So Yamato’s economy-sized Scopedog was a little too much for you? Here’s the trial size, courtesy of Takara.
After sampling the first offering in Takara’s Actic Gear series, I can say that their answer to Bandai’s HCM Pro line is a winner. The toy looks right, it’s poseable, and for something that’s only 3 inches tall, it’s packed with features.
The good stuff? As with the Yamato dog, with the exception of a couple of areas all colors are realized with unpainted styrene. The only embellishments on the design involve the “down form”, and actually have the added benefit of letting the ‘dog squad with a backpack on. Lots of articulation and detail (even under the wrist flaps). And did I mention features? Turnpicks that pop out of the feet, the ability to pop the cockpit open, and the forearms pop out to do the “armor punch” thing.
In addition to all of this, it’s presented with class. A very subdued package, a small display card, and a file card are nice little touches. Ironically, for me these things evoke the feel of Bandai’s original HCM series in me more than the HCM Pros do.
Downsides? There are a couple. Some assembly is required, and all of the various rungs and armor flaps need to be clipped from sprues and attached. A couple of pieces tend to pop off when handling the toy, such as the elbow pads and the turnpicks (recovering these could literally become a “needle in the haystack” situation), so you may want to glue them. Also, there are a couple of cosmetic issues, like hollow forearms and the screws on the insides of the knees and feet, but you really have to be looking for these things.
There are a couple of things that Takara could have included that would have made it even nicer, too, like alternate hands, and decals. However, VOTOMS modellers will know where to find these things if they want.
Overall, though, this Scopedog was worth the wait. I give it an A-, and recommend it for those of you who griped about the size and price of the Yamato dog. I got mine from Hobbylink Japan. It shipped via SAL and arrived here in about 7 days. It cost about 2100 yen shipped (about $18.65).
From what I’ve heard, so far the AG VOTOMS toys have been a success for Takara, and the lime and grape versions have sold out almost everywhere. More are on the way, though:
AG-03 Brutishdog (August) (http://www.hlj.com/product/TAK64241)
AG-04 Scopedog II (September) (http://www.hlj.com/product/TAK64254)
AG-05 Scopedog Red Shoulder Custom (November) (http://www.hlj.com/product/TAK14110)
AG-06 Berserga (December) (http://www.hlj.com/product/TAK14109)
AG-EX Scopedog with Round Mover (September) (http://www.hlj.com/product/TAK14107)
AG-EX Scopedog Battling Pack: Chirico vs. Konin (September) (http://www.hlj.com/product/TAK14106)
AG-EX AT Fly with Scopedog (November) (http://www.hlj.com/product/TAK14111)
Tim Brisko reminds me that since we’re getting a Berserga for Christmas, Takara is halfway to making a Diving Beetle. We can dream, can’t we?