M E C H A N I C_ L I G H T A N

Chogokin Mechanic LightanOriginally released in 1981, and allotted the code GB-42 in Popy's Chogokin series, Mechanic Lightan was one of the original six Lightan figures.

As his name suggests, in the anime series Golden Warrior Gold Lightan Mechanic Lightan served as the team's repair robot, though he would also fight if required.

While the figure was reissued by Hung Hing in 2005, the toy had no significant differences to the original Popy release.

Chogokin Mechanic LightanMechanic Lightan has a bulky lighter design, actually vaguely reminiscent of a toolbox in terms of shape. Chogokin Mechanic LightanThe decoration looks similar to the raised square pattern used on Gold Lightan and Denji Lightan, but is actually more like a series of vertical ridges up close.

The lines for the transformation aren't as obvious as my photography makes them look, though the hinges on the sides do stand out compared to the flush panels. The tool kit can be accessed in this mode, but for the purposes of this review we'll save it for a bit.

Chogokin Mechanic LightanOnce again, Popy manage to think outside the box when it comes to the transformation. Firstly, a tricycle set of wheels flips out from the base of the lighter. Then the lid opens to reveal the robot head. Depress the large red button on the top and the body of the lighter pops open, revealing a chest-mounted tool kit, as well as the red plastic 'arms', which then need extending. These can either fire small plastic missiles, or be used to mount the tiny diecast tools from the toolkit.

Chogokin Mechanic LightanThe robot mode is very unusual - Mechanic Lightan has no legs, instead moving around on wheels, and the arms are only nominally limbs. However, the result is a fantastic, unusual-looking figure. The head cast is great, and the beautiful little metal tools (regular and Phillips screwdrivers, a drill and a wheel wrench) are fantastic accessories. The 'arms' can move a little, though the boxes containing them do tend to swing inwards - tighter hinges or some sort of clip might have rectified this problem, which is a little frustrating. Another minor gripe is while all the tools can be stored in the chest, the missiles can't be stored anywhere in lighter mode (well, unless you just bung them under the lid and have them rattling around, which isn't particularly satisfactory). It also might have been nice to have the option of fists or hands connecting to the housings.

Overall, Mechanic Lightan is a good, solid figure. While his sheer oddness will perturb a few people, especially those who think all robots should be strictly humanoid, for the rest of us he's a nice, different design. The lighter mode is bland, but the gimmick for the robot mode and the unusual layout makes him stand out, and speaks volumes for the ingenuity of Popy.