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Tomopop Review: Bandai's Chogokin Franky

4:00 PM on 10.16.2012 // Pedro Cortes

Sponsored by HobbyLink Japan. SUPAAAAH!

One of the most impressive lines of figures is Bandai's Chogokin series. Whether it's a Super Robot Chogokin or the top-tier Soul of Chogokin, Bandai usually does a fantastic job transforming a robot into a poseable form. In addition to the great detail, they're made of sturdy materials. When you're holding a Chogokin, you know it and you do not fear putting it in any pose that you can imagine.

Every so often, the Chogokin line will incorporate a figure that isn't strictly a robot, but is close enough. One of those examples was Persona 3's Aegis (reviewed), who was a pretty great addition to the line. Thanks to HobbyLink Japan, I'll be reviewing another one of these exceptions: One Piece's shipwright, Franky. The super hot-blooded cyborg has recently taken a turn closer to his mechanical side, so it makes sense that Bandai would turn him into a Chogokin.

Hit the jump to see how they did!

Figure Name: Chogikin Franky
Figure Maker: Bandai
Retail Price: ¥9,500
Available at: HobbyLink Japan

Normally, I'd make a pithy comment about the box and the packaging, but this time I'm going to have to stop and go into a bit of detail. The outside is nothing out of the ordinary. Well, besides the fact that there's a scantily clad dude posing with lightning in the background. That's pretty out of the ordinary (and awesome). What is special about the packaging is how much of it there is inside the box. 

It comes in three separate pieces. While not being environmentally conscious, it does keep all of Franky's parts from bashing about. You can see Franky's casing on the right, surrounded by the safety of Styrofoam and covered with cardboard. The right is the base proper and all of Franky's hands and digits. You might notice an un-hand-like piece, but I'll go into that in a bit. Finally, there's a small cardboard box in the front that holds some extra pieces, including Franky's actual holding device that attaches to the base. So, after you rip apart all that plastic, cardboard and Styrofoam, what do you find?

This guy right here! This is one hefty figure here. There's a good amount of die-cast being used here in addition to a solid set of joints. These aren't your standard ball joints. Franky's arms click into place when you move them. I figure it's the only way to keep his arms from falling down once you get them into position, as they are big, bulky and heavy. The following pictures are all taken on the base because, you guessed it, he's too heavy to pose on his own! This might make an impact on potential buyers, as this Franky here can be a bit abusive for the space environments. On the other hand... can make him do poses like this! As you can see from his rear photos, the pegs that slip in to his slots make it so that you can put him in just about any pose you want, as long as he's on his base. Unfortunately, he's not an easy guy to get into position. His bulk makes it difficult to get him in the right pose and moving everything into the right angle can be a pain. Also, beware pulling his legs out when moving them. I accidentally pulled one of them out to shift the angle over and it took me a while to get it back in. It's all in part to make him sturdy, but beware anybody that slips up like that. You'll pay for it.

As I mentioned before, there was an extra piece in the plastic portion of his container. When you take it out, you attach it to Franky's back... so. You'll also note that Franky has an extra hair piece. Where did that come from? Well, like any toy worth it's salt, there's a transformation feature built into the figure itself. When you depress a button on Franky's lower back, a plastic part comes out... so. To cover the very obvious doors, the back of Franky's Hawaiian shirt closes up and the additional plastic piece has the same print. You'll still notice that something is up, but it isn't aggregious. If anything, it makes him look more like a robot. That's all good in my book!

Let's get into the multitude of Franky's extras. First, this wouldn't be a figure of Franky without the source of all his power, cola. And, where else would any cola lover put their beverage of choice besides a fridge built into said cola lover's abs?

Always ready, always chilled, always delicious. Moving from his robo-abs, Franky's arms have quite a few surprises in store. First, Franky's got to protect himself and the Strawhat's ship, the Thousand Sunny. To do so, he's added in a few weapons, like chained Strong Right.

I'm not kidding when I say it's chained! His fist comes out with a tug and you can display it as so. If the Strong Right isn't enough to take out an opponent, Franky's got a missile ready to his left arm!

You can load in one of provided larger missiles and fire it via a spring-loaded switch located on the door hinge. Careful, it goes surprisingly far and will hurt an eye! If the enemy is even stronger, more ordinance will be necessary. That's when you got to use shoulder missiles.

Yep, shoulder missiles. He comes with a bunch, so you can load them in and fire them via another spring-loaded mechanisim, this time in his shoulder.

Franky isn't always destroying stuff. As is the case with his position, he's going to have to fix things up. That's why he's got to have his tools on hand. In Franky's case, his tools are IN hand!

Opening a door in his right forearm will reveal a tiny toolbox. Here, you can hide a tiny hammar and this pipe, which also happens to be useful in loading stubborn missiles. Looking at Franky, you might be wondering how those giant hands can do such delicate work. When the time comes for smaller repairs, all you got to do is bust out one of Franky's smaller hands for some help.

This guy sticks into a hole in one of the alternate palms. It never fails to amuse me, seeing a tiny hand coming out of giant palm. He uses it to taunt an enemy during the show, but there isn't a cocky hand in this set.

So when Franky's work is all done, he likes nothing more than to sit back and enjoy a cold one. Thing is, with a robot this big, there's a lot of thirst to quench. For that, look no further than your alternate hands for a solution.

It's the perfect size for a big guy like Franky.

With so many extra parts and features, it's hard for me to not recommend Franky. Yeah, he's a bit pricey and he will take up a lot of space, but you're getting so much for your money. Die-cast construction, transformable hair, an open set of abs, several spring-loaded missiles, several alternate hands and a bunch of tiny extras. I say he's worth every penny and fans of One Piece would do themselves well in picking up Franky!

[A huge thank you to HobbyLink Japan for providing Franky for review!]

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Pedro Cortes, Features Editor
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