Back in 1983, Takara seemed to be king of realistic mecha toys. Their Dougram dual models were some of the best mecha toys ever made, and alot of that same engineering went into the Votoms toys. Bandai’s HCM’s were like cheap plastic crack compared to these.
I’m not going into much detail about the show, except that I sat through the whole first stage (about 6 hours), and I’m not even a fan of anime. It’s dark, violent, and doesn’t have any of the silliness that ruins most anime I try to watch.
The mecha designs are rooted in reality, and look as if they could be produced today; even 20 years after the show aired. Takara made toys in 3 scales: 1/24, 1/35, and 1/60. Here is a (semi-complete) list, please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong:
Red Shoulder Scope Dog
The 1/24 toys were the large DX versions, standing roughly 6″ tall, and about 4″ wide. They are mostly ABS plastic, with a complex diecast mechanism for the Down Form mode. This makes it a bit easier for the pilot to get in and out of the AT (armored trooprer).
The smaller 1/60 toys are quite simple and don’t have much in the way of features, so the focus here is on the bigger scales. These pics are of the 1/24 Scopedog, and 1/35 Red Shoulder Scopedog. These are the original issues from 1983, most if not all of the larger scale toys were reissued back in 1999. Several were also released with Playstation games: The Scopedog, the Red Shoulder Scopedog, and the Slash Dog. The Slash Dog was a completely new design from the game, and was never produced back in the 80′s. The versions packaged with the games have a different color scheme than the originals, and my Red Shoulder is a reissue, so I’m comparing the standard 1/24 Scopedog to the 1/35 Red Shoulder here. There was also a Snapping Turtle done in the 1/35 scale, and this is the only incarnation of this toy that I am aware of.
Ok.. besides the size (of course) between the 1/24 and 1/35, the smaller scale cannot do the Down Form mode. But on the plus side, it can bend at the knees. The mechanism in the larger one prevents it from doing this. You can fake it, but not too convincingly.
Also, the upper arms can rotate above the bicep on the 1/24, but not on the 1/35. This is a shame, because it really limits how the toy can hold its gun. See this group shot for an example, and for a sense of scale. Speaking of weapons, the Red Shoulder is armed to the teeth with 2 rocket launchers, a gatling gun, and a cannon; whereas the standard only has a rifle and a backpack which can store the magazines for the rifle. The Red Shoulder also comes with the standard backpack, and both sizes come with standing and sitting pilot figures. Sorry, my pics of those didn’t turn out. Another thing to note for accessories, the larger scale comes with 3 sets of hands: open, closed, and closed with a peg hole for holding a weapon. The 1/35 only has closed hands with the peg holes.
Bottom line: These are essential mecha toys. Everyone should have at least one of the 1/24 variations, but only the diehards will want all of them (L-R Slash Dog, Red Shoulder reissue, Brutish Dog, and Scope Dog in the rear).