Review (updated): More Acronymns than a Text Message… now includes ‘movie color’ version!
Package & Extras: (4/5)
There is no intentionally over-sized, bloated excess here; just sleek, well-groomed packaging featuring glimpses from the film Do You Remember Love?. The ‘movie color’ version features a large label printed on the box identifying it as such so there should be no confusion. A Styrofoam inner-tray adds ‘old school’ charm but everything else looks and feels decidedly modern. The toy is protected by a sheath of plastic wrap and here’s what else is in the box:
1 x UN Spacy kite display stand base
1 x Display stand adapter (for cruiser mode)
2 x Display stand arms (short for cruiser, tall for attack mode)
1 x Plastic pick
1 x Instructions
There aren’t any tiny valkyries or launchable missiles like the old 1/3000 Takatoku toy had but I really doubt too many people will miss those. Overall, great presentation, very secure, and more packaged with it than was absolutely necessary but at this scale it would have been nice to see a flip-top lid.
Charm & Collectibility: (3/5)
This “completed model” was available in two flavors. The first release in January 2007 features a shiny black and metallic ice blue. The ‘movie color’ version was released in January 2008 and features a matte gray paint scheme with alternating light and dark gray squares to give the appearance of numerous metal sheets. The 14,800 Yen MSRP of this toy was high enough that many elected to pass on it and hope that Yamato would build a more solid and possibly larger SDF-1. Those people were rewarded by a Yamato toy that was about twice as large, twice as sturdy, and more than twice as expensive (32,800 Yen). Now this toy sits as a seemingly modestly-priced alternative but it’s long since been sold out and may be hard to come across outside of Japan. Still, with the Yamato toy out-classing this completed model on so many levels I can’t justify bumping the score up. That said, the production run didn’t seem particularly huge, the toy does have diecast (not much) and perfect transformation, and there isn’t much competition in the SDF-1 market so the perfect storm is present to make this a true collector’s item. There is a fabled green version of the toy that may have been a concert exclusive but I’ve never seen it.
Sculpt, Detail, and Paint: (7.5/10)
This toy is beautiful in a lot of ways but Yamato’s 1/3000 toy has proven that there were many improvements that could be made. For a 1/5000 scale toy so many little detail pieces are present in both the mold and the paint work done with the toy itself that it is impressive. This toy really blows all other SDF-1 toys attempted before it away in this category and it even rivals the larger Yamato toy in some areas. Of course the Yamato does do better in many areas such as having additional bridge, chest, and panel line detail. The Yamato also gets closer to the line art in regard to the height of the gun towers in attack mode and the arms which are both too thin and too long on the Wave. It should be noted that the WHAM SDF-1 is labeled as a ‘completed model’ which would be a much tougher crowd to score well with in the detail category. Since I don’t know anything about SDF-1 models though I’ll limit my discussion to the toys. The movie-color edition upped the ante on paint-applications and did a good job although I found the primer gray color to be a bit bland for my liking.
On the good side it’s a perfect transformation toy that isn’t ridiculously complicated or difficult to transform. There’s a clever trick used on the main gun booms that as they rotate the peg that holds them together in cruiser mode is hidden. On the downside it feels sloppy and can be difficult to situate perfectly. There’s a lot going on in a relatively small package here and some may not find the transformation necessarily intuitive. I would have appreciated a little notch in the arm articulation to let me know I had the ARMDs in the right place in cruiser mode (which would also let me know I had both positioned the same way). The biggest fault of transformation has to be the including poking stick that’s necessary to free up the shoulders to rotate them for transformation and then to lock the arms back into place. The display stand works but isn’t anything revolutionary. For its size, this toy does an acceptable job but I really wish it didn’t feel so sloppy. You won’t get those snazzy extras the Yamato 1/3000 has like a removable bay door to reveal Macross City or a window that can be flipped to appear shuddered by blast doors. There really isn’t a whole lot of diecast present although there is some in the front and back of the legs which add a bit of heft. Also, there are some sizable gaps that the toy does nothing to attempt to address.
Durability & Build: (7/10)
Once again the “completed model” disclaimer should be used here, what you’re buying will not be as sturdy as a toy even if it does have diecast in the legs and some joints. There are plenty of very small bits here you could crack off and the toy is far too small to feel remarkably sturdy in any position. I’ve only heard of a few people having anything on the toy break just yet though so it’s possible they’re sturdier than they feel although it’s also possible people just know to handle it gently since it’s such a high priced “model.” More serious concerns include floppiness of any number of the joints, that seems to be the prevailing complaint when there’s any complaint to be made but again, it seems more people handle this as a model so there hasn’t been much in the way of stress testing.
The problem with a transforming capital ship is that if it had life-like mobility you’d probably find that pretty ridiculous. This toy has all the mobility you would probably expect from an SDF-1. No, you can’t pose it in ridiculous positions where it’s jumping while twisting to throw a massive ARMD uppercut or anything like that but you can certainly make it look nice in your display case. If it were larger I’d love to see more moving turrets or that sort of thing but as it is so small I think it does as well as can be expected. The Yamato toy added limited knee articulation and a rotating shoulder. Since the WHAM SDF-1’s mode of transformation involves locking the shoulder in place it was given additional elbow articulation which does slightly outpace the Yamato.
Total Score: (34.5/50)
I’ve made several remarks about how small this toy is but please, check my comparison pictures and remember how huge that large SDF-1 is. This toy isn’t tiny by any means, it’s just small when you consider how mammoth the SDF-1 is scale-wise. This toy does a pretty remarkable job even if it does ride the gray line between toy-dom and model-dom. If money is no object for you but space is then this isn’t a bad display piece. If you’re on the fence there’s plenty of competition in this price field (there are MUCH better non-SDF-1 toys out there in the same price range). If you have no shortage of both money AND space then there’s a 1/2000 Yamato SDF-1 model that similarly skirts being a model almost hefty enough to be a toy (although it’s over $2,000 and requires YOU to build it). If you have no shortage of both money, space, and reason (just kidding you lucky 1/2000 owners) then Yamato’s 1/3000 is a better choice.
This post has been updated
February 16, 2011, added pictures and content related to the “Movie” version, added line art comparisons, added a video review
December 14, 2014, added HD Video Review and HD Transformation guide