Militarized Mechs: The Acid Rain Toy Line

When I was growing up during the '80s, Hasbro had two of the most popular toy lines: Transformers, a selection of imported, transforming Japanese robot toys that were repackaged into a single line, and G.I. Joe, a relaunch of its classic toy line into the 3.75-inch scale. In response to Hasbro, Kenner launched M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand), a toy line that tried to combine the dominant traits of Transformers and G.I. Joe. Instead of transforming robots and military vehicles, M.A.S.K. consisted of common, everyday vehicles such as motorcycles and cars that would transform into militarized assault craft with guns, armor plating, missile racks and rocket launchers. Now, 30 years later, another company is trying its hand at transformable, militarized machines: Acid Rain.

I’m not sure how long the Acid Rain line has been around, but references to its products have been popping up on enough of the websites that I frequent that I had to check it out for myself. Created and designed by graphic artist Kit Lau and produced by Ori Toy, here’s the alternate history narrative behind the Acid Rain line:

Even after WWII ended with a nuclear holocaust, war continued to rage across the planet, further destroying the environment and draining the world of its resources. As old borders dissolved, new city states run by conglomerates and warlords emerged. Driven by their greed and lust for power, they liberally utilized weapons of mass destruction in their personal conquests. The resulting devastation triggered a vengeful change in the climates, which brought the world into a bleak and cruel age; what remained of humanity named this age “The Acid Rain Era”.

You can read more about the Acid Rain line on its official site here. Even though the summary paragraph above does not mention it, this toy line features an impressive selection of transformable, human-piloted mechs. If you’re looking for a giant robot toy line that has a “gritty” look to it, Acid Rain is the line for you.

I began this post with references to '80s toys such Transformers, G.I. Joe and M.A.S.K., but the overall design aesthetics remind me very much of militarized mech from the "real robot" anime series from the same decade, particularly Armored Trooper VOTOMS and Fang of the Sun Dougram. Both of these series were created by Ryosuke Takahashi, and mechs from Dougram were included in Revel's Robotech line of model kits.

The mechs in VOTOMS and Dougram are very bulky and rugged; as the VOTOMS acronym suggests (VOTOMS meaning Vertical One-man Tank for Offense and ManeuverS), these mechs are the robot equivalent of military tanks, with durability and armaments prioritized over speed and agility. In fact, the Dougram kits didn't just have tank-like mechs; they also had tanks with spider-like legs to help them traverse the most impassable terrains.

Two Dougram model kits: a desert spider tank (above) and 
a battle mech with transport helicopter (below).

As you can see in the pictures below, Acid Rain's Marine Sieger Stronghold ST2M mech (top) bears a few design similarities to the standard VOTOMS mech unit (bottom).

If the Star Wars films popularized the "used universe" look for the space opera genre, then the designs of Acid Rain (and by extension Dougram and VOTOMS) emphasize a utilitarian aesthetic for a giant robot/mech franchise. Acid Rain products are carried by a number of online toy stores, and a selection of Acid Rain toy reviews can be found on the CollectionDX site.

Related Products:

Acid Rain B2Five K6 Jungle Chapel HTT600K Action Figure Set Acid Rain B2Five Marine Sieger Stronghold ST2M Figure Set Acid Rain Laurel Corpse with Pilot Action Figure


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