King Dam 3 in 1
Review by chachipower
King Dam! Best excuse to get away with saying "Dam" as a kid. It even sounds bad. "KING DAM THAT HURT!" Don't worry folks, there's more where that came from but were not here for my jokes (although I've added some humor here for fun), we're here to read about robots and what I have here is a pretty weird but cool one. Some of you may already know him as the Diaclone Dia Battles or Diatron which were made available by Takara long ago. But we all know there was always a cheaper version made for kids who rocked "Beeboks" and "Fumas" in school, there was KING DAM 3 in ONE! You could find this guy in those little chinese shops that sold Lionbots, Godbots, Smegmatrons and many other blatant rip offs of the real thing. Some were cheap knockoffs, but for the most part, in the 80's, Taiwan knock offs were cool and almost identical to the real thing.
I got this King Dam from a heavy chain smoker. I stuck it in a bag with a bar of soap for a week so that I can do this review without getting cancer. Box looks pretty much the same as the Dia Battles and Diatron box, except this one is in bad english. Notice in this version, there are only 2 pilots instead of three. There is no year of manufacture stated, but it's early 80's.
The back has very simple instructions and illustrations of included parts and "sealing" placement. Apparently the stickers came unapplied, although I cant confirm this. In my experience some toys showed sticker placement even though they were factory applied. Remember, "NEVER AIM ANYBODY"
Once the box is removed, we find that the styrofoam is also laid out very much like the original version except that the styro pilot section is molded only for 2 pilots. On the top where there is a big slot is where the instructions would be. I am not sure if the knockoff came with a booklet, but I would LOVE to read it if it exists. I'm probably missing some missiles here. It is evident that like most kids, the previous owner loved to stab the styro with toy weapons and shoot it with missles. I mean, who hasn't stabbed long chromed plastic swords into their future valuable Godaikin/Popy boxes as a kid?
First up is King Dam 01. On its own it's a smallish piece but pretty hefty since it has a good amount of diecast. The red parts and the side chrome cannons are plastic, but the main body of the ship is diecast. The metal is nice, clean, polished, unpainted metal...smooth to the touch. Very nice for a knockoff. These cannons have very good tension that has stood the test of time. They shoot very far and strong! Stickers are metallic foil and the rest are paper.
Next in line is King Dam 02. Again, the red and chrome pieces are plastic. The metallic blue part is solid metal. Very vintage coloring. Gotta love it. Stickers are metallic foil and the rest are paper. The cannons on this figure double as the forearms for King Dam. However in this mode they shoot missiles. The same great spring tension is built into these puppies. Thumbs down on the bulbous missile noses. Very undangerous unless you swallow one- Not recommended.
Lastly, you guessed it- King Dam 03! This is the one I'd like to rip around in if I was a Diaclone pilot. Its got a very 70's carnival ride feel to it, like those rides your mom used to sit you in where the only interaction between you and the mechanical-fiberglass-sparkle painted spaceship was a buzzer button that worked for everyone except you and a oddly shaped steering wheel that just spun around forever and made you feel like an absolute idiot at age 5. What you see in metallic blue is diecast, the rest is plastic. Stickers here are also metallic foil and paper. Same awesome firing mechanism is found here.
King Dam is his name for the Taiwan release, but they apparently did not bother to leave off the real name of the robot when they printed the stickers. Each one says "diabattles-0X"
Almost forgot about the teeny little pilots. Yes, they are teeny as we all know, but they have still managed to include nice clean diecast on these guys. These are rough little sculpts but I prefer this over clean molded plastic pieces. So why is there only 2 pilots instead of 3? Only Taiwan knows the answer to this mystery.
The pilots simply squeeze into any of the ships like shown below with no apparent control over their vehicles... sorta like those carnival rides I talked about earlier.
Combination of the 3 vehicles into one is pretty straightforward. King Dam 01's main metal section pushes into the red section revealing King Dam's head. King Dam 02's wings get spread apart and cockpit spins around to the back. King Dam 03's little doors and fins fold in, long center red piece folds out to make room and "boosters" get angled to form feet.
Then you take the three sections and just fit them together to form this- a very oddly proportioned robot that you really want to say "cool" to but somehow makes you say "Meh". He is 5.6" of pure awkwardness. Imagine for a second that you are wearing pants that are tight around your thighs, but loose at the ankles and waist. Also, a shirt that has a very loose collar and chest area,puffy shoulders, tight around your waist and arms with sleeves that only just reach past your elbows because somehow you have gorilla arms. This is how I imagine King Dam feels in this mode. He looks awkward in his own body. Yet somehow he looks quite happy.
Side view is nothing to write home about, but I want you guys to soak in all the angles.
From the back you can see one of the crudely placed King Dam stickers on his leg. Factory placed? I don't know for sure. You will see King Dam 03's wheels on the backside of the legs and wings. These are diecast wheels. Nice.
By now, some of you smarter more attentive types may have noticed something a bit "off". That would be because he came with two right fists! This is not new to "bootlegdom" but I am the lucky owner of an awkward robot with 2 right fists. I read this makes him ultra rare and valuable. Or not. However unofficial this figure is, he seems to have been built to high standards (ignoring the fist thing). He's got great diecast, precise plastic molding, clean paint apps that has not chipped off and get this, they even bothered to make the fists in two pieces. This is not lazy bootlegging.
I don't know how far off from the original Dia Battles this King Dam is since I don't own an original, but from what I've seen its pretty damn close. This may be one of those cases where these Taiwan factories end up with the original Japanese molds and they make them to potentially the same quality standards of the originals. Like what allegedly happened to some of the Clover molds which resulted in Taiwan Daitarns and Dunbine figures among others. Or they are just real good at copying. I have no reason to believe they cut corners in the materials they used. The plastics feel real strong and durable. I don't know what the market price is for King Dam, but both specimens I have were bought for an average of $40 each. For those still contemplating on going on the hunt for a MIB Smegmatron I mentioned in the beginning, relax, he doesn't exist! If he did, why would you want it? What would he transform into?
|Posted 9 April, 2010 - 21:01 by chachipower|