[Part Two / 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 2

Dairugger XV, better known abroad as Vehicle Force Voltron, joins the Soul of Chogokin series! As we prepare to launch the product, the Chogokin scholar and animation historian Koji Igarashi examines a sample in a three-part review!
In Part 2, we’ll take a close up 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.

COMMUNICATIONS MODULE

The blocks on the side of COMMUNICATIONS MODULE become joints in Voltron mode. They have different articulation: the top joint articulates the front-to-back motion of the waist, and the bottom joint the rotation of the waist. Let’s take a look at how this design makes this incredibly posable toy. I mean, the idea of a Vehicle Voltron that can bend at the waist is already pretty shocking.

  • COMMUNICATIONS MODULE
  • COMMUNICATIONS MODULE

COMMUNICATIONS MODULE (displayed sideways to make it easier to see). The top block bends forward and backward; the bottom rotates.

SPACE PROBER 1 / SPACE PROBER 2

In Voltron mode, the tips of these vehicles need to lock in place. The way it works is that a connector extends from the back while the nose-cones telescope inward. When you do that, the nose-cones lock in place, tightly anchoring the legs to Voltron’s waist. They don’t come out even when posing.

SPACE PROBER 2 in vehicle mode, SPACE PROBER 1 in combination mode

SPACE PROBER 2 in vehicle mode, SPACE PROBER 1 in combination mode. You can see the connector extending from the rear side and the nose cone retracted.

SPACE PROBER 2’s unlocking switch

SPACE PROBER 2’s unlocking switch. When you return the connector joint to its original position the lock releases and the nose cone returns to the extended position. Just watch the grooves on the sides while you’re doing it and it’s a breeze.

MULTI WHEELED EXPLORER 1 / MULTI WHEELED EXPLORER 2

MULTI WHEELED EXPLORER 1 and MULTI WHEELED EXPLORER 2 have optional antennas. These are small and delicate parts so be careful when handling them. I kept losing the antennas on my old Popy DX Dairugger toy, so now I’m always careful to keep these antennas safe when I remove them. The attachment pylons move up and down, so make sure to slide them up when inserting the antennas.
To form Voltron, the white panels behind the cockpits (which serve to cover the joint gap in Voltron mode) need to be opened and the cockpits rotated 180 degrees back. The exposed back sides have connector joints. Once they’re exposed don’t forget to close the hatches again.
Now we’re ready to combine. Let’s do this. By the way the detachment buttons are the rectangular white buttons right under the knees.

  • vehicle mode
  • vehicle mode

Vehicle mode, with antenna attached. For Voltron mode the antenna are removed and the pylons retracted.

mid-transformation into combination mode

Mid-transformation into combination mode. The white panel is rotated up and the cockpit rotated 180 degrees backward. It slides home smoothly, without interfering with the panel.

a rear view

A rear view. At right you can see the hatch that covers the joint. MULTI WHEELED EXPLORER 1 at left shows the hatch open to expose the connector. Make sure to open the hatch before extending the connector.

the horizontal white bars when returning to vehicle mode

The horizontal white bars beneath the chrome kneecaps are pressed to disengage the legs when returning to vehicle mode. For now, though, they’ll form Voltron’s legs.

Strato Fighter

Here’s the Strato Fighter mode. The white squares on the sides of MULTI WHEELED EXPLORER 1 and MULTI WHEELED EXPLORER 2 extend outward to accommodate the connector blocks of COMMUNICATIONS MODULE.

Strato Fighter

Strato Fighter. To connect SPACE PROBER 1 and SPACE PROBER 2, their rear connectors are extended but the nose-cones are not retracted. That feature is only used when forming Voltron.

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.