Review: Crabs from Utah!
Packaging & Extras: (5/5)
Before we dive in, a little context is needed here. MepToys is a toy company that was founded with the idea of making the Robotech toys the bigger companies were ignoring. Imagine it more as a hobby with less demands on big returns and more love of the series. Unfortunately, mass production comes with a lot of headaches and after QC headaches kept turning the hobby into onerous work, MepToys decided to focus more on 3D printed products. The straw that broke the camel’s back is this Invid Scout toy. It’s not being marketed as a toy because it has some joint tolerance issues. This is a shame, because there’s a lot to love here, beginning with the packaging. The box is 21.5 cm tall, 14 cm wide, and 9 cm deep. The box has a nice matte finish to it and the art exudes 80s without being ugly. There’s a big window the toy inside. Beyond the toy you will receive:
1) Space booster
2) Plasma cannons to convert to ‘fighter’ type
3) 2 x vernier thrusters (look like extra ball joints)
4) A standing male REF soldier figure (you’ll need to paint it)
The second tray includes:
5) A display stand
6) Adapters for the scout without the space booster, with the space booster, and for a shock trooper that was never produced
7) Screws, bolts, and screwdriver to allow you to complete assembly
Behind both plastic trays and the cardboard tray they sit in, you’ll find:
Sure, seeing a screwdriver included is a little intimidating, but putting together the display stand is simple and no cause for alarm. The vernier thrusters replace the legs when used with the space booster accessory.
Charm & Collectability: (3.5/5)
I can envision ways where this could be a coveted collectible and demand more than its asking price someday… but at the moment they’re being sold below MSRP ($24.99) because of the manufacturing woes (see Durability & Build section below). Spoiler: the build woes don’t cause the toy to be broken, so it’s easy to imagine folks putting a little maintenance into these and having a good experience with them. At 5.5 cm tall these toys are about 1/48 scale making them the perfect accessory for the Sentinel, Aoshima, CM’s, or Toynami Legioss toys. This toy is appropriately small at about 5.5 cm tall but has a nice feel at 48 grams. MepToys is exiting the toy business and focusing on 3D printed accessories which could further heighten the collectability of these things someday.
Sculpt, Detail, & Build: (6.5/10)
As you can see in the line art comparison, this toy does a good job representing what we saw in the show. On a larger, more deluxe toy, I would have expected the swap out panels for guns on the large shell to sit flush and be less noticeable. A larger toy also could have had a shiny plastic eye with the three lens detail, maybe even the ability to slide the eye so it looked left or right. Other nits probably changed from frame-to-frame during the show but in strict comparison to this line art, the feet are a little chunky and the shell’s curves are too pronounced. The line art also has the shell overhang the body a little more which makes the scout look more menacing. The paint that is here is nice though the triangles on the arms and legs could have used a bit of black before the yellow was added.
Speaking of paint, while the rear standard vent and space boosters could have benefitted from a touch of dark paint between the blades of their vents. The space booster otherwise looks to be a faithful representation of what appeared in the show.
The included REF figure also looks very nice though I doubt I could ever do it justice with my painting skills. One bummer, the figure doesn’t do a good job standing; they want to fall over backward.
These toys have two cool features:
1) You can convert the toy from Scout to Fighter Scout by popping out the panels on the shell and swapping them for the included guns.
2) You can convert the toy to a space version by swapping out the legs for the vernier thrusters and replacing the back thruster with the space booster.
I really appreciate both those features in theory. In practice, both features are hampered by the poor fit we see in all the joints.
The included display stands are a nice design and come together well. You’ll need to keep the screwdriver handy because they need to be tightened when repositioned. The display stand adapter for the space booster version functions more as a shelf than something that grips the toy firmly.
Durability & Build: (5.5/10)
I was tempted to score this higher because, while the joint issues are frustrating, I haven’t had any issues with anything breaking. Loose joints are easy to fix. On one of mine, I applied a thin coat of super glue over the leg pegs, let the thin coat dry while the legs were disconnected, and the thickness it added to the pegs was perfect. My toy immediately became way more enjoyable. I’m not sure I recommend this method though because the joint showed a bit of the white discoloring that happens when super glue reacts poorly with a plastic. So, you may want to go with a floor wax instead.
Paint wear is also going to be a common problem. The front of the feet and the bulbs on the forearms look to be common areas that will rub and wear off.
The included display stands have air bubbles stuck in the clear rods which makes them a little less attractive but doesn’t impair functionality. Similarly, while there are two different rods in the display stand, a lower rod and an upper rod which are different in where they accept bolts or screws, I received one that had two of the same arm and I was still able to use it without issue.
Tighten up your joints before you put this toy through the paces. The arms connect to the abdomen (sort of like a shoulder) via ball joints. It looks like there should be two elbow joints but the first one (closest to the abdomen) is solid. Only the elbow that connects to the forearm is a ball joint. Since only one of the elbows is active, you’ll find the toy has very limited ability to extend its arms out away from its body. There will be no big hugs from this toy. Instead, the arms will always be angled inward. The hips are ball joints with a decent ability to angle the leg in or out. The legs can sweep so far forward the toy can look straight down or so far back it perfectly simulates a flying pose. There’s also a ratcheted knee joint which allows a very low crouch. I would have loved an articulated eye, toe, and heel and for some motion at the first elbow joint to allow the arms to flare further out but what we get is just what we need to have these things climb all over our Legioss toys… so mission accomplished.
Total Score: (31.5/50)
If you’re a huge fan of the Invid Scout, you probably have been willing to pay for a more deluxe offering, but I believe MepToys knew that the majority of customers were looking for a budget-friendly and fun toy to let our other toys stomp. Given the tiny stature of the toy, the price, and its nature as an accessory to highlight how cool my more deluxe toys are, it’s fine that it’s not perfect. I normally only buy one of any toy… but I grabbed three of these because having them pester my Legioss toys is just too fun. Is it an amazing toy everyone should own? No. It is the best Invid Scout toy ever made, affordable, and something I have no problem recommending if you don’t mind putting in a little work to make it manageable.