Observations & Critique: Painted, primarily static-pose, figures
The Yamato/CM’s collaboration Miria figures come in a colorful pink and yellow box (20x22x8.3 cm) that seems made of sturdier cardboard than Yamato’s typical boxes. Two figures visible through a large window on the front with stills from Do You Remember Love on the back as well as a picture of the sold-separately Queadluun Rau. Pulling the tray out of the box you’ll find:
1) Miria in her wedding dress without helmet
2) Miria standing in uniform with helmet
3) Headless Miria in piloting position
4) A figure stand with three different width clasps
The heads are interchangeable but it’s sort of hard to believe they couldn’t think of a third head that would work well with this set. Maybe just another expression? Seems like a waste. It may seem like one display stand is insufficient since there are three figures but one figure has a dress that keeps her stable and another figure is only for going into the Queadluun Rau so there’s only one figure here that would need a stand.
The CM’s Max in Meltran Pilot Suit figure came in a blind box set that advertises, should you get the Max figure, he can be placed in Yamato’s Queadluun Rau. Inside the box was the toy in a plastic bag with a basic, black display stand.
The Miria figure set was released in August 2004 for 3,000¥ and never reissued. Given Yamato charged 12,800¥ for a 1/60 scale Queadluun Rau with a pilot and 9,800¥ for one without the pilot, getting three figures for 3,000¥ seems like a bargain. Both Yamato and CM’s (who participated on this release) have gone out of business so there’s no chance we’ll ever see these released again. This pack will only appeal to diehard Miria fans. While the East prefers Do You Remember Love designs, in the land of Robotech there’s a preference toward the TV style which may also diminish some of the charm (as it did for the Queadluun Rau toy that these figures support). As these are an accessory to a Queadluun Rau toy that didn’t sell particularly well and has failed to become a collector’s item, this likely won’t be the hardest collectible to track down. Charm for this release is further diminished by the degradation of the paint over the years.
CM’s released Series 3 of their Macross Figure Collection in September 2005 with a box of 12 random boxed figures retailing for 6,960¥. The full set consists of Isamu Daison (Macross Plus), Shami Miriom (Macross: Do You Remember Love?), Roy Focker VF-1S Cockpit (Macross: Do You Remember Love?), Maximillian Jenius in Meltran Pilot Uniform (Macross: Do You Remember Love?), Lynn Minmay (Macross: Do You Remember Love?), the Flower Girl (Macross 7), and a chase figure that was Max in his DYRL UN Spacy flight suit. I don’t review static pose figures unless they’re very specifically intended to be accessories for toys so I’m only looking at Max in his Meltran suit which was one of the less collectible figures in the set (behind the chase figure, Minmay, and Isamu).
Taking one figure at a time, we’ll begin with the piloting figure stowed deepest in the box. This figure is a replacement for the pilot that came with the initial release of Yamato’s 1/60 scale Queadluun Rau. It is also a means for getting a pilot figure if you purchased Yamato’s later, cheaper reissue of the Rau that dropped the pilot figure. I’ll refer to the figure in this set as the “CM’s figure” and the figure that came with the Queadluun Rau as the “Yamato figure” for brevity. The CM’s pilot is smaller (about 11.5 cm) than the already small Yamato pilot (about 12 cm). The Yamato pilot has a matte uniform with white accents while the CM’s pilot has a glossy uniform with pink accents; the pink trim does feel more accurate to the movie. The Yamato pilot has yellow accents on angular boots with impossibly slender feet. The CM’s figure has less flashy and more natural looking boots and feet. Both figures struggle with the flight suit’s protuberance around the hips. Neither figure gets the curve of how the hip would work underneath that bulge correctly (the outer edge of the leg doesn’t correspond to the outer curve of the hip above the bulge) but the CM’s figure looks more natural. Both figures get points for not making Miria have huge breasts but CM’s went absolutely nutty in their depiction of Miria’s rear while the original Yamato figure seems to have gone to lengths to make it as uninteresting as possible. CM’s has given Miria crazy thigh gap and well pronounced cheeks… it almost looks like her uniform is pulling her cheeks apart. While Yamato gave Miria some simulated fabric folds on the sleeves, CM’s made the uniform skintight and only gave us fabric folds at the small of her arched back. While there are minor detail differences on both uniforms, CM’s added mechanical control structures to Miria’s gloves that stick out. I much prefer CM’s sculpt for the shoulder armor. The Yamato toy looks like the torso comes up into a triangle whereas the CM’s armor looks much more practical and almost wing-like in how it flares from the shoulders. CM’s did truncate the armor plate on the back of the pilot suit to create more space for the helmet to turn while the pilot is looking upward slightly (as it will be in the cockpit of the toy). Since the head does not move on the Yamato toy, there was no need for them to make the same accommodation. Both toys have nice helmets but the CM’s figure adds painted details to the back of the helmet. While you can see a nice painted on face on the Yamato toy, the CM’s toy gives you the ability to remove the visor and get a better look at Miria’s face. Other than her over-done butt, which you’ll never see when she’s in the cockpit, the only real negative I have about the CM’s figure is that her neck was left skin-tone which breaks the illusion of an atmospheric suit… but that’s a nitpick I don’t think the average collector will care about.
The standing figure is nearly identical to the pilot figure but her back is arched less and her back armor is no longer truncated since, in this position, the pilot won’t need to be looking up all the time. The hands lose the mechanical controls and look like normal gloves. This figures pairs very well with the Series 3 Max figure paired up outside their Queadluun Raus as we see briefly before the final battle in Do You Remember Love?
The Miria figure in her wedding dress is bizarre. Who asked for this? Who designed this wedding dress? Which figure is it supposed to pair with? It’s like centaur Miria where she’s ready for battle from the waist up but getting married from the waist down. You know what the chase figure should have been for CM’s Macross Collection Series 3? Max in a tuxedo! This figure and this outfit make zero sense. Why is this an accessory for the Queadluun Rau? I know there was a Virgin Road VF-1D in Macross… is there a scene on the DYRL edit room floor where Max and Miria fly around in a 2 seat Rau with Miria in this dress? The dress has a nice varied paint scheme that creates translucent waves that allow a sneak peak at the red boots inside. The face sculpt is alright, particularly for this rather small size (a little less than 12.5 cm), and her hair seems impracticably long but there’s certainly some flowing locks shown when Max gets his first look at her in the movie so the total length was up to interpretation. While it is a mind bogglingly bizarre figure, it’s not bad looking if you don’t get too stuck on the train wreck merging of two different outfits.
The thing that is a little awkward about the CM’s Series 3 Max figure isn’t his belly button detail or man bulge, it’s that he has more of an hourglass shape than Miria does. You might think it’s the fault of the hip protuberances again but it’s not, they made him unnaturally narrow around the mid-section. It seems very unlikely to me that a guy with legs as well defined as this figure wouldn’t have a more masculine build. To help with the manlier look, CM’s gave the figure more upright shoulder armor to create the illusion of broader shoulders and much larger forearm gauntlets. Other finer details from this figure are like the Miria figure though there’s a more matte finish. They really should have made his hands fists because his open grasp, when in the cockpit of the Q-Rau, make him look like he’s vexed he can’t read the display on the monitor.
The figure collection feels like a missed opportunity from a design standpoint. Understandably, they were trying to keep things cheap, so the lack of articulation is a choice. The pilot figure is 100% static other than the ball jointed head. The ball joint allows you to pop the head off and place it the other figures. This also allows the head to spin and look at various angles. The ability to remove the visor from the helmet is a cool feature.
Though the body of the standing figure has separate arms, there are no real points of articulation as the arms have positions that provide the best connection. The included doll stand isn’t 100% necessary for this figure but it’s about 95% necessary. She will fall backward constantly (raising her heel with a coin or small piece of cardboard also helps). Since she’s made of malleable plastic she can be forced to stand for a while, but she’ll generally be on her back the next time you peer into your display case; it’s best to lean her against the Rau or use the stand.
While the fit isn’t snug, you can swap the heads around onto the different bodies, including putting the helmetless head on the pilot (she’ll no longer fit in the cockpit though) or standing figure. If you put the helmetless head on the standing figure you’re relegated to putting the helmeted head on the dress figure or just leaving the dress figure in the box. Similar to the standing figure, the wedding dress figure has separate arms but they have spots where they work best (though these rotate a bit better than the ones on the standing figure).
The Max figure from Series 3 is a step in the right direction. The visor removal feature is back but the visor no longer tabs in front of the helmet so it frequently pops out. The arms at the shoulder and elbows peg in flush allowing them to rotate without popping off the body. Since this figure corresponds to the Queadluun Rau, Max has an unnatural backward lean that makes him incapable of standing without the doll stand (or a prop under his heel) but it’s subtle enough where he doesn’t look too awkward outside of the cockpit. It’s best to remove Max’s boots before squeezing him into the Q-Rau cockpit and it is very difficult to close him up in the cockpit without removing his forearms.
The Miria figure set has one critical durability flaw… the paints are breaking down leaving the toys sticky. The wedding dress is the worst offender, the paint there is forming oily drops. The paint on the wedding dress is also prone to scratching from Miria’s long hair which is more common as the paint gets softer. I suspect that leaving the toys in their box makes matters worse as the paint and plastic isn’t able to outgas properly. After having my toys out for a few days, the pilot and standing figures no longer felt sticky though the wedding dress was still… unpleasant.
The Max figure from series 3 has no sticky paint which may be attributable to the matte finish. The biggest issue with that figure will be not losing the visor from the helmet since it doesn’t peg in effectively.
There isn’t much here in the way of fun factor since these are basic shelf decorations. These are a nice option if you’re looking for an accessory to get the most impressive display with your Queadluun Rau toys. If you have the version of the Q-Rau that included a Miria pilot figure, the pilot figure here isn’t such an improvement that you should feel a need to own both. This pilot is better, but it’s not like she’s articulated beyond the head and she’ll still be mostly obscured by the cockpit she resides in. The standing figure is nice, particularly when paired with the CM’s Series 3 Max. The wedding outfit Miria is also included… if you like that… it just makes me shake my head thinking of all the better figures that could have been included…