Takatoku Z-Gokin Big Dai X DXThe DX incarnation of Big Dai X stands about eight and a half inches tall. It's actually a pretty good size, not being too unwieldy but still large enough to leap out. Once again, Takatoku have strayed from the show's colour scheme, with yellow, blue and chrome added to the model's red and white. It's not a bad thing - while I like the series' more realistic scheme, there's nothing wrong with a few additional dabs of colour. It's worth noting, however, that my example has heavy chrome wear to the thighs, which wouldn't normally be yellow.

Takatoku Z-Gokin Big Dai X DXI think my example's missing a few projectiles, a cover for the engines in cruiser mode, the giant chrome sword and what F-ZeroOne winningly describes as "a giant, yellow, plastic cattle prod for the hands to grip", making this evaluation a little more accurate than my review of the ST figure. There are a surprising amount of minor changes compared to the ST, even putting aside the difference in size - the chest design is slightly different, with the DX having more pronounced doors on the torso, a different pattern of raised areas on the lower chest and waist, less pronounced blisters on the shins and feet mounted on steel rollers rather than claws. The thighs also seem slightly shorter in proportion. There are differences to some of the paint masks as well, the DX having different white markings and a red thorax on the chest, silver around the eyes rather than black, red winglets and chromed jet outlets on the outside of the legs, blue shoulders, no plastic cuffs and yellow launchers on the arms. Only the blue shoulders are something I'd particularly want to change, though they're hidden by the shoulder pads. The basic look of both robots is the same, though - despite the list, we're not talking the insane variations found in, say, Tomy's Ideon Gokin toys.

Takatoku Z-Gokin Big Dai X DXWhere the DX really loses out to the ST is in terms of articulation. This is actually more common than you'd think - STs from many lines tend to have minimal features, whereas DXs generally have a transformation or combination. Thus on the smaller STs the robots are largely unfettered by the need to reconfigure, and more attention can be paid to articulating the limbs (Vavilos, Laserion and Dairugger XV are all examples of this rule in action).

Takatoku Z-Gokin Big Dai X DXSo Big Dai X has the standard 'swinging' shoulders and not much else. You can cheat a little bit - the legs move outwards for the transformation, though moving them too far exposes a hinging joint, while the fists have a square peg and can be inserted at 90° angles. Oh, and the shoulder pads can move (you'll actually have more trouble getting the thin plastic parts to stay in place, though). Unlike the ST, the DX can't do the classic 'arms outstretched' pose, which is a shame. Thankfully, the thing looks pretty damn impressive just standing there.

Takatoku Z-Gokin Big Dai X DXThe features on the robot mode aren't all that impressive either. Obviously there are rocket fists - activated by the yellow modules on the outside of the forearm, these send the chunky fists out at a fair old whack. There are also a pair of spring-loaded missile launchers located on the front of the feet, though I don't have any missiles for these.

Takatoku Z-Gokin Big Dai X DXUnfortunately, the transformation means the fantastic concealed launchers in the chest are absent from the DX. The chest doors can still hinge open (though you need to move the thorax part down first, then open the doors and move the part back into position), though sadly they simply reveal two bare areas of red robot. While actual launchers are obviously unfeasible, it's a shame some sort of moulded silver detail couldn't be put there just for the look of the thing.

Takatoku Z-Gokin Big Dai X DXAnd now, the transformation. In the X-Bomber series, and for the eye-wateringly expensive Blitzkrieg Combination figure, Big Dai X splits into three smaller ships in classic Super Robot style. However, this was seemingly unfeasible even at this size. Rather than simply having the DX as a non-transforming toy (which seems a good an opening as ever to take another gentle dig at Tomy, and prod Clover a bit too), Takatoku simply made up a spaceship configuration for the toy. This isn't completely unheard of - Popy's Space Cobra Psychoroid was a transforming toy of a non-transforming vehicle, while as far as I know the 'combined' spaceship modes of Voltes V and Combattler V weren't featured in the seriesTakatoku Z-Gokin Big Dai X DX - but I suspect someone who's actually a fan of Star Fleet/X-Bomber is more likely to pick up on the incongruity than I am.

It's certainly an odd beast. The transformation is actually quite similar to that for Popy's Daidenjin, with the head folding into the chest, the legs separating and mounting alongside the torso, the feet dropping down to form wheeled pods and the arms swinging underneath. However, it feels weird because it's backwards, with the chest facing up. The lack of many features on the spaceship (a small chromed cockpit section is the only real concession doesn't help, as the design is dominated by Big Dai X's legs. It feels a little half-hearted, and I'd be surprised if anyone transformed the guy that much. The real shame is that it compromises the articulation of the robot for no particularly good reason.

All of which sounds like a panning, but it's really not. Going by visuals the DX does look less impressive than the Blitzkrieg Combination, which I'd kill to own (sadly it's not that cheap, generally costing the best part of a grand). Like the Clover Gundam DX, though, it's not a bad compromise between the too-small ST and the too-expensive combining version. The robot mode looks absolutely terrific, and this isn't the sort of toy where moving knees and the like are a deal-breaker as it was never going to have Soul of Chogokin-level articulation anyway. It's all bright plastic, heavy diecast, flash stickers and chromed bits, and it doesn't need to have anything else to it than that.

With thanks to Albert Penello for this figure! =)