Saturday 25 August 2012

Toybox REVIEW: Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters minipla BC-04 Beetle/Go-Buster Beet and SJ-05 Stag (Part 1)

While the Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters series has been walking the line of mediocrity in terms of story and characters recently, it's still mecha fights are still both a big draw and highlight. Focusing far more on the singular mecha than the combined forms, its made for a nice change of pace and a reminder that Sentai robots are made up of individual parts. With each robot also having its own transforming gimmick (whether it be one or two modes), this has also made the toys a lot more interesting. Ace, GT-02 and RH-03 have all been fairly solid even if the combined form of Go-BusterOh was ridiculously lacklustre (both in show and toy form). With the introduction of two rangers in the form of Beet and Stag Buster, this also means two new additions to the mini-pla line. With lots of different modes and combinations on offer with this set, I thought it better to divide the review into two different sections. The first will look at the individual mecha - Beet Buster's BC-04 Beetle (which like Ace has its own robot mode in the form of Go-Buster Beet) and Stag Buster's SJ-05 Stag.

BC-04 is a two-box model kit, while SJ-05 is just the one. Those who are sticklers for accuracy beware that these two are going to look very dull compared to their onscreen counterparts without a decent paintjob. BC-04 is moulded in a sickly dull gold colour while SJ-05 is a flat grey. I took these two as challenge to my paint skills and decided to give them a full overhaul, to which I was pretty pleased with the results. My pictures are of the painted versions, but if you'd like to see what they look like with stickers only then I highly recommend this blog post.

BC-04 Beetle

Following the instructions, the mode you end up with after completing the model kit is Go-Buster Beet (the robot mode), so I'm going to start with that for the review. The first box is the entire top half of the robot, while the second box is just the legs. This may not sound like much for the second box, but the legs have a fair bit of bulk to them. Height-wise the figure stands roughly shoulder to shoulder with Go-Buster Ace, so round about 4.5".

Beet has lots of articulation to show off, including a ball jointed head (although its up-down motion is limited),  swivel and hinge-jointed arms, rotating waist, swivel/hinged legs and finally ball jointed feet. The blades on the legs are removable and able to be folded out and wielded (not pictured: see here). Like the show version the figure has an extendable (right) fist, which extends and retracts by pulling on the fist itself. I'm not a big fan of how the Buster Hercules head simply slots onto the crane, because it makes the crane piece look uneven and simply looks plain weird there. Thankfully its pretty small so does go by unnoticed a lot of the time.

Transforming into animal mode (which as you have probably guessed is a beetle) requires quite a bit of taking the figure apart and reassembling, but then the show itself doesn't skimp upon this so I guess its accurate in that respect. The leg sections are brought up closer to fit properly around the pelvis section, and the head tucked away for the beetle head to fold down. The blade sections fold out and fit on the sides to make the legs, and finally the entire arm frame (from the tip of the left hand to the tip of the right) slots in underneath the body for the horn section. While the robot mode was akin to Ace, BC-04 completely trumps in animal mode in terms of size. The kit looks and feels like a big chunky beetle and motion in the horn and legs gives it just much poseability as Ace's Cheetah mode.

Finally there's crane mode, BC-04's vehicle of choice. Again the legs/blades and arms/horn sections need to be removed, with the arms straightened out and the hook section folded and closed to make a proper crane hook. The side panels swing out to make out the rest of vehicle, with the blades clipping onto the sides and the crane arm slotting onto the top. Much like the beetle's bulk, the overall vehicle is longer than you might expect and the crane arm has a full 360 degree range of motion AND is hinged. However this mode shows off the kit's main flaw, which is a lack of rollable wheels. In fact, its wheels are pretty thin and pathetic in order to accommodate all the other modes.

Despite the colour issues, BC-04/Go-Buster Beet is a stellar figure - on par if not better than Go-Buster Ace, who's been the best of the line so far. Ace may have it beat in things like colour and wheels, but Beet is a sturdier, bulkier figure with much more play value. Even if you aren't a huge fan of Go-Busters but enjoy the Sentai minipla, this is definitely one to consider.

SJ-05 Stag

Where Jin Masato goes, his buddyroid and partner Beet J Stag isn't far behind! Since Stag is a Go-Buster himself, rather than co-pilot BC-04 he has his own Buster Machine - SJ-05 Stag! More akin to the GT-02 and RH-03, SJ-05 only has two modes. The animal is again a beetle (this time in Stag variety!) and the vehicle a jet.

Though much smaller beetle than his gold counterpart, Stag still has quite a bit going for it. The legs rotate where they connect to the body, and the pincers are also fully moveable.

The transformation into jet mode is seamless, involving no parts swapping at all. The front legs and pincers fold in, allowing the wings to swing down and then finally the cockpit section comes down from the middle. Jet mode looks great, but there isn't really a lot to say about it since it doesn't have any additional play value. Sure parts move, but none of them move on a jet itself.

SJ-05 is a good kit, but nothing overly special. While RH-03 had a lot more novelty from having unique modes, Stag's novelty comes more from being able to combine with other kits. Thankfully its unlikely you'd be getting this without BC-04 in tow, so the kit is able to steal a bit more spotlight than it probably deserves.

In the next part we'll be looking at the three combinations these two can create: Buster Hercules (BC-04 and SJ-05), Go-Buster Ace Stag Custom (Ace and SJ-05) and the gigantic five-piece Great Go-Buster...

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