REVIEW(Updated): They don’t come in peace
Packaging & Extras: (2/5)
When the styrofoam tray is replaced by the cardboard cut-out to keep toys safe on the inside of the box then the box itself becomes inherently less stable and more prone to being crumpled, torn, and otherwise beat. Such is the case with the Battlepod’s box and why it’s hard to find really pristine boxes in your search for this collectible. The toy comes partially assembled. Easy to read instructions tell you how to get it together and all stickered up; there’s a fairly standard sticker sheet which does dress the toy up nicely, and the toy also came with an invitation to join the RDF Fan Club. To summarize: you get a cheap box with poor integrity, cardboard tray, extremely limited extras (no pilot) and the toy itself isn’t even fully assembled.
Charm & Collectibility: (3.5/5)
Originally when I reviewed this toy the Matchbox still had no serious competition in the Battlepod (AKA Regult) market. That changed when Kaiyodo released their Revoltech Regult and then Toynami released their roughly 1/100 scale vinyl collection Battlepod. Yamato then produced a plastic resin 1/60 version Regult (AKA Reguld) as a model kit (essentially a model that should have a toy’s durability). The Yamato version features a detailed cockpit that accommodates a theoretical 1/60 scale Zentran pilot at a price tag that would probably run you close to $500 (and more now that Yamato has folded). Even more recently Bandai has produced the Hi-Metal R Regult which is approximately the same size as the Toynami vinyl figure. Has any of this hurt the original Matchbox toy’s collectability? It may be too soon to say but there are clearly three separate markets being serviced by the available toys so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some collector’s still seeking these toys out. After all, the Battlepod was the most prolific enemy in the Macross universe. The lack of metal, transformation, and scarcity keep this Matchbox toy from really generating any fervor. Like many Robotech toys, this toy has at least three variations as pictured below. I don’t believe any particular variant is more desired than the others.
Sculpt, Detail, and Paint: (6/10)
As mentioned previously, some versions of this toy have different appearances from others. The representation is fair although not perfect. Some detail is present, the decals help a lot, but more could have been included and the modern toys feature more slick painted on detail. I’ve included a picture below to compare the Battlepod to the original line art but the rigid hips of the toy made getting the proper angle difficult. As you might expect from a mid-80s toy, the cockpit detail is extremely sparse. In terms of line art accuracy, if it weren’t for the bulge on the top, the window for the pilot figure, and the thick legs this really isn’t a bad representation at all, especially when compared to Matchbox’s various other efforts.
It’s an average score for an average design. The toy can be a bit gangly and awkward at times. Other than fitting an action figure within its opening cockpit there really isn’t much in the way of frills here. Below is a picture of how that mechanism works and a glimpse at the detail inside for the 3 3/4″ action figure. I probably don’t have to mention this but the scale is all wrong, a Rick Hunter action figure should appear tiny inside a Battle Pod, he should not look like a Battle Pod’s natural pilot. I did some measurements and while it’s very difficult to come up with an accurate scale for this toy (due to conflicting Macross vs. Robotech canon sizes and it being unknown where the height was measured to and what angle the legs were at) it seems fair to say this toy is somewhere between 1/50 and 1/60 scale.
Durability & Build: (7/10)
Another average score here as the toy has some parts that can be broken with play but nothing that seems prone to breaking from simple accident. The plastic feels thin but the toy is essentially an egg with legs so nothing stands out precariously. Obviously you’ll want to take special care with all the little tabs that lock things like the rings for the big guns down.
How poseable should an egg with legs be? Well, let’s just say it exposes the weakness of the legs pretty quickly. The system used is the same as the one employed on the Officer’s Pod which means it would also benefit from being able to achieve a wide stance and incorporating ankles. It does feature a toe that allows you to mix things up ever so slightly. A big let down here is that the little antennae and guns all move slightly but never enough where you could actually point them somewhere the toy might be looking. The little adjustable “shoulder” jets are a nice but nearly useless touch. The extremely limited leg mobility is going to make it so you can’t achieve all the most desirable Battlepod poses which is a real shame.
Total Score: (30.5/50)
When I first reviewed this I said: “The Battle Pod is a very simple toy and it’d be hard to imagine one so great that it wowed me in every category although I certainly look forward to the day (should it ever come) where some manufacturer steps up to the plate and tries to make it happen. In the meantime we have this toy and things could certainly be worse. It’s no eye-sore and it’s built to a scale that’s comfortable with a lot of hero mechs as demonstrated by the pics here.” Subsequently, Bandai released their Hi-Metal R Regult toys and it is truly impressive in every way and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a modern take on the mecha. If you’re cruising down memory lane or you’re a stickler for scale, then maybe this toy is still worth your consideration.
Original Post Date: May 25, 2006
August 12, 2007 – Added better pictures
June 21, 2010 – Updated with Kaiyodo Revoltech, Toynami Vinyl Collection, and Yamato 1/60 information. Added video review.
March 20, 2016 – Updated with Bandai Hi-Metal R information, cleaned up a couple pictures.
April 6, 2016 – Added HD Video Review