Review: Less than 10% the cost of Yamato’s transforming capital ship toy
Packaging & Extras (4/5)
The box may seem overly large (see picture for dimensions) but it does come packed with goodness. There were two things that kept this packaging from a perfect score. First, there’s no collector’s style flip-top lid. Truth-be-told, I’m not really holding that against the Quarter too much since the toy is so large that if they were going to package it in a mode where it could be opened and viewed it would have required an even larger box. The true reason I’m knocking this score down is because there are such big plastic trays within the box that the package is a bit squishy. I picked this up to pull it from its shipping container using one hand and the box immediately pinched in the middle where I was holding it. The plastic trays do not do enough to reinforce the box’s integrity making me long for the days of styrofoam trays. Yeah, there is one styrofoam tray but at least one more was clearly needed. Alternatively, the box could have been made of much thicker cardboard. Inside the box you get the following:
1) full display stand
2) 8x mini figures (Vajra, Koenig shuttle, Koenig Gerwalk, 4x valkyrie, and a Q-Rea/Rare)
3) 1 pair of articulated hands
4) 1 pair of fixed posed hands
5) Aircraft connector pieces
6) an instruction manual.
Charm & Collectability (2/5)
Originally released in December 2009 with an MSRP of 19,800 Yen, this toy landed on retail stores with a thud. When I first posted my review I scored the toy fairly high in this category. I originally said: “This toy suffers only from not being a limited edition product and not being a transformable jet. Toy history tells us that the capital ships aren’t as popular as other toy lines although I don’t think we’ve had a ship like the Quarter before. On the plus side, this thing is huge, gimmicky, and features a fair amount of diecast giving it some real heft. This feels like an old school toy in the best ways.” Unfortunately for fans of capital ships, this toy has been on sale at bargain basement prices at many retailers for quite a while now. It looks like it didn’t sell as well as many had hoped. Will it be a hot collector’s item some day? Possible… but not for a while and as such I’ve slashed the score here.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint (8.5/10)
You can definitely nitpick the warmth of the colors in Bandai’s choice and some small details but overall this toy is a stunning likeness to the CG Model. No decals are provided but you probably won’t mind since there’s so much pre-painted detail. There’s even some pre-painted detail on the tiny accessory figures. Are those figures perfectly in scale? No, but I doubt they were always perfectly in scale in the actual animation also. I think the comparisons to the line art above offer some hint that maybe the gun ship and carrier did a bit of shrinking from one mode to the next in the cartoon as the toy looks pretty much spot on in cruiser mode but the arm accessories appear too large in attack mode. Since this toy functions so much better in attack mode than cruiser mode I wish Bandai would have focused their efforts of CG emulation to the attack mode but I’m guessing that most fans of capital ship toys would think I’m insane for suggesting such a thing. If we ever see a ‘renewal’ Macross Quarter, which I have absolutely no expectation of, this score would hopefully come down a bit.
Obviously I was impressed with this toy but it does have a couple crucial flaws. The first flaw, and minor one in my book, is that the aircraft carrier can only be holstered in attack mode by using accessory parts. This is minor because I don’t anticipate the gimmick will get much use and it was cool of Bandai to include it at all. If we ever get a revision though, I hope they find a way to ditch the extra parts. The second, and much more major problem, is that the weight of the giant gun and aircraft carrier are too much for the arms to handle in cruiser mode which makes the stand a necessity. It would have been nice if Bandai could have figured out some locking mechanism that would have kept the carrier and gun level in fortress mode when the toy was held by the mid-section. Sadly, this is a pretty big deal as I can’t possibly imagine anyone “whooshing” around with this in cruiser mode which should be part of the toy’s fun. Originally I scored this toy an 8 in this category but I’ve since revised this score downward as it’s clear fans of capital ships want to be able to handle the toy in the capital ship mode without leaving it attached to the display stand. Instead fortress/cruiser mode just makes one hell of an impressive display piece on its stand. That big shortcoming aside, this toy does have some great gimmicks including the removable storage areas on the carrier’s deck, the Cheyenne destroids (I’m guessing… you can’t tell what they are by looking at them) that pop out from the sides of the carrier, the gun that splays open, and all the individual gun turrets. I’m not a huge fan of the Quarter’s design (it looks like it transforms by standing up) but I can’t really fault this toy as it pulls off all the things it’s supposed to do. Yamato subsequently released an SDF-1 toy that gave us all the structural rigidity you could possibly want in cruiser mode but stripped away the spinning articulated turrets which I felt were a must for capital ships. Fun fact, this article in February 2010 included my very first video review. Thank you to all of you who viewed it and provided me with constructive criticism for the next several months as my video reviews improved. Here’s an updated HD review:
Durability & Build (8/10)
I haven’t found a durability issue yet. The joints are all super stiff (which makes the toy ALMOST capable of pulling off cruiser mode without the stand). The paint applications on my sample were exceedingly well done. In fact, this toy was all set to score even higher here but there’s one issue plenty of people are bound to hate. Much of the small weaponry on the toy is made of the rubbery type of plastic that easily gets bent out of shape. Many of my cannons are ever so slightly curved. When not viewing from extreme close up range this is no big deal and it’s actually a benefit as these cannons are so small that they would almost certainly break under normal handling if they were made out of many other types of plastic. Heck, even if those cannons were made of metal I could imagine them being quickly bent or doing worse damage. EDIT – I have started reading some complaints that those originally very tight joints have gotten loose with some posing now that people have owned this toy for over a year. Once the joints get loose it will seriously impact how fun battroid mode is although, in most cases, a clever owner can figure out ways to tighten those joints up again either by finding the right screw to twist or adding a little bit of resistance via a piece of tape, clear nail polish, or glue (white or super).
From the articulated cannons and hands to the ball jointed head, this toy kicks butt. Do note that the shoulders are incredibly stiff out of the box and need to be handled authoritatively at first. Please also see my edit above that all that articulation can become a burden if the joints get sloppy on you. One thing that would have been nice would be a rotation point at or above the knee.
Total Score (38.5/50)
When I first reviewed this toy I said: “This is easily one of my favorite toys I’ve purchased in the last 12 months. I know a lot of people should, and will, avoid buying it because they’re not at all fans of the idea of a giant transforming battleship. If it’s not your cup of tea that’s fine but it’s definitely the concept you’re rejecting and not this stellar toy. I can also imagine some people being very turned off by the inability to lock the carrier and gun in position in cruiser mode so the display stand isn’t necessary at all times. If neither of those items are huge show-stoppers for you then you should buy this toy.” There’s only a few things that have changed since then. First, the toy proved to be a genuine shelf warmer so my expectation of its charm/collectability has been drastically reduced. Second, Yamato gave us an SDF-1 toy that locks together super well so my appreciation of a stable cruiser mode has increased. Third, people had the joints on their toys go from incredibly tight to sloppy loose and when a toy has this much articulation, sloppy loose is a recipe for intense frustration. All said, I still like this toy and am happy to have one and if you’re a fan of the Mac Quarter I think you should have one too.
Originally Posted February 2, 2010 with a score of (42.5/50)
Updated February 2, 2014 to reflect known durability issues, include HD transformation guide and video review, and included information about subsequent releases which had raised the bar in some categories and reduced the score here.