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Tomopop Review: Bandai's Super Robot Chogokin Volfogg

4:00 PM on 05.11.2013 // Scarecroodle

Wait, a ninja police car robot? Why haven't I watched this already?!

Quick confession: I've never seen The King of Braves GaoGaiGar. I understand that it was something of a hit but, so far, I've given it a miss. However, I've long held the belief that a good design can stand on its merits (ie, independent of source material) and something about Bandai's Super Robot Chogokin Volfogg (& Big Order Room (1/4)) instantly grabbed my attention. Volfogg is a apparently a ninja robot (always a winning combination) who uses an oversized shuriken that splits into boomerang-like weapons and, I've learned, can transform into a police car. As such, I seriously need to watch this anime already.

Volfogg shares double-billing in this set with his over-sized accessory, a portion of the Big Order Room, which I imagine may provide some with an even greater incentive to get this set.

Full review after the jump.

Figure Name: Chogokin Saber
Figure Maker: Bandai
Retail Price: ¥4800
Available at: HobbyLink Japan

Super Robot Chogokin Volfogg comes in a heavily decorated, windowless box. The box art is incredibly busy, leaving relatively little empty space on the front and back. The remaining sides feature a good deal of decoration as well, save for one side with the legal/copyright information.

The set includes the following accessories: two alternate sets of hands, an additional alternate hand holding a can of oil, an alternate shouting head, and three weapon bits (the giant shuriken is apparently called "Silver Cross" while the split pieces are each referred to as a "Silver Moon").

The bulk of the package is taken up by the remaining pieces in the set: Volfogg's chair and his portion of the Big Order Room. While the chair is around Volfogg's size, he's completely dwarfed by the Big Order Room piece. The Big Order Room is apparently a Collect & Connect, with this only being part one of four. 

The chair appears to be devoid of paint although there's a good amount of detail via the sculpting. The Big Order Room piece features minimal paint apps but still looks fantastic. Both require some assembly.

The base for the chair will apparently become the centerpiece for the completed Big Order Room (it flips over and is plugged into pegholes on the BOR piece). This process would render the chair useless, as far as I can tell.

It may take a little effort to get Volfogg to stay in his chair but he seems to display well. It's a nice additional option, although I suppose fans might instead just pose him standing in the Big Order Room.

By now you've probably figured out that Volfogg himself is rather small. In fact, he appears to be under 4-inches tall.

To provide some reference points, I've put him next to various figures in the 3.75-inch(ish) scale and Stripe from NECA's Mogwai line (because, while not in this scale, those Mogwai are something of a must-own).

I imagine Volfogg's diminutive size was chosen to put him in scale with Bandai's future GaoGaiGar releases in addition to making the Big Order Room feasible.

Amusingly, the hardest pose to place Volfogg in is just a normal standing one since lining up the various joints just right is difficult. The jointing is also responsible for gaps in places, specifically at the shoulders and waist.

Otherwise, the sculpting is solid and the paint has a very nice metallic sheen which looks great in person (but doesn't necessarily photograph well).

The facial detailing can also be hard to capture between the glossy paint, size, and natural shadowing. Even in person it can be difficult to appreciate the fine level of detail. Given the size, so much of the detail is also small.

The coolest aspect of this figure might be the jointing. The shoulder rods allow for some phenomenal forward and inward motion, which allows Volfogg to cross his arms with ease. It's the same style of jointing seen in some of Bandai's other super-articulate lines although this one seems to either be a little larger or have better clearance. While this sort of a joint isn't often seen on smaller scale figures, I vaguely recall something similar being used in the Microman line.

Volfogg's Silver Cross is a rather spectacular prop. While you can use it for the usual getting ready to toss poses, there are other amusing options as well. The one thing I would have loved to have seen was a small stand for it to allow for just-thrown poses although something like that could probably be hashed together easily enough. It's also worth noting that Volfogg himself lacks a flight stand.

The articulation is as follows:

  • Head is on a physical ball (switches out easily)
  • Neck connects to torso via another ball
  • Upper torso joint features good forward/back motion, limited turning
  • Waist has near-full range of rotation, impeded only by plates around the groin. Has a lot of forward/back and side motion
  • Shoulders feature substantial inward motion via one joint as well as a rod (floating shoulder) to accommodate a wide range of motion
  • Shoulder-pads can move slightly. Additional shoulder joint underneath
  • Bicep rotation
  • Double-pinned elbow
  • Physical ball at wrists (for interchangeable hands, which switch out incredibly easily)
  • Hips feature substantial (physically impossible for a normal person) forward/back motion but limited outward motion due to plates
  • Rotation at upper thigh
  • Double-pinned knee
  • Limited forward/back on ankle, negligible side motion
  • Toe-joint, although it barely affects anything

The weapon-grasping hands are of a softer plastic but really only accommodate the weapon being slid into them. While not an overly strong grasp, it works well enough most of the time.

Bandai's Super Robot Chogokin Volfogg (& Big Order Room) has a lot going for it. It features great jointing in places as well as good, solid joints which is doubly important for figures of this size. I don't expect that the figure's size will appeal to everybody, however, and the jointing gaps can look funny when viewed head-on. I imagine that a lot of the buying decision might come down to whether you want a Big Order Room prop as it seems central to this set and presumably is responsible for a good portion of the cost. Volfogg does, however, have an undeniably cool design.

[ Big thanks to HobbyLink Japan for providing this review sample ]

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Scarecroodle, Associate Editor
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