[Part One / Strato Fighter (Air Team)]
A review of an early production sample of the Soul of Chogokin GX-88 Dairugger XV (Vehicle Force Voltron) by Koji Igarashi!

The fastest VORTRON Review part 1

A full-featured Vehicle Force Voltron joins the Soul of Chogokin series! It’s a perfect re-creation of the world’s first giant robot combined from fifteen vehicles. In preparation for this groundbreaking product to go on sale, we provided animation historian Koji Igarashi with a sample. Read on for his point by point review of the vehicles, their three combinations, and Voltron itself. First up is a closer look at the five vehicles of the Strato Fighter (Air Team)!
※Images are of a pre-production sample. Actual product may vary.
※For instructions about combining the vehicles, please refer to the instruction manual.

Packaging

Take a look at this gorgeous packaging. It’s oriented vertically. That really makes me think of Bandai America’s packaging for the old Godaikin series. The catch-copy reads “15 Vehicles Combine Perfectly.” That’s what it’s all about! The font and text all really look good too.
When you open the box, you find an inner cover. This is a total homage to the old Popy DX Dairugger toy packaging! The foreign edition will be released with a sleeve featuring the Voltron name.

  • The Soul of Chogokin Dairugger (Vehicle Voltron) packaging
  • The Soul of Chogokin Dairugger (Vehicle Voltron) packaging

The Soul of Chogokin Dairugger (Vehicle Voltron) packaging. Just like the vintage version, the inner sheet helps when putting the vehicles away.

The foreign packaging

Here’s the foreign packaging. That sword pose is so cool!

COMMAND JET EXPLORER

Let’s take a look at the vehicles from the Air Team. First is the head. It has retractable landing gear. And the face is spring-loaded to pop out when the hatches are opened. They’re linked so that they operate together. Also, the neck can be pulled out to allow for up and down movement as well as the standard left and right.

COMMAND JET EXPLORER’s landing gear

COMMAND JET EXPLORER’s landing gear. The left gear is extended, the right retracted. The tires even roll!

Open the hatches

Push the face in to “store” it for vehicle mode; open the hatches and it springs to the front.

The neck joint

The neck joint can be pulled out to expand the posability.

STRATO WEAPONS MODULE

Here’s STRATO WEAPONS MODULE. The tracks rotate. They’re oriented differently in vehicle and Voltron mode, so make sure to adjust them after combining. The red button on the top is pressed to release COMMAND JET EXPLORER. It’s spring loaded to launch COMMAND JET EXPLORER out with quite a bit of force, so make sure to hold on to COMMAND JET EXPLORER when you press it. Sometimes setting COMMUNICATIONS MODULE can also trigger it, so hold on to COMMAND JET EXPLORER when combining that, too. But if you combine the vehicles as suggested in the instructions it won’t be a problem.

The rotating treads

The rotating treads. They should be sideways when in Vehicle or Voltron mode, and rotated facing front when in AIR TEAM!

The COMMAND JET EXPLORER detachment button

COMMAND JET EXPLORER detachment button. Hold it like this when separating.

combining the upper torso

When combining the upper torso, make sure not to accidentally launch COMMAND JET EXPLORER when you attach COMMUNICATIONS MODULE!

ADVANCED RECON HELICOPTER / ADVANCED RECON HELICOPTER 2 / FALCON JET FIGHTER

ADVANCED RECON HELICOPTER and ADVANCED RECON HELICOPTER 2 have three types of rotors. The two-blade type are an homage to the 1982 plastic model kit. The small diameter ones are options for Voltron mode. Both Vehicles have opening landing gear, and so does FALCON JET FIGHTER.

three rotors

All three rotors are finished with chrome plating.

ADVANCED RECON HELICOPTER ADVANCED RECON HELICOPTER 2

All of the landing gears can open and close, and feature working tires.

AIR TEAM

Let’s combine all five Air Team vehicles into the Strato Fighter! First, switch the rotors of ADVANCED RECON HELICOPTER and ADVANCED RECON HELICOPTER 2 to the smaller diameter versions. Then, remember to push in and store the connector on the side that won’t be connected to the Strato Fighter.

side-connectors extended;retracted

ADVANCED RECON HELICOPTER 2 (left)’s side-connectors extended; ADVANCED RECON HELICOPTER’s retracted.

Strato Fighter complete!

Strato Fighter complete! Note the front of FALCON JET FIGHTER and the orientation of STRATO WEAPONS MODULE’s tracks!


We plan to publish a review of the Turbo Terrain Fighter (Land Team) soon!

S.H.Figuarts GX-88 VOLTRON I

Koji Igarashi

Animation Historian. Founder of the editing production house Tulcas. A widely published writer in the field of robot anime research. His most recent book is the August 2017 “Robot Anime Evolution Theory,” an exploration of the relationship of anime and toy merchandising over the last fifty years. Other works include his participation in the “50 Years of Go Nagai” exhibition (2018-2019) and the “World of Yoshiyuki Tomino) (2019-2020) exhibitions.