Review: Have your artillery ‘to go’
Packaging & Extras: Normal version (3.5/5), Special version (4.5/5)
The packaging is not overly large with impressive graphic work and the toy and basic stand parts (which both versions of the toy have) are packaged in Styrofoam. The overall experience is sentimental to the chunky toys of yesteryear and very satisfying. The special version steps it up a notch including a display stand base in a seperate box and a holographic sleeve with sexy Sheryl art that keeps the two boxes together. Inside the box with the display stand base is a reproduction credit card that Sheryl was seen using in Macross Frontier (an admittedly odd extra to include). Also included are thorough and easy to understand instructions and lots of stickers so you can realliy glam your Monster up (if that’s what you’re into).
Charm & Collectability: (3.5/5)
This toy is too new to accurately judge this section just yet. Some people are not fans of the special version because the nose art covers up the Montser’s eye that would be painted above the shark mouth. There’s also some question if Macross Frontier did enough to make the Monster into an item fans of the show are going to really feel they need. The cross-badging of the toy as both DX and Robot Spirits indicates it does have metal (a pretty healthy amount used entirely for stronger internals) and it’s largely in scale with the Robot Spirits line. That’s a little confusing since the Robot Spirits line is pretty much considered non-scale. Essentially this toy is roughly 1/110 scale which is still very large. Scale purists obviously won’t like the sounds of that and the price point far exceeds the other MacF Robot Spirits releases so there’s a chance this solid toy might not find much of a market. No word on how many of the girly version of the toy were produced or why toys like Max’s Hi-Metal VF-1J is a Tamashii exclusive but anyone could buy the Sheryl Monster.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (8.5/10)
This toy takes some liberties from the original line art but is overall an excellent representation of the vehicle from Macross Frontier. There are nice molded in panel lines in some sections and plenty of pre-painted details. In this scale it’s a little difficult to be much more demanding but Bandai could have used some colored plastic bits instead of paint in a couple places.
Someone is really going to have to tell me if I’m wrong about the trap door that detaches from the back of Monster: I believe this is supposed to be a support that continues all the way to the ground to buttress the vehicle when it fires its artillery (as the Mac1 does in MacZero). Either way, Bandai does get Kudos for integrating the feature as much as they were able to. The second feature Bandai cleverly included was the machine gun under the Monster’s chin which reveals itself in transformation and has left to right articulation. Beyond that and the well designed joints there aren’t a whole lot of gimmicks per se and some have pointed out that minor elements of the transformation and resulting forms aren’t 100% line art accurate. As a result the score here is solid for a very solid and well thought out toy. It’s a very refreshing change to manipulate a toy like this since it seems so distance in layout and transformation from its valkyrie brethren.
Durability & Build: (9/10)
Some of the plastic is a bit thin and Bandai has developed a bit of a reputation now for painting on details that can be easily chipped off their Macross toys. Still, I’ve seen no chipping and this toy handles and feels rock solid. Metal provides meaty support to the crucial joints and piece was nice and tight right out of the box. It’s been a long time since I handled a “first edition” toy that felt this solid. Of course, it’s very early in this product’s lifestyle so if I hear of a common weak spot I’ll revisit this review promptly and give everyone an update.
I know that some people are probably going to immediately complain that I’m being a bit generous since Battroid mode is admittedly stifled by the lack of hip joints or a waist and there’s no articulation whatsoever to speak of in shuttle mode (beyond the wing tips). So, how can I justify such a strong score? Easy, this toy blows Yamato’s effort (the only other Toy Konig I know of) out of the water. It has more articulation and the joints are stiff and hold poses extremely well. The knees twist and bend back and forth and you can actually play with this toy in both Monster and Battroid forms. The feet have a great deal of articulation, something I probably would have focused on more in my video review if it didn’t seem like such a minor point. At the end of the day I was able to achieve some pretty dynamic poses in both Monster and Battroid modes and that was without even bothering with the included stand.
Total Score: Special Version: (42/50), Regular version (41/50)
I’m sure a lot of people won’t care for the special version’s extras so if they don’t matter to you then you should only consider the regular version and its score. The score is also pretty preliminary as the toy is still early in its release and so not a lot of people (myself included) have had the time to put it through the ringer and see what weaknesses it may have. If it stays as strong as it feels then I have no problem recommending this toy to all Macross Frontier and Konig Monster fans. Some people may also be really turned off by the odd scale so that’s definitely another thing to consider (see the comparison pics above illustrating the smaller size of the Bandai in comparison to Yamato’s 1/100 effort). Standard version pictures (black background) were taken directly from Overdrive-inc (although they appear to be sold out).