The larger Dairugger XV/Voltron figure has long been a common target of bootleggers, who usually mess up the colours. The smaller versions have been copied on occasion too, and one copy of the Popy DX has recently exploded all over ebay. Despite having the real thing, I decided to have a look - these can generally be found for £15-20 shipped.

The card wins points for simply having the name 'Dairugger XV' on the top, as well as a nice rendering of the figure, no doubt nicked from something else. More typical of this sort of thing is the random Transformers box art - Minerva and Go-Shooter from Masterforce, Star Saber from Victory and - especially bizarrely - Tempest and Flash from the European Turbomasters team.


The figure, though, is surprisingly sharp. The colours are very close to the original, and the simplified paint applications have the odd bonus of actually making it a little bit closer to the animation model than the original toy is. It's even got chrome in all the right places, and all the parts like the coloured parts on the shins are rendered in the correct colour plastic. The face is simplified, but not to the extent that it looks sparse - the eyes are still painted

The knockoff is all-plastic, and the compound used is quite brittle - I wouldn't fancy this guy's chances of falling a couple of feet onto a hard surface. However, this means the finish is nice and shiny, rather than that flat soft stuff often used for copies. The toy also includes a sword that's identical to the original (I've even swapped it for the slightly worn example on my Popy Dairugger).

It even adds more articulation, notably with a turning neck and moving shoulders, while the looser connections at the hips mean you can even move the legs around a little. Another interesting change is that the simpler mechanism eliminates the strange ankles of the Popy version. Most of the connections are simple plastic hole and connector deals, rather than the clips of the original, which might produce a bit of a problem down the line with regards to wear.


Where it does lose out compared to the real thing is the actual separation. The Popy DX Dairugger could only really form the intermediate combined Team modes (though the nature of the combination meant several of the smaller individual vehicles were also possible). The knockoff can't even do that - the arms don't split at the elbow (at least, not without a screwdriver) and the sliding parts in the legs aren't retained, effectively meaning it can do none of the modes, splitting into ten parts - five individual units, and five pairs of units fixed together.

Of the Air Team/Kurugger, the chest plate can be removed and turned, while the whole head can be rotated to make a fair approximation of the combined mode. As per the original, the head can't actually come off, while sloppily the wheels underneath the upper torso don't turn, despite the little turntable being reproduced. The shoulder articulation means the arms can come off, however - though this does just leave you with a pair of arms.

For the Sea Team/Kairugger, the figure splits up into the same modules as the Chogokin (including the legs staying as one long part each, rather than separating at the knee like the full-size version). However, it can't combine due to the aforementioned lack of moving parts in the sides of the shins.

It does better than the Land Team/Rickrugger, though, as the connecting parts of the Jet Radar Station (that's the black 'belt' one) are absent, meaning the units can't combine at all - even if the forearms could separate. It should be noted, however, that where you can get individual units from the figure (five can be removed entirely), the detail is good - not Popy level, but certainly nothing to be ashamed of.


While the toy has some drawbacks, notably the way it separates into a mix of vehicles and pairs of vehicles jammed together, for a dirt-cheap knockoff it's very good. While the one true Dairugger is still the big version, this one provides an excellent desktop toy for quick, unobtrusive combining fun, and is a good cheap way of getting a decent-looking Voltron. In fact, for all except hardcore fans I'd recommend it over the ST and even the DX in the fun stakes.