Monday, January 25, 2010

CM's Star Gaogaigar

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So, this is Star Gaogaigar from the King of Braves Gaogaigar cartoon, one of the infamous Brave series of cartoons. Basically, the Brave series was a handful of cartoons with toylines supported by Takara after the original Transformers line had stopped being profitable. Each series was unrelated to the last, and was heavily aimed towards selling toys, featuring a lot of combining figures, especially centered around a central hero character, which would combine with just about everything else under the sun for various upgrades. A lot of Transformers fans consider the toys to these cartoons as the spiritual successors of the original Transformers line.


I've never watched the cartoon, so instead, here's the opening:







Now that that's out of the way, look at that box! It's huge! Height and width, it's about on par with the larger Soul of Chogokin boxes, but the thing that's really odd about it, is that it's just as deep as it is tall, if you look at it from the side, you see a near perfect square.

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Upon opening the box, you see why, there are three separate styrofoam trays in there, and not one that's just a thin "accessories only" tray.



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First up, here's the main piece of the set, the lion mech, Galeon:

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It's a nice sturdy figure, with lights of metal content, and a lot of attention to detail, I especially like the fact that the roof of it's mouth is molded to look like the ridges in the roof of a mouth.

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It does have an odd stubby little tale, and like all cat transformers, the back legs don't really look right.

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The transformation to humanoid robot is pretty straight forward, with no real surprises. Here his proportions seem really off, with a tiny head, skinny arms, and great huge thunder thighs!

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He's got a fair amount of articulation, and an alternate set of hands, although I would recommend never changing them out. The fit is incredibly snug, and the posts that they need to fit onto swivels, making it a real pain to get them on.


Up next is the Stealth Gao, which is essentially a stealth bomber with ridiculous turbine engines hanging from the wings, as well as a few bits of shiny chrome kibble. Of note is that the Stealth Gao is made entirely of plastic.

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It's possible to attach the Stealth Gao to Galeon's back by folding down the points on top of his shoulders, and inserting them into slots on the Stealth.

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It looks decent, but the slightest nudge can knock it loose.


Next component is the Drill Gao. Someone is really going to have to sit down and explain the reason behind including a drill tank in every giant combiner to me some day. It seems to be a fairly limited use component, typically, of course in the hodgepodge of items that make up Gaogaigar, it seems like an almost obvious addition.

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The Drill has a little metal content in it, mostly in the pieces that become the feet of the combined bot, and it also has functioning rubber treads.

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Although when I decided to test them by pushing it across the table making the noises I imagine a drill tank makes, they seemed pretty stiff, and unwilling to actually roll.


The Drill can be split in half, with one side going on each of Galeon's arms, for his side job of "Serious Dentistry"


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How do those little arms lift those things?


You can combine both the Drill and Stealth upgrades for the ultimate weapon against the invading cavity monsters from space!


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The last element, for a dose of pure WTFery, is Line Gao the bullet train:

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Now, I get that bullet trains are big in Japan, they're everywhere, like busses in the US, but it definitely seems out of place amongst the robot lion, drill tank, and steath friggin' bomber. The Liner does not have any sort of upgrade mode that connects it to Galeon on it's own. Which really seems like a missed opportunity to give him a huge oversized staff or whip.


Here's a group shot of all the vehicles:

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And now we move on to the main event, the actual forming of Gaogaigar, the way the train is used in the combination really redeems it in my eyes, you fold Galeon's arms behind his back, which opens tunnel through his torso that you cram an entire train into!

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And then you fold down his arms out of the train ends.

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The drill tank becomes the legs in a fairly obvious way, and here we see the reason for the ugly square parts of Galeon's legs, they set flush inside the lip of the drill tanks to hold on securely.

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Getting the Stealth into proper combined mode takes some part swapping, there's a panel that comes off the bottom, under which you find a peg that you can attach Gaogaigar's head to.

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Then there are clips that fold out and snap around the inside of Galeon's arm joints, which are now on his back.

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The chrome bits swing around under the arms and clip in, to form an extended lion's mane.

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Lastly the arm stubs get stuck into the back of the turbine engines, which detach from the bomber, and hands pop out of them.

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The basic hands are pretty awesome, I don't know that I've ever seen a bot that had every joint articulated to this degree before. There are a couple of downsides to these hands though. First off, the peg placement is reversed here, with the peg being housed in the hand, and then fitting into a whole in the wrist, again this is a very snug fit, and the articulated hands actually have a joint on the end of the peg, in order to allow Gaigaigar to make the "stop" gesture. Upon trying to remove the right hand on mine, the peg tore out of the hand at that joint, breaking the plastic as it went. I superglued it back together, but that's a really horrible design, especially given the number of things that can be swapped out for his hands.
With that one gripe, I really love this bot, it combines a lot of really cool angular designs, and takes 4 seemingly random components and makes an aesthetically pleasing bot. The head, which fits over Galeon's head like a helmet, is still attached to the Stealth by that red post, which has a hinge to allow a good range of motion.
Speaking of, he's got what I at first thought was a giant screwdriver, but after seeing it in person, I realize it's a jackhammer, those pistons in the middle actually function, allowing it to compress and spring back out. I kind of wish there was some kind of catch and button operate release, but other than that, it's pretty functional.

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He's also got some kind of pink soccer ball, I guess.

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And a big purple cylinder, I suppose this supposed to be something spinning. and it's actually connected using a spring loaded middle piece, meaning you can kind of fire it (it's pretty heavy to fly far)

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And then there's what I suppose is supposed to be the air backwash of the projectile, but really just looks like bunch of snot bubbles, using this setup, you actually have to use the stand to support it, because it's just ridiculously long.

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Here we see he's got a double fist for hitting enemies while they're down. This show also gives you a decent look at his face, which I liked pretty well, although it looks oddly sinister, not really what I'd expect of the hero of a kid's cartoon.

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Okay, time to see what's in that last styrofoam tray!
Now, CM actually offers two different versions of this toy, and only difference is this third tray, which includes:
Goldymarg:

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I went out of my way to make sure that I got the version which included Goldymarg, and I gotta say, he's a piece of crap. He's incredibly floppy, with joints that don't really hold any pose, and he frequently falls apart.

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Basically, it's a really good thing that he has a giant hammer attached to his head, or else he wouldn't be able to stand up at all.

He transforms into a very odd looking six wheeled vehicle with a big ol' cannon on it.


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Again, with the vehicle mode, he doesn't really hold together well, or even hold a rigid shape. He does more, but we'll get to that in a minute.
Here's the part that I think makes it "Star" Gaogaigar, the Stealth Gao gets an upgrade, I'm assuming it becomes the Star Stealth Gao, or maybe just Star Gao, but it gets an even larger pair of turbines/rockets that fit over the wing tips, and then a housing that snaps over the central body, giving it a kind of star shape.

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It still attaches to make Gaogaigar in the same fashion, just with a little extra flair, also included in the third tray is a new weapon similar to the jackhammer.

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This is identical to the jackhammer, just with a different tip, this one has three poseable claw blades.

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Here's the main reason that Goldymarg's included in this set. He turns into an alternate right hand for GGG, again though, he's just such a floppy bastard, that he just doesn't hold together well.

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But, apparently, you need a big hand, if you want to hold this big hammer:

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Which requires its own stand as well.

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He also comes with a golden nail that I guess GGG can use to stick enemies to the walls with, and a special hand that can hold the nail. I was really disappointed that the nail wasn't actually metal, really, how hard would that have been? Buy some nails at the hardware store and spray paint them gold.
He also has a hand to be used for the Buddhist Floating Palm (shout if you know that reference) technique.

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and one of the gold rings on the upgrade engines can be removed, and affixed to a clear piece of plastic to replicate part of the attack.

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Lastly, for the star upgrade, there's a stand that specially props up the back of the of the bomber, to keep him from falling over backwards.

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So, there you have it, bottom line? Unless you're really a fan of the cartoon/character, I would just go with the Sonokong reissue of the original toy from back in the 90's. It's about the same size, and can be had for about a fifth as much as I paid for this one, sure, it's not as accessory rich, and finding a Goldymarg to go with him is pretty hard, but in the end I think it would be a better toy, and almost as good a display piece. If you really want a CM GGG, I might suggest just getting the vanilla release in place of the Star upgrade, there's not really much in the upgrade to warrant the extra cost.

4 comments:

  1. Actually, that is a a screwdriver. The other one, too, is supposed to be like a Philips head, but of course the prongs open up. All of his weapons are tool-themed.

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  2. Huh, that makes sense, good to know, thanks!

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  3. The purple thing is meant to be his fist spinning, and the "pink soccer ball" is the "core" of the enemy. Also, "StarGao" is called StealthGao II

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  4. Hey, you Trasformed GaiGar wrong in order to from GaoGaiGar! ( You need to turn his waist around, and flip out his little black "skirt" pannels to the sides, so that you hide most the "white" from GaiGar.

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