Thursday, December 19, 2013

VooV: Patrol Gattai Guardian Robo

This is the first review I've done of a toy that I had a hard time finding the right name! I preface this review with my lack of knowledge of Bandai's "new" series of toys from Japan. The packaging spells the name VooV. However when you go to Bandai's official site, my web browser (Google Chrome) translates the site's name to Boob Station! So call this line whatever you like! I should mention this new subline has it's own dedicated website separate from the main VooV website and can he found HERE.

I first came across a scan from a magazine on Facebook a few weeks back featuring a police themed robot. I saw the red Bandai logo and I immediately thought Machine Robo. Being a huge fan of the different iterations of Machine Robo, I was quick to look more into this combined robot I saw. Turns out the toy's name is Guardian Robo and hails from a "new" series of toys called VooV. I say "new" because it appears the line has been out in Japan now for a little while, however before this release the line just consisted of transforming vehicle to vehicle toys. However it appears Guardian Robo falls under a new subline and appears to be the first in a possible series of combiners.

front

back

Bandai usually does a nice job in the packaging department and Guardian Robo does not fail to impress. The box itself is decently sized, about 16 inches or so wide, however it's pretty light. Yup, that means no die-cast metal. More of the actual toys in a bit. On the front of the box you get the idea of what these toys are and what is contained inside the box.

I see the re-occurring rescue theme across several different toy lines in Japan and this trend obviously continues here. At this point I'm unsure if there is a story behind the series or if one will be made. I did find this cool commerical on YouTube featuring some nice CGI:


There are two additional vehicles that are sold separately that almost act like Targetmasters. I have these two on order and will be in my possession soon. I'll do an update post once they arrive.


top & bottom

Top and bottom of the packaging. Here you get larger images of each vehicle and it's alternate form.

sides

One side of the packaging gives what appears to be specs of some sort.  It also let's you know that the set is compatible with additional VooV vehicles that are sold separately.  The other side shows off the alternate modes using the combiner torso if you will.  Penta Cloud is a jet while the parts can also form Penta Station.  Simple modes, but I find it great that the designers found something to do with these parts while not in combined mode.


Once the box is opened a nicely packed cardboard tray slides out.  There is a piece of cardboard that covers the tray by the way.  Each vehicle, including the torso, has it's own little compartment.  The removable parts are sealed in their own bag.


The instruction sheet is quite large and Bandai did a good job with the layout, making it very easy to understand how to get the toys into their different forms.  Bandai even uploaded a scan of the instructions on their website!  And yes there is a sticker sheet.  Most of the stickers are applied to the secondary vehicle form with just a few being added to the torso section of the combiner.  Stickers are well cut and made of a nice thick feeling paper.  They applied very easily, although I noticed many of the stickers cover up some detail that is molded into the plastic.  I went ahead and applied them all, but some of them could be left off and it not effect the overall look.


The set is comprised of 6 individual vehicles.  I don't know if they have their own names or not since I can read Japanese, so we'll just call them by the vehicle make or model.


   
Each of the vehicles are made of a light plastic. The rear portion of the vehicle is a translucent black plastic and serves as the main transformation point. You basically lift up the top half of the vehicle and rotate 180 degrees. All the while you flip up and in the nose of the vehicle and the sides and snap it all back down on the base. All 4 wheels are free rolling, however since the vehicles are so light don't expect them to go flying across your table like a Hot Wheels car would.  

We'll start off with the police car. It appears the police car is modeled after a Acura, but the jury is still out on my assumption. His stickers include the black/white police door areas and the blue section with the police badge on the secondary form.



The red vehicle is a licensed Mazda. I say licensed since it has the official Mazda logo on the front of the vehicle. Overall the car looks pretty good, but of course the blue on the opposite sides of the panels glaringly sticks out like a sore thumb. The alternate Police form still retains the same Mazda body style, but appears to be beefed up. Look at the exposed engine on the hood. The only stickers on this vehicle are the small police badges on each side of the alternate form.
 


The yellow vehicle of the group is a taxi cab. It may be modeled after a real life automobile as well, but it would be one I'm not familiar with. The taxi is also the bulkiest of the 3 cars in the group. The red pin stripe across the top of the taxi is comprised of two stickers. The entire side panels are also stickers. In police car form the only stickers are again the small police badges.



The larger box truck vehicles are my favorite in the set. They too have hinges like the cars, but they are located at the top of the vehicle so it doesn't take away from the streamline feel. Granted I like the trucks, this one has one of the worse color schemes I've ever seen. Lime green cab with an orange and blue box? Thankfully most of those horrible colors are hidden well when transformed into the secondary police form. This alternate form has 4 stickers. Each side of the truck (includes the red stripe) is one large blue sticker. On the toy is a gray vent like sticker and a red accent sticker. These stickers are more prominently seen in combined mode.
 


The delivery truck is by far the nicest looking of the bunch. All the colors mesh well - in either mode - and the box portion of the truck has some much needed detail. The BLP Logipal logo on the side appears to have been a delivery service of some type. The trademark oddly enough is registered as Bandai Logipal America, however the patent or trademark has now expired. Interesting. I should point out the BLP logo is only tampographed on one side of the truck. Stickers are applied in the exact same locations as on the other other box truck.


The other part of the set is the torso section as I call it. Instead of having to just put this piece to the side while you play w/ the vehicles, the designers tossed in two additional modes to play around with.  Now that's what I call more bang for your buck.


With a few twists here and there you have the Penta Station.  I know it doesn't look like much on it's own, but add in the vehicles and it looks more like a make shift battle station.


If the Penta Station isn't your style, you can also transform the torso section into a fighter jet.  Simply pop off the black sections on the ends of the "legs" and re-attach them in a flat manner to the "legs" that have been folded in side by side.  Fold down the blue pieces on the thighs.  Flip the wings back and pop on the little jet to the center and you've got the Penta Cloud.



I love the overall look of the Penta Cloud, but the wings are a bit short and need to be just a tad longer for my tastes.  This by far is the superior form of the two.

I hope you are still with me.  Now that we've looked at the individual vehicles and the combiner pieces, let's look at the combined form and how all the parts come together.


The police car forms the face of Guardian Robo. The face simply lifts up and turns around from the roof of the car. This feature reminded me of the old Brainmaster gimmick from Transformers. The rest of Guardian Robo's head will be formed by the little jet/cockpit piece.


The red Mazda and the yellow taxi each form the arms. From vehicle to arm, simply open the vehicle and flip out the non-articulated fingers. Snap down the side panels. You can also switch them around if you'd like.


The box trucks are a little more involved in getting into the legs and feet of Guardian Robo. Again you want to open up the vehicle, this time flipping the truck's cab forward. This means the other truck cab forms the back of the leg. Attach the black gun pieces to form the heel. This also gives the combined form some stability which is always nice to have with larger figures.


I forgot to take a picture of the torso piece ready for the limbs to be attached, but from Penta Cloud mode all you really do is remove the black guns from the front, flip the wing tips forward and pull up on the gold V section to reveal a cavity for the police car to sit in. The wing sections each feature a black claw like connector that simply grabs and holds the rear black section of the cars. The box trucks attach to the lower section of the torso in the very same way.


The police car fits snugly into the newly opened cavity of the top.  See how it's all coming together now?  One step left, and that is to form the rest of Guardian Robo's head.


The small jet looking piece that forms the cockpit area on the Penta Cloud also doubles as the combiner's head.  Flip down a peg underneath and fold the nose of the jet forward. Using the now exposed peg, simply peg it into the hole located behind the exposed face on the police car.


Clever way of forming the combiner head if you ask me and lit looks great. No light piping for the eyes, but it has the big eye visor and non-descript face plate. I still can't help but thinking of Machine Robo though when I look at the face.



Behold!  Guardian Robo is all his combined glory.  I apologize I didn't have another robot near by to toss into the pictures for size comparison.  Going off my memory I'd say he is about the size of Transformers G1 combiner like Defensor.  When I do my update post w/ the two additional vehicles, I'll make sure to include a few additional figures for that much needed comparison shot.

I was surprised at the level of articulation that Guardian Robo featured.  I don't think of robots that are comprised of smaller components to have much articulation, but Bandai found a way to work some in.


The arms will rotate a full 360 degrees and the connector joint does provide some swivel of the arms forwards and backwards. The hips are on ratcheting joints and freely move up and down. The connector pieces also provide some range of motion at the knees. You can almost achieve a 90 degree bend before the legs want to pop off. I'm not complaining though as he is more flexible than I ever imagined.


Guardian Robo is a fun toy and one that I've very glad to have bought. Several import retailers online have been selling him for around $35 (shipping extra). BigBadToyStore also has him available if you don't like to import, but he'll set you back $65 before shipping.

If you are a fan of Hot Wheels sized vehicles or just a fan of combining toys then you may want to give this release a look. I like it because of the Machine Robo feel I get from it and the fact that it's just something different. You won't be mistaking it for a Transformer, but if you're like me and you are just a fan of toys in general then this robot could be for you. I anxiously await to see if other combiners are released alongside Guardian Robo here.  AmiAmi has a pre-order listing for Fire Gyro set with a release date of 2014 first quarter so we shall see. A fire themed helicopter set? I can't wait to see pictures!

4 comments:

  1. I like this one! If i could get it at a good price i might consider buying one. It sort of a Power Rangers/Go-Bots cross-over thing which i think is neat.

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    1. Check HLJ.com. I believe he is on back order, but you can still place an order. Much cheaper than what BBTS is asking.

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  2. Sweet. It looks like something Matt Trakker would come up with.

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    Replies
    1. You know, you might be on to something there!

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