Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Toybox REVIEW: 52TOYS Beast Box BB-02 Ghost Dog


Release Date: March 2017 (Japanese release) 
RRP: 1512 yen 

Following a release through Japanese hobby stores such as Amiami in the past month, Chinese company 52TOYS’ adorable line of Beast Box transforming figures are now readily available to any collector who’s happened to come across one of the various pictures and stop-motion videos being shared of these little things. The line is still very much in its early days with only two numbered releases to its name – BB-01 D10 (who as the “mascot” figure is available in standard, police and neon variants) and BB-02 Ghost Dog, a remould of the BB-01 dino figure with a brand new head sculpt. What’s the meaning behind the name “Ghost Dog”? Who knows, but it’s pretty cool though.



BB-02’s packaging is virtually identical to that of BB-01’s, with the exceptions of the product artwork, front name tag and technical spec chart on the right-hand spine. (Ghost Dog excels in defence and speed, with good courage stats but a significant lack of intelligence). The figure is packaged in cube mode and on display through the large transparent window that takes up most of the box’s front, while the back of the box depicts the transformation sequence as well as some of the other Beast Box figures 52TOYS have planned for the future. Behind the clear plastic tray is a backing card featuring a cool fictional breakdown of the Beast Box’s various abilities, however unfortunately the card isn’t unique and identical to the one packed with BB-01.




Ghost Dog’s alternate mode is a futuristic-looking blue, grey and yellow cube (with added orange stripes), giving off a similar construction-site vibe as his yellow brother. However the blue also gives it a nice space-age tinge as well. The dinosaur parts are all really well hidden in this mode which results in a nice flush cube mode, with all the added moulding and textures just adding to the overall aesthetic. The front of the cube has a big white no symbol printed on it, the reason for which isn’t exactly clear but looks great regardless. Also printed on top is the designation “D09”, which maybe suggests that Ghost Dog is a sort of prototype preceding the finalised D10 design? That’s entirely speculation of course, but it does make sense given the more robotic qualities of the head in comparison to D10’s distinct facial features.




While the transformation steps are printed on the back of the box as a handy visual guide, it’s a pretty simple process so you’re unlikely to get confused figuring it out without them. Simply pull the two sides of the cube away from its core, pulling the front sections forward to form the legs and then rotating the feet into their correct position. While on the subject of the legs don’t forget to then extend them, as this is a step easily missed and something I completely forgot to do on my original D10 review. Once the legs are done just pull the head outwards and the neck will follow, flipping the tail up into its correct position at the back of the body. The final step is to pull the arms down and flip out the claws, which are tucked rather tightly against the body so you’ll likely need to move the legs completely out of the way to get access. And voila, your Beast Box is now in dinosaur mode! After multiple transformations there’s still no sign of any wear or looseness in any of the joints, making this the perfect figure to repeatedly transform and play about with.




With the toy in dinosaur mode you can now get a good look at Ghost Dog’s newly remoulded head, which swaps out D10’s slightly irked anime eyes for something far more robotic. Ghost Dog’s head lacks any discernible facial features, as well as two protruding yellow shapes that could either be horns or eyes depending on how you look at it. The added grooves and rivet shapes on the head convey a far more mechanical feel, rather reminiscent of the various Metal Gear mechs there have been over the years. In fact done up in silver BB-02 would make for a rather good mini Metal Gear-themed dinosaur, or alternatively would look good in a Robocop-style metallic blue. Regardless it’s a nice alternative for those interested in picking up a Beast Box figure but not so keen on D10’s chibi head. The rest of the body is otherwise identical to the previous release, however the blue and yellow colour scheme works so much better and really emphasises the additional detailing the toy has.




The articulation isn’t any different to that of D10’s, but it’s still impressive enough for something of this size and price-point to talk about again. The figure sports a hinged jaw, a ball-jointed head fixed to a collapsible neck, pin-jointed arms and claws, spring-loaded tail, rotating hips, hinged knees and tilts in both the toe-sections and heels of the feet. This range of movement allows for a wide variety of suitably dinosaur-like poses, such as prowling or just letting out one great big roar. All the joints are nice and tight too, which means once you get the figure into your desired pose it should be able to hold it without any of the parts slipping (with the exception of the tail which will snap back down into place if pushed).



Sure it might just be a slight remould, but Beast Box BB-02 Ghost Dog has enough individual personality to comfortably set him apart from D10. With the sharper colour scheme and new head-sculpt offer buyers a more “serious” looking alternative to the more cartoony D10, Ghost Dog could fit comfortably alongside all manner of transforming figures without looking out of place – and would probably best a lot of them as well. But even if you already own one of the three versions of BB-01, one small dinosaur cube just isn’t enough and at this price you’re unlikely to regret picking this one up to go with it. 52TOYS have made an amazing first impression with these little dinos, and I absolutely can’t wait to see what they come up with when the gorilla, mammoth and triceratops finally hit the shelves.

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