Last modified: Saturday, July 28, 2001 7:22 AM


(This web site moves forward very linearly through time, and doesn't pause to tidy up very often. So I'm doing this bass-ackwards-- I got the Cyborg 99 model before the I got the more widespread '97 and '98 models. Consequently, the comparisons between them will be on this page instead of where they should more logically be!)

There appear to be many different models in the first incarnation of the '90's Neo Henshin Cyborg line, but from what I've seen, the variations are minor and are similar to "repaints". They appear to be the same moldings, but cast in different tints and colors, with different accessories thrown in. This is borne out by the confusing task of trying to figure out which one to buy: The English names are descriptive, and rely on color to distinguish between the releases. Within a color, there are usually "A" and "B" models, which differ in the accessories (arm extensions) they come with. The earlier models also come with a pair of human-looking hands, and an additional accessory like a belt or helmet. Rather than devote pages to each release (cuz I don't have 'em!), I'll point out some of the main features which differentiate these figures from the current "99" style, which has a different construction.

The one on the right is the Cyborg 99 model, and the one on the left is the "Gold Bug Cyborg", so called by the distributor, ImageAnime, because of the gold interior parts, and the bug-like arm extension (which isn't attached here) . As you can see, the heights are similar, but proportioning is a little different-- the 99 has a broader chest and the distinctive shoulder "turrets". Specifically,
  • The 97/98's neckpin is constructed differently and is not removeable (which is not necessarily a disadvantage either), although it has the same axes of movement. The head itself can be removed, as it's held in place by a single screw. (Of course, since the figure is assembled with screws, it can be totally disassembled to remove the neckpin, or any other part.)
  • The 97/98 has more vac-metalized interior components, and the lack of shoulder turrets allows the central component to occupy the chest cavity more fully.
  • The 97/98 has LEDs which light up spots on the interior chest component when a button is pressed on the back.
  • The shoulders are ball hinges, just like the vintage Joe's. This means it can't angle its arms across the front like the 99 can.
  • The elbows are single hinges, like vintage Joe's but are only capable of slightly less than 90 degree bends.
  • The wrists are hinged and rotate, like the vintage Joe's. The 99 model doesn't have the wrist hinge, but the hands are interchangeable between the models. 99's cupped hands are posed to hold things, whereas 97/98's open pose present a problem in this regard. In both models, the arms are a bit long, and the articulated hands make them look even longer.
  • The waist is a ball joint with sockets in the upper torso & hips (like the 99's).
  • The leg ball hinges are similar to 99's, but don't allow the legs to be removed and are riveted, not screwed together for tensioning.
  • The knees are double hinges, like the 99's
  • The feet are a two-piece hard plastic construction, shaped in the form of a robotic "shoe". The 99's foot is human-shaped and made of a single piece casting.
I would say that the 99 model is a notable improvement, simply because of the articulation. To me, that is genuine design innovation. The limited elbow articulation of the 97/98 takes you by surprise, especially if you've gotten used to the Dragon figures. But the 97/98 does have some advantages, like the fact that the neck pin stays in place, instead of popping out when you move the head around. The 97/98's LEDs and hinged hands are also really cool.

There was one problem though-- the ankles and knees were extremely loose. However, these were easy to fix, since the hinges are screwed together. Although tightening the hinges didn't do the trick, a few tiny drops of hot glue in the disassembled hinge did the trick very effectively.

This one's called the "Black Crab Cyborg" by ImageAnime. The outer shell is cast in a smokey gray color, and the internal parts are silver. The part that really makes this figure is the helmet, IMO. The human heads are sort of-- well, they don't look very human! The robot heads/neckpins are neat-looking, but small, and give the figure a pinhead look. (The Gold Cyborg's "extra" was a dorky clear belt, which doesn't do much for the figure's looks.)

As I said, there are other variations of outer shell tinting and interior part coloring. Some combos seem to look better than others, depending on your tastes, of course.


These are some of the pleasure devices... well, I think humans call them "arm extensions". The ones in the center came with the two 97/98 figures I've mentioned. Black Crab's are those in the center left, and Gold Bug's are those in the center right. Not sure what's up with the propeller thing, since they didn't give you the glass container to make Margaritas with. The ones on the edges are from the little libretto that came with the figure, and are accompanied by drawings showing all the nefarious uses that these could be put to.

As you can see, this is a totally fun line of toys, similar in spirit to the "Mike Power" and "Bionic Man" stuff on this side of the Pacific. From what I've read on the 'Net, the original Henshin Cyborg series was even more over-the-top, with tons of outfits & accessories available separately... Hey, that sounds sort of like the vintage GI Joe concept! Ahhh... the good old days.