New God Phoenix
Review by JoshB
I grew up with the original Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, but I knew it as Battle of the Planets. I loved this show so much as a kid and that love persists through today.
Later generations would know a different Gatchaman; however, close – but not quite the same as what I knew. While the first Gatchaman series hit the states in 1978, it wasn't until 1996 that Gatchaman II was translated as Eagle Riders and broadcast on UPN.
I've seen bits of it. It's terrible.
Gatchaman II was the sequel to Gatchaman. It has the same costume designs, but the team got all new vehicles in this series, including a new version of the beloved Godphoeinx, creatively named the “New Godphoenix”.
Most purists who grew up with the first Gatchaman might not even recognize this version of the ship. Long-time toy collectors may be familiar with the Popy Chogokin versions of this, but no modern renditions of this ship have been made – until now.
Fewture Models (a sub-brand of Art Storm Co, Ltd) released this beautiful diecast version of the ship as part of it's EX Gokin line in 2012.
Like all EX Gokin releases, it comes in a beautiful box. In this case the first layer of packaging is the colorful slipcase.
Inside you get a two-part box made out of sturdy, thick cardboard with glossy printing all over.
As you remove the lid, you open flaps to reveal the instructions, then a styrofoam lid, and then finally, the toy.
The toy is gorgeous.
The amount of metal is staggering. The entire central body as well as the inner parts of the wings are all metal. It's heavy and shiny.
The finish is impeccable.
The landing gear is fully retractable, but unfortunately no wheels roll.
The rear gear is one of the only weak spots of the toy. There are little notches that you have to hook into with a fingernail to pull the gear out, but they are in so tight that I needed to use a flat screwdriver. Of course, there is a risk of scratching the paint so be careful if you choose this route. I found once I freed them and moved them a few times they became easier to open.
The front gear opens much easier. The central support is a piston, which is nice.
Along with the Godphoenix you get small plastic versions of the individual G1-G5 vehicles. Each vehicle has a place to store on the ship.
The Condor Attacker (black car) and Auto Swan (motorcycle) go in compartments under the wings. Each wing clicks up and holds securely. The wings also have joints in the middle that swivel up and down.
The Swallow Helico fits into a compartment at the back of the Godphoenix. When the ship is placed in straight, the door will not close, so you've got to sort of wiggle it around until it fits.
The Eagle Sharp fits into a section that is revealed when you lift up the front section of the ship. The action here is really neat. You lift up the nose and it stays parallel but moves up and back. There's some nice internal details here including working pistons. The ship fits inside nicely, but it would have been cool if they added some kind of launching gimmick here.
Where they did decide to do a spring loaded gimmick is in the bay for the Horned Tank. To access the bay you need to flip up the metal door and push down on the platform until it clicks into place.
To release the spring loaded platform you press a button on the bottom. The bottom is difficult to press in far enough if you have big fingers, but you can push it in with the end of a pencil.
While all this is fun, the big flaw is that you cannot close the door with the Horned Tank inside. It's a stupid oversight that could have been fixed easily in the design process.
I used a Flightpose stand in a lot of these pictures but the toy does in fact come with its own stand.
The black stand is heavy and stable, with the base having a large metal plate inside of it. The two parts screw together, and then the top part is adjustable with a metal knob on the side. The stand is actually really great, but I used the Flightpose stand just to be able to shoot the undersides.
At 24,800 yen ($316) it's not cheap, but no EX Gokin release is. This is not an item for the casual collector, but for diehard fans of diecast or Gatchaman it would be a nice addition.
For everyone else though, I think there are too many small issues to warrant the price. The diecast is nice, but why wouldn't you make the wheels on the landing gear roll? Why can't the Tank fit into its storage space? For over $300 there should be more gimmicks I think.
That being said, it's the only modern New Godphoenix out there, and that will be worth the price for some collectors.
|Posted 28 August, 2012 - 21:54 by JoshB|