Toy of the year?
No. Well, maybe “surprise of the year.” Certainly “cheap thrill of the year.”
Even for those wholly burned out on the Gundam phenomenon, Banpresto’s nifty new Special Creative Model toys are an interesting development in the world of “prize toys.” You know, those l’il trinkets you can win for as low as 200 yen if you’re handy with a UFO Catcher crane-game. (The less dextrous of us have to settle for paying 800 yen a pop at gashapon/prize toy specialists like Mandarake).
The surprise is how well done these little scuzzmonkeys are. Rather than the usual sleazy P.V.C. vinyl used for toys like this, the Special Creative Models are actually injection-molded (although the plastic is ultra-cheap.) They’re also fairly close to the size of the hallowed Kado Senshi Gundam toys (although, of course, they don’t feature a whit of diecast save for the screws holding ’em together.) What they lose in heft, however, they make up for in poesability and the fact that they (well, the RX-78s, anyway) actually feature a mini, fully transforming Core Fighter. Gattai, baby!
Okay, so they aren’t as poseable or detailed as the Kado Senshi. And But whaddya want for two hundred yen? All in all, “G3” Gundam here is pretty fly for a white guy.
So far there are three out in the Special Creative Model series: original colors Gundam, “G3” Gundam here, and RX-79 Gundam, which sacrifices the Core Fighter gimmick for a backpack full’a heavy artillery.