REVIEW (Updated): When a hovercycle just isn’t enough
Packaging & Extras: (1.5/5)
There’s something really nostalgic about opening a classic toy’s box and seeing that Stryofoam tray that kept it housed safe from the tribulations of being shipped from the factory to the store then to your house. You don’t get that with Matcbhox toys. This toy comes twist-tied into a piece of cardboard. There’s nothing in the way of extras here. The decals provided are absolutely necessary as, you will see in my pictures, the toy itself is very plain without them. Instructions? This thing doesn’t even transform, do you really need them? Don’t worry, they’re there so you’ll know where to put your decals. The silver lining to this toy is that it didn’t come packaged on a blister-card… but it probably should have.
Charm & Collectibility: (2/5)
Some may think I’m being generous here but anything labeled Robotech will automatically get one point and anything called a Cyclone or Ride Armor will automatically get another. Beyond fans of those two elements, this thing really has no charm or collectibility. For those of you that are Robotech or Ride Armor/Cyclone uber collectors, you might want to note that there are probably several variations of this toy. The one pictured, for example, was made in Macau as shown by the stamps pictured beneath the feet pegs (pictured below). There are likely other ones out there made in either Japan or China that could have some very minor differences as seen in Matchbox’s Battlepod toys.
Sculpt, Detail, and Paint: (5/10)
Toys have come a very long way since 1985 but that’s something you take for granted. A lot of that progression has come since I first reviewed this toy on anymoon.com when the only competition was Gakken toys released in the same era. The only premium toy I could compare this toy to was Gakken’s 1/8 toys which are in an entirely different league. These days we have modern offerings from CMs, Mega House, and Beagle that blow the classics out of the water in terms of how well they represent the vehicle in the anime. This Matchbox offering gets close enough for you to recognize what it’s supposed to be. The proportion of the bike seem off, the visor isn’t clear plastic, and the wheels being flat might help keep the toy stable but they also look wrong. Details are a bit sparse out of the box but the decals help with that. However, the claims made on the box are almost humorous. Claiming this thing has “Super Design Detail” is more than a bit bold.
It has wheels (rubber no less!) that move and it looks like a decent enough cycle but truth be known, I think I’m giving this thing at least one bonus point for being the only ride armor toy made (in that era) that actually seats a rider in a somewhat natural pose! Not only does it seat the rider, but the rider can be seated and hold on to the steering handles somewhat realistically. Sure, the Scott Bernard action figure is hideous but look at him, he’s actually riding! That’s something Gakken was never able to figure out (well, I guess they deserve some credit for their fixed rider 1/20 scale ride armor). Yes, the handle bars had to be pushed back of where they should be but I’m willing to make some allowances. There are pegs for the feet to like the rider into position. The only other significant design part I’ll mention here is the vehicle’s kickstand. It moves to be less cumbersome but never really gets totally out of the way. The other areas that should have been incorporated in the design will be discussed further in the articulation section.
Durability & Build: (7/10)
This toy is all plastic but it feels neither frail nor sturdy when held in hand and certainly puts up with play. One thing some owners might want to be cautious about is the kickstand beneath the vehicle. Trying to get the bike to lean will cause a lot of pressure on this plastic part.
How do you articulate a motorcyle? Working steering/handle bars, wheels that move, pedals/retractable kickstand/misc, clutch/handle mechanisms, and suspension. This toy has wheels that move so it meets 1 of the 5 possible criteria for a score of 2/10. A more functional and accurate kickstand and adjustable steering would have been very nice touches (yes, I’m harping on the kickstand thing). Other Ride Armor/Cyclone toys benefit in this section from additional articulation opportunites in armor mode.
Total Score: (20.5/50)
This is a good toy only in that it is sturdy and an action figure can be made to ride it. Beyond that it’s really playing to the lowest common denominator. The design and the appearance of the toy are both exceedingly plain. It’s too bad they didn’t make this thing transform, that would have been a huge leap forward.
NOTE: This Review has been updated, added new pictures in higher resolution, line art comparison, other Cyclone toy comparison, and HD Video review.
First update: July 31, 2007 – Pictures were cleaned up, new pictures were added.
Original Post Date: May 24, 2006