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Retro Review: Sentinel Tatsunoko Heroes Fighting Gear: Gatchaman G-1/G-2 Action Figure Review



Hey there! Boy does this figure bring back some awesome memories. If you are in my age bracket, you'll remember this character as "Mark" the leader of G-Force from the American version of Gatchaman titled: "Battle of the Planets." Likely, one of the best cartoons ever. Yes, the animation today is dated and there is a lot of re-used footage, but the theme song, the five heroes, the Phoenix, and of course the ever lovable 7 - Zark - 7 based at Center Neptune, watching over them all will remain indelibly inked in our fond memories. I was absolutely ecstatic when I discovered these figures on Amazon way back in 2016.


"Battle of the Planets! G-Force, five incredible young people with superpowers! And watching over them from Centre Neptune, 7-Zark-7! Watching, warning against surprise attacks by alien galaxies from beyond space. G-Force! Fearless young orphans, protecting Earth's entire galaxy. Always five, acting as one. Dedicated! Inseparable! Invincible!"

In 1979, I can remember hustling home after school, waiting for that opening narration and the unforgettable theme music, ushering these five young heroes from my television into my imagination! I couldn't wait to see what dangers lay ahead for the Eagle (Mark), Condor (Jason), Swan (Princess), Swallow (Keyop) and Owl (Tiny) as they flew into battle in the Phoenix! BotP was revamped by Sandy Frank from the original Science Ninja Team Gatchaman series in Japan. There were 105 episodes, of which BotP adapted 85 for American viewers. Many of the original Gatchaman themes were heavily edited, including the amount of violence and profanity from the series. The consistencies between the series included the use of four individual vehicles; Mark's fighter jet, Jason's race car, Princess' motorcycle, and Keyop's "Space Bubble" an all-terrain vehicle, which could use a VTOL mode and was submersible. These vehicles would enable the four team members to operated independently from the Phoenix, but when picked up became key components of the vessel. Jason's race car was stored in the nose cone, Keyop and Princess' vehicles were stored in the left- and right-wing pods, and Mark's jet would land in the stern of the ship, with his tail fin becoming the central fin for the Phoenix. Tiny was assigned as the pilot of the Phoenix and as such was tasked with assembling the team for assignments. The ship itself was magnificent mode of transportation and deadly weapon itself. In extreme situations, when their missiles were ineffective, the team could transform the Phoenix into a fiery bird mode, generally destroying their enemy or aiding in escaping a certain death situation. I could go on and on about the show but that would likely take up the entire article. Instead, we'll lead into the review with a brief synopsis on the two figures we're discussing. The Eagle is the field team leader of G-Force (or Science Ninja Team Gatchaman). He is a brilliant tactician, ace fighter pilot, highly skilled in martial arts and carries a razor sharp, sonic boomerang. Mark is cool under fire and his even temperament helps keep the team steady when facing danger. By contrast Jason, the Condor, as second in command is known for his fiery temper and impatience. Jason is a man of action, and he is ready for the fight, regardless of the odds. He and Mark often clash over the latter's even-handed leadership style, but his respect for his team leader is evident even in his reluctance to always follow orders. His prowess with his gadget gun, fighting skills, and deadly feather darts make Jason a formidable opponent for the forces of Spectra. For review purposes, we'll refer to them as "G-1"and "G-2" moving forward.


We will focus on the Accessories, Appearance, Articulation, and Affordability of the figure. Each category will receive an individual rating before the figure receives the overall grade of zero to 10 ToyBoxes. Please remember, though I try to be as objective as possible, these reviews are solely based on my opinion. My goal is to help you, my fellow collectors, decide if a figure is worth purchasing for your own collecting enjoyment.




ACCESSORIES

Both are packed with multiple hands. G-1 includes his sonic boomerang, while G-2 is equipped with his feather dart. Both have one pair of fists, one pair of flat, karate chopping hands. G-1 has one right hand in a two fingered pointing gesture and a relaxed left hand, while G-2 has an extra left hand posed to hold the dart and a relaxed right hand. Both come with a nice display stand, which does have some issues with the clamps. The hinge pieces pop onto pegs and, unfortunately, are rather loose. You aren't going to use this stand for any dynamic poses, but more to simply keep the figures upright. The only real issue that I have with the hands is that over the years, the holes have contracted, making swapping them out a bit difficult. In fact, when I was putting a new hand on G-2, I thought I broke the wrist peg. Thankfully, I didn't, but still... it made the heart skip a beat. As far as accessories go, the extra hands are nice but the fact that the G-2's gun is molded as part of his holster and there is no folded sonic boomerang for G-1's pouch, is a bit disappointing. While I like the LOOK of the display stands, their functionality is also pretty suspect, so I'd have to say for accessories, it's a bit of a letdown and they earn an average 5 out of 10.



APPEARANCE

Given that the figures are based on the Fighting Heroes series, with body armor, they still capture the look of the traditional costumes quite nicely. These are basically the same figure with the character appropriate paint schemes. I do appreciate the fact that the designs give the figures a modern look, while still conveying the original designs. I appreciate the painted facial features under the visors and am even more impressed by the fact that they look like the characters from the cartoons/comic books.



Incidentally, the figures are a combination of die-cast and plastic parts. This does give them a bit of heft, in hand. My biggest complaint, honestly, is the joint pegs. The wrist and ankle pegs are molded in the color of the body suits, while both figures' gloves and boots are different shades of blue. When posed, the pegs stick out horribly, especially on G-1, where the white pegs stand out in stark contrast to the blue boots/gloves. On the plus side, they do tend to be a bit better concealed on G-2, but only because the color scheme is darker anyhow. The chest emblems are a translucent red plastic. This design serves to show the internal lights which make the emblems glow. Sadly, I haven't been able to find batteries as my originals died a long time ago. I'd have liked to have lit up the emblems for photographs. The sculpting of the armor pieces is designed to give the figure a decidedly organic look, so the musculature is mimicked quite nicely, but even more so, given the anime-based design, keeps the characters lean and not overly muscular. Overall, I am really impressed with the paint applications on the figures, though I did get a scuff on G-1, which was entirely my own fault. Based on the design and the updated look to the characters, I found myself surprisingly pleased with their appearance. As such, I'm happy to give both figures 9 out of 10.



ARTICULATION

These figures are packed with amazing engineering. Not that there aren't a few concerns, but for the most part, these are a joy to pose. The heads will turn easily and can look up and down very nicely. Though, upward is a bit more limited. The shoulder pads can move up and down, which allows for the arms to raise out to a very nice T pose and can rotate a full 360 degrees as well. The bicep swivel works fine, and the elbows bend in just past 90 degrees. The wrists hinge and rotate easily enough, which is also good. The torso has reasonably nice movement, crunching, twisting, and tilting and the waist pivot works quite well. The legs have decent range of motion, but the design at the upper thigh actually limits splits and forward kicks. The legs do have a hidden upper thigh rotation though, which while helpful, isn't as functional as we might like. The knees though are absolutely fantastic and can bend in very deeply. The design though means that you'll see the white joints as the boots do get "broken up" when bending them. It's not terrible and clever positioning will hide the joints. However, I do have one big warning... the points at the tops of their boots are rather sharp and can poke you, so if you decide you want to get these figures, be careful. The ankles also rotate and hinge very well, however, the pegs are loose enough that the foot will rotate at an odd angle, very easily, giving both figures the look of having broken ankles. The toe articulation is ok, but nothing spectacular. I've seen better on both SHF and Mafex figures. While I am impressed with the articulation, I do feel that the legs tend to pose a bigger problem than I'd like to have, which drops the overall grade to a 7 out of 10.



AFFORDABILITY

I bought these figures back in 2016 on Amazon. G-1 was $116.85 and G-2 was $86.25 at the time. That's very reasonable, for the time period. I decided to look them up and see what they might be selling for today and was astounded to see that G-1 on the secondary market ranged from $175 all the way to over $400! G-2, on the low end, was about $145, but I did see pricing over $300 for him as well. I feel what I paid before was reasonable, especially for import figures made of diecast. Quite frankly, even the secondary market prices aren't terribly out of line for figures of this quality and age. If you can find them in the $150 to $200 range, I'd say you're getting one heck of a deal and so would put their grade at a 7 out of 10 for affordability.


Overall, the nostalgia value alone made these "must have" purchases for me. I would absolutely love to get a complete set of all five, based on their original appearance and though I know there are some figures out there, finding all five doesn't seem like a task I care to undertake. That being said, these two figures are a lot of fun to own and earn a solid:



7.5 out of 10 ToyBoxes

If you're a fan of Battle of the Planets/Gatchaman, these are worth pursuing. They look great posed on shelves and aren't out of the realm of affordability. Thank you for hanging out in Dan's ToyBox and until next time... GEEK OUT!!!






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