Observations & Critique: Now THAT’S a Conversation Piece
This post is going to be a little different from usual in that I am not the original owner of my cockpit diorama. Sadly, in acquiring mine, it was thrashed in shipping. The toy comes in two brown shipper boxes. One box contains the base; the second box contains the cockpit. Inside both boxes, a Styrofoam tray keeps everything in place. The cockpit box has cut-outs for the various parts and, if you ever plan on shipping yours, you MUST put everything back in the cut-outs or disaster looms.
Unfortunately, when my friend shipped his to me, he thought everything was secure with many parts still in the cockpit. As the freight company handled the box, the little pilot figure became a wrecking ball. Roy slammed into the canopy, the side controls, the front controls, and left a trail of ruin. When the box arrived, I picked it up and immediately knew I was in trouble… everything jingled. The cockpit box contains the cockpit and its very consoles, canopy, seat, and parts for completion as well as:
1) Seated Pilot figure (the Rick release also came with a standing Rick figure that was sold and reviewed separately).
2) 4 arms for pilot figure (Left throttle, left joystick, right salute, right joystick)
3) 2x joystick (one for empty cockpit, second with removable top to fit in pilot hand)
4) “ROBOTECH” name plates for attaching to the side of the base
In the box with the base you also get:
5) Laser-etched and leatherbound certificate of authenticity
Other versions may have different contents.
This product appears to have done well for Kid’s Logic, warranting numerous releases:
1) ST01 – VF-1J Rick Hunter $1,380, July 2018 (limited 300 – included standing Rick figure which shipped later and could also be purchased separately)
2) ST04 – VF-1J Max Sterling $1,380, October 2018 (limited 150)
3) VF-1S Roy Fokker, $1,920, February 2019 (Limited 400)
4) VF-1J Mass Production (with Rick – no sound system) $1,090, December 2019 (limited 30)
5) VF-1J Rick Hunter (no sound system?) – Sideshow Exclusive $1,399
6) VF-1S Roy Focker (no sound system?) – Sideshow Exclusive $1,399
According to Sideshow, the dimensions of this thing are:
Height: 39″ (99.1 cm)
Width: 23″ (58.4 cm)
Depth: 12″ (30.5 cm)
Weight: 77 lbs (34.9 kg) approximately
When it was announced, I couldn’t believe anyone would have the room for this thing, even if they had the money. Apparently, several people had both the room and the money. I didn’t so I just stared wishfully at pictures online until a friend offered to hook me up. Once mine arrived in pieces, I knew I had to figure out something to salvage it.
My first plan was to go the custom route. I was going to do a “Farewell Big Brother” version. I would embrace all the damage, add some paint to rough things up even more, put some blood on the chair, and call it a day, throwing away the destroyed Roy pilot and avoiding embracing the scratched and mishapen canopy. I told a friend and fellow collector this plan and he wasn’t sold on it. He is an artist, goes by Palantirion on some forums, and knew doing convincing battle damage on a piece was a lot of effort and looked nothing like the damage done in shipping. He told me to take it by so he could assess the best strategy.
To my shock, after we analyzed parts and rattled out the loose bits he said that he thought he could restore it. I was flabbergasted. Then he volunteered to take the project on! As I handed it over, I figured that it might be months or more than a year before I saw the cockpit again. It would be one of those projects you dabble on when life leaves you bored, like painting the trim in my house. Instead, Palantirion attacked the project.
He documented the restoration in this thread here… and it was a miraculous recovery for this cockpit. He even got the LCD screen working!
So, as I critique the Kid’s Logic product, bear in mind that mine has slight differences from a factory-fresh product. The cockpit is a stunning show piece. In my new house, the cockpit has been the center piece in my game room on the fireplace mantle. It is a beautiful representation of the VF-1 in shape, paint, and detail. One complaint that I couldn’t unsee once it was pointed out to me is that Kid’s Logic opted to add a LOT of 1940s era rivet detail to a plane that would have used 1999+ alien technology and was crafted from something called ‘space carbon’. A VF-1 would not have any rivets “in real life” and this thing is covered with them. Another minor complaint is that many of the warnings and logos have the waterslide film to them rather than being tampo-printed. Under the right lighting conditions, from the right angle, you’ll notice the thin ledge from the transfer. Shouldn’t the pilot’s name be on or near the canopy?
I only have the Roy figure but I don’t have any complaints. I suspect Rick, Roy, and Max all use the same bodies which would be a shame since Roy should be substantially taller than Rick, but you’d have to be a real diehard to own all three and have it bother you. The Rick figure has a visor that can fold down from within the helmet but my Roy doesn’t have this. I believe this is because Roy’s hair wouldn’t allow the gimmick to work but it’s possible the visor came out during my shipping mishap and was lost.
I didn’t cross-reference a ton of cockpit line art but the few pieces I have found make it clear that Kid’s Logic tried to be faithful. The switches, buttons, levers, and screens all appear to be where they should be and have been crafted to look gorgeous. There’s a ton of lighting, and while I could nitpick some of the specific placements, colors, and implementation, the overall effect is great.
Though a statue, there are a few nice design elements to discuss. The lighting is the primary gimmick and it impresses. There are between 30 and 50 LEDs (Kid’s Logic isn’t consistent in describing this) that pulsate. Yes, it’s quite the show. Continuing with the electronics, there’s also a sound system. The sound system is, at best, bad. At worse… well, I’ll save that for the next section.
The sides of the cockpit are removable panels. Why? I have no idea. What are the details within? Still, no idea. It doesn’t add much value, but the panels stay on securely so there’s no negative to them.
The canopy can be displayed opened or closed. This is done by removing the canopy and then inserting the tabs on it in either the horizontal closed position or the diagonal open position. While not the coolest implementation of an opening canopy, it’s perfectly sufficient.
For Roy, there’s also a battroid heat shield you can lay on top of the canopy. WHY WOULD ANYONE EVER DO THAT? Palantirion suggested I make the heat shield into a wall hanging and I LOVED that idea. He left the crack it incurred in shipping and added heat scarring that might have been created by Q-Rau blasts. I used a Dremel to make a couple holes in the tabs on the back of the shield and then ran wire between them and have it hanging in my office. If you bought one of these, I highly recommend it… it’s a dope wall hanging to go along with your cockpit display piece instead of something that will remain in the box.
This is a polystone resin statue… it’s big and solid. Even the seated pilot figures are resin. If you drop any of this, it will break (picture above are the nubs from the pilot seat that all broke off in my shipping incident). The pilot figures and their arms are probably the most prone to this happening since the cockpit itself is so massive and won’t be handled lightly. There were some grumblings about the first Rick release that the embedded magnets weren’t always in the right place which would cause some of the limbs to not attach properly. I had no problems with Roy.
There’s only one unfortunate aspect, the sound system. Mine has failed after working properly for only a brief time. There are moments of very high volume static and a consistent thrumming sound that never goes away. It was so bad that I performed surgery on the base to rectify this. It wasn’t a fix, I disconnected the speakers so I could continue to enjoy the lights (see pics above if you need to do the same thing). If anyone has suggestions on how to actually fix the soundsystem, I’m all ears! Sadly, I’m not alone in having this issue. I’ve seen several others mention the same problem on forums and even some being sold as having ‘faulty sound system’. It was very smart of Kid’s Logic to abandon the sound system on the later versions and I would NEVER buy a product from them with a speaker again. There’s also problems with the video file or the memory card becoming corrupt that causes the video to freeze. So, if your video screen is giving you fits, the first thing to try is putting a different video on a different memory card (or sourcing an uncorrupted version of the original video file). Palantirion had the video issue and we put my video card in his display and voila! The issues abated.
Palantirion gets a 50/50 for his work, I would NEVER guess that this thing wasn’t brand new if it had arrived in its current condition. I’ll be doing a review of Kid’s Logic’s 1/12 scale VF-1 cockpit but one thing I do prefer about that piece (other than its much more manageable size) is that they skipped the crummy sound system and stuck to lights. So, would I recommend the 1/6 version to someone else? That depends on my ability repair the electronics. It’s a gorgeous conversation piece and would be perfect for a comic bookstore or epic man cave but the average person shouldn’t lose sleep over not having the funds or the space for it. It’s a lot like a boat, trampoline, or swimming pool: it’s something you would enjoy but are better served being able to use/appreciate someone else’s.