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Toys: SDF-1 Macross

Posted on : 20-02-2011 | By : | In : Toys/Kits

Hardware: , , ,


Courtesy of our good friends at HobbyLink Japan, we’ve been sent the 1/3000 scale SDF-1 Macross toy from Macross Do You Remember Love? as made by Yamato. It goes without saying that this is quite an important and iconic design to get given such an epic toy treatment, so we were understandably excited to get our hands on one. To help give the toy some context we’ve also included some videos of it from the original anime and a few games it has been featured in over the years at the end of the review.

In 1984, around the time of the film’s release, many were curious as to how the SDF-1 changed from its TV version, sporting the Daedalus and Prometheus, to the sleeker version (that this toy is based off) sporting two ARMD carriers instead. Despite what is commonly assumed, the SDF-1 in both the TV series and movie were actually designed by the remarkably talented Kazutaka Miyatake and not by Shoji Kawamori.

The initial rationalisation behind this was down to the origin on the ship that crash landed on Earth. Dubbed Alien Starship One (or more unfortunately ASS-1), the TV version was actually a Supervision Army Gun Destroyer. Whereas the movie’s SDF-1 was actually the result of a Meltran Gun Destroyer. The slightly mind bending aspect to all this though is that the movie was a somewhat fourth wall breaking documentary set within the Macross timeline itself (circa 2031). Due to the ignorance of the Supervision Army at that point in the chronology, a more simple war between the Zentraedi and Meltrandi was concocted in its place. This meant that the SDF-1 in the movie was effectively a refitted and somewhat glorified prop post Space War One

Convoluted timeline shenanigans aside, the movie version of the SDF-1 has haunted the nerdy minds of almost all Macross fans (including this one) since it graced movie theatres back in the mid-80’s. Prior to this toy, there have been a few attempts by Wave with a 1/5000 scale toy and a massive 1/2000 scale kit also made by Yamato. The latter is of interest, as this toy was based off the larger kit in many respects. This isn’t to say that this toy is by any means small, as it’s actually pretty damn huge (close to 40 cm tall in fact). If anything, downsizing the much larger kit has helped with the detailing quite a lot as it’s impressively intricate throughout. Yet it’s important to emphasise that this is very much a toy and impressively sturdy to boot.

Toy: SDF-1 Macross
Price: 27,880 yen
Size/Weight: 49.3 x 36.6 x 14.3 cm / 1730g

In cruiser mode the SDF-1 is an imposing display piece. Not exactly what we’d call gimmick ridden, bar the unpainted city in the left leg, the detailing and sculpt is really very impressive. Whilst the paint job is pretty sparse throughout, the design itself was never overly complex in that department and the approach Yamato have taken does accentuate the fact that this is meant to be a massive battleship. The bridge is also modelled in very intricate detail and the antenna, whilst pretty tough, should be handled with care.

The attack mode is really quite something else though and the transformation, whilst obviously quite straightforward, is handled very well. Specifically, the use of diecast to handle all the internal joints. Considering its size, the toy holds poses very well and isn’t at all floppy. The articulation on the “arms” is very nicely done too and the folding main cannon is an awesome touch.

There are a few slight issues with the toy though, considering the large price point the fact that you have to affix multiple small parts (to cover screw holes) is a bit surprising. The ARMD carriers also aren’t numbered, like in the movie, which is a bit odd as Wave managed to handle that fine with their 1/5000 toy. To be fair though, this are moderately minor gripes as the base toy is a remarkable achievement on the part of Yamato.

Overall, this is arguably the best toy of the SDF-1 to date. Its sculpt is nigh-on immaculate and it’s very well built too, so despite the price you can actually play around with it. If you’re any kind of Macross fan then this is definitely a must buy, especially as it is in very short supply. In any case, this Macross fan is pretty ecstatic with the final result and hopes that Yamato do the remaining Macross class battleships at some point in the not too distant future.

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Comments (4)

The SDF-1 (either version) is my absolute favorite spaceship design. I keep hoping for an “open world” Macross game where you get to order an SDF successor around. Variable fighters are cool and all, but what I really want to do is bring alien empires to their knee-equivalents with an epilepsy-inducing fusillade of firearms. Considering the Macross series of ships all have cities located inside them, along with production facilities, you could make an amazing Homeworld style game based on the canon.

(Of course, there already are Homeworld mods with the SDF-1 and other Macross units, but none of them, to my knowledge, have their own campaign, and are more multiplayer-focused affairs.)

I’d like an open world game too. But more of the sandbox variety where you can experience the world as a person or maclone if you wish. While your idea speaks of the strategic action element of starship combat, perhaps we could add in the ‘human interaction element’ that allows you to experience first-hand the scale and immensity of the world you live in. Imagine being beside the hull of the ship you were commandeering earlier to decimate into billions of cube miles of stardust the fleet of enemy starships you squared off minutes ago just for post-battle hull assessment.

This thing is truly amazing-and I’d buy it in a heart beat if it was the TV series version. Please Yamato… you have to do it.

[…] (As always, Japanese toy distributors, I welcome your review copies of obscenely expensive toy robots.) […]

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