Protocultural Artifacts: The Robotech Masters

Background: Playmates Bioroid Invid Fighter (1994) atop a Matchbox Bioroid Hovercraft (1986), flanked by two Matchbox Bioroid Terminators (1986). Foreground: Harmony Gold Robotech Master (1992) flanked by two Matchbox Robotech Masters (1986).

The Bioroid Invid Fighter toy was one of my first two acquisitions from the 1994 EXO-SQUAD ROBOTECH line, purchased alongside the Excaliber/Tomahawk Destroid, and is one of my favorite designs out of all the Matchbox/Harmony Gold/Playmates figures. While it’s lamentable that, due to a labeling mix-up in the material provided by Harmony Gold to licensees, this Bioroid, which never appeared in the SOUTHERN CROSS animation, was produced in lieu of either the actual Invid Fighter (much bulkier & boxier) or Zor’s Red Bioroid (much rounder), it’s still a very cool mecha design, realized well by the folks at Matchbox. The articulation is a little odd and some additional jointing would have made it a little more playable, but it’s visually interesting all around and has a sharp color scheme; it also looks alright atop the Bioroid Hovercraft, despite the fact that the Hovercraft is technically designed for the 3 3/4″ figure range.

I’m also a fan of the Bioroid Terminator action figure design; there’s something weirdly regal about that uniform, and because of its almost organic, insect-like styling and lack of human facial features, the poor sculpting that plagues most of the small Matchbox figures isn’t as big of a problem on this one. A shame I didn’t take a shot that highlights the shell-like skirting, as that’s one element that makes it really stand out in a lineup.

However, I have no words of praise for the Robotech Master figure. Had the Kay Bee Toys chain of mall stores not gone under two years ago, I suspect you would still find occasional locations trying to sell off a lone Robotech Master or two for 99 cents a pop, or cheaper. Even for an action figure of an old man in a robe, this is an ugly figure, and somehow the 1992 Harmony Gold release made it worse by not painting the collar, making theirs look like a cheap knock-off. Still, as you can see, I have three, gathered around a glow-in-the-dark “Protoculture Cap” I threw together in the late 90’s and have managed to hang onto ever since. Anyone wanting to understand the depths of my ROBOTECH obsession shouldn’t look to my expensive collection of original artwork; they should be looking at three cheap, malformed-looking action figures that I bought solely so they could stand around a poorly improvised command console and worry and fret about the impending arrival of the Invid.

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3 thoughts on “Protocultural Artifacts: The Robotech Masters

  1. “Anyone wanting to understand the depths of my ROBOTECH obsession shouldn’t look to my expensive collection of original artwork; they should be looking at three cheap, malformed-looking action figures that I bought solely so they could stand around a poorly improvised command console and worry and fret about the impending arrival of the Invid.”

    That is a great line. :)

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