Review by Modcineaste
Many Macross, Mospeada, Southern Cross, and Robotech collectors have mixed feelings about the non Bandai and Takatoku Robotech toys produced by Matchbox, specifically its 3 3.4 scale figures and their accessories.
There is a few gems in the line like the Hovertank/Spartan from Southern Cross and the various Regult Battle pods and Invid vehicle play sets mostly because no other toys of their size were produced back in Japan where their respective series first ran. But generally Matchbox’s own Robotech line was failure due to unavailability, bad engineering and art design and a general lack of familiarity with the subject with the designers of the line
Only 22 figures were produced when the line was released in 1985. Some of the figures were easy to locate and are still available on Ebay. These figures include Rick Hunter, Lisa Hayes Dana Sterling, Rand, Max Sterling, Miriya in red, Robotech Master Micronized Zentraedi, Bioroid Terminator, Corg, Zor Breetai, Exedore, Khyron, Dolza and Armoured Zentraedi Warrior.
The more difficult figures to locate are Scott Bernard, Roy Fokker, Lunk, Rook Bartley, Mirya in black, large Miriya and Lynn Minmei. A special note must go out the Lynn Minmei figure as it is the Holy Grail of the line as only a handful were made and were extremely rare to locate even back in the 1980’s.
With the current release of Megahouse and CM’s Brave Gokin’s Mospeada Ride Armor I thought I would review some of the previous Ride Armor toys. With Josh B already reviewing the legendary large scale Gakken Ride Armor I’ll move ahead to one of Matchbox’s foray into Ride Armor toys.
The Matchbox’s Scott Bernard figures is one of more difficult figures to locate and never seem to appear on pegs at the department stores. I managed to locate the figure through the Sears catalog around 1986. Sears known for having exclusive toys only available through their catalog must have got the only catch of the Scott Bernard figures. Scott was available through mail order in a set of three figures along with Rand and Corg for $15.00. Even though it was available in their catalog I was rightly concerned that the figure would be substituted for unavailability or the order cancelled all together as another company from New York The Robot Store had done to me around the same time with some of the other Robotech action figures. Two weeks later arriving at my door was a set of three Robotech figures and in that package was one Scott Bernard. There was no special packaging just an envelope in mail that had the three figures on their respected cards.
The figure includes one carded Scott Bernard figure, one rubber helmet and one laser carbine. A cutout file card was on the back. It is assembled like a 1980’s GI Joe figure with a screw that holds the body together, and the metal T leg hook that is held together by a rubber band. The arms swivel and head turns and legs bend at the knee. These figures were not assembled well as my Scott Bernard has a split in the swivel arm area that has been there since I first bought it.
Although I am glad I still own it all these years later there is a lot of disappointment in this figure. First Scott does not come with the standard rider armor but an already transformed Mospeada Ride Armor. The arms do not have any the armor on the wrist and instead of gun being attached to the wrist he holds it in his hand on a peg. The gun is a Rand/Ley type and not the Scott/Stick missiles type as seen in the cartoon. Accordingly in Matchbox’s backwards way the only way one could get the standard Mospeada laser rifle was you had to purchase the Corg action figure and even then the rifle was under scale.
It would have been a better figure if the it came with a “backpack” of the wheels and nozzle Mospeada jet pack but sadly it did not. More importantly I still wish that it had came with the standard riding armor. It would have looked great and it is a shame something that should have been so easy was completely overlooked. I would have been to be able to exchange the heads with the Rand figure so he could be in his riding armor as well.
The face sculpt of the figure looks OK but it does not capture the anime look of the character designs of the series. The rubber helmet looks a bit out of scale and is long in the glass and mouth protection area. It would have been great to attach the gun to his wrist but it only a peg to attach to the hand. In the 1980’s I painted the yellow on the sensor and leg lights to give it some color and added the Mars Base decal from one of my Mospeada toys to round out the look.
Being a huge GI Joe 3 3.4 scale figures fan, the Matchbox line had so much potential but delivered so poorly. For whatever reason a second series of figures were never produced which was unfortunate. With Scott, Lunk, Rook and Rand produced only two more figures, Lancer and Annie, needed to be produced to create the main cast of the series. And trust me at the time I dreamed about those figure releases often. It is a shame that Hasbro or Kenner did not produce this line, as I am sure they would have handled the line better.
Matchbox’s Scott Bernard represents the worst of their Robotech line with unavailbity and a lack of basic knowledge of the subject. Trying to locate all 22 of Matchbox’s Robotech 3 3.4 line of action figures is quite a daring feat due to the extreme rarity of a handful of figures not to mentioning trying to locate an original Matchbox Minmei as opposed to the recent Harmony Gold reissues from a few years back. Unless you are trying to make a run for the Matchbox Robotech series or you are a Mospeada completest, or you come across the figure for cheap at the marketplace I would pass on this one. And I am sure you already have.
Leonardo Flores “ModCineaste”
|Posted 9 June, 2008 - 23:32 by Modcineaste|