Mugen Calibur Miyazawa Mokei version
Review by VF5SS
Tokusou Kihei Dorvack (Special Armored Battalion Dorvack) is one of the many "also ran" shows that followed in the wake Macross. Real robots that transformed were now big, and after Super Dimension Century Orguss Takatoku toys was looking for another hit. At the same time, model kit manufacturer Gunze Sangyo was looking to get in on the Powered Suit craze started by Kow Yokoyama's Maschinen Krieger (SF3D) designs and Nitto's model kits. Both companies would end up as the sponsors for Dorvack. So in one part of Dorvack you have our galliant crew of anime protagonists lead by Masato Mugen who was voiced by none other than Toru "Amuro Ray" Furuya with his awesome Mugen Calibur transforming jeep and in the background were a bunch of hapless soldiers in Powered Suits who just died by the dozens in elaborate (and sometimes hilarious) ways. CM's Corporation, never shying from almost any dead franchise has taken up the mantle of releasing a new Dorvack toys that hope to cover both sides of the mecha. This particular example of the Mugen Calibur was created to resemble boxart from one of the transformable kits. This particular kit was called the Calibur Special. This toy is called the Miyazawa Mokei version and lacks the armor set included in the regular Mugen Calibur release.
The Mugen Calibur can be considered the hero mecha of the show. Masato Mugen himself is your typical anime good guy, quick witted, smarmy, and never without his trademark red goggles. The toy comes with two Masato figures, one for the driver's seat and one standing ever so non-chanlant with his hands in his pockets. The Mugen Calibur stands roughly 7 inches high (about the same size as the old Takatoku toy) and is bristling with weapons and equipment. On its legs it carries a rack of five grenades and its folded up rifle. On its back it has one shoulder mounted cannon, a jump pack, and a vehicle mounted gun. The CM's toy is quite skinny and reflects the animation model more than the original Takatoku toy. It is mostly plastic with the notable diecast parts being its thighs and the front wheel mount.
Up close we can see this version of Mugen Calibur is mostly gray with a few orange highlights. It features minimal tampoo printing, which includes a Dorvack patch on each arms and a "6" on each thigh. The head features limited movement and the visor is painted with sparkling green.
From the rear we can get a better look at the jump pack. In the show there is a special long armed tank robot that attaches the jump pack and wheel covers to the Mugen Calibur. Using the jump pack, the Mugen Calibur could make great leaps in a very Starship Troopers inspired "on the bounce" manner. The jump pack features a small antenna and two control arms. The arms are simply pegged into the pack, however on mine one of the arms was fixed in place and snapped off. This is probably from dried paint gluing it in place. I managed to fix it enough for these photos. Also be wary of the tiny antenna as its not made of flexible plastic.
The vehicle gun and assault rifle share the same gun barrel. Simple unfold the rifle and swap out the barrel to complete it.
One thing you may notice about this review is that the Calibur isn't exactly "dynamic." While the arm joints are quite nice and there is a waist joint the hips are just awful. Given the way the hips are designed there is little clearance to use them and even still they are only made to rotate along one axis. By unlocking the leg from the waist as per the transformation, the Calibur can achieve a more natural stance, but the limited ankle joints and looseness of the hips in this pose don't let you get much more than that. The tiny feet and hefty diecast body also make this guy a bit top heavy.
Each of the grenades from the leg rack are removable and can be inserted into the assault rifle. This is not mentioned in the manual. The rifle itself resembles an AR-15 or similar M-16 variant. The Calibur's articulated fingers grip the gun well enough.
Also included is a large double barrelled cannon. This cannon includes its own fist already grasping the gun so all you have to do is replace the right hand with the cannon. The small fist inside even features full details like fingers but cannot be removed without disassembling the gun.
From this side we can see the gun has some basic detail. The small peg at the bottom is removable and is used for mounting the cannon to the Calibur in jeep mode.
On our way to the transformation, we can see the working cockpit detail. The small Masato is plugged into the seat via a butt peg and goes along for the ride as you rotate the seat forward. There is also a small steering wheel that flips in and out. The toy has very little detail inside. It's all very basic.
Before transforming the toy, all wheel covers and the jump pack must be removed. The toy is actually packaged with these covers already attached. They slide off the wheel wells smoothly to reveal the toy's rubber tires.
The Mugen Calibur makes for one of the blockiest jeeps in all of anime. Given the way its so low to the ground thanks to the arms getting tucked underneath, the Mugen Calibur is also probably one of the worst jeeps in all of anime. No wonder they gave it awesome flight armor during the second half of the show. The detailing in this mode is pretty basic, but functional. I like the molded windshield wipers and winch. I do like how the transformation completely hides the orange bits. That gives it more of an authentic feel.
I guess since the driver's seat is in the middle, this jeep is pretty much street legal anywhere right?
All that's missing is a sweet vanity plate.
Loaded for bear, the Calibur looks a bit more impressive.
You can also bring the jump pack along in jeep mode. It just slots over the vehicle gun.
So to appease the Powered Suit fans, CM's included a Nove and Halk (Hulk?) suit. They have a few accessories of their own which includes a giant camera and optional chef's hat for the Nove. The Halk has a blaster.
The Nove's arms can be replaced with a Mega Man blaster while the Halk picks up a plunger gun.
In the end, CM's Mugen Calibur is an alright toy. It will probably please those who like the design but articulation may turn away the skeptical modern fan. Oh and by the way, did I mention this set costs around $200 MSRP? Don't worry, nobody is buying these so prices are plummetting. It's a shame really. A little more effort and this toy could have been the definitive modern Mugen Calibur toy on par with Bandai's SOC and Soul Spec toys or Yamato's Macross toys. At the very least it would make up for the asking price.
|Posted 4 July, 2009 - 21:26 by VF5SS|