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I tried to find any kind of information about this toy. As usual social media met with silence and I couldn’t figure out what to put into the search engine to get any answers. So what I know is very limited, and the sad part is I did once find the info I was looking for, but if I saved the links somewhere I can’t find it. This is disappointing from a review perspective because I feel like I’m not giving you the full information to do this right. Reviews are different from project reports in my mind, and I try to be thorough without being boring in those as well.

At any rate, this was part of a series of transforming robots with some retooling and better quality plastic to inch it out of the usual “knockoff” territory, what I usually refer to as a “transformoid” to give all transforming robots in the Transformers/GoBots group a blanket title. Although from what I can tell this comes from the Macross franchise, what we in the US would know as the first Robotech war. After Robotech ended Japan spun off more series in the Macross universe. I’ve seen two of them (Macross II and Macross Plus) and I don’t recognize this from either of them, but the design fits that aesthetic perfectly so it just feels like that’s where it came from. The line was sold in Walmart but I can’t find concrete proof that it was exclusive and I’ve long since gotten rid of the packaging so your guess is as good as mine. (Watch someone finally tell me the full story, making this article look even weaker.)

However, I still have a toy to review regardless of history, so let’s get to that.

A better look at the plane via multiple angles.

A better look at the plane via multiple angles.

In plane mode the ship strongly resembles a stealth bomber, although a bit bulkier, but I’ll get back to that. It has three landing gears, neither of which have any rolling wheels; they are all molded wheels but the gears do extend and retract which is good for both flight play and robot mode. In the back you can see that the robot feet are kind of obvious (the first evidence of its Macross connection) but can also be ignored as a second set of thrusters for escaping after dropping the payload. Except something is in the way of a bomb door, which is the second piece of evidence…the gun.

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Any landing you can walk away from…

On the bottom between the robot legs is the gun, which is where the fighter jets in the Macross series are often kept their rifles in plane mode. There is a new addition, though. A piece on the bottom that actually protects the gun and hides the robot feet. Whether this is part of the original design or not I of course have no idea. Like I said, I couldn’t find anything about this. You can (I doubt this was intentional) slide the piece down a little bit and expose more of the gun barrel but it blocks the rear landing gear. I’m also not sure why this is camouflaged unless rights issues were involved. It’s one thing if you plan to land behind enemy territory and need to hide it but bombers usually drop their bombs and head back to base. It seems pointless. Otherwise it does admittedly look cool.

You’ve probably noticed the stickers on this even with the lighting. There’s the big symbol that would be right at home in the Transformers universe as a separate faction symbol, a smaller symbol that looks like a military squad logo (it has the words “Griffin System”, so I’m calling this guy Griffin despite the Macross planes being human-piloted robots as opposed to sentient robots like the Transformers), and some caution warnings that you’d expect on an actual stealth bomber. While the other two, more spacecraft-like, compatriots in this line I have suffer from terrible sticker glue thus far everything has stayed on. So let’s get to the third connection to the Macross base design.

gerwalk

“Am I a boy dreaming I’m a jet or jet dreaming I’m a boy?”

Known in the Macross series as “Gerwalk”, or “Guardian” for Robotech, this is a transitional mode for when you need the advantages of the robot but no time to fully transform. I think the back part is supposed to stay up but for this particular aircraft it looks silly with over half the plane hanging off the back, so I prefer to fold it down. Transforming it is fine until you try to convert the top thrusters into the arms. The points on the shoulders have a tendency to not get along with points on the back plane half and you have to fight to get the darn things away from each other to complete the conversion. Once you do the result isn’t too bad.

You can better seen the shiny parts (or would if I had cleaned the photo up better), which form the robot shoulders. It stands well, even without the back piece holding it up. It may look a little silly but within the canon of the base robot/plane type it actually makes sense. You can also see more stickers in this mode, including some on the legs that were part of the plane but hidden by the shield. The shield, which clips well to the arm and appears to be for small-arms fire at best, has the same “faction symbol” while the gun has the “squad symbol” and a serial number for the rifle, GS-81. I don’t know what if any significance this has but it’s a nice touch.

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Stand at attention, soldier!

Now in full robot mode there isn’t a lot of change, pardon the term. The color scheme is still there. A few more stickers take prominence and that’s it. There is a fault in the design (which is hard to avoid given the plane in question) that makes him look like he has a really small body. It’s kind of hard to avoid really. Then we get to the face, which is not the standard “one-eyed visor” of most Macross fighters, but a full face, as if he’s more Transformer than Macross. It gives him a bit more personality which is why Griffin comes off as his own mech than the usual person-controlled mecha. I kind of like it but it does further make the body look small.

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At least his arm is safe. Granted it’s open season on the rest of him.

Griffin does have decent articulation. His head only turns left and right due to transformation. He does have good shoulder and bicep articulation but nothing in the wrist. No waist to speak of but while he can’t do the splits he does otherwise have thigh (if he had a thigh) and knee articulation. Nothing in the feet due to transformation though. You can get some decent defensive and offensive poses with his shield and rifle, and the rifle fits snug in Griffin’s hand.

robot3

“That’s not the password!”

Decision: Stays

I really like this one. I think he’s my favorite of the Walmart whateverthenameoftheseriesis toys I own and he fits in well enough with the Transformers, possibly as an unaligned soldier doing his own thing against the Decepticons, maybe closer aligned to the humans than even the Autobots. Or he protects other unaligned Transformoids who choose to stay out of the overall war. I go with both, really. Either way if you come across him, though not at Walmart since this line ended quite a few years ago, I recommend him and he has a place in my transforming robot collection.

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