EM-02 VV-54A Mass-Product CALIBUR

Walking around the second hand toy store “Liberty No.12” (my favourite one out of them all) in Akihabara, something caught my eye as I was browsing through cabinet after cabinet of old and used toys. I wasn’t looking for this item in particular but I’ve always thought it looked rather intriguing. I’m proud to give you Fewture / Art Storm EM-02 VV-54A Mass Production Calibur from “Special Armoured Battalion Drovack”.

Background:

Special Armoured Battalion Dorvack (特装機兵ドルバック) is 36 episode anime series that aired from 1983 to 1984, produced by Ashi Productions (name changed to Production Reed Co. Ltd in 2007). The series was essentially a showcase for a new toyline released by Takatoku (タカトク, most well known for their 1/55 Macross toyline), hence the relatively simple storyline, albeit slow moving.

Story line description Taken from Wikipedia: The year is 1999. The Idelians, whose colony-ship has been wandering space for tens of thousands of years, are nearing exhaustion. EM-02 Mass Calibur faceTheir sole hope is to settle on the nearest habitable planet, Earth. Soon after their arrival in orbit, they launch an invasion, landing a large attack force in the Alps.

The Earth Defense Forces valiantly fight against the enemy’s powered armors, but with little success. Only one unit is able to inflict significant damage, the Special Armored Battalion Dorvack. Under the command of Colonel Takagi, Masato Mugen, Pierre Bonaparte and Louise Oberon fight to defeat the invaders. They are equipped with special variable mecha that are able to convert from rugged all-terrain vehicles to humanoid forms.

Name: Mass-Product Variable Machine VV-54A Calibur
Manufacturer: Fewture – Art Storm Co. Ltd
Line: EM Gokin Series EM-02
Sculptor: Alan Moriguchi
Designer: Katsumi Itabashi / Nobuyashi Haraba
Scale: Non-scale
Material: Die-cast, ABS, PVC
Release: July 2010
Original Price: ¥6,648 (approx. $81AUD / $79USD)
Height: 130mm / 5.12inches

Packaging:

As you can see by all the layers, a lot of care has been taken to ensure the contents are well protected, and well presented. The first outer sleeve features photos and information about the toy, everything is laid out clearly and easy to follow (even if you don’t understand Japanese). The inner box is solidly constructed and features a window so you can take a peek at the toy inside. Then of course there’s the inner lining that cradles the toy and accessories, everything fits snuggly and won’t easily fall out, even when you want them to. XP

  • EM-02 Calibur packaging front
  • EM-02 Calibur packaging back
  • EM-02 Calibur packaging inner box
  • EM-02 Calibur packaging inner box back view
  • EM-02 Calibur packaging inner lining
  • EM-02 Calibur packaging inner lining closeup

Accessories:

The Calibur comes with quite a few bits and pieces.
● 1 x PA-36HD-R2 Nove Laser Power suit with interchangeable arms
● 1 x Amour Rifle, Calibur’s primary weapon
● 2 x Bazooka
● 1 x Back mounted cannon
● 6 x Grenades, one has a stub to fit onto the Armour Rifle
● 1 x Interchangeable head
● 1 x Open left hand
● 1 x Display stand
One thing I didn’t like about the weapons is that they come with hands already stuck to them meaning they are sided, another words you can only hold the rifle on the right. Speaking of the rifle, it was quite a task plugging it in as the angle was quite awkward. Another thing I found frustrating was that the grenade rack on Calibur’s leg doesn’t do a very good job of holding the grenades in place, they keep falling out!

  • PA-36HD-R2 Nove Laser Power suit
  • EM-02 Calibur with bazooka
  • EM-02 Calibur with Armour Rifle and back mounted cannon
  • EM-02 Calibur's Granades
  • EM-02 Calibur with interchangeable head
  • EM-02 Calibur;s display stand

Form/Sculpt:

I’ve never seen the anime, so I can’t comment on how accurate this toy is to the original design, but compared to all the other existing Calibur toys (CM’s, Takatoku, Aoshima etc.), I’ve gotta say this one is the best looking by far. The compromise to this is that the toy is non-transformable, but I don’t mind at all as I’d probably keep it in robot mode 99% of the time even if it was. The toy is extremely solid and features quite a bit of die-cast, including the whole lower leg, chest and back piece. One thing that bothers me a little is the exposed screws on the legs, they should have been plugged or at least painted black or the same colour as the legs.

EM-02 VV-54A Mass-Product CALIBUR

Articulation/Action:

Articulation is brilliant, you can get so many cool poses out of this guy it was hard to stop! This awesome toy features 24 points of articulation, counting the double jointed knees, elbows and shoulders. All the joints are firm and hold poses nicely, the hip and shoulder joints features a polycap like system that helps with grip as well as increasing the life of the joints. Even the Nove Power Armour is articulated, it can swivel at the waist, and the arms can rotate around the shoulders.

  • EM-02 Calibur back mounted cannon attack!
  • EM-02 Calibur double bazooka attack
  • EM-02 Calibur takes careful aim with the bazooka
  • EM-02 Calibur bazooka attack
  • EM-02 Calibur rocking it out! (Guitar not included)
  • EM-02 Calibur ready for battle + Nove
  • EM-02 Calibur in action with Nove power suite
  • EM-02 Calibur in action

Paint/Print:

As with most high price Japanese toys, the paint job is near perfect. Paint application is consistent and clean with no colour distortion even across different materials. Panels lines have been drawn in to add that extra bit of detail. The only thing missing in my opinion is some nice decals to add some realism which I think should be applied to all “real type” mecha toys, especially at this prince point.

  • Nove power suit paint detail
  • EM-02 Calibur head paint detail
  • EM-02 Calibur arm and weapon paint & panel lining detail
  • EM-02 Calibur wheel paint detail
  • EM-02 Calibur leg paint detail
  • EM-02 Calibur chest and shoulder paint detail

Detail/Features:

One of the downsides of having interchangeable parts is that they are more prone to breakages. This is something I’ve had quite a bit of experience with (see Guyver I). Anyway, the neck joint broke off as the extra head was somewhat tighter than the original. The Nove power suit came with two interchangeable arms, no surprise BOTH sides broke off after a few changes. A bit of super glue and its all good, for now.

  • EM-02 Calibur with broken neck joint
  • PA-36HD-R2 Nove Laser Power Suit with broken shoulder joints

I like the articulation of this toy so much I wanted to take a closer look at it, as you can see the knee joint is very well designed, it allows the Calibur to take a full kneeling position. One thing that boggles my mind is why the back mounted cannon can’t point forward when the Calibur is in a standing position, is this deliberate or a design oversight?

  • A closer look at EM-02 Calibur's awesome knee joint
  • EM-02 Calibur's back mounted cannon which only points upwards

Overall:

The EM-02 Calibur lives up to its series name “Exellent Model”, it is indeed an excellent toy. I can imagine this would appeal to more than just the Dorvack fans. As far as I can see, the only difference between the EM-01 and the EM-02 is the colour of the paint job, I know the EM-01 is a special colour version made for the anime series main character Masato Mugen but honestly speaking I do prefer the more realistically coloured mass production version, although I’d be more than happy to have either.

Thanks again for reading my toy review, remember sharing is caring >__^



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6 Comments

    The gun isn’t supposed to face forward in robot mode, the cannon is only fired attached to the jeep in jeep mode, when it’s in robot mode it uses the barrel to complete the rifle to be used in robot mode..not an oversight

    • Hi will, thanks for the extra info regarding the cannon. I haven’t seen the show so I had no idea..haha…

    • Sorry I just re-read my comment and I sound like a pompous know-it-all jerk that wasn’t my intention..I found out how it worked by watching it in action with a small clip on youtube….Also not that it matters all that much, but these things were driven like mechs, the “driver” sat out in the open exposed in Jeep mode, and was completely encapsulated in robot mode…also the small figure you have isn’t a driver it’s a type of power armor from the show..

    • haha not at all Will, I appreciate your info otherwise I would never have known about it:)

    Ah I see your Nove comment my bad…It’s a nice make for posing, etc. People have complained about the neck joint breaking easily though. Thanks for the review.. :)

    • oh, thanks for the tip, I’ll be careful with the neck joint from now on:)

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