Figure Review: MBR-04-Mk VI Tomahawk by Yamato

Hobby Link Japan had a sale on Yamato items, so I picked up the Tomahawk for 5,880 JPY (around $68.55 US). The regular price is listed as 9,800 JPY ($114.25 US), so it’s a hefty price for a model.

MBR-04-Mk VI Tomahawk by Yamato
Time to nerd out about the Battletech thing.

The Tomahawk was originally featured in Macross as a Main Battle Robot which debuted in 2007 (don’t you love near-future sci-fi shows?). They are meant to be hardcore fighting machines, sporting dual particle beam guns, nearly a dozen anti-personnel guns, and a hell of a lot of missiles. As cool as it is, I didn’t buy the Tomahawk because I was a Macross fan. I bought it because I’m a Battletech fan.

MBR-04-Mk VI Tomahawk by Yamato

If you’re an uncultured heathen, you might know Battletech through its spinoff franchise Mechwarrior. Originally, Battletech was a table top game, based on giant robots known as Battlemechs beating each other to a pulp in the name of complex interstellar politics. One of these mechs was called the Warhammer, and it was one of the most heavily-armed mechs of its type. Only later did I find out that the Warhammer’s design was basically stolen from Macross. FASA, which created Battletech, got into some legal trouble and had to pull the design from their game. As such, the Warhammer mech still existed but there was no canonical design.

MBR-04-Mk VI Tomahawk by Yamato
I wonder if this influenced the design of FASA's Vulture omnimech.

So even though the Tomahawk no longer bears any resemblance to the official design of the Warhammer, it’s still the design I know and love. It just feels like heavy armor, and the figure itself has a suitable weight. At 1/60 scale, it’s much larger than your typical action figure (overall height is around 8 in/20 cm). This particular rendition from Yamato is in olive drab, but there are several other color variations.

MBR-04-Mk VI Tomahawk by Yamato

Included accessories are scant—just a few puny humans to serve as flaggers and a pilot—but I don’t need them. The figure itself is rife with detail, including the numerous guns, opening missile bay covers, and an opening cockpit. Articulation points are abundant, but the range of movement is limited. You move the torso, the shoulders and elbows, hips, and various parts of the feet, but oddly the knees seem to be locked in place. So this will probably serve as a static display figure. Another problem with the figure is the loose joints. This might vary from sample to sample, but the torso joint on mine has no resistance to it at all. As a result, the bias of the weight toward the rear causes the figure to angle upward. I have to get creative if I want it to be level.

MBR-04-Mk VI Tomahawk by Yamato
The machine guns on the head are articulated too.

The build quality is ok but not amazing. It does look like a pre-assembled model kit, so there are seams, notches from where the parts were attached to sprues, and a few visible gaps. The plastic itself is olive, so there isn’t much paint on there. Some parts aren’t glued together, such as the gun barrels on the arms and the front and back pieces of the torso. Don’t get upset if they fall off; they’re easily reattached.

MBR-04-Mk VI Tomahawk by Yamato

Yamato also makes the Defender, another design stolen by FASA and renamed the Rifleman. This is kind of a weird intersection of American and Japanese cultures. Macross was brought over to the US as Robotech, and had its designs plagiarized for a table top game that eventually became fairly popular under the Battletech/Mechwarrior brands. I’m kind of glad it worked out that way because Macross really did have some kickass mecha designs—most of my favorite Battletech designs were actually from Macross.


  • Ian
    Only later did I find out that the Warhammer’s design was basically stolen from Macross. FASA, which created Battletech, got into some legal trouble and had to pull the design from their game. Please if you are going to post things like this on the internet where everyone can read them at least get your facts straight first. FASA didn't steal anything they licensed art from the original creator. They didn't lose any court case, they won everything that went to court. They stopped using the images because court fees were costing more than new art would. do some research!
    • Here's a summary of the whole saga. - "Stolen" is a strong term. But FASA did not license the designs from the original creators (Tatsunoko) nor did they license the designs from the US rights holders (Harmony Gold). They "licensed" the designs from Twentieth Century Imports, who were only authorized to make model kits based on Macross designs. - FASA did not win anything that went to court. Their request for a summary decision in Harmony Gold v. FASA was dismissed by the court, and in that opinion the court ruled that FASA did not legally acquire the rights to the Macross designs. The case was settled out of court, and FASA had to stop using those designs. You can read about the settlement and FASA's related legal issues here. Long story short, they thought they had the licenses but didn't.
  • Azatoth
    You can use rare earth magnets to solve the topple problem, though they lock the torso in place then. @Ian I was working for the german liscense user of FASA at the time, Fantasy Productions or FANPRO. FASA had a verbal ok to use the models. After it became successful, the fools tried to trademark/copyright them for themselves, and that stupid move basically created their problems. It was not published openly of course but the people in know were informed.