L I G H T_ L I G H T A N

Chogokin Light LightanShortly after Popy completed the first series of six Lightan, Popy were taken over by Bandai, and their design team were broken up. However, Lightan had been a successful line, and another design studio - Plex - were handed the task of designing the second series of robots. Four new moulds were produced, and one of these was Light Lightan. It would seem none of these arrived in time to feature in the Golden Warrior Gold Lightan Anime series.

The Plex figures were issued a predominantly white box that clearly distinguishes them from the Popy figures. Light Lightan was reissued by Bandai Hong Kong in 2008.

Chogokin Light LightanThe lighter is a nicely designed slim device, just about rectangular in profile and 3" tall. It's one of the few lighter designs from the line that doesn't feel a little too large for the hand, and while I do like the various engraved patterns on other figures from the line, it is a nice change to have one that's gold and largely flush, with the grooves down the rounded corners preventing it from being too dull. Sadly, the flush panels mean the arms on the sides are very, very obvious.

Chogokin Light LightanA small metal switch on the back of the lighter activates the special feature - Light Lightan unsurprisingly also functions as a torch, albeit a rather weak one. Flipping the lid of the lighter reveals the robot head, which then unscrews to allow a AAA battery to be placed inside. It's actually a nice mode, and while the feature is a little weak, you weren't going to use this thing to track escaping criminals even if it was as bright as the sun. Unlike some of the other gimmicks, at least you can imagine this being an anti-robot laser or something.

Chogokin Light LightanThe transformation sequence is simple and intuitive - the bottom half-inch of the lighter slides down, separating on runners and forming the legs, with two notches also popping the arms out slightly so they can be hooked out fully by hand. The lid flips up to reveal the head, and then it's just a matter of getting the arms where you want them.

Chogokin Light LightanIn robot mode, Light Lightan is one of the best proportioned figures, only really rivalled in the conventional robot stakes by Gold Lightan himself. The figure has a pleasing, boxy shape without becoming too generic. I like the head design a lot, with the big green transparent goggles, and that these light up when the switch on his back is flicked is a nice touch. The articulation - while much better than the other Plex designs - is still a little simplistic, though the shoulders rotate as well as hinging. The robot is overall rather impressive, however, all gold except the eyes, measuring 4.5" including the lid (or just over four to the top of the head), and everything's the right sort of shape.

The combination of an attractive lighter mode, a slick, functional robot mode and a creditable special function makes Light Lightan the best of the Plex moulds, and in the grand scheme of things this means he's a useful addition to the range - not quite up there with the very best Popy designs (Gold Lightan, IC Lightan and Time Lightan) but comfortably in the second division (with Denji Lightan and Mechanic Lightan). A worthy figure, and a recommended 'vanilla' starting point for those interested.