Most die-hard toy collectors remember 7C well.
For years, it was the aisle that contained boys’ action figures in Toys R Us stores across the nation.
It was a place collectors would congregate to get those hard-to-find toys and to share information about the toy hunt.
7C may be gone from Toys R Us, but it’s arrived in @anime!.
Every month, @anime!’s resident toy hounds, James Alsup, Ben Nunez, and Mikel Samson will bring you news, reviews, and insights in the world of foreign and domestic toys.
Always provocative, this Toy Triumvirate will also feature a monthly roundtable discussion on the state of toy collecting.
Without further ado, here’s Ben Nunez with his review of a new Gundam toy:
I stumbled on the "Chogokin Metal Material Launcher and Sword Strike Gundam Clear Color Version" (whew! hella long name...) purely by chance. I was browsing through eBay for some toy deals and came across this cool variant from Bandai's "Metal Material Model" Gundam Seed line of toys. Apparently it was just released as an exclusive at the Gundam Expo 2003 in Hong Kong, and I couldn't resist the strong compulsion to order one of these babies.
I'm a big fan of the Metal Material toys, the previously released "Aile Strike Gundam" and the for-all-intents-and-purposes repaint "Launcher and Sword Strike Gundam". The Gundams in each are comprised of a highly poseable, wonderfully articulated steel skeleton, and hard plastic armor pieces that clip on to it nice and snug. The die-cast metal of the inner frame gives the toy a good amount of heft; you wouldn't want anyone throwing one of these things at your head, we're talking serious concussion potential. Once the armor snaps on, the figure loses a little bit of its poseability, specifically in the lower torso area-- the design of the front hip skirt restricts how far forward the legs can be positioned. Adventurous people have modified it by clipping off parts of the troublesome piece to free it up, but it doesn't bother me enough to go to those lengths.
Each set comes with accessories for different configurations. The Launcher and Sword Strike Gundam (both opaque and translucent version) is equipped with a big impulse cannon, shoulder-mounted weapons pods, a massive "anti-ship" beam sword, a pair of jack knives that stow in hip compartments, a beam boomerang, and a grapple launcher that snaps on to the wrist. It also comes with the "Sky Grasper" fighter ship, with its own display stand. I think the Sky Grasper is a particularly nice accessory, being able to carry and wield the Strike Gundam armaments (including the flight pack that comes with the Aile Strike) like it does in the Gundam Seed TV show.
Other toys have gone the clear variant route, but none have been so well-suited to the gimmick as the Clear Strike Gundam. The body pieces and accessories have been molded in a crystalline plastic, and the see-thru armor with the steel framework being visible underneath makes for a particularly striking presentation.
You might find the Clear Strike Gundam on eBay like I did (try doing a search for "gundam chogokin" or "gundam expo 2003"). You can also check with your finer import shops (I know that Action-HQ has it available online for pre-order). The Clear Gundam is an exclusive figure, so be prepared to shell out a good $90-100+ for it. It's a bit on the pricey side to be sure, but if you're a fan of Gundam Seed or Bandai's Metal Material Chogokin toys, it would definitely make a sharp looking addition to your collection.