Review(updated): Includes both Max & Miria variants
Packaging & Extras: (3/5) Original Miria release, (2/5) Max & Miria Reissue
The toy is delivered in the standard version 1 1/60 style Yamato packaging. This means you’ll get a large box that is made of flimsy cardboard with an overly large window. The art work on the box isn’t half bad. The original Miria version of the toy is packaged with a little Miria pilot figure which is a nice touch. The toy also comes with missile pods in their open position which can be swapped out with the stock closed missiles pods initially on the vehicle. Other than that there’s not really much “extra” to count here but it’s hard to imagine what more could have been done. In 2008 Yamato reissued both toys but the Miria toy came in the same sized box as the Max toy and no longer included the pilot figure.
Charm & Collectibility: (2.5/5)
Originally released in March of 2004, the Miria figure retailed for a staggering 12,800 YEN. The Max variant was released the same year and had an MSRP of a slightly more reasonable 9,800 YEN reflecting the lack of a pilot figure. Both toys were subsequently reissued in December 2008 for the 9,800 YEN price as both variants now lacked a pilot figure. These toys were mass produced but not in the huge quantity that the VF-1s were and they didn’t sell particularly well. While they’re becoming more scarce these days they still don’t seem to be a hot collector’s item, usually retailing at significant discounts. It seems like the Max version of the toy got an even smaller release but the reduced popularity has largely made this a non-factor to collectors. There’s a common belief in the toy industry that “bad guy” mecha doesn’t sell well and Yamato seems to have shown that this is true (even if “bad guy” is an inappropriate term here). Time might show more appreciation for these toys in the years to come as there was a brief moment before the 2008 reissues where the toys were selling beyond MSRP on the secondary market. They are fairly large toys but they’re not transformable and they lack metal in any significant quantity so long-term collectability is questionable.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (7/10)
I was a lot more impressed with the sculpt of these toys when they were first released then I am today but they’re still good overall. Sure, there are lots of weaknesses when the figure is compared directly to the line art but there are also some really nice touches that over the last half decade we’ve been spoiled enough to simply expect. The Yamato figure has very small thruster details in the legs, elbows, and on the backpack. The larger thrusters on the back have a bit of paint work that looks like Yamato’s first effort to give us some weathering. The biggest problem I have is with the large back area that serves as a cockpit. While the rest of to the toy has a bright, shiny finish this area appears dull and rubbery. The Max version of the toy has a purple quality with the areas that should have a metal finish looking a bit beige and for some reason both seem a bit off to me. Overall these toys look a bit like a 2000s reinterpretation of the mech as much of its physical bulk has been slimmed down making it look taller and more agile rather than squat and brutish. A TV version of the toy seems like it would have been more popular outside of Japan but DYRL? is number one in the Far East so that’s why Yamato never bothered tweaking the mold for a TV release.
I was thrilled to see Yamato had taken the effort to make a functional cockpit for these toys. I was a little less thrilled when I discovered there was no Max pilot figure (although you could modify a figure sold by CMs Corp). I was further let down when I realized that the Miria figure was under-scale being closer to 1/70 scale than 1/60 scale. Add that to the fact the pilot figure is not articulated and things go from really cool to just “meh” very quickly. In fact, Yamato’s ultimate decision to eschew the pilot figure makes the whole cockpit gimmick costly and unnecessary. This toy might have retailed for half its original MSRP or less if Yamato had simply never went through the effort to make the cockpit. Still, the intricacies of the cockpit are neat with a fold-out display and plenty of hinges to make the whole thing possible. It would have been nice if the leg missile pods could open and close without needing subsitution from the supplied parts but the manner in which the back missile pods handle this is very nice.
Durability & Build: (8/10)
This toy can get floppy and it can be very difficult tightening it back up again. What’s really tough here is the fact that this toy doesn’t get floppy to the same extreme of some other toys I’ve seen but the design of this toy is such that just a little floppiness can really suck some joy from it. The toy also has some potentially precarious parts such as the large head antenna, thin fingers, and cockpit mechanisms that a child might find easy to snap but they don’t seem like something a collector would have issue with. When held in hand this feels like one sturdy piece of plastic so it certainly isn’t fragile by any means.
Some of the problems with this toy stem directly from the original line art. This thing has thin legs and a huge, hulking back which makes it readily apparent that it will be hard to get it to keep its balance. The knees are located very high which means some poses will be difficult to pull off. The feet have some mobility but they do a poor job in both allowing for additional poses and in keeping the vehicle stable. There is no pivot joint at the waist but the mobility in other aspects of the toy largely compensates for this. A nice touch is the creepy little head of the unit that can be articulated (albeit poorly). The hands are pretty amazing being able to rotate and clutch with individually articulated fingers.
Total Score: (33.5/50) (32.5/50 for pilotless versions)
This toy’s score suffers from it’s lack of appeal to collectors and it’s so-so at best packaging. The toy itself is essentially average so if you’re a fan of the Q-Rau then there’s no glaring reason why you should avoid purchasing Yamato’s effort. If you are a fan and not a collector you’re less likely to be aggravated by any looseness issues that may arise because you’ll be more likely to take the toy apart, find the joint that’s loose, and find some way of adding additional friction. So long as this toy doesn’t get floppy on you it can be fun to own and make a nice display piece even if you find it’s not exciting to pose. If it does get floppy you can expect it to be a bit less fun and far more awkard. It’s great to see a company take a modern stab at enemy mecha. Some day I would love for Yamato to revisit the Q-Rau with a version 2 toy that perhaps abandons the cockpit mechanism in favor of functional missile pods and vastly improved articulation at a reasonable price point… and I’d be very happy if they followed that up with a Regult and a Glaug in the same vain but now I’m just dreaming.
NOTE: This review has been updated with all new pictures, line art comparisons, and a video review. Original post date June 10, 2006 with an update on May 22, 2007 to include the Max figure.