Tuesday 3 April 2012

Toybox REVIEW: Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters mini-pla Go-Buster Ace

The first of the 36th Super Sentai team, Tokumei Sentai Go-busters, mecha has arrived in mini-pla form! This time its Red Buster's CB-01, a mecha which can transform from car to cheetah to its own unique robot mode (Go-Buster Ace) much like RyuseiOh from Gosei Sentai Dairanger. While Blue and Yellow's GT-02 and RH-03 will be seeing release sometime in April, Ace received an earlier release in March and is made up of two boxes - one containing the robot's torso and the other the legs and cheetah head. As usual, each also contain one piece of soda flavoured candy.

Building the kit is simple enough, with the instructions clearly printed on the inside of each box.  The instructions result in the figure being finished in mecha/Go-buster Ace mode, so that's what we'll take a look at first.

The legs are hollow just like the DX version to incorporate the transformation gimmick, but unfortunately so are the forearms which spoils the show-accuracy somewhat (I was planning to paint the inside panels silver like on the show). The stickers cover all the necessary detailing nicely, but some could be difficult to apply for newcomers to minipla/modelling (such as the face) and others fail to replicate what a simple splash of paint could achieve (mainly the sword blade and those horrible wrap-around stickers for the cheetah toes). So in short - paint isn't essential, but a little bit here and there can make the model look even better. I decided to go the extra mile and do the windows in metallic red too, but the stickers do the job. Look here for an image of how the model looks no paint and all the stickers applied.

Ace's articulation includes a ball-jointed head, rotating shoulders and elbows, hinged forearms, ball jointed hands and a variety of swivel and hinge joints in the legs. Action poses can seem a little tricky due to the feet (it would have benefited from moveable pieces in the back as well) but the large legs give Ace a good centre of gravity so the figure can pull off poses the DX can only dream of.

Transforming Ace into car mode requires removing the cheetah head, and then the legs to peg them in at a different place, but other than that its a very seamless transformation. The arm pieces fold back to make up the back of the car while the legs peg together for the front. The arms position in the back where they can also hold the sword to recreate CB-01's Pat Striker-esque attack. The car is a relatively decent size, with free-spinning wheels. Lifting up the front section of the bonnet (the robot mode's legs) opens a space where the cheetah head can be slotted neatly in.

Ace's final transformation is into animal mode which, despite being a relatively simple transformation, is perhaps the most impressive of all. The car side panels flip down to reveal the legs, which in turn swing down. The sword blade can then be swung out at the hilt and reattached at the end to make the tail. While its articulation might be somewhat limited (the legs can move back and forth, and the tail swings left to right), CB-01's cheetah mode looks great and display and is both sleeker and more movable than Gokaiger's GaoLion kit (granted that was somewhat hindered by its combining gimmick).

A surprise addition to the kit is the inclusion of a tiny Cheeda Nick buddyroid, moulded completely in red and attached to the back of the cheetah head (which also acts and the pegs to connect it to the body in Ace mode). The Nick is tiny, around the size of a Lego brick, so painting it is pretty tricky - but even if you pass on the task all the details on the plastic are recognisable as being Nick.

Though it might seem relatively small when you first complete it, Go-Buster Ace is a lot of fun and a well thought out model for something of its size. The fact that these Go-Buster kits have their own transforming gimmicks as well as being able to combine into the much larger Go-BusterOh should hopefully bode well for the rest of the line. Go-Buster Ace comes highly recommended to both long time mini-pla fans and newcomers looking for a cheaper alternative to both the DX figures and the non-transforming Super Robot Chogokin line.


The Kamen Rider Fan said...

hi alex!
nice blog and great reviews. :D

just curious, how big is the GB Ace minipla compared to a gundam model?


Alex said...

Thanks :)

Hmm, I don't have any on hand to do a size comparison, but I'd say a little smaller than a 1/144 kit. Around that area anyway.

Hope that helps!