I _C _ L I G H T A N

Chogokin IC LightanIC Lightan was another member of the Lightan team. Despite the toy being numbered much later in the Chogokin series than even the second batch of Lightan figures, he was released in 1981 along with the first batch. Like the rest of them, he featured in the anime series.

IC stands for 'Interpret Computer' - IC Lightan's role in the team was to collate and translate data. Because of his dual role as a processing unit, the toy has a printed circuit design on the lighter mode, and working electronics on the robot form. The 2005 Hung Hing reissue featured a slightly different head cast, longer legs and modified feet.

Chogokin IC LightanThe toy looks considerably different in lighter mode to all the other Lightan figures, and certainly stands out among the reissues. Whereas the rest have gold finishing, IC Lightan is black and silver. The other striking thing is that he's largely plastic - however, as it's top-quality stuff (and ebony probably would have pushed the price up a little) and doesn't look particularly out of place.

Chogokin IC LightanThe thing also still manages to weigh in at the customary 175g., most likely due to the electronics inside. The circuit pattern really does look a bit random slapped on the front of the lighter - that said, I like it, even if it does mess up the realism, and it means he gets to have his name written on him. This apart, IC Lightan is a fairly standard black Zippo lighter (that's a guess - the top hinges in the wrong direction, but then it does just have a head inside), black with a band of patterned silver around it. At the base of the lighter there's a turnable switch to activate the electronics - they don't do anything in this mode, but it's easiest to do it now if you want them to work in robot mode.

Chogokin IC LightanThe figure has a neat, but simple, transformation. The bottom half inch of each side of the lighter slides down to reveal his legs, which lock into place. Then the top of the lighter flips open to reveal the robot mode head. This also allows access to the tops of the shoulders, meaning you can pull the arms out of the sides. According to preference then, these can either be put parallel to his body, or protruding at around 15°, and the hands can be turned back towards his body. The whole sequence is accompanied by those satisfying clicks and clinks they always dubbed over 1980s commercials for Gobots and Transformers too. While it's a simple enough cycle, like all good transformations it's rather addictive, and it's very difficult to switch him to one mode or another without immediately wanting to switch him back again.

Chogokin IC LightanIncluding the lighter lid, IC Lightan just about scrapes 4", though head-to-toe he's closer to 3.5". The robot mode is rather squat, with short stumpy legs and a massive boxy torso, but that's his charm. It's a very cute figure, and the black/silver colour scheme is really rather effective (if basically impossible to photograph... well, with my skills, anyway). The design is just fantastic, like a 1950s clockwork robot, and I especially like the chromed head, with its' big visor, large headphones and red top. Very effective. The electronic feature is that his visor can light up thanks to a green LED - a cute, simple feature. Articulation is limited to two joints in each shoulder, and slight movements at the wrist, and IC Lightan works best as a display piece - a function he performs very well.

This was the first Lightan figure I bought... I just fell in love with the guy because of the quirky alt mode, and he's stayed highly rated even though I have most of the other figures now. Well worth getting even if the lighter mode is a little odd, and a worthy piece of high-quality diversity amongst the gold figures.