Beginning in 1985 Matchbox, a toy company most well known for its small, die-cast cars and related toys, released numerous toys based on the animated television series Robotech. Since the company had released the first Voltron toys the year before, and toy company Panosh Place released a line of Voltron action figures and related toys in 1985, perhaps Matchbox felt it could find success in the Robotech line. Matchbox’s Toy Fair catalogs from 1985 through at least 1987 prominently feature the company’s Robotech offerings. Interestingly the 1986 Matchbox Toy Fair catalog cover features a boy playing with Robotech “boy toys,” and a girl playing with Robotech “girl toys,” the company’s signature die-cast cars are nowhere to be seen!
Today Matchbox’s Robotech toys are a mixed bag on the collectors’ market. The action figures, while articulated much like Hasbro’s G.I. Joe toy line, had horrible face sculpts. Generally speaking the action figures don’t seem to be very desirable. On the other hand, the related toys, such as the Veritech Fighter, seem to fetch high prices. The most valuable and seemingly rarest of these is the SDF-1 playset, which appears very rarely on sites such as eBay, and when listed in its original box, is often listed with a four-digit USD Buy It Now price. The playset’s “real” value is likely considerably less; however, it’s undoubtedly a highly sought after item.
Even more obscure, although less expensive on the collector’s market, is the SDF-1 Battle Fortress playset by Play Make. This playset, made entirely of cardboard, measures some five feet in length when assembled. When this item appears on eBay, it’s often listed at around $400, although I’ve never seen it sell for this price.
Robotech is a fun animated series, and its toys are interesting relics of 1980s protoculture — I mean pop culture.