Excalibur MKIV

When the Robotech series (a combination various Japanese animated series, using altered dialog to form them into a complete narrative, and rather well if you ask me) hit the US, Matchbox of all toy companies, licensed the property to produce a line of toys while Revell produced a series of model kits. A friend of mine had a couple of the model kits and outside of being transforming planes they weren’t all that impressive. I have a few action figures and mecha but all but one are packed away.

Above is the Excalibur MKVI, or as it is officially know, the Destroid Tomahawk or MBR-04-Mk VI. I’m not sure why the name change, unless it has something to do with early translations. Destroids come from the first Robotech War (taken from the Japanese series Macross). While the main fighting craft, the Veritech fighters (or Valkyrie for the Macross purists), were transforming airplanes, the various model Destroids were robotic tanks that protected the ship…and always got destroyed because the heroes all piloted the airplanes and not the Destroids.

As cool as the robots that can turn into planes are, the non-transforming robotic vehicles are cool in their own right. I think I got this one for Christmas. While Matchbox have created toys besides little toy cars, it’s what they’re most known for so it will surprise you that not only does this not have any die-cast metal (going for all-plastic) but it’s actually well made for its time.

And let’s be honest, the Excalibur (I’m going by the toy name for this review) is a pretty imposing robotic vehicle. The thing has two huge cannons for arms, for crying out loud! You don’t get more imposing than that, but they didn’t stop there. On the lower part of the body are a series of smaller guns. On its back, by the shoulders, is a missile pod on the right and what I guess is a big laser beam thing, possible even a searchlight, on the left. The official stats do not mention what it is supposed to be, but since the huge cannons are “beam cannons”, I think I’ll go with searchlight. If the enemy attacks at night it would be easier to see them, and the Destroids are all about defense.

Excalibur close-up

“I’ve got my eye on you.”

And it doesn’t stop there. Looking at the upper part of the body you see twin machine guns just above the head, and the bays on the side open to reveal more missiles (although I don’t know how the ones in back are supposed to fire without destroying the Destroid in the process). The stats also says the things on the legs are smokescreen pods, while something resembling rocket jets (possibly for short-range leaps since they don’t look powerful enough for any sustained flight) can be seen on the back.

Excalibur rear

He looks like he has a robotic face on his “butt”.

You can see one complaint I have with this, but it’s normal for 80’s toys. There are some decent attention to detail (for the time) molding-wise. They put in vents in the feet, back, and sides to keep the robot and weapons from overheating. (There also appears to be huge nozzles on the cannons and for as bit as they are those could also be vents.) However, some details are lost due to the lack of coloring. The grey pieces are separate pieces while the rest is light tan. There are no paint applications, just a set of stickers that I have to admit are staying on rather well considering they’ve been on for decades and were applied by a child (namely, me). There are warnings, labels, and what could be fake axles. Still, some paint for the pods, pilot canopy, and robot eye would have been nice.

Excalibur pose

“Come get some!”

Finally, let’s talk articulation. It’s a toy from the 80s so naturally there isn’t much. The Excalibur can turn at the waist, hips, and shoulders, plus the toes bend somewhat and the arm cannons have limited tilting. Ordinarily all I could say was “not bad for the time” but while I wouldn’t have minded some minor knee articulation it actually works for this machine. It’s a robotic tank vehicle that the stats claim would be 12.7 meters tall (roughly under 42 feet). It’s bound to be lumbering and limited in movement. It’s a heavy weapons defense machine while the transforming fighters are meant to go head-to-head with giants (not kidding) and are supposed to be maneuverable, fast, and able to go engage in a fistfight if necessary. The limits in articulation actually add to the feel of the toy. How often can you say that?

Decision: Stays

The Excalibur MKVI is a cool toy for the time period and price. If there isn’t a better version by now that’s a mistake but what we have is still good enough to remain on the shelf that kept him from being packed away.