Review: The line begins with D.D. Ivanov’s Showdown Version
Packaging & Extras: (4.5/5)
Arcadia sticks with their standard high-end packaging that includes a flip-top lid so you can enjoy the toy without removing it from the box. At 42.5 x 36.5 x 12.5 cm, the packaging is rather large. In comparison, the old Yamato toy came with everything the Arcadia toy comes with and a display stand in a box that is 37x 36 x 13 cm making it slightly smaller from a volume standpoint. Arcadia, if you’re reading this, on the next version of the toy either shrink the font to fit “Showdown” on the side of the box OR put the period after “Showd” and before “version” so it looks like “Showd. Version” instead of “Showd Version.” Inside the box you’ll find the massive SV-51 toy and:
1) A pilot figure
2) 2x wing mounted boosters
3) 2x hybrid micro missile & fuel tanks
4) 2x micro missile pods
5) 2x medium range missiles
6) A gun pod
7) 3 x display stand adapters for sold separately Arcadia display stands
Behind the tray you’ll also find:
8) Arcadia customer service identification flyer
10) Instruction manual
The first release has a well documented manufacturing issue so you’ll want to have that customer service number handy. Other than the lack of a display stand, this is a comprehensive kit. There are some minor differences from the Yamato parts and the peg sizes aren’t identical so don’t expect to swap parts (though I don’t know why you would). The gun on the Arcadia toy is larger and I’m always a fan of bigger guns. Arcadia differentiated between the wing armaments more. It’s hard to make out what the armament on the SV-51 were during the final show down. Yamato went with 4x hybrid micro missile and fuel pods which does make sense given all the full throttle fighting that occurs. Arcadia has opted to make two of those armaments standard micro missile pods so they look the same but smaller. The medium range missiles look very similar with updated accents. The booster for the wing gets an updated mold that makes the red highlight toward the front a single piece rather than having a mold line through it (though why not clear plastic?) and the flaps on the boosters are now articulated… which Is a gratuitous touch that will likely drive people who like to take pics of their toys nuts as they find days later they had a booster flap out of position but might add for some play value for those desperate to re-enact the cobra pattern of DD tussling with Roy.
Charm & Collectability: (2/5)
Enemy vehicles always have limited audiences so DD’s SV-51 has an uphill battle despite being the scheme of the show’s major antagonist and featuring perfect transformation. The initial release suffered a manufacturing issue that caused the toy to come with two right or left ankles. Arcadia did a good job quickly addressing the issue with their Japanese customers but the licensing issue gave them little ability to help out those who exported the toy from Japan. As time goes on, people won’t want to purchase this version of the toy for fear of being unable to get replacement parts unless it’s specified the toy comes with them. If Arcadia makes a second run, it will be wise of them to identify the latter release with a special sticker on the box. Another hurdle for Arcadia to overcome is the similarity in appearance of this toy with Yamato’s 1/60 scale SV-51. Both toys are 38cm long in fighter mode, the Arcadia toy is a hair taller in battroid at about 30.5 cm in its most compressed form while the Yamato is 29.5 cm, but the Arcadia version of the toy tips the scales at a rather hefty 452 grams while the Yamato toy was 336 grams. So far there’s been just the one release of DD Ivanov which hit shelves in August 2019 for the astronomical MSRP of 36,800¥. Arcadia has teased a Nora variant but no word has been given on a proposed release date.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (9.5/10)
The only room I see for improvement here would be a ‘premium finish’ or weathering version to add more painted on detail. The details that are painted on are crisper than they were on the Yamato toy, the colors have more pop, and the overall toy is rendered in a darker hue. My major complaint about the Yamato toy has been addressed: you can no longer see through gaps in the plane when looking at it from above (the biggest were around the head on the Yamato). Despite the very similar shapes and proportions, it doesn’t appear the Yamato and Arcadia toys share a single part in common. The Arcadia toy has thinner panel lines and tighter edges. Even the pilot figure has been reworked to have much better proportions. Highlights in clear red and blue plastic help add some pop.
The biggest improvements in battroid mode over the original Yamato toy are the details in the head and the upward sweeping shoulders. It would have been nice if Arcadia had engineered a slider for the fins on the arms so they could lay flat across the top of the forearm. The guards above the hands are too large and should have a slider so that they can go back toward the arm to make the hands more functional.
This toy has the premium features you would expect at this price point including:
1) Perfect transformation
2) Opening cockpit with removable canopy
3) Integrated landing gear
4) Hard points and ability to stow all weaponry and boosters
5) Removable magazines on the gun
6) VTOL fans that can be exposed behind the cockpit
While the Yamato toy relied on magnets in a couple areas (connecting the arms in fighter and nose in battroid), Arcadia went with less gimmicky and more stable pegs. Unfortunately, other than modest improvements in tolerances and articulation, the toy doesn’t move the needle very far forward from where Yamato left it. There are hinged head cavity fillers to make fighter mode look better and the door behind the cockpit now opens to expose the VTOL fan detail but everything else feels familiar. Numerous hinges and pivot points still lack an identifiable “home” position and move freely during handling. Even the torso doesn’t tab together though the joints involved are stiff enough where it’s not frustrating. The hard points still function in the same way which includes the annoying filler pieces that must be popped out of the wing to use the boosters. This toy feels like an attempt to make a ‘version 2’ of the Yamato toy rather than being something more innovative.
Durability & Build: (5/10)
Unfortunately, where this was where the biggest room was for improvement over the Yamato toy, this toy had a completely botched premiere. On seemingly most toys that hit the market, the toy came with a leg that was misassembled (a core part meant for the right foot ended up in the left foot or vice-versa). The result is that the foot doesn’t retract perfectly into the leg and isn’t angled symmetrically with the other foot when in battroid/GERWALK. The part is also in the middle of the foot and is difficult to replace so Arcadia opted to send all affected users two new legs. Assuming you received one with proper feet, there were still other issues that could prove problematic. Like the Yamato toy, some people complained of looseness after only a few transformations and there is some metal so you can expect paint wear at several joints.
Though not a fatal break by any means, I was sad to discover a broken hinge on my toy near the head. I likely broke the hinge as I pressed the flap back onto the interior shoulder mechanism. This is another assembly that seems it could have been more refined by having the two parts molded to tab together rather than having a very small notch that allows the pivoting point to get to the appropriate angle… which isn’t really defined. Indeed, there are LOTS of hinges on this toy and NONE of them have ratchets or detents that indicate the proper position or, perhaps more importantly, keep the hinge locked into that proper position. This is a bit of a blessing and a curse as hinges with molded stopping points cause more stress on the hinges and increase fatigue but they do make a toy lock together as intended and prevent users from exceeding the proper range.
As it is, when all these hinges get loose, and they will, the lack of molded in stopping points will make this toy very sloppy to handle, which is a feeling you’ll recognize if you have a well-loved Yamato SV-51. My Yamato toy is now quite loose and floppy and while my Arcadia toy is quite stiff, I’m constantly moving hinges around to get things symmetrical or having them fall out of place so looseness feels inevitable. The shield on the chest of my Yamato toy is very frustrating in its looseness and while I doubt my Arcadia toy will get that bad, it doesn’t lock into position which is another thing I would have expected from a second attempt at this vehicle.
There are improvements here over the Yamato. The head remains a swivel on a hinge that allows it left/right and up/down articulation but no ball-joint style cocking. The shoulders pivot upward nicely and the shoulder rotates freely and allows the arm to extend out away from the body (with a ratcheted joint that feels very sturdy). Though the joints are similar, the rotating the shoulder on the Yamato toy often caused the transformation mechanism beneath it to shift and it could be awkward, that’s not an issue here. A second pivot has been added to the elbow with a sliding mid-arm to create more clearance giving the elbow about 150 degrees of movement compared to the Yamato’s 90. Like the Yamato, the wrist spins and pivots and there’s a trigger finger, thumb, set of three fingers, and a pinky on individual hinges. The hips are on ball joints that allow a very wide stance, an extension to achieve an even wider stance (the same way Arcadia’s VF-0 toys did), can be rocked to point the toe in/out, and rotate forward and back. Unlike toys with wings behind the hips, you probably won’t need to use the GERWALK joint outside of GERWALK mode but it’s there if you want it. Like the Yamato, there’s a swivel above the knee and an extension in the knee that allows 90 degrees of movement. Unlike the Yamato, there’s a second extension and pivot within the knee that allows another further 30 degrees of movement or so for more like 120 degrees of total movement. The foot has three individually articulated toes both at the top and at a knuckle. The ankle has pivots forward and backward and very slightly left/right but no ability to twist. Ball jointed ankles, neck, and a waist joint are the only real areas I could see for improvement here and, with everything that is present, you probably won’t miss them much.
Total Score: (38/50)
This toy is beautiful and imposing. It makes a striking display piece… but it’s not the greatest toy and you can get way more bang for your buck from significantly cheaper alternatives. I would much rather own two Bandai DX VF-1 toys than one Arcadia SV-51 (or even one DX VF-1 with missiles and strike parts). An Arcadia VF-0S is a much better purchase. But those aren’t apples to apples and what’s really damning here is that I might prefer having the significantly cheaper Yamato SV-51 and excess cash for other toys rather than the Arcadia SV-51. A second effort of a toy (particularly one at much higher prices) should make the original effort feel completely out-classed and this toy simply feels like an incremental improvement over the original. If there are future releases, and those releases don’t botch the legs, this toy will score just a bit higher than the original Yamato…