Soul of Chogokin Spec Layzner Mark II by Bandai (available as a Tamashii Webshop Exclusive)
So here is our review of the Tamashii Webshop Exclusive Soul of Chogokin Spec Layzner Mark II. A very interesting design from the hugely influential anime Blue Comet SPT Layzner. Considering that this design was never animated means that this toy is a rather special one.
This toy’s inception was a very unusual one when it comes to typical Bandai products. Firstly, fans were asked at a Tamashii Nations event to select their favourite 80’s mecha show that they thought deserved more products and then what design in particular. Layzner came out top, with the Mark II being cited as the must-have design (with the Zakarl not far behind).
Things didn’t end there either, as Bandai would give progress reports and ask for feedback. If they were going to give fans the toy they wanted, they were going to do it right. As such the toys has had multiple design iterations, as shown in this handy GIF.
The final release is subsequently the result of all these fan requests and it really shows.
Whilst the Mark II never made it into its host anime, it has been featured in numerous games over the years, from Another Century’s Episode 2 to Super Robot Wars J. The big deal about the Mark II is that it features the same V-MAXIMUM attack as used for the Zakarl. This is a big deal as the original Layzner was pretty much trounced by the Zakarl in the series for lacking this ability (something that was glossed over rather quietly for the New Layzner in the OVA).
Anyway, on to the toy itself. Whilst there have been a few garage kits over the years we’ve never had an actual toy of the design. Well, we do now!
The base figure is quite weighty as it features a lot of diecast within it. The main joints are all diecast too and are very sturdy. The articulation is consequently very good indeed. The sculpt is smoother than the previous Tamashii Spec Layzner but the detailing is somewhat less fine than the more recent Robot Damashii figures (though this is in line with the other Tamashii Spec toys). The sculpt is pretty much faultless though and evokes a real 80’s sensibility in the design.
In terms of options, there aren’t many. The figure comes with a good stand as well as various hands, not to mention the lazered rifle and attachment piece for the backpack. Bar that though, it’s pretty standard. The gimmicks are another story, though.
The cockpit in the head opens up, though this time Eiji is fixed in place, but the real surprise is that it features retractable landing gear in the nose and knees, that’s pretty great really. The main party piece is the transformation though.
Unlike a variable fighter from Macross, the transformation is somewhat more straightforward on this figure. The nose flips up and the legs sweep back with the arms along the side. With all the diecast throughout the figure, the transformation is handled really well. You can also choose to swap out the inner leg vents to link the legs together but this is entirely optional.
The only real danger is the lazered guns attached to the base of the arms. These are somewhat fragile but just need to be taken into account when handling the toy.
Bar that, this is a pretty faultless Mark II figure and likely the best we’ll get to see for a long while to come. Well worth every penny!