Saturday, November 27, 2010

SOC Dygenguar & Aubenseiter: No, it's totally NOT gay for one dude to transform into a horse and let another dude ride him


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The GX-46 Soul of Chogokin set is odd for a number of reasons. First is the source material that the mech designs have been drawn from. Traditionally the Soul of Chogokin line has been populated with robots from kids shows from the 70s and 80s, and even amongst those, the majority have been from animation. There are a few robots from live action shows, and a few of the robots from Neon Genesis Evangelion, which actually aired in the mid 90s. In contrast Dygenguar and Aubenseiter appear only in the Super Robot Wars series of video games, with their first appearance occurring in 2005.

The other thing that's odd about this set is that you get two "full sized" robots out of the one set. Usually when there's more than one figure included in an SOC set, they're a good bit smaller, with one of them acting as more of an accessory to the other.

Anyway, moving a long. The box is huge which makes sense considering how much is packed in there. The only other SOC box I have that rivals is is the deluxe edition of Raideen, and half of that box is just for a friggin mountain. Opening the box reveals a styrofoam tray with the two main bots, as well as two plastic trays full of accessories. Once you get them out and assembled, you have two very detailed figures.

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With the obligatory Christopher Eccleston GI Joe for a size reference you can see that these are pretty respectably sized.

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While neither figure has a very substantial amount of metal content on the surface, they both have a very surprising heft, so there seems to be a lot of internal metal.

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I'm going to start with Aubenseiter, since of the two, he's the only one that transforms, and thus will have most of the review. Like a lot of higher end robot toys, he has a great amount of articulation in theory, but in practice, there are a lot of pieces that get in each other's way, and ultimately make it nearly impossible to get any sort of dynamic posing done.

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He does come with a pretty incredible looking cape, which is three pieces of semi flexible rubber.

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The main thing that I found got in the way of getting it to stand like I wanted it to was the wheels on the heels. I can see the charm of allowing it to zip around the aisles of the supermarket, and annoy the hell out of the older robots, but they kept shifting around, forcing you to come up with ways to put as much weight as possible on the ball of the foot, which is about as awkward for a toy robot as it is for a human being.

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Aubenseiter's sole accessory is a pair of ridiculously large guns which can be stored on his back.

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After removing them from his back, they fold out straight, and have a cleverly hidden grip that flips out.

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They are rather unwieldy and tend to pull the arms down, so they included a pair of brackets that clip on the butt of the gun, and then into a hole on the under side of the robot's shoulder pads.

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Much better. Other than that, it has the standard repository of alternate hands that all high end Japanese toys tend to come with, although he does have a right hand with the index and middle fingers extended, kind of making a gun sign.

Okay, onto the transformation, in case you skimmed over the title of the post, Aubenseiter transforms into a warhorse, which Dygenguar can then ride.

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First step, you take all of these pieces off. FYI, the top middle piece with the hole in it is a collar plate, that you have to remove his head to get at.

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Then you come to this part where most of the torso has peeled away, and you need to remove his head along with a column that it sits on.

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Several steps later, you have to add on this piece of black plastic that isn't used at all in the robot mode.

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I don't know about you, but I'm not seeing a horse yet. I have stopped seeing a humanoid robot though, so that's something.

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Add back on the backpack, which becomes a saddle, along with head and column, which turns into a horse head with a little shifting, and plug some "electric" hair in the back, you've got a main. Still can't run though.

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Which brings us to the legs, which are actually formed by splitting each of the guns in two, and then doing some further engineering witchcraft. Really, the amount of functionality they crammed into this design is kind of staggering.

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Plug them legs in, and you finally have something that looks like a horse, even if it does seem emaciated.

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Okay, so that was a lot of work, and the end result is a little underwhelming. Thankfully, Bandai's got you covered, like many of the Transforming SOCs, Aubenseiter comes with two sets of pieces, one is the actual transforming pieces, which you've just seen, and the other is the "pretty" pieces, which end up looking better.

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There you go, four new legs, an alternate head and mane, a tail, and a better saddle with stirrups.

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Which you swap out for these pieces.

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And you get this, now this looks like the warhorse that a giant robot would ride.

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As always, the detail is pretty incredible, and especially after seeing the "transforming" pieces, the end result is a very intimidating mecho equine.

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On to Dygenguar. Again, he seems like he should have a lot of articulation, but he's got so many armor pieces sticking off in all directions, it's hard to get him to do anything convincing. Also, while handling him, the red shin guards will fall off. If you touch them, if you look at them, if you have your eyes closed and think about them, the will fall off. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but definitely during any kind of handling, you're likely to knock them off.

The other thing that throws off his articulation is the funky hip joints they used. My writing is not up to the task of explaining how they work, but you essentially have to fold a joint forward under his armor skirt, and then swing the hip forward. It's really weird, and seems far more complicated than it needs to be, but once you fit him in the saddle, you can see why they did it.

Dygenguar comes with all of the alternate hands you'd expect, as well as an alternate, open mouthed, face. He also comes with four swords, going from the mundane, to the unbelievably ridiculous.

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First up is this bizarrely wicked looking scifi sword. From what I remember reading, this sword is actually stored within his shins, and it seems to really mirror the designs of the robot itself.

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Here we have a traditional katana, this seems to be his main weapon, and according to the fiction, it's actually a shape changing blade, that turns into the other two swords.


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Such as this monstrous reverse scimitar, which he can throw like a boomerang to get his kill on at a distance.

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And the penultimate giant/broad/OMG it's huge sword. Surprisingly, I found a video of all his attacks from one of the SRW games, and Bandai seems to have been a lot more conservative with the size of this sword on the toy than the game makers were in the design.



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As I said, all three swords are supposed to be one and the same, and you can see that they all look pretty similar, you can even see that the cross piece on the great sword is a split version of the one on the other two (if you look really hard at the other two, you can see the interlocking curves molded into them)


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To bring it all together, Dygenguar fits onto Aubenseiter remarkably well, it took me a few tries to get his armor to slot into the holes on the saddle correctly, but once you get it, he's pretty stable, and you don't need to worry about him falling off.

He also gets to wear Aubenseiter's cape, and gets a special collar to wear with it. There's even a piece that attaches to the horse's rear in order to support the cape.

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And in a rarity for the newer SOCs, the set comes with a stand, which I think is really necessary to get the figure to display with all it's splendor, it supports the horse in a rearing pose, and holds it very steady.

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Again, Eccleston is hear to show you the size of the finished product.

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And another rarity is the SOC accessory stand. I always call out when they actually include somewhere to store everything, even though it only holds all of the leftover pieces from one configuration of the set. I guess all stands just seem inferior after the one included with Gunbuster. And really, once you've accumulated a few of these toys, it just seems so much easier to stash whatever you're not displaying along with the figure back into the box, and use that shelf space for something else.

So, in closing, this is a really impressive set, but it doesn't have a lot in the way of play value, it looks awesome on display, but you really need to clear a good half hour of time if you're going to transform Aubenseiter.

1 comment:

  1. This guy is pretty crazy looking. The swords are so over the top they are amazing!!! Pics turned out nice the new layout in your office is cool. I look forward to many more reviews.

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