Review: Totally cubular!
Packaging & Extras (2/5)
Nobody likes blister-cards do they? I certainly don’t. These ones serve their purpose well enough. Each blister-card contains two figures and two collector’s coins. For the Macross Saga toys, the coins are placed prominently between the characters and held in place by two-sided tape. Unfortunately, the tape stuck a lot better to the coin than it did the plastic. On the New Generation packages, the coins are housed in their own blister attached to the card behind them. There are five versions of the Robotech I-men available:
Macross Saga pilot figure
Macross Saga VF-1 Veritech toys with gun pod
New Generation pilot figure
New Generation figures in armor-mode Cyclone with Scott’s heavy gun
New Generation Alpha fighters with a gun pod
Charm & Collectability (2.5/5)
Toynami made several runs of I-Men figures and numbered each set to create the ‘catch ’em all’ vibe. While this review sticks to the Robotech versions, here’s a list of all releases in case you feel the urge to hunt them all down:
Robotech The Macross Saga (2002, $6.99-$9.99)
– 001 Rick Hunter & 002 VF-1J
– 003 Ben Dixon & 004 VF-1A
– 005 Roy Fokker & 006 VF-1S
– 007 Max Sterling & 008 VF-1J
– 009 Miriya Sterling &010 VF-1J
Hannah Barbera Adventure Superstars (2002, $6.99-$9.99)
– 011 Birdman & 012 Avenger
– 013 Dynomut & 014 Blue Falcon
– 015 Thundarr & 016 Princess Ariel
– 017 Ookla & 018 Vapor Man
– 019 Meteor Man & 020 Gravity Girl
DragonBall Z (2002, some light-up when on metal, 2003, $7.99- $9.99)
– 021 Goku & SS 022 Gohan
– 023 Vegeta & 024 SS Trunks
– 025 Gohan & 026 SS Goku
– 027 Trunks & 028 SS Vegeta
– 029 Piccolo & 030 SS Trunks
Robotech The New Generation (2003, $7.99-$9.99)
– 031 Scott Bernard & 032 VFA-6H Alpha Fighter
– 033 Lancer & 034 Lancer in Cyclone
– 035 Rook Bartley & 036 VFA-6Z
– 037 Rook in Cyclone & 038 VFA-6I
– 039 Rand & 040 Rand in Cyclone
Futurama (2004, 2007 reissue, $7.99-$9.99)
– 041 Fry & 042 Calculon
– 043 Bender & 044 Robot Devil
– 045 Leela & 046 Roberto
– 047 Zoidberg & 048 Morbo
– 049 Professor & 050 URL
Voltron: Defender of the Universe (2004, $7.99-$9.99)
– 051 Keith & 052 Black Lion
– 053 Lance & 054 Red Lion
– 055 Pidge & 056 Green Lion
– 057 Princess Allura & 058 Blue Lion
– 059 Hunk & 060 Yellow Lion
At 6.2cm tall, I-men will tower over any Lego figures you have so don’t buy them expecting to insert some Robotech into your Lego universe. These toys are cute, but they don’t transform, they don’t have metal (unless you count the magnets in the feet), and they don’t have much potential to be hot collector’s items. These were Toynami’s effort to hop on the success Medicom was enjoying with its Kubrick line.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint (6/10)
As mentioned previously, each I-Men collection two-pack comes with two coins. The Macross Saga coins feature the UN Spacy kite and Robotech branding with the figure name and series number along the edge. For the New Generation toys, this was enhanced to put unique art related to each figure on the coin. Both series have the same Toynami I-men stamp on the opposite side of the coin.
Honestly, I think these tiny figures do a pretty decent job merging the world of Robotech with the look of Legos. They don’t strive for anime perfection so they don’t get anywhere near it. The character figures seem like the weak point to me. Like other cube figures, there’s no distinction between the male and female forms. I did think, given all the constraints, the faces did a good job portraying the characters.
The VF-1 figures are cute enough. The only real weak point to me is the crotch area where the nosecone doesn’t conceal the leg connection well. I really enjoy the SD head sculpts.
Each Alpha fighter gets the unique head, including the fin on the Zeta and Iota versions, and the appropriate paint scheme. As with all the other figures, the proportions are suitably chibi with the head being large and the legs being small and squat.
All of the ride armors use the same sculpt so you won’t get the unique elements like the different chests, forearm armors, or tail pipes. One curious omission is Scott’s Cyclone. Since all of the toys share the same flat forearms and include Scott’s heavy gun, there would be no difference between a Scott and Rand toy (unless they painted it a different color).
All things considered, these toys do pretty much everything they set out to accomplish. I’d give them a higher score but they’re such a simple product. Sure, Toynami could have tried a few gimmicks here but with their track record I’m pretty happy they stopped where they did. There are magnets in their feet allowing you to put them in some interesting locations and do standing on one foot poses. Having them stand on their coin will make a very stable display. The hands are virtually the same as Lego toys so feel free to outfit your construction team with VF-1 guns and have your valkyries pick up walky talkies to call for help..
Durability & Build (9/10)
I couldn’t find any faults on my toys other than very minor paint issues. I thought one of my Alpha heads was seized but it eventually freed and then had the full range of movement. Otherwise these toys seem pretty well built and they’re so simple that there are no obvious points of failure. You could pop them apart with some effort but otherwise these toys will be safe in the hands of a child large enough to know not to try swallowing everything.
I-men do more than you might expect from a glorified Lego figure. Nobody is going to buy these for the awesome poses; these are toys to either get your kids interested in Robotech/Mospeada or toys your girlfriend will think are “cute.” All figures have ball-jointed heads, rotating shoulders, a pivot at the shoulder to bring the arm away from the body, rotation point at the wrist, waist swivel, ball jointed-hips, and ball jointed ankles. The VF-1 toys have less articulation as the waist swivel is eliminated by the nosecone and the shoulder pivot away from the body is inhibited by the shoulder armor. The Cyclones and Alphas have armor on the forearms that can be rotated but, like the VF-1, they have shoulder housings which inhibit the ability to bring the arms away from the body. The ability to bring the legs out on the Cyclone toys is hampered by the hip armor. The character figures generally have the freest range of movement at the joints though they are sometimes hampered by long-hair inhibiting the head.
Total Score (29.5/50)
Okay, so the total score is lame but these toys largely accomplish what they’re going for. If you’re a collector of ‘cube’ figures then these may be right up your alley. If you’re not into super deformed or cube figures, you can safely pass on Toynami’s I-men.
Original Post: March 2nd, 2009
Updated March 24th, 2019, added content relating to the Macross Saga I-men, added all new 4K pictures, and added 4K video review.