Monday 27 August 2012

Toybox REVIEW: Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters minipla BC-04 Beetle/Go-Buster Beet and SJ-05 Stag (Part 2)

In the second part of my BC-04/SJ-05 review, I'll be looking at the various combinations that can be done using one or both of these figures. 

Buster Hercules

Buster Hercules (or Buster Heracles if you prefer) is the combination of both Go-Buster Beet and SJ-05, and the main draw of this set (as its the robot on the front of all three boxes). The combination inolves swapping the Go-Buster Beet head with the Hercules one fitted onto the crane arm. Remove the back piece from SJ-05 and split it apart into three segments - the left/right "beetle" parts and the middle "jet" section. The beetle parts slot onto the left arm (and in doing so, join together too) while the jet piece is wielded as a weapon in the right hand. The Great Go-Buster head piece attaches to the back of the robot, and finally the gun section clips onto the chest via a fold-out peg.

To be honest, there isn't a huge deal different about Buster Hercules to Go-Buster Beet other than its obviously wearing SJ-05's parts. But despite the huge bulk added to the arms, they still retain the full level of poseability without being bogged down by the weight. Its essentially all the awesome of Go-Buster Beet with giant new weapons, more moveable parts and a fancy new head - what's not to love?

Given that SJ-05 is reasonably average on its own, its only natural that its because it plays a bigger part as arsenal for the bigger robot. As a powered-up version of Beet, Buster Hercules is a great figure and definitely worth being part of anyone's minipla collection. As far as combinations go, its also much more stable and fun than the three-piece Go-BusterOh.

Go-Buster Ace Stag Custom

Much like how SJ-05 can become giant weapons for Beet, the same goes for the other great single mecha of the show - Red Buster's Go-Buster Ace! While the end result is very similar to Hercules (jet gun in one hand, claw arm in the other, Great Go-Buster head parts on the back) the transformation is a little different, with Ace's arm folding back to the side of the shoulder and SJ-05 actually becoming the whole arm itself. The gun/engine piece also attaches to the back with the Great Go-Buster head.

While the overall look of Stag Custom is reasonably impressive, unlike the Hercules combination it does have a number of flaws. Ace's arms are much thinner and spindly than Beet's, and the legs lighter. This means Ace often struggles to hold outstretched action poses, whether it be the arms flopping down or the hollow legs and tiny feet simply failing to balance the figure. On a more personal note, I'm not really a fan of how Ace's arm just hangs there on the side - its show accurate yes, but it looks really silly.

Stag Custom is a nice bonus to owning both Ace and SJ-05, but that's all it is really. Hercules is the far superior combination, and Ace is a more dynamic figure on its own. Fun to play around with every so often, but much like the way the show will probably be with it not one you'll visit very often.

Great Go-Buster

And here it is...the big one. After Go-BusterOh's frankly abysmal performance as a toy and (in my humble opinion) on the show as well, it was hard to get excited about Great Go-Buster. So far it's failed to wow me on the show - the first combination sequence was well handled, but if anything its less mobile than Oh was and mostly rolls around hitting things with its oversized staff. With all this going against it, can Great Go-Buster impress?

The first thing to note about this combination is that, just like the show version, it contains a ridiculous amount of disassembly and parts shifting. Before you begin piecing it together you will have a mess of  parts ready to be pieced together like a puzzle. One of the weirdest (but strangely innovative) things I noticed was SJ-05's hind legs becoming the centre robot's shoulders to give its arms a clearer range of motion. SJ-05's "beetle" sections become the robot's arms, with the jet piece once again relegated to a handheld weapon. The lower half of Beet (the legs folded close to the pelvis) splits in half to become additional feet pieces, while the top half connects to the remaining rabbit and gorilla sections to become an oversized backpack.

After that you'll be left with a bunch of parts, which include Beet's arms, Ace's Sword, SJ-05's back section/Great Go-Buster head and RH-03's helicopter blades, boosters and Go-BusterOh head. The engine section fits into the chest section usually housing Gorilla's head, with the helicopter blades clipping on to make Great's extravagant chest section. Obviously the face clips onto Ace's head, and the remaining pieces fit together to make Great's enormous staff.

Now really I should probably hate Great Go-Buster, after all a lot of the things I hated about Go-BusterOh it does even worse. The chest sticks out ridiculously far and the whole combination looks and feels like a mishmash of parts thrown together with no rhyme or reason to it. But that being said, I actually really like it.

For starters, the new, larger headpiece looks far better than the tiny thing Go-BusterOh had. The addition of the weightier Beet pieces on the feet connect without a hitch, and give the Megazord a far better centre of gravity which means it can actually pose without the leg pieces falling off (I wish my G-12 was that stable). The poses are still limited because of the sheer size of it, but its so pleasing to have everything peg together tightly and have a combination that far outclasses its DX counterpart.

Finally just look at how imposing the damn thing is. The proportions look and and feel better than other interpretations of the combination, and the sheer size of its weapon makes it feel like a special five-piece combo that is to be reckoned with. At the moment I'm enjoying displaying the individual components on my shelf more, but this is definitely one I can see displaying in the future.

It has its flaws, but Great Go-Buster is definitely a surprise hit. It has restored my faith in combined Go-Busters mecha, and got me eagerly anticipating the minipla unveiling of the forthcoming LZ-06 Tategami Raioh. It might still be "Time for Buster" a little while longer.

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