Maia Sterling Shadow Fighter Vol. 1 - REISSUE
Review by SushiSpook
Hello all! I’m 5 months new to both this site and collecting, so apologies with any mis-steps or missing pieces of information. I’ll do my best to address anyone’s questions in the comments below. Having said that, please be gentle – and away we go!
Poor Toynami… Any review of their Robotech collectibles can never quite stand on its own merits, as numerous QC issues have plagued their efforts over the years, and shadow (no pun intended) whatever their latest designed-in-house offering is. A quick sampling in most forums across the world wide webbertubes will yield opinions that seem to distill down to the following:
- A reasoned analysis of production costs balanced against the global economic downturn, combined with the complexities of the Veritech or Alpha design being the sad best scenario outcome of a fragile, and with unfortunate regularity, sometimes defective product.
- Fist-shakingly furious diatribes that Toynami has lousy customer service, and that there should be a boycott
- See, George Sohn got hit in the head with a battloid as a kid, so he secretly hates the Robotech franchise and is trying to bring it down from the inside, I know this because the secret radio messages in my tinfoil underpants tell me so…
With the exception of the last (and really, if your underwear talks to you, you’ve got bigger problems than quality control issues with your favorite collectibles), the truth probably lies somewhere in between. Toynami can clearly design and deploy great products in-house, as they’ve garnered great reviews for other franchises they’ve made collectibles for, and the Masterpiece Beta Fighters are an absolute joy to hold & behold. So when things go bad, the hopes of collectors that this time, they’re going to knock it out of the park… well, it often transmogrifies into “rats, skunked *again*”.
What there is no denying is that the original release of the Masterpiece Maia Sterling Alpha was absolutely plagued with quality control problems. Brittle plastic, poorly mended cracks, sloppy paint jobs. But to their credit, Toynami did the right thing, and recalled the lot. And with the specter of that previous release hovering over, they’ve re-released the Maia MPC, this time built by the same fabrication plant that put together the truly wonderful Beta MPC Fighters. So, how did they do?
The first thing that I noticed when unboxing mine was that although it came in the standard book-style “forever mint” packaging, said packaging felt lighter and less substantial than previous releases. Hefting the box and weighing it against my Sue Graham MPC, it definitely seemed like the material was lighter. Unfortunately, when I opened the front “page”, there was an immediate and glaring problem:
So much for “look ma, no hands!”
Like previous Alpha MPC releases, it was shipped in fighter mode – but the Battloid fists hadn’t been folded in, and had been pressed between the bubble packaging. That “oh no, not again” feeling started in my stomach. And sliding it out, there was more bad news:
Even Veritechs get kneecapped by loan sharks
The knee covers were popped off, and worse, one of them had a crack in the gold joint. Oh, I was definitely starting to feel disappointment. But I kept on, and went for the first transformation to Guardian mode… where immediately, the hatch behind the cockpit fell off. At this point, the cats in the apartment were subjected to a few choice curses.
With all of these problems literally out of the box, my first transformation of the Alpha was the opposite of rose colored. I was not happy, not pleased, and pretty annoyed. But after a few days, (and getting the popped-off hatch back on) I cooled off, and I realized that it wasn’t the same old story.
The Good Stuff:
The first thing to note right off the bat is that this is a far more durable Alpha fighter. Is it the one that you can let your more-cautious friends transform? Time will tell, but if a visitor to my home casually picks up this release, I won’t be doing a slow-motion “nooooooo!” dive to grab it out of their hands. What do I mean by durable?
- Better quality plastic: This is not the brittle stuff of previous MPC releases. It’s not twig-snapping bone dry, and actually seems to have a better gloss and heft.
- Better machining: Although there were a few tight spots with mine, overall the joints are just right – tight, but not frighteningly so.
- Better Quality Control: My own issues aside, anecdotal evidence from other forums indicate that most everyone got a solid release. And indeed, mine is, save for the single blemish on the gold knee connector, pretty dang good looking.
I’ve been able to easily get the landing gears out, and easily have it resting on the wheels near my work desk. The missile hatches are tight, but not brittle. Don’t force them suddenly open, and you should be fine. The joints are nice and clicky, and rotate very well, and the feet pose well, too. And for those of you that studiously apply all of the stickers, some of the designs are painted on (wing and tailfin stripes), and painted on very well – and have been updated with Expeditionary Forces logos, to boot!
En guarde, Invid & Haydonite punks! I have missiles and now I can launch them!
My only remaining gripe that can be applied to the entire line is the gun: It’s the same gun that shipped with the Sue Graham MPC Alpha, designed to fit over the “claw” hand of the Shadow Veritechs. But the Maia MPC has the full-five finger standard Alpha Battloid fingers, making posing with the gun difficult, if not impossible. An odd choice, and one wonders about the logic behind it.
Some would argue that Toynami has a lot to answer for. Others will make the case that in a topsy-turvey world economy, we’re lucky to be able to get the quality we can at the price provided.
I can’t say that one or the other is right, but I can say this: Toynami, you’ve taken a step in the right direction with this release. A few more improvements between now and the Marcus Rush MPC, and you can truly stand proud.
|Posted 5 March, 2010 - 17:16 by SushiSpook|