Linggo, Hulyo 26, 2009

Voltes V GT & Gashapon: Vintage reissues

To some people, owning the “original” is the only thing that will suffice. As someone who appreciates “vintage”, I can fully understand this point of view. I can’t think of a single toy collector who wouldn’t absolutely adore playing with/displaying a diecast 1977 Voltes V DX or ST. Sure, a plastic “reissue” isn’t the “real” thing, but in many cases, it does have that cool vintage look and nostalgic vibe. With toy reissues being a passion of mine, I now give you Voltes V GT-10.

Made by Bandai-Japan in 2003 as part of its “The Chogokin” line, the GT-10 is a small reissue of the 6-inch Voltes V ST. This 4-inch plus diecast replica is highly accurate--from the leg articulation, spring-loaded fists, and laser sword down to the red/blue/yellow/chrome/white colors, tummy sticker, and firing head! Transforming the GT-10 from robot to “Voltank” mode is also the same with the ST: you flip the treads around and bend the feet at the ankles. The push-button firing action mimics the original as well, giving you the chance to experience firsthand the thrill of the ST in a lightweight and pocket-size mold.

Sometimes, replica toys are presented in boxes that emulate the original toy’s packaging--completing the illusion. Such is the case of the Voltes V Capsule Popinika which was also released in 2003 by Bandai as small plastic gashapons (capsule toys in Japanese vending machines) inside boxes no more than 2 inches in any dimension. Taking off on Popy’s Voltes V DX and modeled after its PB line, the five carbon-copy gashapons were labeled CPA-14 Volt Crewzer, CPA-15 Volt Bomber, CPA-16 Volt Panzer, CPA-23 Volt Frigate, and CPA-24 Volt Lander. In like manner, the vehicles came out in a mini Volt-In Box packaging (anyone got a pic of this?). As with my take on the DX, here’s a rundown of each Volt machine with borrowed pics and toy reviews from Ben of CollectionDX.

Forming the head of Voltes V is the red Volt Crewzer. With crisp details behind the cockpit just like in the DX, its clear yellow canopy opens upward to reveal a visible pilot. The rear landing gears have no hinge mechanism and are made of two separate pieces. So, to deploy them, the pieces have to be removed and re-pegged into small holes. With the gears being incredibly thin, they look fragile at times and bend while being mounted. To transform to combination mode, the entire jet folds in the middle on two hinges, revealing the face of Voltes V.

Forming the arms and hands, we have the Volt Bomber. Though featuring good detail and mold, the fit around the yellow elbow joints is a little off. The one-piece red tailfin assembly slips over what becomes the neck of Voltes V, and is warped because of the thin material. The blue fists are detachable and all the landing gears are molded--not functional as in the Crewzer due to their small size. Switching to combination mode involves removing the tail piece, adding the fists (which fit nice and snug), and spreading out the articulated shoulder bars.

Forming Voltes V’s torso is the bulkiest vehicle of them all--the Volt Panzer. It features fixed black tank treads and a two-barreled silver gun mounted to a bar on top of the body--all removable to allow for transformation. The distinctive red digger claws are swappable pairs of “open” and “closed” pieces--lacking good slots to really peg their arms into. As the GT is to the ST, the Panzer features the detailed Japanese cartoon logo printed on its belly like in the DX. In combination mode, the tread arms are swung around behind the body, the closed claws are stowed, and the red cockpit piece is pried upwards.

Forming the legs is the Volt Frigate, featuring the most detachable parts. It has pairs of swappable antenna bases--“raised” and “lowered”--and highly detailed yellow wings with pegs for their “open” and “folded” positions. Like the Bomber, the Frigate is solid with molded landing gears. Changing to combination mode involves placing the wings in their folded position, installing the lowered antenna bases, and removing the silver antennas.

Finally, forming the feet of Voltes V is the Volt Lander. Despite its diminutive size, its front black panels actually open to reveal pairs of hidden silver cannons! No drills though, but the detail is just as great, especially on the fixed wheels. The only problem with the Lander is that the two halves do not lock together tightly. During combination mode, the top parts of each half is replaced with the cockpits folded down, and the little silver antennas removed.

Now for the main attraction, leeet’s vooolt iiin! Forming Voltes V is relatively easy, starting at the feet, the big square pegs at the ankles of the Frigate mount to the grooves on top of the Lander cockpits. The Frigate cockpit then slides into the bottom of the Panzer firmly after folding up the Panzer cockpit. Next, the Bomber cockpit slides into the groove at the top of the Panzer, and finally the Crewzer mounts on the neck slot of the Bomber. Created in the image and likeness of the colossal DX Godaikin, this 4-inch Voltes V looks solid, well-proportioned and detailed--down to the tiny Popy copyright inscriptions and screws on the bottom of each vehicle!

Missing from its arsenal are the DX ultramagnetic top and chain knuckle, but the laser sword will do just fine. True to the DX tradition, three blade segments (that come with three of the five vehicle boxes) form the silver sword and handle, with the red “M”-shaped emblem on the Panzer’s chest forming the hilt. Thanks to the hinge mechanism of the Bomber, the arms have a little lateral motion, allowing Voltes V to look surprisingly dynamic with its sword. In fact, it is more poseable than the DX, with articulation at the shoulders, double-jointed elbows, and rotating wrists!

As for the Voltank mode, which is basically Voltes V lying face down, the combined figure can almost transform into it, had it not been for the missing ankle joints or pegs to really do it. However, by un-pegging the feet from the ankles and resting the legs on top of the feet, it looks like you have achieved Voltank--even though the feet are loose and doesn’t fit. At any rate, this once cheap plastic gashapon set and the diecast GT now command prices starting at P2,000 ($40) each and up.

Next: Voltes V GX: Soul of Chogokin