Review by JoshB
Machine Robo is back... again! This time the line is back in the hands of their original creators, Bandai, under their Megahouse brand. The new line is called Machine Build, and we've got an advance look at the first release in the line, Rod Drill. You can preorder Rod Drill on Amazon!
The basic idea is that these are MOSTLY complete figures, with a small bit of armor and detail that you have to attach. These are not model kits, they are toys that have some parts you need to add.
The box is a tribute to the Machine Robo packaging from the 80s. One side has a horizontal vehicle mode photo, the other side a vertical robot mode photo. They even have the iconic color band from back in the day.
Note the weird spelling ROD DORILL on the package.
Check out the video to see the unboxing and full review in 4k
Inside you get a core figure, and a series of baggies with accessories and extra parts. Basically you are just adding arm armor to the figure. Out of the box, the arms look like this:
And when assembled, looks like this:
Rod Drill stands about 5.5 inches tall, and is all plastic (no metal here folks). He feels pretty solid though, and is a very poseable figure. He's got extra parts to mimic both toy and animation versions of the character.
Here's the head that mimics the classic toy version from the 80s, and note the claw-like closed fists, just like the original. You can mix and match what you feel is best for you, but I found the blocky claw hands to be less expressive than the others.
Here's Rod Drill with some proper fists. These are more anime-friendly, but I just love the classic screw head.
As I said, he is VERY poseable.
Along with the modern closed fist, you get modern open hands.
An interesting thing with the hands - the ball and socket are different sizes on each arm, so only the right will fit on the right. An interesting solution to a problem I didn't even know I had.
There are also additional heads to recreate Rod Drill's appearance in Machine Robo - Revenge of Cronos. These are slimmer heads without the pronounced ridges of the toy.
There's a head that is just a mask, and one with a full face.
Transformation is easy, and almost identical to the original. The added joints make it a little less precise, but it's basically the same. Watch the video for reference.
I will say that I think the toy could have used a few more tabs to make a tighter tank mode. Not that it's loose, but for example the arms can just sort of float instead of being tabbed to the body.
Here's tank mode with the anime version drill front. This one is sharp, and actually has a small cardboard cover in the package to keep it from poking out. It looks great, but very different from the toy version.
You can use the toy version head to make it just like the old toy version.
Now we are inevitably brought to comparisons. How does it stack up to the Action toys release from a few years ago? Or to the original for that matter?
Here you can see the Action Toys version on the left, and the Megahouse on the right. While the Action Toys version had some diecast, the engineering was clunky and the legs were prone to breaking. I think the Megahouse just overall looks better and feels more like the original design. It may not have the exaggerated anime proportions, but I prefer my designs to be more toy-like.
Here's Rod Drill with some family members.
And comparison with the original:
Overall, I think this is a great piece, and the fact that you can get it on Amazon is amazing with Prime benefits like free shipping. There are a few small complaints though.
First, the feet connections are very simple, and feel out of place with the great engineering on the rest of the toy. They are just a simple ball and peg connector, and they can come out during transformation.
Which leads me to the modular nature of the toy. Almost every part can be just pulled off. Head, arms, legs, feet, torso - they are held in place with friction but you may experience it coming apart during transformation or other handling. They go right back together, and they are reasonably tight, but be aware. I would have also liked some tabs for holding the arms in place and for the feet to tab in to the chest in tank mode.
Finally, I know this is an aesthetic decision, but I miss the wheels on the original. The modern one doesn't have any wheels under the tank treads, or under the arms in tank mode.
But overall, I think it's great. I like the aesthetics more than the Action Toys version, and it's just fun to put together and pose. Rod Drill is scheduled for release in April of 2023, and you can preorder yours on Amazon.com.
Comments2 comments posted
Looks nice - was one of my favorite Gobots. Liked the action toys releases, but these look swank. Anything to get more Machine Robo out there!
For $45, that's pretty good. May have to pre-order, but I'm really looking forward to other characters they'll do.