Review: Steam Catapults in Space Don’t Make Sense
Packaging & Extras: (5/5)
I thought it would take hell freezing for Yamato to actually produce an efficiently packaged item but apprently that’s not the case. The Launch Arm comes nicely tucked in a box just big enough to fit. All three launch arms feature exactly the same art but the Silver and Black versions feature giant stickers on the window letting you know that you’re eyes aren’t deceiving you, the item you can clearly see through the window really isn’t gray. Inside you’ll find a pair of extra screws and the attachments for essentially every Yamato product that had been made up until the release of the Launch Arm (future toy releases come prepackaged with corresponding Launch Arm attachment pieces up until the SV-51 which had its own stand). Interestingly, the Silver Launch Arm comes with white connectors for the toy… but the connectors all tuck in so close to the toys it doesn’t really matter.
Charm & Collectibility: (3/5)
Honestly, it seems like these things tend to languish in the stock of many stores far more than most other Yamato products. The reason? Mostly their price. You can pretty much buy a 1/60 VF-1 (first edition) for the cost of a Launch Arm. Competing Flexi-Display Stands run about half the price of a Launch Arm. So, when it comes right down to it you’re really just paying for the feel of authentic DYRL? Macross appearance and apparently it’s only the real diehards that care enough to spend that extra money. That said, I’m sure most people could think of a few ideas for displays with their toys that would look great with Launch Arms (that’s why I got mine). The problem is, if you’re not catering to a specific themed display, the Flexi-Display stand is far more likely to be a better choice. Do you want to create the appearance of flight? Well, a big black, gray, or silver bar protruding from the bottom of the plane isn’t going to do as well as clear acrylic arms. Do you want to pose your valk in a mode other than Fighter? Well, the Launch Arm may allow you to but the Flex-Display will give you far more choices for available poses.
Sculpt, Detail, and Paint: (6/10)
This isn’t the world’s greatest depiction of the Launch Arm seen in DYRL. Seeing as it can be adapted to toys of various scales it doesn’t always seem to work with the claws often needing to be removed or left completely open. The arm in the show was thin (as an acknowledgment to the fact it exists because there is no need for runways or catapults in a weightless environment) but this arm needs to support the weight of some hefty toys so it’s much thicker. There are obvious screws protruding in some places. All that being said though it’s not like these things look unpleasant. They do have some detail to them and they certainly don’t appear shoddy in any way.
I’m just not satisfied with this product as much as I would hope to be. With enough tweaking it could be made to do a fair job with poses but I really would have liked to see the arms lock better in certain positions. Several times an arm dropped down causing mild collisions with the toy atop it and another toy or the desk beneath. The base of the stand is rectangular but not perfectly so and it seemed like if I brought multiple stands together one of them always kept me from acheiving the look I was going for.
Durability & Build: (7/10)
My silver and black stands seem to be a bit tighter than my gray one ever was (all were purchased new). The silver finish comes off the base of the arm when it is turned (beneath the base, you can’t see it visually). This wear on the silver finish is actually kind of necessary since that finish is clearly thicker than the black finish and thus the arm can’t even be rotated unless you really twist it hard and free up some of that finish. Either way, don’t expect to be able to put together a silver launch arm, then take it apart, then expect someone to confuse it with a brand new launch arm. Really though, the arm’s ability to maintain its stiffness is probably the most important factor in making a purchase and it seems like the silver one with its thicker finish is more likely to hold up over time.
You can accomplish so much more with the Flexi-Display stands than you can with these Yamato Launch Arms. Clearly none of the toys the arm works with were designed with the intention of eventually working with this product.
Total Score: (34/50)
By no means is this a horrible product. If you have a display in mind that these would work with then you’ll probably be pleased with the effect. If you’re on the market for the best possible display stand bang for your buck then you really ought to keep looking.