Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Daitarn 3: That Number Doesn't Mean What You Probably Think It Means


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Past Soul of Chogokin releases have conditioned me to think that when I see a number at the end of a robot's name, that it means that robot is made out of that many components. See Voltes V and Zambot 3. Second guess is that's an iterative number, being number 3 means that there were two machines or robots before it, or that it's the 3rd of a set. In general I blame cartoons for that line of reasoning, but for some reason I'm having trouble coming up with any robot examples of that. (Side note: Daitarn 3 was actually designed by the same person as Zambot 3.) As a departure, the 3 in Daitarn 3 refers to it's three modes, robot, tank, and jet. So, in Transformers parlance, it's a triple changer.

The plot of Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3 is that a brilliant scientist, Sozo Haran was doing research on Mars, and he created a form of cyborg life called Meganoids, being self aware, they eventually rose up against their human overlords, and Sozo's son Banjo escaped to Earth on a rocket, along with Daitarn 3, the super robot made out of a rare metal only found on Mars.

Banjo lives a prolific life on Earth, operating out of a mansion as his base of operations, he has James Bond type adventures with his butler and a duo of attractive ladies. Only hopping into Daitarn to fight meganoids when they attempt overt attacks on Earth.

Okay, that's all the background I gleamed from Wikipedia, although it has made me curious enough to try and track down some of the cartoon. So, Daitarn's big, I haven't measured him up to any other Soul of Chogokin toys, but he's definitely in the larger bracket, normally SOCs that are this big are combiners, so it's a little surprising. Out of the box, you have to attach the head crest, the backpack wings, and tail fin.

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Daitarn has quite a few points of articulation, which should in theory allow for a good deal of posing, but no matter how I twisted him around, I just couldn't seem to get anything to work other than standing straight up.

His ankles are very strange, by default they're more or less locked into place, but if you tug on them, they extend out a bit so that you can angle them. This puts all of his weight onto a hinged post on each leg, it's sturdy enough, but it looks odd when you see it up close. It's a necessary mechanism because of the transformation though.

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The other thing that troubles me with posing him is his shoulders, again, it's just something you have to deal with to accommodate the transformation, but the shoulder pads are actually attached to the neck, meaning that if you have the shoulders positioned in any way other than flush, you're reminded of why fashion finally ditched the concept of shoulder pads.

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On the head crest front, there are two options, the larger fixed crest, which I have pictured so far, or a smaller one that hinges, again to aid in the transformation.

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Daitarn's got quite a few weapons in his arsenal. He's got the Daitarn Javelin, which is impressively large, almost as long as he is tall, and his articulated hands hold it well (although the thumbs fall off when you breath, FYI).

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He also has two swords, called Daitarn Zanbers, which have collapsible hilts that you can plug the blades into:

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He also has two fans, called Daitarn Fans, which have a nice chain and weight attached to them. Unfortunately the fans don't actually collapse, but instead of three positions that can be swapped out: Closed, partially opened, and fully opened.

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It's surprisingly not that uncommon of a weapon to have, off the top of my head, Daimos also has a fan weapon, but I'm sure there's another one I have that uses one. That being said, I can't but help looking at that picture and thinking "Super Robot Peep Show".

There's one more trick the fans can do and that's locking together, bother clasp points, and the weights on the ends of the chains. It seems like this should be simple enough. but the pegs that hold the two halves together stick together about as well as his thumbs stick into his hands.

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Up next, my typical favorite weapon for a robot to have: "Really heavy thing on the end of a chain" This time around, it's called the Daitarn hammer.

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Also, there are alternate hands to be had, you don't actually swap them out though, you fold up the articulated hands, push them back into the arm, and then snap a plate over them.

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The alternate hands can then be snapped onto the ball joint attached to the plate.

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At first getting the fist back out of the arm seemed tricky, but it seems that if you push the arm back on itself (which is used for the transformation) it will knock the fist back down far enough for you to grab it.

Doing so, caused another one of the flimsy section of Daitarn to be exposed though, the halves of his backpack are really not secure, and the force of pushing the arm back caused them to fall right off.

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It's easy enough to put them back on, but I can't tell you how many times these fell off while I was placing the various weapons in his hands and posing him.

In the unintentionally erotic category of weapons, we have the Daitarn Missile, which is exposed by folding down a hatch on his pelvis.

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The missile can be removed, but there's not launching mechanism.

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It's tiny though, and clearly meant to be lost.

Probably the most bizarre of his weapons is the Daitarn Snapper, which is a modular weapon system.

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At it's smallest, it can simply be short weapon with a pincher.

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Or it can be stretched to a whip type weapon.

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Or you can go all out and change it to a ridiculously long grappling hook type weapon.

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It has six extension pieces, one complete set that's rigid, and one that's flexible. For greater posing pleasure.

He also has an alternate face that can be swapped out, letting him get his yell on.

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Alright, now, time for the transformation montage, Daitarn's transformation is probably one of the most complex of all the SOCs I own. I think that GX-46 might have more parts, but you have to disassemble it first, whereas Daitarn stays mostly in piece, so you have to keep all of those pieces out of each others' ways.

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And there you have it. There's some part swapping but not much. Unfortunately, it's pretty much impossible to display it in this mode, there's a set of landing gear that can be attached to the rear, but they are dead center, and there's nothing supporting the front, except for Daitarn's chest, which comes to a point. This means that even with landing gear, it's always going to tip to one side or the other.

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The wing/rocket housing pieces are on there very flimsily, the only thing holding them to the main body is a very small clip that just kind of catches on an edge.

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There's an impossible to open, tiny hangar door on the underside of Daitarn. I had to break out a knife to get a hold of the tab, and pull it open.

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Inside a tiny version of the Mach Patrol in jet mode, can be docked.

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That's the Daifighter for you, the third mode is the Daitank, which is assembled by doing just about the same transformation as getting to the fighter with a few minor changes.

Notably, the tail fin has to be completely removed, normally this doesn't bother me too much, except the fin is attached by one of those horrible plugs that I know from my childhood break all too easily.

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It's not a tight fit, but I still can't help but worry about it.

The resulting Daitank is pretty sweet looking, bravo for them managing to make a reasonably articulated leg/ankle that still has tank barrels that can be extended out of it. This is another worry spot though, because the barrels extend in two stages, and if the clips that hold the first stage in place get stressed, they won't hold enough of tension to pull the second stage out. My first Daitarn had that problem out of the box, Big Bad Toy Store was kind enough to send me a replacement though.

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The only problem with the Daitank at this stage, is that the treads are really just there for show, the hinge that they are on isn't even capable of supporting the Tank's weight.

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Thankfully, there's one last part swap to solve that issue.

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These are actually functioning rubber treads, and the whole setup is satisfyingly solid.


Okay, you already saw the tiny in scale docking version of the Mach Patrol car/jet.

There's also a larger transforming, hot wheel sized one, which I think might be my favorite part of the set.

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It's got great details, and the transformation is surprisingly clever and fun.

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Along with the one scale half transformed version of this I showed earlier, there's also one as the car, and one as the full jet.

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Lastly is another "stand" that tries to use the swapped out pieces to hold all of the extra bits. It's a nice attempt, and the crane arm holding the Snapper extensions and the Hammer is pretty clever, but a lot of the pieces, like the Zanbers and the Fans don't really have a solid place to sit, as well as there being a few pieces that just don't have a home, like any of the Mach Patrol pieces, the larger backpack pieces used in the Daifighter, or the alternate face.

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So, bottom line, I'd say skip it, unless: A. You love Daitarn 3, or B. You've already got all of the other transforming/combining Soul of Chogokin toys out there, and you just need a fix, but even then, it's an awfully expensive fix.

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