GabumonGabumon is the Digimon partner of Matt, and Digivolve into his Mega form of MetalGarurumon for the first time in 1.38, "Prophecy." In terms of popularity, Gabumon and MetalGarurumon come in a firm second to Agumon and WarGreymon - which is still enough for a toy to be made.

I'm late in reviewing this toy as I wasn't able to acquire the figure when it was on the shelves. Recently, though, it was gifted to me by a friend, completing my set of season one Digivolving figures.

The toy comes packaged in MetalGarurumon mode, but I've decided to start with the Gabumon mode, because the figure appears to have been designed more with it in mind, and it just works better to do it this way. The Gabumon is quite stocky compared to the Agumon mode of the WarGreymon Digivolver, but remains a faithful representation of the character. He is articulated in his shoulders, wrists, hips, knees and ankles. The shoulders and wrists of his secondary arms are articulated too, but the joints are carry-overs from the MetalGarurumon mode, as those arms are supposed to just be fur in Gabumon mode. Kibble is quite minimal, and is pretty much limited to the metal tube pipe thingy connecting Gabumon's secondary arms to his legs. Another drawback is the lack of actual hands on his arms. Still, it's an attractive mode that any Gabumon fan will enjoy.

To transform Gabumon to MetalGarurumon can take a while. First, you rotate Gabumon's ears around to the front of his head, then pull the two halves of his head apart. Rotate his entire back downward, revealing MetalGarurumon's head, then open his chest, and rotate MetalGarurumon's head out through it, and flip his ears around.. Close the chest panel, then fit the two halves of Gabumon's head together, fold it down, and close the back panel, with Gabumon's head now inside the body.

Next, rotate the yellow panels that Gabumon's arms are attached to around 180 degrees, snapping them into place on the grooves of MetalGarurumon's... er... butt. Pull MetalGarurumon's butt out, and rotate it 180 degrees, then fold out Gabumon's arms to form MetalGarurumon's legs, locking them at the knee and folding up the paw. Flip MetalGarurumon's tail blade out of Gabumon's horn.

MetalGarurumonRotate Gabumon's secondary arms right the way around, exposing the studded panel, while at the same time rotating Gabumon's feet up to occupy the space the legs were just in. Fold the secondary arms down and rotate them around so the metallic blue panel faces forward, forming MetalGarurumon's front legs, then rotate and flip up the paws. Finally, split Gabumon's tail in two and fold the halves down, then rotate out MetalGarurumon's wing blades from inside them.

The MetalGarurumon mode is an impressive change from Gabumon, but is a bit half-and-half. The front half of the figure looks excellent, but the back half is a peculiar looking lump, with the legs set too low on the body. The figure has articulation in the shoulders, knees and ankles of all four of his legs, as well as his jaw. There is an unfortunate amount of kibble at work, too - patches of Gabumon's fur are visible in various places (in some cases it's supposed to be there, in others it's not), and no matter what way you slice it, those are just Gabumon's feet sitting on MetalGarurumon's shoulders. Obviously, they are intended to be his missile launchers, and while they come close in appearance, just don't quite make it. The toy is also remarkably flimsy - I can't even begin to count the number of times his tail blade has fallen out, or the times that one of his legs has popped off from any particular joint during transformation or simply when I'm trying pose him on my shelf.
Still, as a transforming figure, the toy is well done, and certainly a must for Matt-and-his-Digimon fans.

While not as successful as the WarGreymon Digivolver, MetalGarurumon remains one of the better figures from the season one assortment of toys, despite the fact that he's a bit clunky and wobbly at times. I'm sure any little kids who own him have reducing him to bits, given the tendency of his limbs to fall off. Thank goodness for ball joints, eh? I don't care what they say, dammit, sometimes excessive force IS necessary!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5