E3 Tsubasa (Flare Wing)
Review by JoshB
E3 Tsubasa comes from the series Shinkansen Transformation Robo Shinkalion (新幹線変形ロボ シンカリオン) from 2015. The idea is that these are sentient transforming trains based on real Shinkansen (Bullet) trains.
Whats great about these toys is that not only are they transforming trains with spring loaded gimmicks, but they are also fully compatible with Tomy's Plarail series (known as Tomica in the US). This means they can run on the same tracks, and connect to the same cars from any PlaRail train.
The "E3" designation is the type of train (in this case a E3-2000), and "Tsubasa" designates the rail service. So in essence, this is the E3 in Tsubasa configuration. The line is run by East Japan Railways and the train can reach speeds of up to 275 km/h.
In keeping with it's real life counterpart, the train mode sports the paint design that the E3 got in 2014, with logos depicting the four seasons of Japan.
There are two versions of this toy available. Flare Wing (shown here) has translucent red weapon parts and the current Tsubasa color scheme. Iron Wing has translucent green weapons and features the pre-2014 Tsubasa color scheme.
The packaging design is bright and loud, meaning this thing is aimed squarely at kids. The box is a bit big for the amount included inside, but it's fine. The box art is AMAZING.
Inside, simple cardboard trays, with the trains in plastic bags. Also included is instructions and a sticker sheet. Please keep in mind that all pictures show the toy AFTER stickers have been applied.
Three train cars are included - front, middle and back. The real E3 has about 7 cars, but this will have to do. The cars have the JR East markings consistent with the real train, although the molding is dumbed down to be more in-line with PlaRail aesthetics.
All the trains connect with standard PlaRail connectors, but if you are unfamiliar with them, they can be a bit tricky to connect and release.
You can see a comparison here with a PlaRail train.
PlaRail trains sometimes have drivers. These Shinkalion trains do not have opening cockpits, so no driver.
Transformation for these is a bit flawed but still interesting. Each of the cars features a connector on the front. When the trains go head-to-head they are supposed to lock together and activate the spring loaded action. However there are a few problems.
I could not get the spring loaded gimmick to launch reliably as in almost never. I could never just push the trains together and get them to connect. Instead they involve some wiggling and impromptu separation to connect.
The first gimmick is that the front part of the train splits apart and back. From there you have to manually separate and click the legs into place.
Tilt the chest area forward, and then press a button on the grey torso that lets the arms pop out and the head pop up. However this either 1. does not work or 2. pops open before you press the button. It's inconsistent.
The arms then get unfolded to create robot mode.
There's not much in the way of articulation. You've got shoulders and elbows. Nothing else moves - no waist, hip or knee joints. Like I said, it's very much a kids toy, with the main draw being the spring loaded gimmick.
The center car splits open to reveal the weapon. It's a modular translucent weapon that is styled like railroad crossing signs. Each blade can be used on its own or combined with the central connectors. The blades, connectors, and the toy itself contain multiple 5mm connectors, so there are various ways that the weapon can be used.
It is here that the fun really comes out for me. I had a lot of fun trying out different configurations for the weapons.
Alone, the E3 is fun. But when you get two trains from the line, magical things happen. The toys feature a common waist connector, so parts can be mixed and matched across the line.
Despite the not-so-great spring loaded gimmick, I still had a ton of fun with these and would totally recommend.
|Posted 31 July, 2016 - 20:05 by JoshB|