Friday, October 31, 2014

Assembling a Robotech RPG Tactics Defender Destroid.

I recently received my first wave of rewards from the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter and dove right into building the models. This was a mistake. By not taking the time to get to know the kits better I now have two legless Tomahawk Destroids that are going to require some major surgery to get back into the fight. Not that the kits are overly complex, but there are some design decisions that have been made that make assembly a bit frustrating. And this is not really a criticism of the model designers, not that it would do any good at this point, but more a cautionary tale and hopefully a few valid pointers.

My God, it's full of sprues!

Tragedy strikes!
Since the Tomahawks are in triage I'll be building a Defender and taking my time.

First off you have the sprue of parts. Each sprue makes two Defenders. I clipped the various parts out with model cutters and cleaned them with an X-Acto, needle file, and sanding stick. Here's one of the first things I noticed, the plastic that these kits are made of seems to act differently than normal model kits that I'm used to. It's tougher and doesn't like to be scraped or filed as easily as a kit from Bandai or Games Workshop. It's not as hard to work with as the Sedition Wars stuff but is still strange. Even after working on it quite a bit I'm still left with plastic fuzz. 

The instructions are simple enough but numbered parts would have helped.

Once the parts have been freed from the sprues and cleaned as much as possible I assembled them into sub-assemblies. Most of these went together easily, the main torso actually fits together really nicely, but there are some gaps in the legs that are obvious in the photos. I originally used polystyrene cement to build the Tomahawks in hopes that I could fuse the seams and then scrape them clean but there are too many ridges in the way. So I used cyanoacrylate glue which kicked too quickly to allow me to squeeze the parts together. 

Notice gaps in the legs. I'll have to try gel polystyrene cement next time.

On to final assembly and another issue. The hip sections on the Destroids are made of really small ball and sockets that only want to match up in one particular way. And combined with feet that only attach in one way it's very easy to put the legs on in such a way that the figure is leaning forward or backwards. Thus my first Defender looks like his cannon have some serious recoil. So there's some real frustration with having to use super glue in assembly which doesn't allow for final positioning but the hip joints are too small to use polystyrene glue without destroying them. And do not try to reposition the legs in any way, there's not enough of a joint and the just tear apart. Thus my legless Tomahawks.

This joint is frustratingly weak and only wants to work in a particular way.  And the legs make it impossible to have them both straight, they are cast so that one is stepping forward.

The molds have been made in steel for these kits so too much criticism is worthless and stupid. These are the models that we have and we can only do our best with them. But I can't help but wonder how amazing these kits would have been if produced by a company like Bandai, Kotobuikiya, or Max Factory. They are not terrible, they're just not amazing. But since I have dozens of them to assemble it's necessary to learn their quirks and move on. After all I just want to have some cool models and destroy some Regults.

Next up: The Spartan and Phalanx!


  1. Aren't the barrels supposed to be in an "under & over" arrangement?

    They don't look terribly detailed do they?

    There have been quite a few of these model kits produced in this sort of scale over the years which have been great. I don't know why they just didn't try and buy the molds or at least get them produced for them under licence, instead of reinventing the wheel?

  2. Yeah I've had it pointed out a few times already that the guns are incorrect. I tried to cut them off and a pair when zinging out to the back of my work-table, probably never to be seen again. So out of four destroids I have one I haven't messed up in some way.

    And as for buying molds from another company I still think the Harmony Gold Robotech license has to piss some people in Japan off. It still seems legally really dodgy.

  3. I couldn't make this kickstarter and I had wanted to for the models but these comments make me wonder if missing out might have been good.

  4. Thanks for the warning. Those kits look terrible, and they sound like a bear to work on. I'll be keeping well clear of this game, whatever nostalgia I might have had doesn't begin to make up for the shoddiness of the models.

  5. One each would be cool, then you could spend all the time you wanted on each mini as a display model. As something to build to fight battles with? Ugh, unless you really want cloned minis with only a couple of variations, as in worse than a GW starter set. Plus the need for extra work to repair the seams from crap design. Oh, and the need to pay for acrylic flight stands unless you want your flying things to appear to be rising on some kind of spew from their nether regions, especially the yellowish-brown of the UEDF sprue.

    As someone pointed out, collectors will love them and the RPG players will love them so their party can do a "real fight" with their characters.

    Tabletop gamers, initial excitement, now they are hanging out crosses and garlic.

  6. Thanks for the review. I recently dropped 100$ on a starter set. I have to say I have built 100's of different scale models in my time and these were some of the more challenging ones to assemble. I had small parts with poor mold seams that had the gate on the tiny barrels. I felt like I was attempting to play a surgeon when trying to clean them up. They are also a beast to find if you accidentally drop one. Liquid Green Stuff works wonders for those gaps that are small enough to be too large for putty but large enough to be seen. I was able to cut the joints and use the green stuff to create the knee joints so I had more dynamic poses. (Thanks to a tutorial online by Pythnutd: The flying stands included are bulky and really take away from the fighter and guardian modes, I highly recommended to purchase some clear ones.

    However, even with all the issues and faults I have enjoyed the rules and final feel of the models. Even my wife, who is anti-gaming/model building as you can get, said she likes the look and thinks they look great. Now to convince her to play......

    1. If you convince your wife to play I may have to borrow you to convince mine.