Guardromon is the
Digimon partner of Kazu. He does not actually Digivolve into
Andromon during the series, but rather, De-Digivolves FROM
Andromon in 3.31, "Kazu's Upgrade." A comical goof who
wants to do things right but rarely can, Guardromon's coolness
factor is further enhanced by the fact that he's a wicked-ass
robot with grenade launchers. Yeah, baby!
The toy comes packaged in Guardromon mode, so we'll begin there. It's obvious that Bandai really was trying with this toy, as they've matched him perfectly. He does suffer from a lack of paint in places - gold on the pipes on his sides, the soles of his feet, portions of the pipes on his shoulders and the upper sections of his legs, and a tiny bit of black, in the centres of the circles on his shoulders - but for some reason, it doesn't seem to stand out as much as the paint problems on the other Digivolvers. He has articulation in his shoulders, elbows, hips and ankles. From behind, you can clearly see Andromon's legs, but kudos must be given for what has been done with Andromon's arms - it would have been so easy for the designers to just let them hang off his back, like so many others, but here, they actually transform into a compact little backpack. It's a nice touch - and hey, the wheel on his chest even turns! He's a good, solid, chunky, fun mode.
To transform Guardromon into Andromon, first you compress his arms, by pushing his fists inside his forearms, then sliding his forearms up over the elbow joint. Next, you detach his backpack from the pegs holding it on, and separate it into Andromon's two arms - slide the switches on the arms forward to expose Andromon's hands. Next, you separate the two panels that form his "stomach, and rotate them up over his head. Rotate his legs around to reveal Andromon's legs, and extend them. Bring Andromon's arms down and then swing the entire Guardromon body shell backwards. Pull up on Andromon's chest to extend his torso, then rotate the Guardromon arms inside the body shell, and swing it down behind Andromon's back.
Hey, look! It's Andromon! There's been very little sacrifice made here, and this mode looks great. He is, again, missing a little paint - black detailing on his metal foot, grey metal brace on his other foot, black markings on his shoulders, blue panels on his arms and one leg, and black hips, though his hips have been left grey so that they look correct for the Guardromon mode, so it's acceptable. Even with these little things, this toy still actually looks better than the version shown on the back of the packaging, which has all these painted, but has Andromon bright white, with blue toe claws. Similarly, on the back of the packaging, the portion of Guardromon's legs which overlaps Andromon's is brown, while on the toy itself, it's mostly grey, which makes it look much better. The main problem with the toy, as has been the case with almost all the Digivolvers this season, is kibble. Guardromon's body is hanging off of Andromon's back, and it's not exactly hidden. However, I once again give credit to the designers - here, they've actually attempted at compacting the kibble; having the arms fold inside the body, and the stomach fold up over the head, rather than just letting it all hang off (like Taomon). Also, maybe it would have been nice if they'd separated his thumbs from the rest of his fingers.
I really like this toy. Maybe it's just because Guardromon and Andromon are two of my favourite Digimon, but there's also some smart design work at play here, and a real sense that Bandai was actually TRYING with this toy. They get SERIOUS props for being able to pull it off, and creating a figure with two modes that are so distinctly different from each other. If you're thinking about picking this one up, I'd strongly advise that you do.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5