Takatoku Henkei SDF-1

SDF-1 Henkei Takatoku 1A

Review: Perhaps the most popular SDF-1 toy of all time

SDF-1 Henkei Takatoku 4

Packaging & Extras: (2/5)
While this review is for the official release you’ll probably immediately recognize this toy from any number of the knock-offs that were produced in its likeness.  Pictured here is the official Takatoku packaging.  The toy comes in a box adorned with Takatoku’s standard and beautiful artwork with a clear panel to see the toy within.   Inside you’ll find a small sticker-sheet to help you spruce up your new transforming toy.  The toy also comes with several stickers already applied to give you some level of detail.   The picture below is stolen from an ebay listing and shows one of the many knock-offs.

SDF-1 Henkei Takatoku 5SDF-1 Henkei Takatoku 8

Charm & Collectability: (3/5)
Of all my little (not deluxe) old school SDF-1 toys, including the somewhat pricy non-transformable 1/6300 Takatoku offering, I think this is my favorite.   It loses some charm points by having essentially no metal content.  Some might say the fact there are many knock-offs of this toy should bring down the collectability of the original but I’m not sure if I agree.  The original certainly has the best looking color palette of all the variants I’ve seen.

SDF-1 Henkei Takatoku 6

Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (5/10)
For its size it doesn’t do a bad job emulating the craft in the show.  As I mentioned before, you do get some pre-applied stickers to help spruce things up.  There are some obvious deficiencies, such as the parts that aren’t molded the whole way around like the gun booms.  As you can see from the line art comparisons, Takatoku got the general shape right while not catching much of the detail.  There are some large gaps in battroid mode and the post through the knees is a bit of an eyesore.

Henkei Takatoku SDF-1 2 SDF-1 Henkei Takatoku 3

Design: (5/10)
It’s very cool that a toy of this small size can transform.  Sure, the transformation is extremely simple and requires the main guns be detached and then reattached but that’s a very modest amount of parts-formation and easily forgiven from my standpoint.  Beyond that though there’s nothing here to impress you.  The legs should have some mechanism to lock them into place in cruiser mode and it seems one could have been very easily engineered.  Obviously there aren’t any landing gears and not stand included so cruiser mode is for holding in your hand and whooshing around only.

Durability & Build: (7/10)
These toys are now roughly 30 years old so, as you can imagine, most the ones you can find on the secondary market are going to show some wear.  Usually the wear manifests itself in the form of very loose joints but broken and missing parts are common.  The big gun booms are removed as part of transformation and can be easily dislodged and lost.  The paint job may also show some obvious factory flaws.

SDF-1 Henkei Takatoku 7

Articulation: (5/10)
You’re not going to knock anyone’s socks off with the poses you can achieve but you can achieve more poses with this tiny SDF-1 toy than you can with many of the others.  You can lean the gun booms forward for an attack mode pose (although the arms are stiff so it might look more like an angry zombie pose).  You can also move the legs for walking poses and jut out the Daedalus to mimic the iconic attack.  Don’t expect anything in the way of elbows but you do have full rotation at the shoulders and the carriers twist on their pegs.

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Total Score: (27/50)
If you have unlimited wealth and you want an SDF-1 toy then you should be the Yamato 1/3000 SDF-1 toy.  If you’re looking for the best classic SDF-1 toy then you should get Takatoku’s 1/3000 SDF-1 (or the Bandai version distributed by Matchbox).  If you want a small, cheap, vintage transformable SDF-1 then this or any one of the knock-offs will fit the bill nicely.  It’s nothing fancy but it wasn’t meant to be.   It can transform, it doesn’t look terrible, and it has enough articulation to allow you to mix up how it looks sitting on your desk at work or on a shelf.  It’s not really display case fodder but sometimes you want a toy you can futz around with while you’re on the phone or distracting a child; this can be that toy.

Original post date: February 15, 2012
Updated February 12, 2017, fixed the mis-transformed pictures in cruiser mode.
Updated February 26,2017, added HD video review & transformation guide

3 Replies to “Takatoku Henkei SDF-1”

  1. Nice review of an absolutely classic toy! And you do it the justice and depth it deserves. Very nice work! For many of us, this was our first plastic MACROSS. Mine is a much-treasured Select CONVERTORS edition that I bought in the 80s, painted and spruced-up with decals and red waterline sections on the carriers repurposed from one of the many multi-colored knockoffs.

  2. I have one of those ugly clown knock-offs from when I was a kid. It cant’ even transform anymore. One of the screws is angled wrong (likely the plastic is broken) and it prevents the legs/hips from sliding anymore. It’s the only transforming SDF-1 I own

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