|Publication date||DC Comics:
January 1985 - April 1985
|Number of issues||2|
|Main character(s)||see the comic series enclosed with the model kits|
|Penciller(s)||Judith A. Hunt|
The Robotech Defenders are a line of scale model kits released by Revell during the early 1980s. Contrary to what their name seems to imply, the "'Robotech Defenders'" are not part of the Robotech Anime Universe adapted by Carl Macek and released by Harmony Gold USA, however they did adopt the same moniker and logo.
The "Robotech Defenders" were one of two "Robotech" lines released by Revell, the other being the "Robotech Changers". The "Robotech Changers" line initially consisted of three models based on the Valkyrie Variable fighter designs from Macross, and the NEBO model, based upon the Drifand of Super Dimension Century Orguss.
The "Robotech Defenders" model line was tied into a two-issue limited series of the same name, published by DC comics. It shares many common themes with other science fiction series of that time, including invading aliens, and giant mechanical war machines.
Seeking to capitalize on the Mecha craze of the early 1980s, Model Company Revell went to Japan, the home of the grand-masters in over-sized technological monstrosities, to look for suitable mecha models prior to 1984. They eventually licensed a number of Takara's Fang of the Sun Dougram models for the "Defenders" line. These models were repackaged with the "Robotech" moniker, and released in North America and Europe.
The humanoid Mech models had an average size of 30 cm, the in-scale humans were about 2 cm. One of the features of these plastic models (except for the tiny Human and Grelon miniatures) was that they weren't just static when assembled, but had fully movable joints and removable equipment; somewhat like modern toys (seen from today's point of view) that the children had to assemble, glue together, and paint before playing. Because of the complexity and the many details and parts of the high-quality model kits they can be seen as quasi-adult level, though they were sold with the notion "ages 12 and up" on their packages. But even for experienced modellers the details of assembly and painting were partially quite a challenge, especially with the Humans and Grelons. All in all, the model kits are both play-toys and potential centerpieces of a model showcase, assuming that a skilled painter applies his full range of techniques on all the details.
In the North American market, the models met with some success, appealing to both fans of the Robotech Anime and the players of the Battletech tabletop strategy game. In Europe, however, the models sales were disappointing, probably due to the practically non-existent background story and the relatively high prices for the models.
Listed below are the Model Names, (Revell Model Number: Scale) and the source of the model (as well as the corresponding Battletech Mech, if known)
- Robotech Defender "Aqualo" (1148: 1/72 Scale) is the Dougram H404S "Mackerel" Marine Combat Armor.
- Robotech Defender "Ziyon" (1149: 1/72 Scale) is the Dougram Soltic HT-128 "Bigfoot" Combat Armor-not transformable. (Battletech "Battlemaster")
- Robotech Defender "Thoren" (1150: 1/72 Scale) is the Dougram Soltic H8 "Roundfacer" Combatc Armor-not transformable. (Battletech "Griffon")
- Robotech Defender "Zoltek" (1151: 1/48 Scale) is the Dougram D7 "Dougram" Combat Armor-not transformable. (Battletech "Shadow Hawk")
- Robotech Defender "Condar" (1152: 1/48 Scale) is the Dougram Soltic H-102 "Bushman" Combat Armor-not transformable.
- Robotech Defender "Talos" (1153: 1/48 Scale) is the Dougram T-10B "Blockhead" Combat Armor-not transformable. (Battletech "Wolverine")
- Robotech Defender "Gartan" (1154: 1/48 Scale) is the Dougram Hasty F4X "Ironfoot" Combat Armor-not transformable. (Battletech "Thunderbolt")
- Robotech Defender "Armored Combat Team" (1191: 1/72 Scale) is the Dougram Soltic H8 "Roundfacer" Combat Armor-not transformable, with infantry jeeps. (See Robotech Defender "Thoren")
- Robotech Defender "Strike Force" (1192: 1/72 Scale) is a Dougram Hasty F4X "Ironfoot" Combat Armor and a Curailles MP-2 "Dewey" attack helicopter-not transformable. (See Robotech Defender "Gartan")
- Robotech Defender "Assault Squad" (1193: 1/72 Scale) is a Dougram Abitate F35C "Blizzardgunner" Walker Tank and an Einstedt AFV attack helicopter-not transformable. (Walker Tank used as Battletech "Scorpion")
- Robotech Defender "Robot Recovery Unit" (1194: 1/72 Scale) is a Dougram Bromry-LTR63GB Trailer Truck.
- Robotech Defender "Airborne Attacker" (1197: 1/72 Scale) is a Dougram Soltic H-102 "Bushman" Combat Armor and an Eastland WE-211 "Maverick" cargo-lifting helicopter-not transformable. (See Robotech Defender "Condar")
- Robotech Defender "Commando" (1199: 1/48 Scale) is the Dougram Abitate F44B "Tequilagunner" 4-legged Walker Tank-not transformable.
Release of the "'Robotech Defenders'" and "'Robotech Changers'" model lines caused problems for media company Harmony Gold USA, who licensed the North American video rights to the Japanese Macross anime series, combining it with two other series to produce an 85 episode series they hoped to market direct to video. Since Revell was already distributing the models, Harmony Gold could not support the show with merchandising. In the end, both companies decided to enter into a co-licensing agreement and the name Robotech was eventually adopted for the syndicated television show that the home video line had transformed into.
Players of FASA's BattleTech tabletop strategy game universe will instantly recognize nearly all of the models, as Mechs from the original Role Playing Game sourcebooks. The reason for this is that all of the original edition's 'Mech visuals were based on designs from a variety of anime series, including Macross, Dougram, and Orguss. FASA eventually became embroiled in a lawsuit with Harmony Gold regarding the use of these images, and later removed all images not created in house from their Sourcebooks.
The comic book, a two-issue mini-series, was published by DC Comics in 1984. It was originally intended to be a trilogy, but was reduced to the first normal-sized issue and a 32-page second issue with no advertisement. The universe of the "'Robotech Defenders'" comic book series bears no resemblance at all to the Robotech universe adapted by Harmony Gold USA. The Robotech Defenders comic predates the conception of the original Robotech cartoon show by about a year.
The story followed the battles of a team of pilots who fight a savage race of aliens, called "Grelons", who have conquered Earth using superior technology. They plan to colonize Earth, using their titanic humanoid war machines to eliminate all resistance. The heroes, a small combat unit, are losing badly when their leader accidentally activates one of the Robotech Defenders. She then learns of the existence of the other machines, which are scattered on the other pilots' home planets. Each of these units has a unique range of abilities and environmental specialties (e.g., Aqualo was capable of diving and sea-based activities, Ziyon's Element was cold and snow, Thoren's heat and magma, Gartan's urban combat).
By the end of the first issue, the team have managed to recover all the robots and engage the enemy in battle, but are still defeated and get captured. They escape by pushing a big red button which releases the Defenders' minds, unleashing the latter's' full combat capabilities. The pilots then track down the controller of the savage aliens. They defeat him by causing the evil alien energy siphon to suck the energy from the sun, causing their space ship to explode.
DC Comics had originally agreed to publish a three-part mini-series in 1984 to test the waters, but the comic was of such poor quality, and sales of the first issue were so low, that it was canceled after only two issues.
- UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS, EASTERN DIVISION (1996). "Harmony Gold USA vs FASA". Legal Filing. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
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