T I M E _ L I G H T A N

Chogokin Time LightanOne of Gold Lightan's assistant robots on Earth, Time Lightan was one of the physically weaker members. However, like most of the other Lightan, he did get a special skill. In Time Lightan's case, this is the ability to freeze time (having not seen the anime I guess this excludes the other Lightan, otherwise it'd be a pretty useless skill), something which was incorporated into the toy (well, he doubles as a timer, not actually slowing down time). The box art for the toy shows the toy to be silver, but the original was only issued in gold. However, the character was white in the cartoon.

Bandai reissued the gold version (which this review pertains to) in the first wave of reissues, with a silver version coming out in the second (not sure whether I'll be getting that or not).

Chogokin Time LightanThis time the lighter has a cylindrical design around 2.9" tall, which again manages to stand out - to be fair, there's a pretty large amount of variation considering the subject matter, and only Gold Lightan and Denji Lightan are particularly close to each other. A pattern of thin hoops has been engraved into the main length, which breaks up the look nicely, although (perhaps inevitably, given the shape) the grooves for robot mode parts are fairly obvious. I'm not sure if I've got a slightly duff example, but also the bottom of the lighter (that forms the robot legs) doesn't stay flush either - Chogokin Time Lightanthis seems to be a downside to the polished finish, but one that could probably have been overcome with a simple tab-and-hole arrangement.

Flipping open the top of the lighter reveals the robot head, while the base around this has numbers marked in it, from '0' to '30' at intervals of 5. Twisting the head around 180° winds a clockwork mechanism, and the head turns around in 35 seconds (there's a gap between '30' and '0' going clockwise). This is an illustration of his power from the Anime, though I have no idea if Time Lightan actually had to rotate his head to use it. The gimmick is rather cute in a faintly useless way - so consistent with the rest of the line, then...

Chogokin Time LightanSwitching Time Lightan to robot mode is fairly simple. Splitting the bottom of the lighter in half pushes out the legs and arms enough so they can be got at and extended fully, and then you simply flip open the top to reveal the head. Once again it's straightforward and sound, and I continue to be impressed at the differences between each figure - a more agricultural company would find a pattern that worked for several different lighter shapes, and stick to it, varying things like the head design, but once again Popy have come up with a lighter that transforms in an interesting fashion. Hats off to them. Well, if they still exist.

Chogokin Time LightanThe robot mode is vying with IC Lightan for my favourite from the line. Including the lighter lid, Time Lightan stands 4.7" tall including the lighter lid (or just over 4" from head to toe), and the cylindrical design really works, lending him a unique look. The arms are a bit flat, but look much more in proportion than they have any real right to. The articulation really isn't bad - the only problem is the slippery gold, as if you try to pose him on a shiny surface the legs tend to slide out, causing him to topple. However, you can get a lot out of the simple joints, with the elbows being a particular favourite. The only shame is you can't turn his head without it turning back to looking straight ahead. For some strange reason, Popy decided to give the robot additional weaponry - two plastic missile launchers that fit into holes under his arms. These are a little comical, as it looks like they're coming out of his armpits... The elbows can bend so it looks like he's just holding them, which reminds me of that Asterix comic where the Gaul's firing amphorae of wine at some hapless Legionaries. So not such a great addition, although the robot looks fine without them, so it's hardly a problem.

I like most of the Lightan figures, but this guy stands alongside IC Lightan and Light Lightan as one of my very favourites. Time Lightan does manage to gel many of the best elements from the range together - solid lighter mode, cute irrelevant gimmick, sensibly laid out robot, decent amount of poseability to help him display, walks the line between sweet and mean nicely, and beautifully made. It's fair to say the figure ticks all the right boxes, and is a good place to start for the curious.