Review(updated): Now includes Pixie Squadron variant.
Packaging & Extras: (3.5/5)
Bandai does a pretty good job on their smaller toys. The packaging is slim, a bit wide, and styled nicely. There’s no flip top lid like the Hi-Metal series has but this is more a Revoltech style toy (and similar in price point) so don’t expect too much and you won’t be let down. The red variant simply comes with open-style missile covers for the missile bay on the legs. There is a pilot figure but she is already installed in the cockpit. The Pixie version comes with two different pilots (the less heroic members of the Pixie Squadron, one might actually die in the series about half way through).
Charm & Collectability: (2/5)
I’m sure some people collect the Robot Spirits line like they do the Revoltech line but for the most part this toy isn’t something you’re going to buy thinking it’s a collector’s item. There’s no transformation (not like there should be), there’s no diecast, and it’s a tertiary character’s vehicle. There were two releases:
Q-Rare Klan Custom, November 2009, 3,200 Yen
Q-Rare Regular Use, March 2010, 3,340 Yen (inclusive of tax), Tamashii Exclusive
The extra bump I might give the Pixie version for being a limited exclusive is negated by the reduce demand for what is essentially a cannon fodder paint scheme. Word did get out that this toy is fun so it has sold well.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (8/10)
All things considered, including the diminutive scale, this toy looks pretty darn good. Sure, there are lots of extra details that could have been included, and yes the pilot figure inside could have been a much better rendition of Klan (or featured a pop-off helmetless head), but there’s no arguing that this toy captures the spirit of the Q-Rare (aka Q-Rea… but that’s a little too similar to urea for my liking). Under some lighting you may be able to notice slight differences in the tone of the red used depending on the type of plastic that particular part is made of. The other weakness I should point out are the missiles which don’t look very convincing. Is it just me or do the lasers near the waist resemble nipples?
For such a tiny toy there are a lot of great features here. I’ll leave the praise of the articulation for that section and focus on the gimmicks here. First, like the Yamato 1/60 Q-Rau figure, this toy has back pack missile bay doors that open revealing missiles within. Less cool, again like the Yamato 1/60 Q-Rau, this toy features leg missile bays you can modify with a clip on part to appear open. Meh. Again, like the Yamato 1/60 Q-Rau toy, this toy features an opening cockpit which reveals a pilot figure (in full pilot garb) inside. The pilot figures are waist-level amputees. The one problem with the Bandai having this opening cockpit is it makes it quite clear that there’s no way the pilot could ever fit in this mecha but these things happen when you’re dealing with such a small scale. Generally speaking, the fact that this toy has all the cool features of a much larger toy is pretty impressive stuff. This toy doesn’t look as customizable as Yamato’s GNU series.
Durability & Build: (8.5/10)
The top antenna on this toy is made of PVC which is a good thing because it’s very easy to imagine it snapping right off it weren’t so capable of bending. I would have given this toy a higher score if it felt like it were made from better materials. As it is, I think you should have no fear of handling this toy and enjoying all of its features and articulation. If the legs get loose down the road you’ll definitely have to add a bead of glue or something like that to fix them since loose legs would drastically reduce the fun.
The one weakness on this toy is the one strength on the Yamato Q-Rau toy. The hands/fingers here are not articulated, they’re frozen in a sort of pinching motion. Of course the fingers are so tiny that any other position would have made them extremely susceptible to being snapped off so it’s not something to lament at this scale. Otherwise this toy is absolutely fantastic.
Total Score: (39/50)
This is definitely one of the best budget toys in the Macross universe. In fact, it’s such a good budget toy that it sold really well and is pretty hard to find at any sort of discount. The Q-Rare itself won’t appeal to all since it doesn’t transform and I don’t recall it being particularly heroic in Frontier (although it won its fair share of battles). I suspect some may also avoid this toy since the line doesn’t adhere to a particular scale so it might not look at home posing with other toys in a collection. If you’re not a stickler for scale, and you think the Q-Rare is a decent mech design, do yourself a favor and grab one of these and play with it.