Review by AJProDie-Cast
Everyone constantly designs and evolves their collections, mine follows many eclectic dynamics. One aspect of my collection is that the object needs to elicit nostalgia towards a youthful passion, be a die cast "chogokin" or adult "toy" collectible, and not be a static and/or resin statue. Also, I try to refrain from a toy designed solely for children (my own bias nothing wrong with the converse). Thereby, while Star Wars universe was a repository of many positive childhood memories, it was sadly not represented in my collection.
Imagine my shock and (reserved) joy when I happen to be perusing eBay and Amazon and I came across a large, intricate, and die cast collectible seemingly designed to my criteria.
That object was Darth Vader's Tie-Fighter, the size of a basketball, all die cast, and a not static/resin statue...all for a shocking 100 USD including shipping. By the way, to this day I can find no reason for the cheap price, the piece's quality is equivalent to my Marmit Andromeda and Fewture Mazinger (maybe someone on this site can educate me). The purchase of that collectible sent me into a research of the company and all its present and past products. Code 3 was a manufacturer of high end die cast representations of everything from Slave-I to Apollo landers and now mainly focuses on fire & rescue vehicles. In 2003, Code 3 produced a line of collectible Star Wars vehicles and 3-D posters. The Code 3 produced Star Wars vehicles were: X-wing, Millennium Falcon, Slave-One, Vader's Tie-Fighter, AT-ST Walker, and Republic Gunship (plus multiple variants and signed editions/additions). They were listed at worth $450+ but sold for around 250 USD ( if a member). Of course, I was the proverbial "day late and a dollar short", if you goto Code 3 website per its outdated Star Wars catalog URL, only thing not "sold out" are fire rescue vehicles and Vader's tie fighter. Of course, the vehicles I missed out on, came with tons of cool accessories, wooden box trays for extra parts, acrylic display cases, black glass platform, signed editions, etc...that the two I possess do not have.
This tedious panache of finding something too late...makes me flashback to being a young kid watching the MR. Big toy store ad on channel 56 that listed and showed many toys I loved and coveted. Finally, after I drove my poor parents crazy to take me on the long trek, the items I wanted from the ad were long sold out. (my biggest annoyance back then was the Popy DX Yamato in the ad -feel free to add your missed Mr. B toy in the comment section).
The tie fighter review will occur in the future, this review covers the only other one I could find for below its original price and/or in new condition...the republic gunship.
Code 3 creates high-end collectibles and it is apparent even before examining the gunship. From the shipping box to the Styrofoam trays, Code 3 vehicles are packed in large (the Tab is for context, not "they still make that" shock), well designed, and intricate packaging.
In addition to the gunship, wand, cockpit, and clone trooper plate, the model comes with a display platform, stand, commemorative license and cloth patch.
A flaw with this setup, that most Code 3 platforms do not share (most are black glass), is the Gunship's base is covered in the same black felt as the logically covered stand(as is the tie fighter)...which collects lint and easily looks weird/off. Thankfully, the platform does have a nice pewter plate like all of the others.
The ship itself is beautiful, the first thing that must be stated, for me anyway, is the collectible is 80% die cast, HEAVY, and finely crafted.
You may know all about Code 3, but I did not and all I can say is that I am extremely impressed. It has a dedication to detail, movement, and die cast that too often Bandai, Fewture, Marmit, CM's, etc... wane or abandon on many of their items.
Notice: the rear platform with speeder bikes,
a back turret that is fully movable,
side panels that slide back and out,
and two amazingly flexible gunner pods (with trooper inside).
Even the removable (metal!!!) plate with Yoda and clone troopers fits well inside gunship
and can be placed outside (has felt bottom).
You may have noticed in the company picture that all the clone troopers in their Phase-One armor are basic white, of course the super geek in me had to customize mine. I have colored two troopers, one in weathered green (see pic in link to judge) to equal Yoda's right hand man Commander Gree (well...loyal partner...before he was beheaded after following order 66)
and red to equal a field commander on the flip side (they colored the pilots, so i figured it was necessary).
All Star Wars vehicles come with nice felt covered metal display stands that have paperweight heft and size. They hold the vehicles well (...both of mine function great) and the only issue I have, is that Code 3 likes weird angles that you probably thought was my camera work.
However, if you hate the weird angle, the vehicle can rest flat on the platform (again both of my vehicles do...).
In my opinion, this craft is the weakest of the bunch (hate the prequels and grass is always greener???) and even it is an impressive and appreciated the addition to my collection. The cockpit is removable (it is a disappointing plastic), the doors slide out and back, the gun pods and turret guns swivel, the wing lift pods move, and details are everywhere. Inside the cockpit, inside the cabin, and even the missile racks below each wing, no detail is left out(Bravo!!!). The whole piece has battle scaring and paint detailing that belay its price and makes it seem ready to soar through a Lucasfilm landscape.
These renderings are out of production and I gather...did not "take off"; because Code 3 has shifted its focus, I see little discussion of them around the chogokin community, and on eBay you can get the two I got for less than their original 250 USD price tag.
No surprise to anyone who ever read any of my reviews, I overpaid for the clone trooper gunship. I best offered a seller into 146 USD including shipping (was proud of myself at the time...) and like too often in my collecting, saw three go for 117-120 USD including shipping later that week...-sigh-...story of my life. However, while it really bugs me to pay more than I had to, the object is definitely worth it.
The quality is above most of my Fewture robots and on par with my Marmit Andromeda that cost almost three times what this one did. Finally, run, don't walk out and buy Darth Vader's tie fighter if you need a Star Wars collectible...no idea why you can get a 12" die cast collectible with stand and platform for around 90 USD including shipping ( I felt like I won the lottery or something when I received my 20 pound box the size of a 20 inch TV...and, of course, I paid 104 USD and have seen on eBay go for 89 USD inc. shipping...-sigh- you see the pattern of my life).
Overall, Code 3, I hardly knew you. I love the two chogokin styled vehicles I have and lament the ones I missed out on getting in new condition (whenever I buy used, I always have issues with flaws from how they were displayed/taken care of) and/or reasonably priced(Especially Slave-I).
|Posted 15 July, 2009 - 21:50 by AJProDie-Cast|
Comments1 comment posted
Cool. I had not heard of these toys either until you posted this. It does seem strange that they wouldn't have been more popular.
And fwiw, my parents never even took me to Mr. Big's. So my only memories are of the commercial. :(
"This must be settled the way nature intended....with a vicious, bloody fight!"
Principal, Flatpoint High