Monday 20 August 2018

Toybox REVIEW: Beast Box BB-05 Delta

Release Date: July 2018 (International)
RRP: 2678 yen (Japan)

Not so long ago Beast Box was simply this charming but obscure little selection of robot dinosaur figures most collectors would simply come across on Chinese social media posts, but thanks to a wider release on both Japanese and American website 52TOYS fun little range of transforming animal cubes has gathered quite the fan following. We've had a dinosaur, a gorilla and a mammoth, and now it's time to go back to the age of the dinosaurs once again with the release of BB-05 Delta. The fourth mould in the Beast Box line, Delta is initially available in his standard blue and white colourscheme, a TRON-line neon deco and an orange rescue repaint named Vanguard.

Continuing the consistent branding the Beast Box line has had since the release of BB-03, BB-05 Delta comes boxed in tall rectangular packaging with the transparent tray poking out of top to reveal the toy packaged in cube mode. The box itself sports some slick x-ray style artwork of Delta in both modes, with the Beast Box logo also adorning one of the sides. As has been the case with the other "main" colourschemes the box itself is a simple but elegant black, but if you're picking up Vanguard instead that's likely to be a different colour. Inside the box you'll find the toy snugly stored on its plastic tray, with the instruction booklet, tech specs card and "BOX CHARGER" stored underneath.

The instructions are clearly printed on a nicely laid-out pamphlet, with one side depicting the transformation from cube to beast mode and the other covering vice versa. Each step also includes a small bit of text to help you along the way, as well as specifically highlighted areas on the pictures themselves you know exactly which parts should be moving. The front of the instruction pamphlet also features a coloured version of the artwork seen on the box itself, as well as artwork of the other Delta variants that are currently available.

Also included is a glossy printed Delta tech specs card, which as well as featuring that gorgeous artwork once again also contains a short bio and a rundown of the dinosaur's strengths and weaknesses. It might not seem like much but little inclusions like this really harken back to the classic Generation One Transformers bios, and since the market for these toys is likely to include a lot of old school Transformers fans throwing these in is a really nice touch.

Now that the Beast Box line has become fairly established releases (presumably from here on out) include an additional flyer showing off all the figures in the line so far, including some of the lesser known DIO repaints that came out long before they caught the attention of a wider audience. It's nice to see just how much the line has pumped out in such a short time, but if you like the look of any of the older ones it's probably going to cost you a fair bit to get your hands on them now. Also pictured is the MEGABOX Xenomorph – the first release in an offshoot line that will deal in licensed properties such as the Aliens franchise, Predator, Getter Robo and more.

Finally also thrown in as a bonus once again is a clear plastic "BOX CHARGER" storage box, which is identical to the ones included with both the BB-03 and BB-04 releases. The box features an opening front door and can (properly) fit any of the larger sized Beast Box toys, as well as connect with other Box Chargers both vertically and horizontally. Unless you have enough of these toys that you can afford to display some them stashed away in cube mode they aren't likely to be something you get much use out of, but if you are looking for a neater way to store them I guess these are pretty handy to have around.

Honestly there's very little you can really say about a cube mode, but nevertheless Delta's does an incredible job of tucking away all those obviously triceratops parts and making it just seem like a standard run-of-the-mill futuristic cube. Little touches like the arrows and the piston-like cylinders on the sides (the latter being a staple on most Beast Box figures) give it a nice industrial feel, and the primarily blue and white colourscheme is different enough from previous releases to make Delta look particularly striking amongst them. With each passing release 52TOYS have been pumping out better and better cube modes on these toys in regards to them not showing off immediate parts, and this is undoubtedly the best one so far. There's nothing like Jojo's head cheekily poking out or Momo's tusks breaking up the colours scheme - just a consistent looking cube that looks far better than a cube mode has any business being.

The transformation from cube mode is a fairly straightforward affair - innovative enough to impress but at the same time simple enough that kids could manage it and the process is easy enough to eventually memorise without having to repeatedly consult the instructions. As the cube mode mostly packs the dinosaur parts into the inside the transformation is mostly a case of folding it everything out until it stretches out into shape, so the fun here is seeing just how everything managed to be compacted so well. As someone constantly terrified of breaking figures I always use the instructions first time around just to get a feel for things, but those more experienced with transforming figures should immediately feel right at home here.

And isn't he just the cutest little robot Triceratops you've ever seen? When transformed Delta's beast mode is packing a ton of personality, most of it of course coming from that adorable little head sculpt that makes him looks like a yappy little dog barking at something. The colour placement and balance on this figure is absolutely perfect, with each colour complimenting each other nicely while the odd splash of yellow adds a splash of brightness to the seamless uniformity. One thing worth noting however is the rather obvious gap between the neck and head, which is does break the flow of the sculpt somewhat when the toy is viewed directly from the side. How big of a deal you find it is going to be entirely different from person to person, but it's at least obvious enough to mention. From every other angle though this toy looks utterly fantastic, utilising every bit of that techy Beast Box aesthetic to full effect.

Even the articulation is pretty great too, which is surprising given that Momo suffered in comparison to previous releases simply because it wasn't based on a bi-pedal creature. The head section alone sports movement in the head, neck, jaw, frills and horn - already giving Delta a fair bit of expression despite the joints only being limited to either a hinge or swivel. Like Momo the legs also have a bit of outwards movement as well as the obvious forwards/backwards motion, which isn't admittedly isn't a whole lot but is enough to put Delta in a stroppy little wide-legged stance. Finally there's the tail, which again is just simple upwards/downwards motion but so pathetically small that it's just too cute to ignore. It was never going to be as expressive as the DIO mould, but 52TOYS have done a really good job with this one. 

The more and more Beast Box releases there are the less it's likely that the line is going to surprise us, but we're four moulds in and 52TOYS are definitely still delivering. BB-05 Delta is another brilliant entry for the lightning in a bottle toy line, not necessarily doing anything new per se but instead continuing to do everything the line's done right so far and refining any slight missteps there's been along the way. Dinosaurs are always a sure fire winner, and after a T-Rex a Triceratops was just the next logical step. The release of Delta rounds off the selection of moulds initially revealed all the way back at the line's inception, so whatever comes next is going to be brand new. And if it's as good as what's come so far, then the Beast Box line will continue to deserve every bit of praise it gets.

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