“Review”? Huh? C’mon. If you’re enough of a freak to be reading this, you’re enough of a freak to have already seen the photos on Japanese fan-sites like Yaco’s Log and the Toy Warehouse. You’ve already read the endless news-scoops and speculation and bitching on the BBS. Now you’re just going to have to take my word for it: pictures simply don’t do Yamato’s massive 1:12 ScopeDog toy justice. To wit: just BUY it, you hobo.
Not since the hallowed Jumbo Grade Zaku — yet another giant-sized toy I never expected any company to be crazy enough to produce — have I been so completely wowed by the physical presence of a product. This is one piece your thoroughly-whipped self won’t be able to sneak onto a crowded shelf in the hopes that your wife/husband/S.O./dominatrix/etc. doesn’t notice you’ve just dropped a week’s grocery money on (another) plastic robot.
The big difference here is that rather than a big-ass sofubi statue, you’ve got a big-ass “full action” toy that puts a lot of smaller and cheaper renditions to shame.Then again, size means weight, and that does introduce a new set of problems. ScopeDog’s Achilles heel — no pun intended– is a pair of precariously weak ankles that send it lurching forward or backward with the slightest finger-touch, particularly if you’ve posed it with the rifle pointing forward. (If this sounds familiar, it’s because Yamato’s Queadluun Rau suffers from the exact same affliction.) And the unrepentantly boxy design limits the number of natural-looking poses it can take. C’est la vie, I suppose.
In a world of companies that toe the line with blandly engineered “action figures” and the like, I’m glad someone had the balls to step up to the plate with such a luxurious representation of a relatively obscure robot character. I suspect nary a focus group played a role in the decision to make such an insanely, obsessively “luxe” plaything. Good for them.
Will it sell well? At close to $200 retail in Japan, even minus any sort of pilot figure (the sort of oversight that sends legions of “serious” collectors into a teeth-gnashing, panty-twisting conniption fit), perhaps not. Then again, perhaps Yamato’s onto something here with this finger-flipping, who’s-the-mack-daddy-now approach to toymaking. More power to ’em. “Kado Senshi”? Nice try, but now there’s a new king of the real-robot hill, and it wasn’t made by one of the majors. Make all the excuses about “no diecast” or “Yamato QC” that you want. Even if you don’t actually shell out for one, this is the must-see robot toy for 2004.