From this angle, the cheated proportions almost look passable as forced perspective. I find the Robotech figures look too cramped in the cockpit, but not as much an issue with a Micronaut Time Traveler at the controls. The size of the toy looks really nice as well as the fact it can hold 1/18th scale figures. The proportions are really cheated, but if you think of it like the old Kenner Star Wars toys with their cheated scales, it's the same idea and not too egregious really. If you have to do a Valkyrie toy to seat action figures, it could have been a lot worse. While the toy comes with the FAST pack boosters/missile launchers, it has none of the rest of the Super Valkyrie's armor. Still the giant FAST pack looks really wicked even by itself.
Without the FAST pack, the toy looks a bit more canonical at least. When I first saw it I thought it was a blasphemous attempt by Matchbox to come up with something that would justify selling the SD joke machine Valkyries as if they were the real-proportioned deal. Now, I feel it's just cool that I can have a Valkyrie that I can actually seat a random Micronaut, Joe, or Star Wars figure in, lol. I must be getting senile...
The most glaring thing off aside from the proportions are the markings on the top of the fuselage, what would be the torso of the Battroid mode...the stripes and shape of the segments would never be able to split properly to form the torso... Interestingly though, the tooling was clearly designed originally to accomodate the Gerwalk mode and revised awkwardly before production. This would make sense as the Hovertank also was only capable of transforming halfway, into its Gerwalk state from its robot mode, making for a similar design choice. There are a lot of clues in the sculpt that the Takatoku version was used as primary reference rather than the mecha design model sheets.
A direct side view is the worst angle to view the toy from, really. It really makes it obvious how awkward the proportions are. Stick to front angle views for the best look.
This VF-1J/S hybrid head turret is worthy of the best (worst?) Valkyrie knockoffs. Perhaps they originally hoped to sell the different types and consolidated their favorite head parts at the last moment before production? And accident at the factory? Maybe they wanted the design ambiguous so the owner could decide what type it was? Perhaps they should have stuck a cannon in the center too and covered all bases. At least the guns pivot seperately on each side.
I've been meaning to start doing some proper review scorecards of the toys I feature here, so let's start with this one. I'll explain my ratings and scale as I go along.
ExoSquad Robotech Veritech Fighter
Scale: Pseudo-1/18th with cheated proportions.
Most toys reviewed will be either in the 1/18th scale or close to it (1/15, 1/20, etc.) or be "full scale" Microman/Micronaut toys (alien cyborgs 1/18th to 1/20th the size of normal human beings and their mecha, etc.). Also known as "3 3/4 inch scale" and "10cm scale". Some toys may also not be in the scale, but happen to work well (or not) with 1/18th scale toys. Many toys in this scale have "cheated proportions" meaning that the toy or parts of it have been proportioned down to keep the size of the toy down.
Detail: *** out of *****
The toy is mostly fairly detailed, copying a lot of details from the Takatoku/Bandai 1/55 scale Valkyrie (aka Transformers G1 Jetfire) and not really so accurate to the anime's model sheets. Some details are missing or not as well depicted, or are inaccurate, such as some of the striping on the toy, and it only has part of the "Super Valkyrie" armor, missing the armor for the legs and arms. However, the fact it was originally planned to change to Gerwalk mode has left it with a lot of extra details one wouldn't expect of a cheap toy that doesn't transform. The worst detail on the toy is the head turret, which has mixed parts from two entirely different models of the variable fighter.
Interchangeability: * 1/2 out of *****
I'll be rating this based on interchangeability of parts between the reviewed toy and other toys either from its own line (intended) or with toys from other lines (accidental or otherwise). I'll also factor in if the toy contains many self-contained interchangeable extras or not. This toy isn't really designed to be "interchangeable" with anything other than the action figures. It might be that its gun might fit in the hovertank's robot mitts, though, so I will add an extra half-star if that proves to be so. As with most toys in this scale, though, it is very interchangeable with action figures from just about any 3 3/4 inch line, so it will be a happy addition to a GI Joe, Star Wars, or Micronauts vehicle collector's shelf as long as they don't mind its cheated proportions and lack of transformability.
Colors: **** out of *****
I'll rate this based on overall paint or molded colors, decals and tampo prints, and overall visual appeal of the coloring of the toy. In this case, this is the Playmates ExoSquad reissue of the toy originally part of the Matchbox Robotech toyline, and is in slightly different colors, tampos, and such (which limits some of the potential partswapping between versions without a full custom repaint). It is missing the Jolly Roger on the tailfins and some other details and decals that were part of the original version. However, the look of the plastic is superior to the light blue-ish tint of the Matchbox version and it is speckled in such a way that makes it look a little weathered and textured to nice effect. The visual impact of the toy is strong and helps build a sense of authenticity at first glance that is only lost once the proportioning and minor quirks start to sink in.
Posability: **out of *****
This category is more aimed at mecha and figures, so you shouldn't expect high marks for a vehicle normally. This is a bit dissapointing on this toy though since it COULD have gotten good marks had it been transformable to any degree. That said, we do have opening "vectored nozzle" feet, folding wings and tailfin pack, a rotating VF-1J head turret with independently rotatable VF-1S guns, retracting landing gear, and opening canopy. So for a non-transforming vehicle, it still has some "posability" at least.
Accessories: *** out of *****
This category is for anything included with the toy. In this case, the toy comes with the FAST booster pack, the gattling gun pod, and four racks of missiles. I'm docking off some points for the fact that the FAST pack is specifically meant to be used with the other Super Valkyrie armor parts, which were omitted, but the fact it was included at all is nice at least. The missiles are a nice feature but look more like something that belongs of the Lego version of this toy...they look nice as toy missiles, but don't really look like the ones on the anime version. Still, they didn't have missiles on the Takatoku version they took inspiration from, so it's not a bad bonus feature. The gun pod is the biggest giveaway that they copied the Takatoku Valkyrie mold, as it is a near-exact copy of it, including the scope Takatoku added as a firing mechanism for the original version's spring loaded missiles--not a feature of the original gunpod's design--and the gunpod has the grip and is in its open extended form. Overall, individually none of the accessories are really all that great, but together they do add some to the presentation of the toy and help it feel more "complete".
Fun: *** out of *****
This is my favorite category, since it's so arbitrary and can factor in just about anything. The Veritech fighter would get a fourth star had it only been able to change to Gerwalk or even the "standing VTOL" mode without the arms deployed (how hard would that have been? As it is, the feet still open uselessly as if to mock the toy's owner of what the toy could have been). Some rumors exist that the transforming elements were cut out due to the legal mess with Transformers licensing the Takatoku mold for Jetfire. That all said, even with the weird proportions, this is still a tremendously fun toy. It's big, it seats action figures, it has removable FAST pack boosters, missiles, and wings that fold all the way back, and looks great with other action figure vehicles in almost any other toyline. Sure it would have been cooler had it been more accurate or even larger and the size of the GI Joe F-14 Tomcat-based fighter jet, but as a toy, it feels big without being unwieldy or a space hog, and looks imposing enough, and is quite sturdy.
Availability: ** out of *****
This rating is fairly arbitrary as well, but to my experience, the toy isn't too hard to find on eBay or such, and the price range varies depending on condition (boxed ones tend to sell fairly high).
Customizability: **** out of *****
This rating is more a rating of potential. I see this toy as having a fairly high score as you could repaint or modify it into the Valkyrie/Veritech design of your choice easily enough, and there's lots of promise for a more enterprising customizer who would want to re-engineer it into a Gerwalk mode.
Overall: *** out of *****
Not an average, just my gut overall impression. Personally I think it is a toy with many obvious flaws, but a great, unique piece with some interesting history to it and a great way to mix appreciation of the Macross anime series with a love for action figure vehicles. As long as one is aware of the limitations of the toy (especially the non-transformability and proportioning), I'd reccommend it for the action figure collector who can't get enough "rides" for his or her collection.
So, how would *you* review this toy? Does it look like something you'd like to own, or does it look lame (or both)? Is this kind of proportion cheating acceptable or is it heinous? Do you own one or have you previously?