Monday, 2 November 2015
Chogokin Dancouga GX13
I’ve had this guy sitting n my cupboard for a rather long while. A cool looking robot, he was highly recommended by a friend of mine, but as he is so large, I just never really got around to messing about with him. A shame really, so with a blank weekend plan o my plate, I thought to myself, time to crack the bugger open. Here we go!
The Sould of Chogokin line has produced some amazing toys, heavy (expensive) and very cool. In fact quite a few of my favourite toys come from this line. Battle Fever Robo, Tetsujin28 and (in my opinion) the best Buzz Lightyear figure available. However, I was very curious to see how this guy would hold up especially since he is #13 (ie older than my other SGCs) in the Chogokin line and on top of that, a combining robot.
OKay, I don’t quite see him as a combiner robot per se… He only really dons a hat and some shoes, a lot like Victory Sabre combines with Victory Leo. Dancouga is made of 4 robots, two that are pretty much the same and they become the feet, a bird who becomes the head and an elephant who makes the main body.
Presentation wise it’s pretty good, with a nice booklet with some interviews with some guys and a bit of technical information about the “real” robot.
And the other booklet is for the transformation. Sadly though the images are pretty crap.
So, first up, the bird.
I’m impressed at the size and detail on the bird. This guy changes into Dancouga’s head and like a Transformers Headmaster has the big robot face on the back, but the little robot manages to hide it pretty well. It has a surprising amount of details and even comes with a tiny little rifle. On top of that, the articulation is pretty good and the bird, looks um, bird like.
Now onto the next dudes. Which will be the almost identical foot-guys. The Land Liger and Land Cougar. The Liger is the one with the yellow mane type thing. I must admit, I’m not entirely convinced they are animal forms to be honest. They do have opening jaws though, which is a nice touch considering how small their heads are. I do really like the cannons mounted on their backs. Very cool looking as they rotate and the Liger has independent barrels. Just like Yamato!!
Articulation on these modes is pretty limited. Just forward/backwards movement on the legs and the head can jiggle a bit, mainly from transforming.
Most of the figures have three modes (except the bird) Liger and cougar have their animal, vehicle and robot (huma-roid) modes. The vehicle mode is just the animal with a few changes to hide the head crouched down.
The wheels are sculpted and do not roll. The cougar looks the same as this, just with the different gun and nose. These modes don’t look too bad, but they are just kind of derpy looking “space vehicles.”
So from derpy looking space vehicle, they change into derpy looking robots. Like the animals the articulation is very limited and their hands are just pathetic little things. Despite them coming with nice looking weapons, the robots are incapable of holding them with any conviction….
Finally onto the main piece. Big Moth. A badly translated way of saying Big Moss “Big Mammoth.” Still it manages to provide me with minor amusement. This guy becomes a robot elephant, a tank thing and the main body of Dancouga. It’s the most impressive robot out of the individuals and by far the heaviest. In fact I would say this guy would be one of the heaviest figures I have!
Robot mode articulation is a bit limited and I found it pretty much impossible to make him hold his gun and point it at anyone. Until I found he had a peg place to peg the gun into. The gun is pretty cool with multiple ways of using it. Looking at him, he’s not terribly impressive. I think it’s because the legs and arms are a bit stumpy. His gun is bloody cool though. Shame he can’t really hold it all that well, due to his articulated fingers and lack of gun tabs for fingers like many toys use to cheat the old holding of the gun.
I do like that the weapons on his back can be deployed and it looks pretty cool with the BFG over his head and the little missile pod things under his arms. His big rifle can also be wielded in a nice variety of ways. I suspect that its actually meant to do this next bit with the other robots’ weapons all joined together, but… Pfft. Lets look at it like this!
Oh, might just be mine, but I found the toes a bit loose, so no leaning forward for this big heavy dude. I guess he has to just stand there….
The head sculpt is nice enough. It has a weird bit where part of the head slides into the head and then the WHOLE head slides down for combining. Seems excessively complex and considering how weak the connection of the bird head is to the neck, just seems a bit of a waste of engineering. Plus there is no neck movement whatsoever.
One interesting detail, while land Cougar and land Liger didn’t get spinny wheels, Big Moss actually got proper working tank treads! I kid you not! 4 of the bloody things too!
Big Moss stands about the same height as a 2015 Voyager sized Transformer. Here’s a picture of him standing next to his fellow Elephant chested mate.
Big Moss also has a “Vehicle” mode and an animal mode. He forms a kind of tanks thing and an elephant. Erm, Mammoth.
Instructions are crap.
This is the mammoth mode. Its tall and lanky and not that impressive. Found it a bit fiddly and annoying. I also forgot to fold out the rear feet. Again, I do like the guns.
Now for the tank mode.
Hrm, fiddle fiddle fiddle. Nothing seems to clip in all that well…
Whys this so fiddly? Its just the elephant crouching down, hardly a complex process. Oh, but it is ludicrously complex…..
Ah Shit. so now with all that BS and pissing about his hips have broken. Should just clip in, they came off easily enough. Oh but they don’t. Let’s have a look shall we?
Well….. Shit. Isn’t that a wonderful design choice? In a fantastically heavy tough action figure, why don’t we make sure his RATCHETED hips which will end up holding up a HUGE robot are made of translucent red plastic….. Bloody hell Bandai, what the hell were you thinking? Why was this a good idea? It’s not even like you SEE these parts when to robot is normally together.
Translucent plastic is notorious for becoming weak and crumbly over time and I worry about Transformers that have it near joints. To see this here has made me rather worried about the other Sould of Chogokin figures I have…..
So end result is the tank mode looks like this…
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is indeed a photo of the photo in the instructions. Tanks mode looks like arse. Easy pass and trying to make it killed my toyyyyy!
Currently we can say there has been a lot of whingeing about this toy so far. this is because despite the huge price on this guy, it has been pretty disappointing. So lets make these buggers form Dancouga shall we? He isn’t really a combiner as such. Essentially he puts on some shoes and a hat. So let’s do that. Can’t get any worse can it? Actually combiners can….
Bam bam baaaa~~~~~~m. There he is in most of his glory. Luckily the forming is pretty easy. The liger and cougar are just one flip away from their vehicle modes, Big Moss is a head press away and the bird guy is a fiddley mess about.
Luckily the weapons can still be over head and under-arm deployed.
While it looks cool, the head connection is a piece of crap. You kind of pull the arms off the bird robot and jam this neck piece into the folded up robot, it appears to be held in by friction only. The the neck piece plugs into the hair piece of Big Moss’ head. It’s soooooo shonky…. Every time I turned the head his head came off.
He does come with a rather nice and shiny sword that I REALLY like the design of!
Once again, I really love the design of the sword. The heavier end of the blade, the chromes, the awesome hilt. It’s just glorious.
SO far the best things about this toy have been the weapons
Dancouga like this isn’t so impressive, so luckily this guy has a wing/jet backpack to wear. Let’s see how that is, coz so far I’m pretty unimpressed….
It’s pretty big!!
You have to flip a couple of pieces around and then some hard plastic clips on to the shoulders of Dancouga. The end result is….
Now we’re talking! I find it amazing that the addition of the jetpack accessory turns a rather meh looking dude into an impressive BEAST.
After you plug him into the jetpack and add on the barrel extensions, Dancouga finally has some stage presence. Now I see why people like this toy. The wings just manage to add that extra ‘something’ to make him look like a damn fine robot.
Once combined, he definitely becomes a decent shelf piece. I still wouldn’t play with it because of those bloody hip joints and weight but he has some possibility. The arms have many joints and he is able to hold the sword two handed, but I found arranging them incredibly fiddley. The yellow chest pieces, although on hinges just always got in the way.
Now we’re talking.
The head sculpt for Dancouga looks pretty awesome too. You can see the animal motif (well, excluding the liger/cougar parts) rather well in the elephant chest and eagle head.
There are a couple of turrets for the red piece on his chest, but to be honest by the time I had gotten this far with the guy, I really couldn’t be bothered putting them on him.
Articulation is ok, but limited between the crappy ratchets on the hips and the weight of the robot. I just settled for him standing around looking tough. So most of my pics are him standing up. Really aside from the head there are no new details that crop up either.
You can combine the guns of the smaller guys with Big Moss. I couldn’t get it to sit together very well and you need an extra piece to go on the end of the gun. Very parts forming.
Not quite game enough to make Dancouga hold it. I’d have to plug it into the chest and mess about with it waaaaaaaay too much.
In the end, Soul of Chogokin Dancouga ends up being a whole, who is greater than the sum of his parts. The individual robots are deeply flawed and I found them rather uninteresting as you probably guessed from this review. That however is made up for by the very nice form of Dancouga when they all join together. It definitely has a real ‘something’ when put together (with the wing/jet pack) that makes him an impressive fellow. That ends up making it hard to say as to whether or not I would recommend this guy.
If you get him, jam him into Dancouga mode and leave him like that. If you do that though, you might as well get your hands on a really nice Dancouga figure that doesn’t separate. If I hadn’t had the issues of the broken hips and the discovery of the crappy translucent plastic, I’d be more willing to give this guy a thumbs up. The combined mode is truly very sexy.
However the weapons and combined version are the only sexy things in this package. The fact that he can’t hold the weapons very well is a bummer. The weight negates much of his articulation and (as I said before) the component robot parts are really naff. I kind of regret getting this guy, although it did drop a little when I combined him.
If I only had a shelf big enough to leave him there as I felt bummed after disassembling him and putting him back in the box again.