Astro Toy
Metaltech Die-cast Grendizer

by David Cabrera,

Metaltech Diecast Grendizer
Series: Grendizer
Manufacturer: High Dream
Price: $50-$60

This time, rather than digging through Japan's online stashes, I went window shopping in stores that physically exist (I know, right?) and came up with this lovely piece from High Dream: a diecast figure of Mazinger's third-generation relative, Grendizer.

How about this box, huh? It kind of looks like there should be candy in it. There's no flap-up front, no window, just sweet artwork of Grendizer boppin’ them bad guys and a small picture on the back that only gives a passing impression of what's inside. Obviously, I found this mysterious box promising diecast Go Nagai robot action absolutely irresistible.

Everything on the box is in English, and the box indicates that this is an edition sold in Italy, where Grendizer was well known as Goldrake: looks like they've switched back to the Japanese name since. Here in the states he was Grandizer on the Force Five show, in case he was looking familiar.

The name of this line, “Metaltech”, draws two immediate comparisons: the Revoltech line, which we've been spending a lot of time with, and Bandai's Chogokin line, the reigning Kings of Metal in the field of diecast. There's been a Soul of Chogokin Grendizer figure for years, of course, but there's about a hundred-dollar difference between that one and this. You don't get all the features of the famously completist and uncompromising SoC line, but at $50 they aren't exactly expected. Indeed, maybe what the name Metaltech points to is diecast that isn't a major investment, something more easily collectible along the lines of Revoltech (and there's also a Revoltech Grendizer). I can get on board for that, but these are big names to be invoking. This toy better be good!

The design itself is the final one-upping of the 70's Mazinger line, so it's something of a “as far as this will go” idea from Dynamic Pro: brightly multicolored, a little over the top for its era, but not completely gaudy like some of its contemporaries. This Grendizer is painted glossy, as Nagai's robots always should be, but the metal-colored bits aren't chromed out: that's more a Chogokin thing.

The approach is very similar to a Soul of Chogokin as opposed to a Revoltech, so I'll be drawing most of my comparisons to that line. There's a Chogokin-comparable amount of diecast: important parts like the chest, waist, and legs are appropriately weighty. What the figure doesn't have is anything past the character's basics, like the UFO that Grendizer rides around in or the Spazer helper ships.

The posability for the figure only goes as far as it can without sacrificing the lines of the classic 70s design in any way: there aren't any visible joints here that aren't consistent with the original robot. To this end, the articulation - with loud, sturdy, rigid ratchet joints, like you see on Chogokin toys - is not extensive. The arms go about as far as you'd like: note that the red pattern on the forearm is made of flexible plastic so it bends up and stays out of the way when posing. The legs, on the other hand, don't really have a wide range of motion at all: you're only really going to be putting this guy in various standing power poses, as seen in the robot anime transformation sequence of your choice.

The signature Double Harken weapon comes in two pieces, one for each hand, and of course they can be attached to form the whole weapon-- wait, wait, what? Why the hell don't these pieces snap together? This is basic! This is Action Figures 101!

Well, I took a look around for photos of this toy. One of the Double Harken pieces is supposed to have a peg that snaps them together, and this one, despite my searching, has no such part. That's right, gang, another defect. I don't know how I have such bad luck with these things all of a sudden: I never bought a defective toy before I started this column!

Now here's something that particularly caught my attention. We may not have spring-loaded firing fists (my favorite toy gimmick next to light-up eyes), but High Dream has come up with something creative to make up for it. These Screw Crasher Punches actually have molded fire and smoke effects! So instead of firing a fist across the room and going “p-kew! p-kew!” I just stand the figure there, look at it real hard and go “brakooom! bwooosh! kra-kow!” That's what you guys do with these toys, right? My only problem with these arms is that on my figure, the colors of the fire effect aren't consistent from one arm to the other, so it looks a little weird in a double-fisted pose.

So we've established that the Metaltech doesn't completely stand up to a Soul of Chogokin figure (mind you, I don't have the SoC Grendizer and don't know how well it came out), but simply put, that's what you get for another hundred dollars. So what Grendizer nerd is the Metaltech figure for, exactly? If you want posability, the Revoltech is the clear choice. If you want absolutely everything from the anime at the highest possible quality, you can go Ebay hunting and put up around $200 for the SoC “King of Space” set with all the Spazers. If you want good diecast and you don't want to make a major investment-- perhaps you're trying to figure out whether you'd like this kind of thing-- this is for you.

I paid about $60 at Forbidden Planet in NYC, but I don't know whether or not they've got another. You can find this figure for about $50 (before shipping) online. I have never used EntertainmentEarth and cannot necessarily vouch for them, but they are selling the figure for that price.

When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera gets hype about anime, manga and gaming at Subatomic Brainfreeze.

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