GN-U DOU
Galactic Gale Baxinger
5.5 Inch Scale
By: Yamato
$20.00

The Japanese toy market is filled with lots of different styles of figures. Often they aren’t marketed so much as toys, as they are model kits. Many of these kits however, when completed, leave you with an awesome action figure. It can be confusing for the Western consumer at times to decipher whether an item is a kit or a figure. Yamato hoped to split the difference with their 2008 GN-U DOU line, which offered up fully composed action figures that were built off a variety of pieces as if assembled via a kit.

The story of Baxinger is set 600 years after the destruction of Jupiter where the solar system was in a state of peace under the Bakufu government. However, the lawlessness of this new solar system prompts a man named Dan Condor to organize a new J9 team to fight against injustice. Equipped with Cosmobikes, they merge into a super robot named Baxinger.

Galactic Gale Baxinger isn’t known to American anime fans in most circles, likely because nobody bought the rights to it and renamed it Voltron. That’s sort of ironic as the show is very similar, with bikes replacing the Lions. Had World Events Productions selected Baxinger instead of Kikou Kantai Dairugger XV for season 2 of Voltron, everyone would know this guy.


Of course, I picked this guy up because he looked cool. I’m a fan of giant Japanese robots and the uncanny resemblance to Voltron certainly didn’t hurt. But how does Yamato’s unique joint system figure compare to other offerings like Revoltech?

Packaging:
Japan has a different market than America, as toys are regularly marketed for adults. Unlike most toy companies here in the states, “adult collector” isn’t a hush-hush word in the land of the rising sun. As such, these toys are packaged and marketed more towards that demographic. Of course, these are likely popular with children as well.


Yamato has given us a nice window box design here. It’s not much different than what we see from Bandai or Kaiyodo, but there is definitely a certain sleekness to this package. For whatever reason it seems more upscale to me than the other window boxes out there. Yamato typically deals in a lot of high end stuff and maybe that’s why the presentation appears that way to me.


The back of the package has a few pictures of the figure in action. It’s also loaded down in language, I presume describing the figure and it’s features, but my Japanese is a bit rusty.


One side of the box is particularly useful, with a great photo of the interior skeleton of the line. Every figure in the toy line is built on this frame. The armor is then snapped into or around the inner body, hence the model kit aspect. I believe the concept was to allow people to customize creations and characters as well.


Inside is a simple double layer tray that’s taped together. The figure and his accessories are free to be removed when you take the top tray off. Easy peasy.

Sculpt:
You might think that since all of these figures are built on the same frame, it would be obvious in the sculpt. Actually it’s the complete opposite. Unlike Revoltech, which often has it’s joints exposed, it’s almost impossible to see the joints on this figure.


The shoulders are connected via a double ball joint and that’s the only area that’s readily visible on the toy. The rest of the sculpt is nearly flawlessly concealed in the excellent framework of the figure.


Truth be told, I prefer this character’s design to Voltron. This guy has a more solid build and seems better thought out. Voltron, like many Megazords, often seems uneven or clunky. That’s not the case with Baxinger. Everything just seems right with his proportions.


The scale is a bit odd, at 5.5 inches but the rest of the line is scaled the same. This means you won’t have any worries about if this guy is compatible with other giant robots. Naturally, of course, that means you gotta catch em’ all.


One interesting note is that the figure comes with a plastic bib attached around his neck. Revoltechs sometimes do this but I assume it’s here on this figure to protect the head from scratching the chest. It’s easy to pop off the head and remove that.


Actually it’s pretty easy to remove everything from Baxinger. That’s pretty much the whole idea. If you wanted, you could unsnap every piece of armor until you have the same wire body that was shown on the side of the package. That’s a pretty interesting concept, but especially useful at times as well.

Articulation:
Japan seems to know no bounds when it comes to articulation. While they crank out tons of limited articulation vinyls, they just as often set the standard for articulation points. Many times, like the case here with GN-U DOU, they invent entirely new ways of doing articulation.


The base skeleton body has a ball jointed neck, double ball jointed shoulders, upper arm swivel, double hinge elbows, ball jointed wrists, ball jointed upper torso, ball jointed midsection, 190 degree swivel hinge thighs, thigh swivel, double hinge knees, swivel ankles, and swivel hinge rocker ankles. There may even be a couple of points I missed.


With all the armor on, though, he’s slightly less articulated. Yet I am absolutely blown away at how much poseability this guy really has. While he can’t get the full extension of every joint, most remain poseable to some degree and others are completely unhindered. You’re left with a much more natural movement and honestly, I think I prefer it to the Revoltechs.


He’s not really fiddly at all. Unlike the Ultra-Act line, he’s also not loose at all. His joints remain tight and it’s a cinch to pose Baxinger in any fashion you can imagine. He can cross his arms out and inward at an almost unheard of degree, given the design.


The side to side hip motion is the one area that’s most hindered by the armor, but it’s very easy to just pop off an armor piece to give him more extension. In theory you could do that with any piece of the armor, but it’s particularly non-noticeable on the hip area.

Accessories:
The one area where this guy is a little light, at least by Japanese standards, is the accessory column.


Baxinger gets three alternate hands, in addition to his regular hands. That works out to one pair of fist hands, on pair of open hands and a sword holding hand. The sword is stuck in his hand, which does limit posting somewhat, but it’s not the more grievous offence out there.


The hands swap out pretty easily. I do worry a bit about forcing the hands on and off on such small pegs, but it’s nowhere near the hassle that I’ve had on certain Revoltech figures. All of the hand poses are pretty good and you get several simple posing opportunities from them.


I love the design of the sword. It’s big and cool, but keeps it just simple enough.

Value:
When these originally hit, I suspect they were going right at the same market as the Kaiyodo products. At $35ish they were a tad steep, especially given the lack of accessories. Now they’ve come down in price and they can be had for $20 and under. At those price points, I can wholeheartedly recommend them.


Score Recap:
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 10
Articulation – 8
Accessories – 2 Hands, Sword Hand
Value – 8
Overall – 8 out of 10

Maybe it’s just because I’ve been souring on the Revoltech execution a bit as of late, but I would very much prefer to buy more GN-U DOU figures than Revoltech. I’m pretty sure that Yamato is finished with the line, unfortunately, because sales weren’t quite as strong as they had hoped. A lot of that is likely because of the properties they selected, moreso than the figure execution.


Even though Galactic Gale Baxinger is pretty obscure anime wise, it’s 1982 cartoon has finally gotten a truly great figure in this representation. Even if you don’t know the character, this would be a great addition to anyone’s toy shelf. It’s probably falling on deaf ears, but I’d love to see Mattel adopt a similar concept to Yamato’s inner frame GN-U DOU for it’s upcoming Voltron toys.

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