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Toys: L-Gaim Mk. 2

Posted on : 27-02-2011 | By : | In : Toys/Kits

Hardware: , , , , , , ,

2

Courtesy of our good friends at HobbyLink Japan, we’ve been sent the Robot Damashii L-Gaim Mk. 2 toy from Heavy Metal L-Gaim. To help give the toy some context we’ve also included some videos of it from the original anime and a few games it has been featured in over the years at the end of the review.

The early to mid 80’s were really a halcyon age for real robot anime, from the likes of Dunbine and VOTOMS to classics such as Heavy Metal L-Gaim. Written by Yoshiyuki Tomino, the series featured the unique (and then new) talents of one Mamoru Nagano. Set in the distant Pentagona star system, it told the plight of the young Daba Myroad trying to usurp the evil and equally mysterious Olda Poseidal. What was especially interesting about the mecha, called heavy metals, was that they were very much industrial machines with armor hinged upon an internal endoskeleton.

The L-Gaim Mk. 2 was the mid-season upgrade to the first L-Gaim for Daba Myroad, which was based upon the prior Amon Duule “Stack”, and as with most mid-season upgrades in real robot anime shows this one also transformed (into “prowler” mode no less). It was also one of the most powerful heavy metals in existence at that point in the show as well, as it could wield the beefy buster launcher and use it with impunity as its generator capacity was more than enough to handle the power output (something that normally plagued other heavy metals). The only other heavy metal that was even a match for the Mk. 2 was the ancient Original Auge, piloted by Poseidal himself.

Coupled with Nagano’s sleek and almost ethereal aesthetic L-Gaim resulted in some of the most striking mecha designs in anime and ones that have been hugely influential ever since. Following L-Gaim, Nagano also went onto pen the truly epic Five Star Stories manga, with many of the heavy metals being re-birthed as beautifully ornate mortar headds.

In terms of gaming, the Mk. 2 has been quite prolific to the point of it being featured in the recently released Another Century’s Episode Portable, with it’s buster launcher still packing an epic punch. It’s also been a moderate regular in the Super Robot Wars games, with the latest being XO.

Despite the show’s popularity and the large number of toys for the L-Gaim Mk. 1, the Mk. 2 hasn’t been as lucky. Apart from the rather lacklustre HCM toy, the Mk. 2 has been somewhat neglected over the years. However, Bandai recently held a poll at one of their Tamashii Nations events and the overwhelming response by fans was for an all new L-Gaim Mk. 2 toy.

Bandai have dutifully complied and done so brilliantly. As with their other Robot Damashii line, the Mk. 2 has very solid articulation as well as a very accurate sculpt. For the price, it does feel very sophisticated in terms of the engineering at work here. The transformation is also very interesting as it has been very accurately re-created, something that takes a little getting used to because the mode shifts look simple but there’s actually more going on than first meets the eye.

Toy: Robot Damashii L-Gaim Mk. 2
Price: 4,640 yen
Size/Weight: 34.2 x 21.0 x 8.0 cm / 400g

The transformation into “prowler” mode is actually quite complex and does, unfortunately, require some parts swapping. The latter becomes apparent when it seems that Bandai have literally gone to town on trying to accurately re-create the transformed aesthetic from the show. The legs have additional hinges above the knee that then click into place at the back of the thighs. The hips also slide back to make room for it to kneel into position. The final result, whilst simple to look at, is quite striking and it’s clear the emphasis was on visual accuracy throughout. Naturally, in order to display this mode off to its fullest requires one of the Tamashii Stands (sold separately).

As with all Robot Damashii toys, Bandai have done a really nice job on the Mk. 2. Whilst the transformation is a bit fiddly, the toy is very poseable and accurate to the show. Even all the power lines and piping are in full effect too, something that’s surprising for a toy this cheap.

Overall this is very much a labour of love by the team at Bandai and, most importantly, a figure done for the fans of the show. It also gives us leave to blithely sing “Say Mk. 2” an awful lot, which is always nice.

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Man, sometimes I really hate being poor.

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