Review: Plastic that looks like metal on a toy that kinda transforms
Packaging & Extras: (3/5)
Takatoku did a great job of decorating their boxes. This SDF-1 toy comes in the classic textured cardboard box with cutaways that reveal the toy within through plastic windows. The shiny, metal-looking plastic inside must have been one of this toy’s strong selling points. Inside the box you get the following in addition to the toy itself, housed securely in a Styrofoam tray:
3) Takatoku advertisement pamphlet.
The toy has been broken into some of its core components revealing its “block system” nature.
Charm & Collectability: (3/5)
This toy is bizarre so it has a bit of charm (although I might be doing my part here to lower it by pointing out the toy’s faults). In my experience this isn’t a toy many people own or know much about but it’s something that piques the curiosity. Typically this toy sales for more on the secondary market than it probably should considering it has imperfect transformation and lacks any metal (beyond the screws holding some parts together).
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (5/10)
First and foremost, this toy is old. Obviously manufacture processes have come a long way since then and, with few exceptions, yesterday’s toys just can’t compete in the ‘looks’ department with today’s toys. Takatoku did their part by having a large number of stickers applied to their toys at the factory. If you own some old Takatoku VF-1 toys you may have noticed that sometimes these stickers weren’t applied very carefully but my Block System toy seems to have been treated well in the sticker process. I can imagine this toy would be painfully dull without those stickers as there are very few panel lines and a dearth of minor detail work. Some of the transformation mechanism parts, such as the shoulders the big guns attach to, stand out as line art failures. There are also a multitude of gaps and the bridge does not split apart like a TV SDF-1 bridge should.
I’m giving this toy credit for having the ability to transform which, at the time, wasn’t very common among SDF-1 toys. The block system nature allows various pieces to move around but there’s not much in the way of true articulation. You can rotate the chest down which brings the guns forward to simulate firing the cannons but obviously the chest won’t look right. You can’t move the rail guns on the shoulders or any other guns. If that wasn’t a big enough bummer, the fact everything comes together via large rounded pegs (one per piece) and not much else means that the toy falls apart and/or becomes jostled extremely easily. My toy feels fairly new in the hand and I still had lots of issues keeping it together. In cruiser mode the Prometheus is so wide that it presses against the body of the SDF-1 which unseats the arm’s peg which causes the arm to pop out far too easily. It seems like Takatoku was trying to strike a balance between piecing things together securely but also allowing things to rotate as much as possible to create a sense of articulation resulting in a toy that doesn’t come together as securely as it should nor does it have the articulation you would hope for. In summary, this toy gets points for being able to transform but is essentially a failure in both modes.
Durability & Build: (4/10)
As I mentioned before, the long rail guns on the shoulder offer no articulation. Since they are thin and are made of a hard plastic you should be very careful with them. Other areas that look like they might be fragile, like the bridge, will likely prove pretty resilient due to the limited size. I would have scored this toy higher if the only issue were the shoulder guns but there’s one other big issue. If this toy were to truly work as intended each piece would have to be built perfectly uniform. It doesn’t seem like the manufacture methods of the time were up to this. Pieces that should be 100% flat and even have slight warbles to them meaning one part won’t tuck against another as tight as designed.
I’m giving this toy a 2 because it has 2 points of articulation. Consider them sympathy points more than anything as obviously there’s no direct correlation between the number of articulation points and this score in other reviews. What can you do with this toy? Spin the legs on their pegs and the arms on their pegs (at the shoulder). You may create the illusion of articulation by spinning the Daedalus or Prometheus. Buy this toy as a quirky display piece… because it’s not very fun.
Total Score: (21/50)
I remember years ago seeing this toy somewhere and telling my buddy, “I love the SDF-1, I want that toy.” He told me something to the effect of “It’s cool ’cause it’s a classic toy, otherwise it’s not very good.” Knowing this I decided to hold off on purchasing one and instead focused on all the new releases that had been happening in the Macross, Mospeada, and Robotech worlds. Eventually my friend quit collecting and sold me some of his classics and I can confirm his observation was spot on. If you love the SDF-1 then you might be enamored with this toy… and typically SDF-1 toys just become backdrops so a lot of this toy’s issues will never prove bothersome to you. If you’re looking for a good SDF-1 toy stick to one of the many other offerings.
Original Post: March 9, 2011
Updated March 18, 2017: Increased resolution of photos, fixed some grammar and clarified several observations.
Updated April 16, 2017: Added HD Video review