Unifive, a subsidiary of Bandai, has always been a "second ranked" sort of a toy manufacturer when compared to its parent company, it seems to me that they almost always produce toys just to the left of those mainstream popular ones. Perhaps they could only managed to scavenge those "cold turkey" toy licensings which are what's left after Bandai's shopping spree. But from its fairly new choshingokin line of diecast toys, I can see that Unifive is truly trying to establish itself in the chogokin collectibles arena.
Excellent packaging for a start. You get to have a beautifully decorated box, with an internal transparent window blister cover (removable type) that allows you to display every part without the need to remove them from the styrofoam-based internal box. To exhibit, simply take out box top and fit it behind the box bottom. To sum it up, you get a traditional box packaging, removable "blister" packaging and styrofoam inner box. All three in one package!
You also get to have an original sketch of the Daikyojin's robot head with the artist's signature, printed on a roughly A4 sized card. Two instruction sheets shows you how to transform this toy, with a clear step-by-step guide, studded with excellent illustrations. Japanese-language handicaps are not a worry!
The only snag is that the documentation is not as colourful as Bandai's SOC manuals. (But then, Unifive is a smaller company)
After fiddling around with the various transformations, this is one heck of an excellently engineered machine. The Daikyojin has 4 modes of transformation (ignoring the 2 standalone modes) - battleship, battletank, "centurion" mode and robot tank.
I am very impressed with the horse. To transform into battletank mode, it is able to fold up its legs and hide them in such a way that they are no longer obvious. In fact, each mode looks very original, without much "baggage" exposed from other modes. For example, the battletank mode does not make me feel that it is a half-hearted attempt, transformed from a horse body. Therefore, every inch, nook-and-cranny, has to be carefully designed for proper fitting and transformation.
Due to the weight of the centurion mode, all joints in the horse legs are rachet-types, to prevent slippage and giving way. However, over-zealous play may still get the legs to "flatten" down. (In fact, most of the toy's joints are "racheted") Another novelty is the way the horse head is hidden into its body, very neat!
But I must say that only the battleship mode is strictly a looker. It is too cheesy to play with due to the battleship "bridge" cap threatening to drop off just even with a little shaky hand-holding, exposing the arms and hands. (YES! I've also done some "play" testing!) And there's nothing to articulate or shoot in this mode.
Four missiles are provided for you to shoot using the tank turret. Don't lose them though! ;0 You also have a bow and arrow to pose the robot with, or use the lance instead. Attachment stands for the battleship mode are provided too.
The paint job is near (if not equal) to the Bandai SOC series. I do notice the occasional paint smudges, but they are not "loud" enuff. Looking without touching, it is difficult to determine which parts are diecast or plastic, except for the robot's arm joints, which is "plastically" obvious. This is thanks to the fact that the horse's plastic body, even though molded in yellow, was actually sprayed with yellow paint. So the colour matches with the diecast legs. (That's what Bandai does to its SOC toys anyway)
Looks to be a flagship of Unifive's diecast line of toys. Call it the alternative to Bandai's SOC. Packaging is completely satisfying. Except with the cheesy battleship mode, otherwise the mechanism and transformations are excellent. Paint job is very good, if not perfect. Addition of firing missiles and a print of the artist's original sketches are a bonus. My favourite is the horse, an excellent design of form and function (could qualify for design competition?).