The main draw of this toy is the anime-accurate transformation which will be covered in this part of the review.
We’ll have to pretend there’s green stuff (“electromagnetic fog”) spewing from the sides of GaiGar’s waist while he spins around, enveloping the space around him.
From the surf emerges Drill Gao,
and Liner Gao.
The vehicles magically orbit GaiGar as its waist is rotated 180 degrees. The legs are retracted at the shins, and the feet are folded up.
Drill Gao’s transformation is simple. The feet are opened and the drills are swung forward to form the kneecaps, with the cockpits automatically sliding downward to form the shins with a satisfying click as they reveal the holes for GaiGar’s legs. On the actual toy we should probably separate the legs but I’m showing this for dramatic effect.
The two parts of the legs can be separated by simply pulling them apart and folding up the clip that is on one of the legs.
GaiGar’s legs simply slide into the holes. Notice the gunmetal-coloured latches on the back of the inside walls. These clip onto the corresponding holes on the square sections of GaiGar’s knees and can only be detached while pushing down on the spring-loaded release switches on the back of Drill Gao. There are also spring-loaded latches on the opposite sides of the inside walls but they don’t lock.
No fancy animations going on here but you can see GaiGar’s legs peeking out from below the feet.
Next, GaiGar’s shoulders are swing backwards 180 degrees to reveal the chest cavity for Liner Gao. The arms are rotated inwards slightly to allow Stealth Gao to fit properly later on.
Also, there are locking pegs underneath the base of GaiGar’s neck for keeping Liner Gao in position. You can just see them in the picture above. The manual warns that you must lift the base of the head to get the pegs out of the way before sliding the train inside the cavity. The train has to be slid in the correct orientation; do it backwards and you end up with the elbows bent backward.
And just like the anime, you have to push the train so it overshoots and returns to the centre. On the toy, a switch is activated when you do this causing GaiGar’s waist to pop wider. The base of the neck is then pushed back down to lock the train in position.
Stealth Gao’s underside has to be opened to deploy the helmet first. The underside hatches are then collapsed into the roof, providing space for GaiGar’s arms. You have to attach a brace to GaiGar’s waist which goes between the waist and GaiGar’s arms. Some may balk at this typical move from Bandai, but it seems you can make do without using it. Unlike the anime the plane doesn’t slide down from the top but simply clips from the back onto the die-cast knobs on the exposed insides of GaiGar’s shoulders, and the brace at the back of the waist. No fancy locking animations going on at this point either.
Next, the train carriages are pulled outwards and lifted up in a crank-like motion to become the shoulders. The arms holding the mane pieces are swung around and once you slide the base of the arms towards the sides of the waist, the mane can then clip onto the sides of the lion head.
Working on the arms, you have open the underside covers below the trains and lift the carriages to unveil the upper arms which you then swing down. It’s a bit finicky but you have to swing the upper arms out without making the cranked shoulders sag. The covers on the undersides of the trains can then be clipped in place below the front of the carriages.
The covers blocking the hands are detached beforehand. Unfortunately at this point in time RL humanity lacks the technology to make magic disappearing shutters. The forearms can slide on their rails to attach to the upper arms.
Doing so causes the hands to spin as they deploy just like in the anime, except lacking some dramatic streak effects and sounds of heavy machinery moving. Once the forearms are clipped into the elbows, they are free from their rails which can then be folded inside the plane and hidden away from view.
Finally, the helmet which is mounted on a red arm with several joints can be swung onto GaiGar’s head and the front and back halves closed. The mouthpiece unfortunately does not move, but the forehead G-Stone amazingly reveals like in the anime when you close the helmet over GaiGar’s head.
*steam sprays from the vents on the cheeks*
TO BE CONTINUED
Narrator: This is the key to victory!