A giant warrior from a bygone era...
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"Jumbo Machinder" is a term that hasn't seen a lot of use recently. In short, it describes specific giant robot and monster toys from the '70s and '80s, but in reality there's so much more to it. For those of us who may not be old enough to remember, Popy began releasing giant robots in 1973 with the great Mazinger Z, starting a toy revolution. The Jumbos (by Popy and then others) followed a set of guidelines that included specific dimensions, materials, features, and more. Sold in the U.S. as "Shogun Warriors," the huge toys garnered a massive cult following, and original specimens are highly sought after. And so it was a great surprise when Super7 announced it was resurrecting the Jumbo Machinder archetype with no less a partner than Star Wars! The result? The Super Shogun Stormtrooper.
Super7's Stormtrooper isn't cheap, and thankfully they didn't cut corners when it came to packaging and shipping. The first thing you'll see is a huge cardboard shipping carton decorated with a Stormtrooper silhouette and logos for the Super Shogun line and the Stormtrooper itself. The troopers ship one per carton, so if you want you'll be able to keep the inner box in pristine condition.
The inner Stormtrooper box is quite a work of art. With design cues taken from the original Jumbo Machinder packaging, this one is dominated by a deep blue star field. The front panel has a huge photo of the Stormtrooper (with the Death Star lurking behind him!), along with stylized graphics and logos in both English and Japanese. The reflective foil Star Wars logo looks great, and the green/blue color scheme is pretty striking. There are tons of little details here and there, like the "SW/S7" license sticker in the corner and a note proclaiming this "Figure #1 in the Series."
With the huge size of the box, Super7 was given plenty of opportunity to put content on it. Just check out the sides! One side has a description of the Stormtrooper’s connection to the "Super Shogun" world along with a history of Super7 and a note from its founder Brian Flynn. Next to all of that text are some detail pictures and a list of features with fun icons like a no batteries symbol, etc. The other side of the box reprints the Stormtrooper logo with a rundown of the contents and features to the left and a sneak peek at the next figure in the series on the right (I'll give you a hint. It's the most famous sci-fi bounty hunter of all time...). Look closely to find the Proof of Purchase: "Super Seven Fun Group Stormtrooper." With all of that cool stuff you may have a strong urge to display the box. It's a good thing then that the top simply slides off so you can take out the figure without damaging the packaging!
Read about the behind the scenes that went into the packaging and Figures.com's exclusive interview with Super7's Frank Supiot HERE.
Once inside, you'll find very straightforward contents. The enormous figure is wrapped in plastic and buttressed by cardboard inserts, while the other parts are mounted on a floating tray. These include the rocket-firing fist, rifle with removable clip, and instruction booklet with chest stickers. Assembly takes mere seconds.
The Super Shogun Stormtrooper is quite a thing to behold. Clocking in at a whopping 24 inches tall this guy makes even 12 inch figures look puny (see the pic of him menacing poor "little" Plo Koon). It's got all of the requisite things to make it a true Jumbo Machinder: its body is made of blow molded high-density polyethylene, the head is vinyl, one fist has firing rocket-punch action, and there are wheels on the bottom of his feet. Put all of that together with the classic Stormtrooper design and a '70s Japanese robot style and you've got the Super Shogun.
As far as the overall presentation, there's nothing here that will surprise a Star Wars fan. He's got the standard Stormtrooper armor, complete with segmented body armor, black bodysuit visible at the joints, belt, and helmet. While it's in a new style, all of the subtle details are still included, like the back plate, doodads on the lower torso, belt accessories, and asymmetric knee designs. Best of all, of course, is the astounding helmet sculpt with tons of detail and personality.
Color was never a big point of concern for the Imperials, and so their standard troopers got plain armor in black and white. The Super Shogun Stormtrooper has a completely accurate palette, if not always in the right proportions. The bulk of the armor is bright white, and far cleaner looking than probably any other Stormtrooper in your collection. Meanwhile, a deep black makes up his fists and the joints and seams at the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. Again the helmet really shines, with lots of paint applications in black, gray, and silver... all in the appropriate places, of course.
For customization you get the choice of two included chest stickers – "Stormtrooper" in English and Japanese.
The Super Shogun Stormtrooper may not be super-articulated, but he's got it where it counts. The head rotates 360 degrees, as do the shoulders. The right wrist and left lower leg are also poseable to a degree. You may not be able to put your trooper in crazy action poses, but that was never a priority in the Jumbo Machinders. On the plus side, the Stormtrooper's joints are all very sturdy, and even aimed straight ahead the arms don’t drop at all.
Just like all original Jumbo Machinders or Shogun Warriors, the Super Shogun has two special features. He's got wheels on the bottom of his feet (almost like mini roller-skates), and they roll very well. The Stormtrooper is heavily weighted in his feet so you can give him a good push and he'll roll away from you, straight toward some rebel scum. But, no true Machinder would be complete without a firing rocket-fist.
The trooper's left fist is fired via a small trigger button disguised on the left arm. Thanks to a long, heavy-duty spring, the rocket fires really far! Finally, the Stormtrooper comes with a blaster that fits in his posed right hand. It's got a great sculpt with a ton of details, and even a moveable stock! Unfortunately it does have a big orange plug, but that's modern safety laws for you.
Pretty much the only drawback to the Super Shogun Stormtrooper is its price tag. But, at $300 you get a one-of-a-kind update on a classic toy line combined with Star Wars. With its huge size and sheer presence, the trooper is destined to become the centerpiece in many collections. It looks great, it's sturdy, it has fun features, and there's even a hand numbered plaque under the left foot noting the limited 1,200 unit edition. You can get yours now over at Super7Store.com.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_ZQ8tHiIA4"]Go Go Super Shogun![/ame]
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUn7Lj1IA_E]Die Die Super Shogun Kill Fist![/ame]
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin