Review: The line begins with Lynn Minmei!
Packaging & Extras: (4/5)
This toy comes in a sturdy, two-tone shipper box that’s nicely decorated with art of Minmei from each side. Opening that box reveals a more traditional toy box with more attractive art, a large window showing off the goods, and pictures showing off the toy within. There are layers of plastic tucked between the joints so you’ll need to do some disassembly to remove them. To remove the layer above the polka-dot dress, turn the toy around and remove the bow on her back, it’s a peg that connects the two pieces of the dress. The first tray contains Minmei and:
1) Minmei doll
2) 2x alternate faces (Winking face, Singing face)
3) 5x pairs of hands (‘V’, pointing, L gripping mic/R saluting, L pointing/R waving, fists)
The second tray includes:
5) Display stand consisting of a base, arm, and adapter
The only odd thing about the assortments of extras is the inclusion of two left pointing hands that are remarkably similar… seems wasteful. A much better addition would have been the inclusion of an R mic-holding hand (though she is seen with the mic in her left hand in the Force of Arms episode her outfit is from). Also, the pointing hands look a little too close to a ‘force choke’ maneuver rather than a true point. The doll is a very nice touch. Another nice touch would have been to include additional bracelets since those seem like they would be easily lost. Overall, these contents very nicely emulate what you would expect from a Bandai SHFiguarts release.
Charm & Collectability: (2/5)
KitzConcept is hoping to create an entire line of action figures that would encompass numerous favorite characters from Robotech. The line is starting off with Minmei and then Rick but, if those sell well, then more are sure to follow. As mentioned previously, this toy is very similar to a Bandai SHFiguart figure but that line hasn’t done as well for Bandai so it will be interesting to see if KitzConcept can pick up more momentum than Bandai has been able to. It’s nice to see another company taking a stab since Bandai hasn’t delivered character figures for the original Macross. Releases so far:
Lynn Minmei, September 2018, $59.99
Rick Hunter to follow, currently scheduled for December 2018 at the same $59.99 price point
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (8/10)
You should expect that this toy easily surpasses the old Harmony Gold 3.75” figure and clearly, it does. You probably expect this toy to also easily surpass the more recent Toynami 4” figure and again, it does. At this price point, you should also expect the KitzConcept releases to hold their own against Bandai’s SHFiguarts toy and, in my opinion, it does. My only complaints are nitpicks:
1) I feel there’s a little too much tan color sprayed on her leg joints.
2) I like the outfit they chose (for historical context) but it leaves the elbows, knees, and ankles totally exposed. Many other figures are able to use the clothing to conceal the joints but this toy receives no such luxury.
Those minor quibbles aside, there’s a lot here to like. She has actual bracelets (take care not to lose them when swapping hands), there’s a pearl effect to her white skirt, and the translucent sleeves are very nicely done. I think everyone has a different expectation of what a 3D Minmei should look like but this is a solid effort. If I had to nitpick, and as a reviewer I think I’m obligated to do so, I would say her bangs cover too much forehead, the curls next to her cheek are too tight and should cover her ears and merge with the hair down her back, and her nose should centered on her face, not where her mouth should be. The hairdo looks like it was taken from one of her FB2012 looks rather than Force of Arms where it’s drawn to look much more like Farah Fawcett hair (but good luck trying to emulate that on a figure of this size). The display stand base is pretty plain.. they should have just made it a UNSpacy kite and given all their characters the same display stand… until they moved onto New Generation characters… which would be AWESOME because those would pair fantastic with Sentinel’s Riobot Ride Armors.
For character figures, this section focuses on functionality more than articulation (since I handle articulation separately). So how well do the swappable parts work? Just as well as they do on the SHFiguarts toys I’ve handled (and they function the same way). Hands attach to a tiny ball joint and pop off with a bit of force and generally pinch on securely and without excessive effort. I had one hand that just refused to go on but I’m considering that a ‘build’ quality issue. The face can be swapped by removing the hair and popping the face off and plugging the new face on via a couple pegs. While Bandai’s Macross versions of SHFiguarts characters either have a plug in the back or no plug at all, this toy has a plug that is filled with a removable ribbon. Plan on using the display stand because, while you can get her to stand on her own on a perfectly flat, solid surface, a slight bump would send her toppling (as is true with just about all roughly 1/12 scale figures). I did find the connection with the display stand to not be as secure as I would like. Since the hair would interfere with a display stand claw, you instead get an odd angled extension to the stand you can snake in behind her hair from the side. While the display stand works there is obviously room for improvement.
Durability & Build: (8/10)
It’s a bit early to give a concrete score here but an initial score over 7 means I’m impressed. The only issue I encountered was one hand that seems to have too small of an opening to fit on the wrist ball joint. There were no paint flaws and nothing was broken or damaged during my review process. I haven’t seen any complaints online of people encountering common issues. The only area of major concern are the bracelets which could easily fall off during a hand switch. If you’ve encountered any problems with yours, please leave a comment below so I can determine if this score needs updating later!
The SHFiguarts toys I own usually have an extension at the shoulder that allows a more life-like range of movement at that joint. The KitzConcept Minmei has some play at that joint before the ball at the base of the arm that does allow a sufficient range of movement but it falls a little short of what you can do with a SHFiguarts toy. Otherwise, everything here is comparable. The head is on a ball limited in its range by the long hair in the back and the chin hitting the choker in the front. The elbows and knees both allow better than 90degrees of move but nowhere near 180. The hands are on ball joints with a very nice range of movement. While the skirt has a little flexibility to it, it will stop the legs from going any further left/right or forward/back. The hips do feature a nice amount of twist allowing you to get the toes pointed out or in. The ankles also feature both a twist L/R and a good range of movement of toe up/heel back.
Total Score: (38/50)
I’m not a huge fan of character figures but I do think they help make for more lively displays of the mecha toys I love. With KitzConcept on the verge of releasing their 1/72 VF-1 toys, this Minmei seems an excellent accessory to consider (and of course she would go well with many SDF Macross toys from other manufacturers). While her outfit betrays her roots in yesteryear, this toy otherwise does a great job hanging with SHFiguarts figures you may own. If you’ve been waiting forever for Bandai to make a Minmei figure for you, then you should probably stop waiting and accept this alternative.