SDF-1 Macross (Do You Remember Love type)
Review by Atom
In early 2009 Yamato unveiled a 1/2000 scale prototype of the movie style of the SDF-1 Macross. Fans everywhere lost their minds, but alas, the 2 foot tall version was not destined to be a proper toy. By the end of 2009 it had been released as a High Density Resin Model Kit and went for the price of 210,000 Yen. Macross fans everywhere sighed, only a handful of fans would ever own it and the ones who do had to build and paint it themselves.
A few months after that release word got out that Yamato was taking feedback from customers and what they had learned with the 1/2000 scale prototypes and retooled it in a smaller 1/3000 scale. In the last week of December 2010 Yamato released the mass-produced version and it's getting into fans’ hands now.
I need to roll back the clock here and explain something. From 1977 to 1986 I lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, and living there I was exposed to far more Asian culture than the average kid at that time. It was the film version of Macross that got me into chasing down Japanese toys long before most folks were throwing around the term ‘toy collector.’ I had seen Robotech and it had blown me away. Then, somewhere during this time frame we went shopping to our local Holiday Mart.
While my parents would do the grocery shopping I would wander the toy aisle waiting for them. This particular day I had wandered into the electronics section only to be greeted by Macross: Do You Remember Love playing on the large TV... my mind was officially blown. What was this? Why did it look so different?
A few months after that I would come across the art book, This is Animation Series: Do You Remember Love?, at my local comic shop. I would study the art and the images, lusting after toys of them all. I even found myself a Bandai issued Hikaru Strike VF-1S before we moved to the states. I would learn later on that a toy of the movie version of the SDF-1 had never been made. My dreams of getting a movie-style SDF-1 died until about 2 weeks ago.
I want to clear up a misconception I have been seeing in relation to the movie version shown here. I have seen a lot of folks say they will wait for a repaint of the TV version. You see, the DYRL version is not just a repaint. It is a completely different design.
Line Art images from Macross Mecha Manual.
On the left we have the TV version on the right the movie version. The TV version has clean, industrial lines as well as the blue, white and red paint scheme. The movie version is more organic with lots of raised bumps and bits to make it look more alien in origin. If Yamato was to make a TV Version it would require a lot more than just a simple repaint and two new arms. Why did they do the movie version instead? The film versions of the designs are far more popular in Asia than the TV versions.
The box for the SDF-1 Is a basic glossy cardboard box with photoshopped images on the outside, and inside is a nice dense styrofoam coffin to protect your new Super Dimensional Fortress.
Inside the package you get.
- SDF-1 Macross
- Stand Base
- Stand Arm
- 4 Stand clips
- 10 plastic parts trees (Screw hole covers and gun turrets)
- 2 ARMDs
As soon as you free the SDF-1 from its styrofoam you immediately notice how heavy and solid it is. The SDF-1 weighs close to two pounds. Where the 1/60 scale Valkyries by Yamato are light, which helps give you the tactile feel of speed and maneuverability, the SDF-1 is heavy in the hands, which helps convey the heavy, slow, dense feel of a massive flying fortress. It just feels right in the hands. It is this kind of tactile experience I think Yamato strives for and something I wish more toy makers paid attention to.
Out of the box the SDF-1 is almost fully assembled. You have to add the ARMDs to the sides of the ship. There are magnets built into the arm ends and inside the ARMDs themselves, but that is not how you secure them to the ship. The part that connects to the arm on the ARMDs has a slight lip you clip one in at an angle then straighten the ARMD and it will click into place.
You also must put on your own screw hole covers and small detailed turrets to the unit yourself. These parts are all on plastic sprues like a model kit. Be prepared with sprue nippers and in a few cases crazy glue to finish off all the details on your unit. 90% of the parts will stay in place without any need of glue.
First and foremost, the separate small parts were to keep costs down on what was already turning out to be a fairly expensive piece. I do think, whether intentional or not, there is a benefit to doing this yourself. By making the consumer put on the screw hole covers and turrets themselves it forces them to take some time with the toy, making sure people enjoy the fit and finish of this piece and really experience the sheer quality of it before sticking it on the shelf. Yamato has made an honest to goodness pick it up and play with it toy and they want collectors to know it.
So you got all your bits and bobs on and what are you left with? The most impressive Macross related toy ever. I'm hard pressed to think of a toy I own or have owned that has more sculpted detail than this piece.
Some have complained the paint job looks sparse. As you can see from the screen shots and line art I've embedded in the review, it's pretty screen accurate. The only details that aren’t painted but should be are the 01 and 02 on the ARMD's. Not sure why Yamato opted to leave those off or not include stickers for them.
In Cruiser mode the SDF-1 is rock solid!
The combination of tight ratchet joints with a metal locking pin ensures the arms sit level and do not droop or move in any way while in Cruiser mode.
The same holds true for the main guns and rear legs. The main guns lock down to the body and the legs are designed to stop any rotation where they should sit level in ship mode. You can pick it up and swoosh it around and everything stays where it should. No excuses, no apologies, and no stand needed.
The rail guns/antennas on the shoulder parts are made of POM to avoid breakage as they will get bumped and jostled as you take it through its transformation.
The antennas around the bridge are made from harder PVC so you will want to be a bit mindful of them while handling it. Not that they seem fragile but they are small bits sticking out around a part you must hold and move, just something to make note of.
Macross City resides in the left leg of the SDF-1 in the film and Yamato has built one into the leg on this toy. You can remove the panel to reveal...
... an unpainted city...
... Apparently another cost saving measure. It is wonderful they included it in the design and if it was the difference between an unpainted city or no city I would take the unpainted city. Customizers have already taken to doing some nice detailing work on their cities and maybe I'll hit it up one of my more talented modeling friends to take a stab at customizing mine.
Transforming the SDF-1 is easy and straightforward. If you owned the original 1/3000 Takatoku release (or the Matchbox Robotech version) from the 80's it is pretty similar. Be sure to check the video if you want a full break down of the transformation. The included manual is in Japanese, but the black and white images are clear and should get you through it no problem.
While transforming the piece you can get a glimpse of the die cast metal frame that ties all this ABS, PVC, and POM into a tight and rugged shape.
An undocumented feature I did want to mention is the antenna on the front bow. Out of the package these are pushed in and must be pulled out. I get the impression they’re meant to be pushed in for Attack mode. If you watch the film closely; however, they appear to be extended in both modes.
Once in Attack mode what you are left with is a massive stoic looking robot.
The big gimmick in its Attack mode is the main guns. These lower from the back to fire a powerful beam weapon in the show.
To keep these secure, Yamato engineered locking buttons that must be pushed in before the booms can be raised or lowered. A nice touch insuring your Cruiser mode stays nice and tight. Yamato also included magnets in the front of the bow/main gun booms to make sure the seams always meet flush in Cruiser mode.
Ratchet joints are located in the shoulders and elbows, making sure the arms hold up where ever you may put them. Two rotating joints are located in the arms as well, giving you a wide array of poses.
There is a ratcheting hip and knee joint allowing a range of motion in the legs. The hip gives you one "click" out and the knee gives you one click back. This allows a nice A stance and gives you the ability to create somewhat of a flying in air look with the provided stand.
The stand Yamato includes has parts to display the SDF-1 in either Attack or Cruiser modes, though neither really gives you much height while it's displayed on it.
What a phenomenal year in high-end toys 2010 was; Super 7's Super Shogun Stormtrooper, the 1/6th scale Kaneda's Bike by Bandai, the SOC Space Battleship Yamato, and then Yamato slips this fantastic piece into our hands just days before the end of the year. If I had to pick just one for these for the shelves this year it would be an almost impossible decision but I think Yamato's 1/3000 just squeaks by as my all time favorite toy of 2010. Honestly it may now be my favorite thing ever and should be considered the crowning achievement in Yamato's toy history. Your looking at about $400 after shipping to get this bad boy in your hands. It's expensive but worth every penny.
Heck, even Captain Global had one on his desk.
Comments29 comments posted
Atom, you may be a bit more savvy to this than I am. Did the size of the Macross change between the series and DYRL? IIRC, she was about 1km long in the series, but in DYRL she feels much larger by several km!
They say 1210m for both, but, IDK, she just looks & feels bigger in DYRL?. Maybe it's just me.
incredibly stunning piece of art... hey, how tall is it? im sorry if i misread it..... thanks for sharing man, i appreciate your time and effort.. hope this gets released here in the philippines... more power guys! \m/ >.< \m/
Hey everyone. I appreciate the thorough review of SDF-1. I've noticed the size comparisons with the Battleship Yamato and the 1/60 Valkyrie, but I haven't seen it compared to the DX Macross Quarter. Does anyone know if it's as big as the 1/3000 SDF-1?
Sorry about that Atom. I didn't mean to overlook and yeah... : /
I am obsessed with the Quarter. I'll soon be obsessed with the 1/3000th beauty in my possession thanks to you.
Bandai's Macross Quarter isn't as big as Yamato's SDF-1.
Wow. I know it has taken Yamato a few years to get the Valkyries just right, but this takes the cake for being their single, most developed, masterpiece ever! Excellent review Atom! Beautiful piece of machinery!
Hey Atom, thanks for posting about this awesome toy. I am salivating. I have one pre-ordered so it is only a matter of time before I get one!
There was a 1/5000 movie edition SDF-1 that came out about 4 years ago and it is a very nice figure. Not as big or detailed as this new version but still very well done. There were two versions... a dark version and a lighter colored release. You should look into getting one if you don't already have it.
We reviewed the other one in 2007:
yep, that's the one. I guess I should have searched the site first :/
Brilliant review! and what a piece... awesome man, just awesome.
at 32.000 yen, it better be good.
GREAT GREAT REVIEW... excellent job on this... I've wanted one of these since I bought a crappy VHS boot of DYRL in the 90's. My wife has forbid me from getting any DYRL stuff (she loves the TV series but really hates the movie and it's tone) and at around $400 my wallet is happy I ain't getting this either. But damn, is this ship amazing.
Really? Wow that's the first I've heard of someone NOT liking DYRL, that's pretty crazy.
Regardless, awesome review Atom! Truly a gorgeous piece.
Ehh, I saw DYRL fan-subbed a few years ago, and to be honest I thought it was a little weak in the story department. yeah, it IS Macross, but just... meh. Animation, action sequences, backgrounds, ship & interior designs, yes all very awesome and great upgrades of their series counterparts, but just... the tone of the film was meh.
I actually do not like DYRL pretty much at all. I prefer the mecha designs and action scenes, but the film is a snoooorefest! I much more enjoy the TV series.
I somewhat share your feelings with the TV series over DYRL movie. I said somewhat because I favor both SDF-1 versions. The 3 main things I love about the TV series other than the action scenes are the 1) The opening theme song, 2) The Zentradi as a co-ed warrior race, but strict on abstinence and 3) The freaking sweet White/Red VF-1J Valkyrie. Seeing the VF-1J replaced with the VF-1A for Hikaru to fly in Skull Squadron is just unfair. I think it would be redeemable if Yamato makes a 1/60 Custom DYRL VF-1J Skull Squadron Valk for future developments.
Also great meaning.
I first watched Do You Remember Love in 1985 when it was a brand new film at Funny Business comic shop in Pomona California. I believe that DYRL is one of the most well crafted films ever made.
I can completely empathise with Atom that this is a moving moment and completion that some of the second wave younger anime fans doesn’t truly get or understand. I never pull any kind of rank but this toy holds a deep emotional connection to a specific time of our lives for those in their mid thirties who remember this pivotal crossover from kids TV animation to a more mature view on animation and how it inadvertently changed our lives after we watched this film.
I was 11 years old and Robotech was on the air and I loved it more than anything in the world. It was the best program I have seen on TV, even today with the uncut Macross is a perfect item. I later found out that a local comic store called Funny Business was ahead of its time and was stocking original Japanese model kits from Southern Cross, Macross and Mospeada. This is where I bought my first Spiral Zone figures, the first time I ever saw an Anime record LP and original Takatoku Macross toys. Joey, the owner of the shop showed my dad and myself around the shop, a small tour of sorts. Joey told me that there was another version of Macross that was recently released in Japan and the following Saturday they were to hold a screening of the film. The cost of admission to watch the film was a can of food for the local food bank.
The following week the lights dimmed and we all sat and watch “Macross: Do You Remember Love (I actually called it Macross 84 for many years, which I inadvertently called it because the stickers on the model kits always said “Macross 84: Do You Remember Love?”)
I was in shock due to the pure beauty and mystery of the film. It was a modern and mature version of Macross; it was everything that the TV show was but more. And it wasn’t even subtitled when I watched it. Just the images and music alone were breathtaking. Even after almost 30 years I am still blown away how wonderfully crafted DYRL is. Every time I watch it, which is about every other month, I always pick out something new, some minor detail that I haven’t seen or comprehended before. The quiet way Minmei holds Hikaru in his apartment. The muted, solemn nearly wordless scene in Captain Globals cabin when Misa and Hikaru arrive back to the Macross. Or the advant-garde ending song count down (what unsaid remark does Minmei “say” to Misa that Misa “says” no to?) Then it ends with the genius pop tune An Angel Paints, which to me the true closure of the original Macross. It is those small details that are just as powerful as some of the best action scenes in the film.
And that tone that everybody calls boring or slow, in my book is paced tightly and has a certain nuanced energy that I can only compare to films by Michelangelo Antonioni another director that many people find his films slow or boring but are actually disciplined and cleverly planned and methodically executed films. It’s that tone of DYRL, which is rarely seen in even animation, is why I think it has held up beautifully over the years. There is no waste in DYRL, everything in that film is there for a purpose.
Then there is the background music that nobody ever seems to want to talk about. That theme hauntingly played throughout the film hits a real emotional connection to me. The reoccurring melody is simple but strings along the film through all its dramatic high points. How can you not feel the deep joys of first love when you hear Teenage Dream? Or the awaking that Minmei feels when Quivering Heart is played. When I met Mari at Macross con, the first item I had her sign the OST to Macross DYRL as it is one of my favorite recordings for a film ever recorded. It’s also one of my favorite recordings ever.
Now for the most part you can get most anything from the Macross TV show but for many years, besides a handful Valkyries and model kits not much was released in the way of toys and model kits from DYRL. And like Atom there has been this long nearly 30 year yearning to have a good-sized toy of the Macross from DYRL. It's a scratch we’ve been wanted itched since we were kids. For those of us who saw DYRL when it was a brand new film, the Macross from DYRL will always represent a deep unobtainable mystery and its good to finally have some closure with this release.
The film has had a profound effect on my life at that ripe age of 11 when I saw it. It led me to a degree in filmmaking, a film director and a writer for this site. DYRL to me is one of those rare perfect items that you rarely see in life.
Thank Atom for a fantastic review, and its great that you have some closure after all these years.
I agree with a lot of what you said, Modcineaste. Before I saw Robotech on VHS, we had a copy-of-a-copy from a friend of DYRL, and I got my Macross bug from it. (This is my one regret- that my 90s reissue chunky-monkey didn't come with the Strike SAP and hardpoint missile pods.)
Perhaps I was more let down by the fact that they focused more on the Hikaru/Minmei/Misa love triangle in DYRL, and didn't give the rest of the characters their due. I mean, Kakizaki (Ben) got, like, two scenes and you missed them if you blinked! Did we even see the three Zentradi spies? Yeah, once- they just showed up one day and that was it. Then there was the whole rewrite for how Max and Miryia got together (WTH???). DYRL did feel a little more soap opera-ish than the TV series.
Some one needs to get the two figures together in a side by side! comparison.
Just got my SDF-1 yesterday. Thanks Atom for your excellent review. It deserves its TOTY award. One very minor quibble is its display stand. Unlike the Yamato Valkyrie stand, the included SDF-1 stand isn't as sturdy. In Attack mode the toy wobbles a little bit and makes me nervous that it can get knocked of its perch. In Cruiser mode it just sits on top of the cradle without any locking mechanism. Again this is a very minor quibble. The toy itself is rock solid and has a fairly intuitive transformation.
As you mentioned on your video review, for $250 its an excellent toy. For $400 it is pushing the boundary between toy and luxury good. And really how much did they cut costs for the consumers by having me glue my own screw covers on?!
If only Yamato were to release a "TV version" SDF-1.....
I can picture that boulevard running along the two narrow windows when we first see macross city in the movie. And the little window of the park when Hikaru confronts (slaps) Minmei to come to her senses and save humanity.
Anyone know what the clear stand holding up the SDF-1 is? I don't believe it comes with the figure.
it is a flexi stand-V2 get them at http://www.flightpose.com/
Your link is broken and I could not find the stand when I typed it into Google.