I finally caved and bought a B-Daman from the OS Gear subline. This toy is one of the few that comes with the titular OS Gear included.
According to some Japanese collectors, the Outer Shell System addressed customizability limitations inherent to the older Bomberman-shaped Super B-Daman toys, and allowed the use of completely original B-Daman designs. Equipping an Over Shell Gear provided mounting points for attaching parts like barrels and magazines to the B-Daman at that time.
The customizability aspect was refined by the Plug In System which moved the mounting points to the B-Daman itself, eliminating the need to use an OS Gear. It also freed up size and shape limitations that came from having to design B-Daman that hitherto had to fit inside the confines of an OS Gear. Later on, the Plug In System was updated to the Plug In Extend (PI-EX) System which separated the core from the body of the B-Daman and introduced separately-sold add-on parts to turn them into “Perfect Form”, sort of like the DLC nonsense that’s going on with video games these days.
Enough rambling, on to the toy itself.
The package design is simple and dated for a toy that’s almost 20 years old as of writing this post.
Contents. Not much, probably due to the dated design by today’s standards. The B-Daman figure itself takes up three runners and a fourth one holding a rubber drive strip, while the OS Gear and Power Wing 2 take up two runners.
This was the first B-Daman to use the three-pronged Delta System along with a rubber drive strip on the bottom to make forward-spinning Drive Shots possible. On my copy of the toy, the fitment between the hold parts and feet is agonizingly tight, and due to the design of the body (the blue parts) there wasn’t much leverage to force the parts to fit completely without risking a broken toy. There are no screws involved, but the brute strength required to get the parts to fit doesn’t make things easier.
The arms are directly linked to the upper hold parts, giving a boost in shot power if you push the arms inwards when shooting. However the small shoulder pads make it a bit difficult to so do and some reviewers claim you can risk breaking the arms. This play style is refined in the Cross Fight B-Daman eS line which incorporates buttons you can press to do “Emblem Charge” shots. It’s the same principle except that the emblems have limiters in them and are designed so that shot power isn’t defined as much by your strength.
Just a simple trigger, but the trigger spring is unusually stiff.
The OS Gear is simple and only consists of six total parts. The rivets are used to hold the arm covers.
Complete. The arm covers are shaped like pads, making it easier to push against the arms and increase shot power.
The Power Wing 2 is cleverly designed and is an upgrade to the previous Power Wing which included 3 differently shaped wing parts for different power levels. The pegs on the Power Wing attach to the back of the hold parts, limiting their flex to increase shot power.
Cobalt Blade from Battle B-Daman Zero also has a Power Wing that probably references this, but the OS Gear is required to mount this on a B-Daman.
A Multi Trigger 2 is also included which is longer and has a large trigger pad. Not sure what additional functionality warrants the “Multi” name.
To equip the OS Gear, you have to remove the stock trigger from the compatible B-Daman. Open the arm and feet covers on the OS Gear, mount the B-Daman onto the Power Wing pegs, close the arm and feet covers and re-attach the Multi Trigger.
Rear view. You can remove the hatch on the back of the head to load marbles from behind which is way easier than forcing them from the front which the instruction manual states.
The Power Wing can be configured in three positions. The higher the wings, the wider the pegs get and more shot power is provided.
Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be suited very well for Fighting Phoenix as the hold parts flex upwards as well, which the Power Wing doesn’t address. It’s more suitable for the conventional two-pronged hold parts which flex only in the horizontal plane.
Here is Fighting Phoenix with its stickers applied. The shape of the stickers unfortunately doesn’t match the contours of the parts too well. Confined by the dimensions of the OS Gear, this guy looks tiny compared to its successors.
The OS Gear is also stickered up.
When equipped with the OS Gear and Power Wing, you get a noticeable increase in shot power. However, as mentioned earlier there isn’t a noticeable further boost in power when you adjust the Power Wing.
Comparison. From left to right, Fighting Phoenix (OS Gear), Battle Phoenix (PI), Combat Phoenix (PI-EX). In terms of power levels, as upgrades the later iterations are rightfully more powerful. My Battle Phoenix is equipped with Tune-up Parts that boost its shot power while Combat Phoenix is still incomplete without the Mega Cannon Wing add-on and so cannot display its true potential. Even later iterations of the Phoenix lineage are nearly non-existent by now so I have no idea if they possess even crazier power levels.