Gundam RX-78Clover Gundam DX RX-78The term 'DX' is maybe a little misused here. While the Gundam DX is about 50% larger than the standard figure, it's not of the same sort of size as most DX Chogokin from around the same time, instead coming to about 7.5". There was also a larger version, available either by itself as the Gundam Gattai Set, or with a full G-Fighter upgrade as the Super Combination DX Gattai Set.

However, both of the Gattai versions cost a small fortune, so I was happy to feed my Clover Gundam craving with the DX, for about £60 boxed and nearly complete. As far as I know, only one version of this figure was produced.

A fully complete example comes with a Beam Rifle, a Beam Saber, a Gundam Shield, the Hyper Bazooka (plus three missiles), some missiles for the chest launcher, and two fists. Mine is missing the Beam Saber and the chest launcher missiles.

Clover Gundam DX RX-78The general aesthetic of the DX Gundam is similar to its' smaller brother. The figure is considerably boxier than its' onscreen incarnation, especially the chest and arms. Proportionally there's also a lot less diecast too. While the lower legs and chest are once again metal, the density is a lot lower - I'm guessing this was to make room for the chest launcher, and to just stop the thing from being ludicrously expensive. However, the plastic is very good quality, and the DX does at least have all the colourful parts later phased out on the smaller figure.

Compared to the anime, though, there's still a lot of silver on the thing - Gundam has possibly more silver than there is any other colour on him, with the lower legs and waist painted that colour, and the helmet, shoulders, forearms and fists all chromed (once again meaning finding one with minimal wear is probably tricky - mine has a little behind the right-hand 'cuff' and on the head... a little while ago I stumbled across an auction with a redheaded Clover Gundam, and ended up not bidding, thinking the toy was a knockoff - now, of course, I realise that the chrome had just completely worn off).

Clover Gundam DX RX-78Gundam's proportions are also much improved. The chunky charm of the smaller version isn't totally lost, but the head is more realistically sized. The arms vitally only come down to about a fraction above the knees (and the DX has hinging elbows, which helps still further), while even the use of tighter springs in the wrist launchers and smaller triggers helps a lot. Everything just looks a lot less condensed and stiff.

Naturally there's a bit more detail lavished on the DX as well - most of the surfaces are smooth like the small figure, but there are a couple of crucial improvements. The most notable is the waist, which now includes the yellow panels in raised plastic, rather than just a sticker. The head cast is also a big improvement - while it's not 100% accurate to the cartoon, the faceplate is more prominent, and the nose is disappearing. The helmet shape is also less rounded. One downside is that the chrome helmet reflects the eyes from some angles, making them look giant - a black border along the top might have reduced this. There was also the idea of not chroming the helmet too, though...

Clover Gundam DX RX-78The figure's articulation is improved by the elbow joints, allowing it to assume a few more natural poses. However, the range still isn't good - the legs move backwards much like the smaller version, while the shoulders still rotate and move away from the body. The fists can still rotate at the wrist as well - as mentioned, these seem less likely to get set off unintentionally on the DX. Sadly, the head can no longer turn, the payoff for the chest launcher. I'd have preferred the head movement myself.

The DX also has the caster wheels on the back, allowing the figure to lay down on its' back neatly. Again, this is something actively promoted on the back of the box. As noted above, I'm less than halfway through the series, and the only time Gundam's been stored this way is in the first episode... Maybe it was planned as a regular launch or storage pose when Clover were designing the toys, and then later dropped? It's a weird feature, at any rate, though thankfully it doesn't have a negative impact on the rest of the toy.

Clover Gundam DX RX-78Clover Gundam DX RX-78The figure does have a range of weapons. One of these, a missile launcher, is actually moulded into the figure's chest, as mentioned. It's not too intrusive really, although the head and neck hinge back to allow reloading, and doesn't actually clip back into place, which just doesn't feel right. I don't have any of the disc-like projectiles for this weapon, but I'm planning on just getting some small red plastic counters and trying them out - it doesn't look like anything particularly special is needed. I'm not really sure what this feature is meant to replicate - I've seen all of the series and the films, and can't remember anything like it (it's located basically where the pilot would sit) - maybe an attempt at the Vulcan Gun? The spring-loaded mechanism is activated by a lever on Gundam's back.

Aside from this, there are three hardpoints on the figure for mounting accessories (one on the right shoulder, and one on each of the upper arms), plus drilled holes in the fists. The weapons all have the same size posts, and if so desired can be placed on any of these points. The first weapon is the Beam Rifle. This is red, but otherwise well done - there's even a great big gunsight on the top, and Gundam is just about articulated enough to look through it. It looks best in the hand holes, but can be mounted on the shoulder.

Clover Gundam DX RX-78Next is the Gundam shield, nicely detailed with some unrealistic but charming stickers (including the show's title card). Sadly, Clover dropped the ball on a couple of points. Firstly, while the rim of the eye-slit is present, the slit itself isn't. The figure doesn't have the poseability to bring the shield in front of it anyway, but it's still a shame. The other is that while the shield goes nicely on either the upper arms or the fists (providing the arms are moved away from the body), it sadly can't be placed on Gundam's back - the big shame is that there's a screw-hole of exactly the right size in exactly the right place, above the chest cannon lever. Clover Gundam DX RX-78Sadly, the screw just doesn't go deep enough for the shield to be able to attach. Removing the screw, gluing the joint it holds and then just using the hole would probably work, but I'm hesitant to do this, and it doesn't really change the fact Clover should have seen this as an option thirty years ago...

Finally (on my example, anyway) there's the Hyper Bazooka (well, it's just called 'Bazooka' on the box). It can be mounted on any of the hardpoints, but if it's placed on the shoulder the chromed gunsight matches up perfectly with Gundam's eyes. It's a little too intrusive to keep on there permanently, but it does work nicely. The accessory looks nothing like the Bazooka from the cartoon (which ended up looking not far removed from a real infantry bazooka, only to scale with an 18-metre robot), instead being a bit more like a standard toy rocket launcher. The missiles from this can also be placed in the wrist launchers.

Clover Gundam DX RX-78Clover Gundam DX RX-78A complete Gundam DX would also include a Beam Saber. While I don't have this part, looking at pictures it seems to be the same yellow plastic katana used for the small figure, just scaled up.

Again only one is provided for, with a single holster behind the left shoulder - neither this nor the look of the thing help the figure's accuracy. However, the DX having fist holes means it can at least brandish the thing properly, while it can still be placed in the wrist launchers.

It's really not a bad array of features for such a relatively small figure, and the toy has a surprisingly large amount of accessories for what is essential a static figure.

While there is still room for improvement (replacing the chrome/silver on the head, arms and legs with white would have been nice), the Gundam DX is a big improvement on the standard figure. The overall shape and feel is less awkward, but without losing the colourful, boxy charm of the basic Clover design. Providing you can find an example for a decent price, preferably with some accessories, I'd heartily recommend the figure to both Super Robot and Gundam fans as a loveable, if flawed, piece of 1970s fun.