Standing 11 1/4" tall, this impressive robot can be changed into a spaceship or a space gun.

VavilosDesigned by Bandai, Vavilos was one of the final 1980s Chogokin figures, and was released in both ST and DX versions. The toys were also imported to America as part of the Godaikin range, with both versions being released.

After the 1984 release of Vavilos (ST version GC-16, DX version GC-20), the Chogokin range would last another four years, but only around 20 more figures - largely concentrating on Super Sentai tie-ins. Vavilos originated non-Sentai tokusatsu show Uchuu Keiji Shaider (Space Sheriff Shaider) from Toei's Metal Heroes cycle. The show was a big hit in the Philippines, where indigenous TV companies even came up with a sequel named Zaido: Pulis Pangkalawakan . Footage from Shaider was also used for the American VR Troopers series. Vavilos served as the transport of the titular Shaider and also occasionally deployed in either robot mode or Big Magnum handgun mode (that's right, from what I gather Shaider can either fly in him or use him as a gun). Shaider was pretty handy himself, and Vavilos had something of a supporting role in the series (hence the headline billing for the Space Sheriff). The DX version of the toy could turn into all three modes while the ST figure was limited to just robot and spaceship configurations.

Like Laserion Vavilos is among the most common Godaikin figures. There are a number of possible reasons. One is that maybe Bandai America were still optimistic Godaikin might actually be successful and really cranked up production. Another is that the toys sold badly in Japan and vast quantities were dumped on Bandai America by their Japanese parent. Another is that the toys for these two characters have a poor reputation and very few really want them, thus more examples are solicited second-hand. Whatever the reason, a large number of both Vavilos figures were reduced and reduced again in an effort to shift them back in the 1980s, and were even dumped in Australia and Europe as part of Machine Men and Robo Machine respectively.


VAVILOS

One thing you can't deny Vavilos is that he's huge. The robot stands at 11.25" tall (as the box's strap-line pedantically notes) but his proportions are too weird for the sort of imposing presence you'd expect from something like this. The torso and legs are all fine and dandy, but the head and arms seem little more than an afterthought. The weedy little arms do at least have some decent articulation, but the rest of Vavilos is rigid, rendering them basically pointless.

I quite like the head design for some reason, even though (or possibly because) it looks more like a tiny little spaceship. The chest-mounted missiles add a little fun as well, but Vavilos is fatally oversized for such a simple figure and fails to hold much interest. Vavilos' transformation is very simple, especially for a toy of this size. There aren't any more twists or turns to it, it really is as straightforward as it looks in the pictures.

Godaikin Vavilos DX
Godaikin Vavilos DX

V SPACESHIP

The V Spaceship measures at 10.5" long with a 9.5" wingspan. It's actually not a bad design, a vaguely futuristic Space Shuttle crossed with a jet liner with a similar sort of vibe to the Bio Jet modules from Bio Man or something from Thunderbirds 2086. The front half is solid despite being composed of two robot legs (on the ST version, the robot thighs are left horribly exposed). The rear end of the fuselage is a little bit busy but overall it's a solid, coherent mode.

The striking thing is the near-total lack of diecast. You can see Bandai toning the amount down on their previous Chogokin such as Dynaman and the aforementioned Bio Man, but the dose here is even less - basically two panels on the outside of the nose (you can make these out pretty easily on the pictures, as they haven't yellowed). Still, the plastic is top quality with lots of paint apps and stickers and even a few flourishes like the very cool undercarriage. There's just not an awful lot to do with the shuttle mode. Irritatingly, there's no firing weapons in this mode, and the two missiles for the robot's chest launcher have nowhere to go. Would a couple of launchers in the wing-tip pods have been too much to ask for? Sadly, it would seem so. Bah.

Godaikin Vavilos DX

BIG MAGNUM

The Vavilos figure as outlined above has three modes, like the robot in the show. The other is the Big Magnum, a large gun used by Shaider from time to time. The design is a cross between a double-barrelled pistol and - well - the V Spaceship. Despite some neat design (the wings make a surprisingly solid handle), the toy's origin is far too clear, not helped by the unchanged rear fuselage of the V Spaceship.

All this said though there's something about waving a toy gun, even as unconvincing a gun as this, around that really brings out the inner child in me. Add in the firing missiles (a neat piece of engineering to get the trigger to work on Bandai's part, and while they're not powerful they do have range) and it's undeniably fun, even if it's aesthetically awful.

Godaikin Vavilos DX

SUMMARY

Vavilos is possibly the nadir of the Godaikin line, at least as far as the DX figures go. I can say that with a fair amount of confidence while owning less than a quarter of the figures - just about everyone else looks alright at least. The simple transformation is matched by a hundred other transforming figures, none of the modes look particularly good and there are hardly any features to make Vavilos stand out either. If the ST version had the same range of features or even managed the same complete transformation to V Spaceship but omitted the Big Magnum that might have been passable. However, at this sort of size you expect something a bit more complex.