REVIEW(Updated): What’s that Grell?
Packaging & Extras: (2/5)
The packaging is your standard 1980s Robotech fare that is easily bent up and torn. Inside a cardboard insert keeps the toy from too much damage. The toy comes partially disassembled with instructions and decals for the user to complete it. The inserts do their job. It was Matchbox’s standard procedure to not include a pilot figure which is the clearest omission.
Charm & Collectibilty: (3/5)
There’s no fervor being generated by this toy but fans of Robotech and Macross tend to really appreciate it. The reissue in the Exosquad line didn’t help its collectibility at all but the original will enjoy more demand. In May 2016 Bandai released the first modern Glaug (Officer’s pod) toy as part of the Hi-Metal R line and further diminished the charm of this 80s toy. If you have to own one Glaug toy, you should own the Hi-Metal R. If you’re looking for a bad guy for the vintage shelf of your toy display then this is still a great option.
Sculpt, Detail, and Paint: (6/10)
For a Matchbox toy this thing has a lot of very nice detail. The contours, like everything else Matchbox did, are certainly more cartoony than the line art but for what it is it isn’t bad at all. Matchbox switch the canopy to be translucent so children could see the pilot figures they put inside. I found the screw smack in the middle of the toy’s ‘face’ to be a pretty awful decision. As with all toys of the era, there’s nearly no painted on detail and using the included stickers will significantly spruce up the appearance. There are countless other nitpicks that could be had but overall this is a passing representation that leaves plenty of room for improvement.
The cockpit opens as it does in the show but it accommodates the smaller (human-sized) pilot figures rather than the appropriate Zentraedi sized ones . Otherwise, this is too simple of a toy to give it a very high rating regardless. Bandai definitely went the extra mile that Matchbox didn’t (as one would expect with 30 years of toy making improvements). On Bandai’s Hi-Metal R toy you get functioning feet clasps and numerous ratcheting joints. Since there isn’t any transformation here the design is necessarily simple and efficient. If you sweep the legs back all the way you can consider that a “flying mode”. It appears there was some sort of a tension joint in the knee that might have made it seem like the toy was jumping when you picked it up (by straightening the legs out for you). Leave a comment if you know of a better reason why the joint was designed that way.
Durability & Build: (7/10)
This is a very big toy made of very flimsy plastic in several areas. All the attachable pieces can be broken. The turret over the unit’s head, the hand guns, and the antenna are all potential weaknesses for anyone who is going to be playing with these toys. That said, everything is certainly sturdy enough where collectors won’t need to worry about accidentally breaking something. I did notice a few factory paint smears around the feet.
For the era, the articulation of this toy is pretty darn good. The whisker lasers on the chin are ball joints. The big gun on top rotates and pivots. The legs have great range of motion forward and back, the knees also have a good range of movement, and the feet can point the toes up or down. There are a few areas that could have been improved upon. The easiest improvement could have been the ‘elbows’ where the big fist guns meet the arms. You can’t get much of an angle there which means you have to keep the arms swayed pretty far forward. The hips could have been adjusted to allow the toy to achieve a wide stance. Obviously, if a wide stance is going to happen than ankles should be incorporated to allow the feet to still plant firmly against the ground. A twisting section near the knee would have also been an improvement. You get all those joints and more on the Bandai Hi-Metal R so if you’re just shopping for a fun toy, definitely go with the modern incarnation.Edit Edit date and time
Total Score: (30/50)
For a vintage toy this isn’t a half bad score. The toy can be made to do a number of cool poses and its scale allows it to be displayed alongside a number of different Valkyrie (Veritech) toys like the classic Takatoku 1/55 chunky monkey. I originally wrote: “If Matchbox could do this well this long ago, it makes you wonder how great this toy could be made by a more dedicated manufacturer today.” Since then, Bandai has made a much smaller but amazing version of this toy. If you’re collecting for sentimental or vintage reasons, I think the Matchbox Officer’s Pod was one of the best Matchbox releases. If you’re just shopping around for Officer’s Pods toys, definitely hunt down the Hi-Metal R instead.
NOTE: This review has been updated
Original Post Date: May 25, 2006
Updated August 27, 2007, updated pictures, increased resolution.
Updated August 2, 2016, increased resolution of all photos to high definition. Add line art comparison. Added scale comparisons with true scale. Updated content to reflect the Hi-Metal R release.
Updated August 14, 2016, added HD video review