Yamato SIM EX IdeonYamato are best known for their work with the Macross licence over recent years, but they've done other stuff as well. One of their lines was called Extra Story Image Mechanics, or SIM EX, and concentrated on anime-accurate, poseable versions of famous Super Robots. Well, in theory - Ideon led the line in 2004, and was then followed by the obscure Zeorymer , and that was that.

The Ideon figure was the first truly show-accurate version of the robot made, and is still one of the few outright action figures made since the Tomy days (aside from this and the Soul of Chogokin, it's been super-deformed merchandise for the large part, though I'd love to be corrected).

The figure was quite a poor seller, and boxed examples can still be found cheaply online. I'd been putting off buying one for a while on the grounds that the Soul of Chogokin version was definitive, and the Yamato one didn't have the weirdness of the Tomy figures going for it, but in the end OCD won out...


Yamato SIM EX IdeonStraight out of the box this thing impressed me. I'd heard it was mainly PVC. It could be my ignorance of terminology and materials, but it seems to me it's not - the chest, arms, shoulders and legs all seem to be hard plastic, which leaves just the head, fists, feet and the panels around the waist in soft PVC. This is fine by me - I remain a sceptic about soft PVC, which tends to feel lightweight. Of course, there's always the chance that what I'm thinking of is one type of PVC and there are actually lots of different types, this figure being made up of the better stuff. It was a nice surprise, end of story.

Yamato SIM EX IdeonThe figure looks exactly like the anime incarnation of the Ideon, which is obviously a good thing - the great head design, the big shoulders, the bladed feet, it's a skilful blend of prowess and power perfectly summed up. The detailing is not as fine as on the Soul of Chogokin version, but there's mitigation. The SIM EX figure is only around 7" tall, and thus would look a little cluttered with every panel line and missile port picked out, while the other thing to bear in mind is the the SoC version is generally more detailed than the animation model itself.

Yamato SIM EX IdeonThe box boasts that the figure has 17 points of articulation - this sort of thing is often meaningless, there's no point in having, say, a neck joint if the the toy has a collar that all but prevents the head from moving on it. However, the Ideon doesn't suffer from this problem. It's probably more dynamic than the anime version (which tended to just hang there a lot of the time like a puppet with cut strings, something which added emphasis when it would rumble into life and punch a ship out of the sky or whatever).

Yamato SIM EX IdeonAbout the only real restriction is the waist/hips - these can pull off most 'standing' poses, but can't do the high kicks the Ideon would occasionally do (e.g. kicking the face off Guhaba's Zigg Mack in "Break Through the Enemy's Front"). The only other caveat would be that the upper shoulders are a little weird - they can rotate, but don't hinge at all, and thus don't move with the rest of the arms when posed. Mounting these as a separate piece than can also hinge would have been nice. And I'd like the moon on a stick, please. Preferably delivered by Mary off of SuicideGirls.

Yamato SIM EX IdeonAccessories-wise, the toy is very basic - there's a fair of closed fists, and a pair of open palms, and that's it. These get points for popping on and off easily without being overly loose, a nice change after recent adventures with Kadoh Senshi Gundam figures that seem determined to keep the hands they've got now, thank you very much. The Ideon Gun or the Ideon Swords would have been a nice addition, and probably not have taken too much material or effort, and would have added something to the mix. Indeed, the one downside to the figure is that beyond enjoying the look and the dynamism, there's not a lot to do with it. Yamato let the world down badly by not following up with a range of scaled Buff Clan mecha, a Solo Ship playset, a Gram Zan for the thing to catch dramatically, and a to-scale Star Steckin that splits in half on cue. It's just sloppy, Yamato, and that's unforgivable. Well, it is as far as I'm concerned, and I'm obviously a mentally sound person with a canny understanding of the toy business.


Yamato SIM EX Ideon

Yamato SIM EX Ideon
Yamato SIM EX Ideon
Yamato SIM EX Ideon
Yamato SIM EX Ideon

In absolute terms, the SIM EX Ideon is no substitute for the Soul of Chogokin version - it's going to take something bloody spectacular to usurp the latter as definitive after all. However, it is a nice enough figure in its' own right. Yamato keep it simple, and the result is a neat, versatile figure. Where the SIM EX does score is that it's a lot lighter and smaller (not to mention cheaper) than the SoC, and makes a much less intrusive desktop toy.