S C O P E _ L I G H T A N

Chogokin Scope LightanAnother member of the Lightan team on Earth, under Gold Lightan, Scope Lightan's function within the unit was to scan battlefields for enemies, and locate their weak spots. As such, the robot's lighter mode doubles up as a telescope. The original toy was gold coloured, but the character was shown to be silver (well, grey) in the Golden Warrior Gold Lightan anime - Hung Hing produced licensed figures in both schemes in 2005.

The 2007 series of Bandai Hong Kong reissues use the silver version, which is the one this review covers. In 2008, a gold version of Scope Lightan was reissued, again by Bandai Hong Kong. I don't currently own this one, though it is broadly on my list of things to get - I'm more after stuff I don't have at all at the moment, though.

Chogokin Scope LightanAlong with IC Lightan, Scope Lightan's disguise mode stands out compared to the rest of the first batch of reissues. In this case it's mainly the colour, as Scope Lightan is the only silver figure in the range. The lighter is actually a fairly different shape, being elliptical, and at 3" x 1.5" x 0.9" is taller and thinner than the others in the line. There is an engraved vertical ridge pattern all around it, again different from the rest. You've got to hand it to PopyChogokin Scope Lightan, they certainly did what they could in terms of adding variety to a line based on transforming lighters.

Like Denji Lightan, Scope Lightan has a very neat feature on this mode - the top flips open as it would on a real lighter, but instead of the usual mechanisms, there's an eyepiece. A (weak) microscope runs down the lower three quarters of the lighter, with the other end at the base. It's not particularly functional (it's difficult to get your eye close enough to the top so you can look down it), but it is a neat little feature.

Chogokin Scope LightanTransforming Scope Lightan is a fairly inventive process too. In loose terms, it reprises the opening panels of Gold Lightan, but it's still quite individual. Firstly two panels comprising the back half of the lighter open up - these are nicely hidden down the sides in the ridge pattern, incidentally. This reveals the folded robot limbs - it's tempting to flip the remaining silver plates along the sides and swing these all out now, but a less dangerous way is to pinch the robot feet and pull them away from the body, unfolding the legs, and then swivel the bottom pair of plates around. Then you can flip the top pair around and extend the arms without the thin plastic limbs fouling on each other. Once these are rotated, the two large panels go back into place, locking the limbs where they should be. All that's left then is to open the plate covering the robot's face. A word of warning - the eyes of the robot are in fact plastic missiles, which come packed separately. The empty sockets that greet you on the first transformation is actually a little harrowing.

Chogokin Scope LightanBut then, the resulting robot isn't especially conventional anyway, being basically a cross between a lighter and a stick figure. Aside from the hood revealing the face, the lighter body is largely undisturbed. So, to put it mildly, the robot looks odd. However, there's a massive amount of charm to his oddness. The face is just really cute - those big yellow eyes, and the wonderful triangular nose. But don't be lulled by his quirky looks - the eyes double up as missile launchers. It's a fairly unique attack, firing your eyeballs at an enemy, and likely to leave even the most vicious alien bastard particularly nonplussed. Sadly, beyond the strange looks and unusual weaponry (which is a little oversensitive) there isn't too much to do. The arms can move at the shoulder and elbow, but the leg articulation (hips, knees and ankles) is pretty useless. With the large, heavy torso, the figure topples pretty easily when set in all but the most simple of poses.

Of all the figures from the line, Scope Lightan is probably the most idiosyncratic - and that's up against some pretty unusual opposition. You'll either think he looks ridiculous or adorable, there's not much middle ground. I'm pretty much in the latter camp, but it can't be argued that the figure is as accomplished technically as the others from the line. The fiddly transformation is also something of a black mark. Despite the cute looks, Scope Lightan is something of a curate's egg, and is a bit too much of an aberration to be considered a good first purchase. However, he's worth owning if you plan to collect the set.