Review: The first MEPToys release for the Robotech license!
Packaging & Extras: (3/5)
This figure comes in an attractive box (21.5 x 13.5 x 4 cm) with a large window that wraps around the side. All contents are visible from the window and include the figure as well as:
1) Pipe (made of plastic)
2) 2 pairs of fixed posed hands (LR pipe gripping, LR fists)
3) Rick pilot figure in seat
The pipe and Rick figures work in concert with each other to help you simulate the scene where Rick ejects from his VF-1J after tussling with Breetai in his ship (watch Robotech episodes Blind Game and First Contact for diorama ideas). So, if you were going to compare this to something like the old Matchbox toy, the box and accessories represent a large step-up. However, if you were to compare this to something like Figma, Figuarts, or KC Collectible figures, which are similar in size (though much more expensive), this toy comes up significantly short. For those toys you would expect to have swap out facial expressions and additional hands at a minimum.
Charm & Collectability: (2.5/5)
This toy stands about 15 cm tall which makes it about 1/90 scale and means it pairs perfectly with Bandai’s Hi-Metal R line or Toynami’s 1/100 VF-1 series. It’s a character mostly known as a bad guy which immediately reduces the likelihood of this ever being a hot collector’s item. That said, he was produced in a limited run and, if either line of corresponding VF-1 toys continues to grow and evolve, more people might find themselves seeking this figure out. The back of the box shows several other Zentraedi figures so there’s hope that someday I’ll be editing this review to include more. So far, we have just the one release:
January 2020, Commander Breetai, $21.99
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (8/10)
This Breetai figure has an excellent sculpt from the face plate to the funky shoes. Paint applications on the smock-style uniform and sleeves were all very well done with just the slightest hint of over-spray on mine. The prototype on the back of the box has painted rivets on the helmet but I don’t miss them. What I did fine odd was that the gray paint for the helmet is very matte while the brown, blue, and purple of the uniform are glossy. The choice seems inverted and most fans prefer matte finishes for a more realistic look. The hue of the skin looks just like the glow-in-the-dark color you’ll remember from your childhood but it doesn’t glow.
Paint on the included tiny Rick figure is exceptional though Rick seems pretty large for the scale.
While the figure looks good there’s not much to it. Unlike the fancier 1/12 (human-sized) figures I referenced earlier, there’s no stand here or extras like helmets with visors or different hair or faces that can be installed. It would have been nice if the head had a ball joint that could easily be popped out and exchanged for other heads and that would have also added to articulation. The ball jointed hands fit way too tight and feel like you will break them with a few removals and additions so it’s best to pick the look you want and stick with it.
Durability & Build: (8/10)
If you’re never going to swap the hands on this toy, it probably deserves a perfect 10 (for simple toys, this score is often the inverse of the design score). I got very bad vibes from swapping the hands and what looked like lots of plastic fatigue from pulling them out so use caution. I reduced my anxiety by taking a hobby knife to the socket to expand them a bit. The right arm also has a place in the range of the shoulder’s movement that is loose which caused me some issues when posing doing a pipe-strike pose.
Articulation is limited. The head swivels all the way around. The shoulders are the highlight here, offering the ability to swivel completely around and extend out away from the body. Unfortunately, the curve of the smock at the shoulder means the arms must be angled out when raised upward so have no delusions of gearing up for a two-handed pipe strike. The elbows are limited to about 90 degrees of motion. As mentioned previously, the hands are on ball joints so you’ll twist and angle them. There is no articulation below the shoulders on the body of the toy other than twist points where the knees meet the smock.
Total Score: (27.5/50)
This is a good-looking but basic toy that is better considered an accessory to other toys you own. You’re not going to have fun playing with this toy alone, but you will have fun pairing it with a Rick Hunter (or Hikaru Ichijo) VF-1J. Given the price, I have no problems with the limited feature-set. If you’re upset by the price tag here, I would point out that plenty of people would have paid $20 for this figure in a static pose. I had a blast doing my photo shoot and think it was $20 well spent. If you’re more budget-minded and debating on this figure or a $20 Transformer, you’re definitely going to get more bang-for-your-buck from the mass-produced figure than this niche market product.