Tuesday 15 April 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Ressha Sentai ToQger Minipla ToQOh

Minipla ToQOh from Ressha Sentai ToQger

It's a brand new year (well, four months into), brand new Super Sentai series. And a brand new Sentai series naturally means a brand new selection of toys! So far Ressha Sentai ToQger's toyline has proven to be rather divisive, with many not a fan of the seemingly back to basics approach of the costumes and the main mecha itself - ToQOh. Personally I've loved the simple design of rainbow robot from the very beginning, and after the disappointment of last year's Kyoryuger offerings I was excited to see what 2014's mini-pla candy toys would have to offer. And thankfully, it seems elbows are back in fashion.

Trains come in boxes of five

With lots of pretty picturesMmmm delicious candy

The components of ToQOh are separated into five boxes, one for each of the different coloured Resshas/trains (with sword included with the Yellow Ressha). Each train is thankfully moulded in its respective colour, meaning there's no big sticker/paint jobs required like there have been in previous Sentai mecha - the original release Gokai Marine/Racer and Gabutyra's tail just to name a few. Of course each box also comes with a piece of soda-flavoured candy, along with a good supply of stickers shouldn't painting the models not be your thing.

In previous years I've tended to go for a mix of stickers and paint with my kits, but for ToQger I decided I'd have a go at hand painting the entire thing. Well, ALMOST the entire thing - I ended up using stickers where the details weren't moulded onto the kit itself. So as usual, if you'd like a look at how the kit looks with only the stickers applied, you can check out a great gallery over at this blog.

Choo choo!

All aboard the Red Ressha!Red from behind

First up is ToQ #1's Red Ressha, which is the most unique out of the five included in this set. While the others can be separated off into pairs, the Red Ressha is the only one based on a steam locomotive. The kit separates into four sections - three obvious carriages and then an additional piece to for the transformation into ToQOh's chest. As the most detailed of the trains it's also the most awkward one to paint.

Now it's Tokatti's turn!

Bullet train!Is that the front or back?

Next up is ToQ #2's Blue Ressha, a bullet train which is the joint the largest and longest train out of the five (a place it shares with the extremely similar Green Ressha). This train is broken into three separate carriages, with the back end also making up a separate piece. The Blue Ressha (along with the remaining three) also needs a dab of silver paint in addition to the uniform black/white/grey (and yellow for the headlights) for the connector piece at the top. Even if you're a sticker person, this is the one part where I feel the sticker doesn't do a good job of making the section stand out.

ToQ #3! ToQ #3!

Such a tiny trainChoo choo...again!

Moving from large to small, number three is ToQ #3's Yellow Ressha, based on a Japanese subway train. The Yellow Ressha is around half the length of the blue train, with the parts needed for the build all on one runner (while Red and Blue each had 2 runners). To make up for this, ToQOh's Fumikiriken comes in this box, entirely moulded in black and made up of two pieces. Even with the stickers this sword is the most inaccurate part of the set, leaving most of the blade in black while on the show (and DX toy) it is in fact a dark grey.

Mighty green

Haven't we already seen a bullet train?Front or back...again

ToQ #4's Green Ressha returns to bullet trains, although this one naturally sports slightly different ends to Blue's.

Rounding things off with Kagura

SUPAAA GIRL!That connector is just waiting for more trains

Finally there's ToQ #5's Pink Ressha, which like the Yellow Ressha is based on a subway train (once again with a different front end).

(Not) All the colours of the rainbow!

As you can see there isn't a whole lot to say about each one individually, as they all have pretty much exactly the same traits other than looking different from each other. Despite being INCREDIBLY simple builds (even for minipla standards), these little trains have quite a few fun play features to them. Like the DXs they're capable of coupling together to form on long rainbow line (with more to add in the future as more trains are released), although since there's only proper couplings at the ends there isn't a whole lot of room for manoeuvrability. That being said, the ToQOh hip joints built into the Blue and Green Resshas do allow for a little more bending. Each train is also free-wheeling, and so can be pushed along the a flat surface while naturally making the loudest "choo choo" noises you possibly can.

For those who don't like to leave pieces lying around, the Fumikiriken sword can also be pegged into the top of the Red Ressha when in train mode - another feature that was brought over from the DX toy.

Highway crossingToQ Gattai!

They're incredibly simple and wouldn't prove a challenge to even the most inexperienced model builder, but how much can you really hold it against them? These are kits aimed at kids and do pretty much everything you'd expect them to do and then some. The biggest flaw of the ToQger mecha is literally that they are just trains. Colourful and detailed trains no doubt, but coming after transforming animals and (semi) articulated dinosaurs I can see why some might consider simplicity a knock against these little guys.

But enough about the individual components, its time for a Ressha Gattai and to take a look at the combined form of the Rainbow Line - ToQOh.

Now boarding ToQOh!

"Thank you for boarding. ToQOh is complete."

One of the main complaints about ToQOh when the first magazine scans surfaced was the simplicity of the transformation, which can pretty accurately be summed up as "a bunch of trains lined up side by side and connected". And whether you love it or hate it, that simple yet (in my opinion) effective transformation sequence has been wonderfully replicated in the minipla version. After pegging the five trains together, the Red Ressha folds up to form the central chest piece (the back section needs to be unplugged and then plugged back in a different spot, the only real "cheat" this version has) while the ends of the Blue/Green trains flip around to become the shoulders and feet. The fronts of the Yellow/Pink Ressha's turn to become the fists, while finally the head flips out from inside the Red Ressha and snugly pegs onto the top of the robot's body.

DX look - frontsideDX look - backside

Minipla style frontsideMinipla style backside

And this is where we come to the most exciting part about the minipla version of ToQOh, and the feature that has elevated it above the DX version for some people. While the model can have the show/DX-accurate transformation of having the Blue and Green Ressha's completely connected, they can also be broken up to have the lower parts form separate legs - giving the robot much needed hip articulation! This wonderful addition means that the minipla can keep its trademark articulation while at the same time offering a more show accurate-look for purists. It's a great little feature and one I really hope to see continued in the ToQger minipla line and beyond.


Fumikiri ToQ Shot!A difficult battle

After a disappointing year of Kyoryuger mecha lacking elbows (and in Bragigas' case, articulation full stop), it's very reassuring to see articulation is the hot topic once again this year. ToQOh features a huge range of motion, including full 360 degree head swivel, rotation in the Blue/Green shoulder connection, rotation and up/down motion in the actual shoulder connectors, elbows, rotating wrists, fully-fuctioning hips, knees and hinged feet. The only thing its really missing is a waist joint, which wouldn't necessarily have been impossible but certainly doesn't break the figure.

And as you can see - yes, minipla ToQOh can indeed do the now infamous "train boner" move. Arguably the most burning question on everyone's minds.

Fumikiriken Ressha SlashStore that sword!

As you saw earlier in the picture where it was attached to the Red Ressha, the Fumikiriken's "blade" can swing down like a railroad crossing gate which also means it can be displayed in both sword and gun modes. Arguably it works a lot better as a sword (it is a rather long looking gun barrel), but having both modes present and correct is excellent. And when you don't want to use the sword, it can hang awkwardly from the back of the robot!

"No elbows? Unlucky man..."

While building ToQOh I kept thinking to myself, "These kits are pathetically simple, surely this isn't a good sign," and it's true that the trains themselves (fun as they are) aren't really that exciting on their own. But put them together and WOW is ToQOh a great minipla. Not only has it done the design justice, but it also manages to improve on to by giving it oodles of articulation and much more distinct joint sections. This is an excellent start to this year's minipla, and I'm really hopeful this kind of quality will continue on into the next release. After all, the DX Diesel-Oh is looking kinda boxy too...


Anonymous said...

"The only thing its really missing is a waist joint,"

From the Infamous Pose, pull off the front pot the Red Ressha. The tab it connects to folds upward, so that when the front section is reconnected to the chest, the waist only has one connection point, thus allowing for movement.

Alex said...

Ohh yes I can see what you mean! Thanks!