So this is my first post in a while. I have been meaning to put up some of my new robots. Here is a new one from my cousin’s trip to Japan.
My cousin found this Aura Battler Billbine in a Mandarake in Akihabara. I was surprised it was only 1,080 yen(about $10 ) for an 80’s die cast metal robot. When I got it, I realized it may be a knock off. I was looking for the little Clover leaf emblem like I see on my other Aura Battler robots. But I did not see one. See the box on the bottom right? Usually the ST icon is there. The Aura Battler Dunbine robots were the last toys made by Clover. I have read conflicting reports that this Billbine may have had the molds created by Clover, then manufactured by Tomy who picked up their licenses when they folded. The box looks a lot like the Clover boxes for Aura Battler Dunbine robots. The ST icon is a Japanese safety standard not required on exported toys. So this is likely a Tomy toy made for export, as the box was unbranded/unmarked with English instructions, but the box and robot markings indicate it was made in Japan. So yay! I have a Tomy produced Billbine.
Even if this is a bootleg, it is solid/decent die cast metal robot. Nothing about it wows me, but Clover robots rarely do. I am guessing it was probably made in the same factory as mold seems pretty solid for this robot. I do not care for the color scheme (white, red and yellow plastic with some metallic metal stickers). The legs, arms, wings, and head are plastic. But the body is mostly metal. It would have looked a lot better if the robot was bluish gray as it shows on the images in the back and box art instead of the white plastic and paint application. The hands have big bird claws on the end, but they remind me of Wolverine’s claws from the X-Men.
It’s interesting how much time they spent on wrapping this. That is a lot of time to spend on a $10 robot. I am trying to figure out if they did this to protect the packaging from water or for some other reason. After spending some time with the box, it is pretty musty. I am starting to understand why it is under wraps. As with most of the Clover robots, the box art and images are one of the nicest parts of the toy sadly enough.
The toy comes as a robot and transforms into as some kind of flying bird form. The bird form reminds me a bit of the Brave Raideen’s transformation. The feet can be squeezed together to resemble bird feet. The wings on the back actually provide the largest range of motion and I think this is my favorite part of the robot. I was able to pose the robot with various wing configurations. The robot comes with 2 cannons you can mount on the back or put in his hands. It comes with 3 orange yellow missiles. The sword on the box illustrations is nowhere to be found though. It would be nice to pop one of those into Billbine’s hands. The robot itself barely moves or has any articulation, but the knees and hips rotate.
I will put out some pictures from the robot itself when I get the time…
About 10-15 years ago I picked up a few cheap Aura Battler Dunbine robots when I really did not know much about robots. Mostly I was just curious as I had never seen them before. These were not robots I wanted when I was young(like the Macross and Transformers robots), so I picked up a few for fun. None of them were amazing and I really didn’t care too much about them until I learned more about the history of them and the company that made them.
Clover made a few cool robots like the Daitarn, Zambot III, Daioja and the first Gundam robots. So having these robots now is a little bit of history. So even if I cannot pick up the Clover DX Gundam’s anytime soon, the Dunbine robots will do for now.
I found the first episode of Aura Battler Dunbine on YouTube which is kind of a kick. I did not think they ported it over to English. Go figure.