Review: Includes both Lynn Minmei and Rick Hunter
Packaging & Extras: (4/5)
Minmay 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
Beneath the trays you’ll find instructions.
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.
Rick’s shipping box ditches the character art. The interior, retail packaging features art of Rick wearing a very wrinkled flight suit. Like Minmay’s retail packaging, the art wraps nicely around one corner of the box and the rest of the sides are adorned with pictures of the toy. Pulling out the tray, you’ll find Rick and:
2) Hair for use with the helmet
3) Tightened collar piece for use with the helmet
4) 4x faces with alternate expressions
7) 4x pairs of hands
The second tray includes
8) Display stand consisting of a base and arm
Underneath the toy you’ll also find instructions.
As the art from the cover of the box looks very much like existing Hikaru/Rick art, the included pistol owes its legacy to 80s art as well (I think from an Imai kit). The rifle is from Rick’s training montage. The guns are both very basic without paint apps or finer details.
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, Rick, and then Lisa but, if those sell well, more are sure to follow (Roy and Claudia have been teased). As mentioned previously, this toy is very similar to a Bandai SHFiguart figure but the Macross releases in that line haven’t done well for Bandai so it will be interesting to see if KitzConcept can pick up more momentum than Bandai. 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, August 2019, $59.99
Lisa Hayes, December 2019 (scheduled), $59.99
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (8/10)
At 1/12 scale, you would expect this toy to be vastly superior both to the original Harmony Gold 1/18 scale action figure and Toynami’s 4″ action figure and it is. . 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. 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 is a little low on her face. 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.
Rick’s hair is an exquisitely chocolate affair that, like Minmei, looks to draw more of its inspiration from Do You Remember Love rather than the TV show. Something feels off about Rick. The figure is a little too tall and too slender. The eyes might also have benefited from being 10 to 20% larger. Change the outfit and this would be an excellent Steve Harrington figure from Stranger Things. There are five faces to choose from. The surprised face has one of those anime tear drops that feels more Trigun than Macross to me but it’s not an issue. The expressions are a decent mix which should allow for some fun pictures. The outfit is nicely detailed and mercifully far less wrinkly than the box art. The elbows and knees both interrupt stripes on the sleeves and pants respectively but the impact wasn’t enough for me to be bothered by it. The included helmet is a mixed bag. It’s nicely painted and has a translucent visor but it’s shaped wrong. The intro to the show has a nice profile shot of Rick wearing the helmet with the visor down and the sides of the helmet go out to Rick’s cheeks. The KitzConcept helmet, on the other hand, ends at Rick’s ears.
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.
Rick’s swappable faces and hands work the same as they did for Minmei which is good; everything pops off and pops back on securely. Like Minmei’s bow, Rick has a backpack that is removed to reveal the slot in his back for attaching to the display stand. I like how this allows a clean, slot-free figure when not using the stand.
Rick adds a zipped up top to his flight suit that requires removing his head and buckles to swap out the top of the shirt. Like changing hands or faces, the shirt swap is easily done and fits securely. Now, in the Big Escape, Rick runs around with his collar zipped up and helmet off and it looks just like it does here. However, when the gang is wearing these suits AND the full helmet the suit usually seals into the helmet (no neck exposed). So, it would have been nice if KC had made the neck a swap out part so that you could get a sealed flight suit look by popping in a white neck.
It’s pretty clear that KitzConcept spent a lot of time struggling with how to make the helmet but it still has some faults. I mentioned previously that the shape of the helmet is wrong. There’s a visor tucked into the top of the helmet. You have to have the helmet hair installed tight against the face for the visor to function properly. Once you slide the visor up, you’ll need to remove the top of the helmet to push it back down again but that’s easily accomplished. The bottom of the helmet has its own visor instead of pinching onto the existing visor above (so you would retract the top visor if you want to install the lower part of the helmet). The fit is so tight that the helmet hair appears to conflict. I would have recommended that there be one visor, not integral to the helmet, that included hair and installed in lieu of the helmet hair.
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 action figures have 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 joint. Minmay’s head is 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 but they also allow twisting to get movement along another plane. The hands are on ball joints with a very nice range of movement. Minmay’s skirt and Rick’s pants around the waist area are flexible but Minmay’s skirt hinders movement in all directions. The hips feature a nice amount of twist allowing you to get the toes pointed out or in. Like the elbows, the knees won’t let you go too far past 90 degrees but do offer another twist point. 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 they make for more lively displays of the mecha toys I love. While Minmei’s outfit betrays her roots in yesteryear, she otherwise does a great job hanging with SHFiguarts figures you may own. Rick will look great next to any display of VF-1J valkyries. If you’ve been waiting forever for Bandai to make SDF Macross figures, then you should stop waiting and accept this alternative. Every time KitzConcept produces another one of these toys, the others in the line become more enjoyable thanks to the display and interplay options so I hope we see a lot more of these in the future. If KitzConcept is wise, they’ll start including a neck more similar to the one Sentinel is using should they ever get to New Generation/Mospeada figures.