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October 29, 2003

Walk Tall

Filed under: Toy News — Rumble Crew @ 9:09 pm

Back in Feb ‘02, I submitted my first ever Rumble out of love for a Really Great Toy – the Clover DX Henkei Gattai WALKER GARRIER. In many ways, the DX is the acme of Walker Machine toydom, but that doesn’t mean that the little HCM doesn’t have a couple of aces up its sleeve… or that it couldn’t be… IMPROVED.

The DX of course has the size and mass to afford a greater number of gimmicks such as proper locks for attachments and opening cockpits. And in the articulation department, the DX’s ability to achieve a split stance means it can look more dynamic in almost any action pose, compared to the HCM’s single axis of movement at the hips. Where the little guy really shines though, is in the arms and hands.

First of all, the HCM has a modern outlook with regards to bicep development. Check out those arm curls! The HCM manages a very decent 90-degree bend at the elbow compared to the DX’s rather weak showing. I also don’t particularly care for spring loaded fists on a Real Robot, so I have to hand it to the HCM for having more realistically proportioned fists, complete with separate movement in the trigger finger. Neat!

But does having better arms on the HCM compensate for the better legs on the DX? Not exactly. The big guy still has the trump card of a head that can rotate. There’s just a very human act of being able to look in the same direction you’re pointing your gun at. The HCM, alas, can only stare straight ahead. What if I could make it look around as well?

No need to cringe, Vintage Toy Lovers! What I’ve come up with is a non-destructive mod for the HCM Walker Galliar. I began by separating the Flyer section from the main body and unplugging the arms as well. The halves of the gray bar are held together by a single metal screw that attaches to a post from the bottom of the head/cockpit – and is quite easily removed. This is where it gets interesting: The bottom of the head has a square-shaped protrusion that locks securely into a matching indentation on the top of the gray bar. This is the reason the head can’t turn.

To solve this problem, I fashioned a thin (1mm) washer out of spare Gunpla parts. The hole was drilled out with a Tamiya dremel and widened carefully with a needle-nose file. Inserting this custom washer into the square indent raises the head and prevents a lock-up. I’m glad to say the screw has plenty of bite to hold the parts together very securely.

So now my HCM Walker Galliar has grown a little bit taller and gained a whole new perspective on looking cool. And with its superior arms handling, it can definitely walk tall even in the shadow of its illustrous big brother. :-)

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