you assemble. Technically they are "candy toys", because a piece of Ramune hard candy comes with each part of the kit. I'm sure at one point the toys were just premiums to the candy treat, much like we got prizes in Cracker Jacks, but over time, the toys took the spotlight, and now the inclusion of the candy is just there to allow it to be sold in other markets, under a different license category. Either way, it's very cool.
The outer box is monochrome, because really it's meant to be ripped open and thrown away, and these individual candy toys would have been sold on a shelf. Back in the day, you would have to hunt for each individual kit to make the whole set. Nowadays, you can just order the box outright. Inside, the boxes are identical to each other, save for a little number at the bottom of the front denoting which kit is inside.
I am unsure if this packaging will stay intact through the US release, but likely not.
These inner boxes mimmick the box for the old DX box set, right down to the fake handle on the side. I love this attention to detail.
Inside each box is one long plastic bag, set into segments for each color sprue, with the candy and the instructions separate. Each kit has about 5-6 sprues, and a sticker sheet.
Construction is simple, and you don't appreciate the engineering that goes into these until you have to build them. They are very easy to build, and the end result feels like a finished toy. It's quite remarkable.
Lets look at the kits in order, and then the combined form.
Red Saruder resembles a monkey, and is armed with the Saruder Slicer weapon. The head for Muteki shogun is stored in its back, like the original toy. Stickers on the arm are kind of a pain, due to the area you apply them to being different surface depths. You have to basically emboss the sticker to the surface to make them look right. This applies to each of the characters, so it can consume a lot of time.
White Kark resembles a Crane, and is armed with the Kark Beaks weapons. The weapons can be attached to the hand two ways, and as a bonus, you can also attach them to the connector on the back, although this is not show-accurate.
Blue Logan resembles a Wolf, and is armed with the Logan Shaft. Transformation is identical to White Kark. With all of these kits, the stickers are time consuming, but some of it is unneccessary. For ecample, each kit has eye stickers, but the eyes are already printed on the parts. Feel free to trim off un-needed bits before applying.
Yellow Kumard resembles a Bear, and is armed with the Kumard Claw. The claw has a molded on hand, so you have to remove the existing hand to use the accessory. Also, it's a bit of a bummer that I have to remove the head to transform this into a leg. All the engineering that went into this, and we could not figure out how to store the head? Gammer has the same issue.
Black Gammer resembles a Toad, and is armed with Gammer Bow. Gammer comes with an extra bow-holding hand.
All of the above combine to form Muteki Shogun.
It's nearly a perfect transformation. The only parts left out are the heads of Kuma and Gammer. I feel that they could have engineered a way to keep the heads intact, but stowed away.
Transformation takes a lot of cues from the classic toy, but it's been modified to allow for a greater range of motion. The original toy was chunky and glorious, but it was also kind of a brick.
Included with the set is a Flaming Shogun Sword weapon. It's got vac-metal gold chrome, which is great. I wish more of the gold parts had the vac-metal treatment.
Bandai has been also making unique combined weapon forms to have a use for the individual robots weapons. Here you have a combined shield and staff.
I've added a Tamashii Stand here to aid in some of the more dynamic displays. It's not included in the set.
Size wise, it fits right in with the Super Robot Chogokin line.
I am really loving the Super Mini-Pla line. It's a lot of fun to build the things, and they are much cheaper than a die-cast completed rendition would be. Plus, a die-cast version at this size would be non-transforming. Again, I can nitpick at a few issues, like the leftover heads and not having more vac-metal parts, but overall it's a great piece.
|Posted 30 November, 2018 - 13:20 by JoshB|