Yamato USA Starship Troopers - THE RODGER YOUNG
We have the ships. We have the weapons. We need soldiers...
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1997's epic sci-fi film Starship Troopers was controversial. Based on the novel of the same name by Robert A. Heinlein, Paul Verhoeven's cinematic version took a fair number of licenses. But whatever you thought of the skewed satire and lack of power suits, there's one thing that kept hardcore sci-fi fans coming back for more: the awesome vehicle designs. The human's Federation forces traveled to distant planets to fight the Arachnids in style with an array of capital ships, dropships, retrieval craft, fighters, and more. The great Corvette Transports, created by Thunderstone Model Shop, formed the backbone of mankind’s space travel.
Unfortunately, the collectibles based on Starship Troopers were pretty limited. The Micro Machines line of bugs and figures was pretty cool, and actually included all three of the atmosphere-capable craft. Otherwise, there were larger bug toys and an awful figure line. Fast forward thirteen years and we're finally getting a Rodger Young, the heroes' capital ship! Yamato has been a dominant player in models and toys in Japan for a very long time. Their North America branch, Yamato USA, has been in the game for about ten years, making a name for itself with high quality action figures, statues, robots, sexy anime babes, and more. One of Yamato USA's newest lines is the Sci-Fi Figure Gallery. So far this exciting line has three Starship Troopers items: the Rodger Young, a TAC Fighter, and the Marauder robotic powered suit from the third film.
A ship of the line in the Federation's Corvette Transport class, the Rodger Young (#176) was essentially a troop carrier. Loaded for bear with Mobile Infantry and its assorted support vehicles, the Rodger Young could unload its cargo quickly and efficiently to get feet on the ground. The ship takes its name from the real-life World War II hero of the same name. A sergeant in the United States Army, Young died while defending his fellow men from Japanese forces on New Georgia in 1943. His heroism was immortalized by Frank Loesser in The Ballad of Rodger Young. In the Starship Troopers novel, each ship's retrieval boats blare an individual song when it's time to return, and the Rodger Young's song is The Ballad. In the film the Rodger Young serves with distinction until it is destroyed in the final battle at Planet-P. While the Rodger Young is approximately 550 meters in length, Yamato USA's version is 9 inches, making it about 0.042% the size. Thankfully, this one will fit in your collection much better. :-)
Yamato USA's Rodger Young comes packaged in a very sleek box. It's fully enclosed and very sturdy, providing you with lots of glossy images of the ship on display and in Photoshopped space scenes. There are a lot of great details for the hardcore fans including a line from the famous poem and battle song of the ship, the ship’s number notation and more. A dog-ear graphic proudly announces that you own one of only 1,000 Rodger Youngs worldwide, while text on the front and back mention the included numbered resin base.
The back of the box has age appropriate warnings and plenty of cool Japanese text. Opening the box reveals a halved styrofoam brick taped together. There are only a couple of pieces, and assembly is easy with the included instruction sheet. The pieces fit together so well that they don't even really require glue, but you might as well use it to ensure stability. The ship is quite weighty with significant metal content.
Plainly put, the Rodger Young has an amazing sculpt. The ship's overall design isn't tremendously exciting. It's got a fairly traditional cylindrical shape with a blunted nosecone, tall bridge tower, and four outrigger-style engine pods. But, look closer and you'll find a wealth of technological details. Everything is sculpted, from ridges to ports, bays to gun emplacements, and a multitude of panels, spheres, circles, etc. One of the coolest parts is the dorsal section just aft of the bow. In the center of an open area is a round tower that anchors a flying bridge linking the bow to a half ring around the ship's central section. That bridge even has translucent plastic "windows" which look great. I could go on and on about the ship's amazing sculpt and all of the details, but pictures will do it much better justice.
Yamato USA put a ton of work into making the Rodger Young as screen accurate as possible, and that carries over into the paint job. Overall, the ship is gray. No, make that very gray. As with the sculpt though, look closer and you'll find much more. Different shades of gray serve to give the ship a more realistic look, while whites and oranges dot the hull to represent running lights, ports, etc. The exhaust ports of all four engines are black, as are the front of the two lower pods while the upper ones are a pale blue. Finally, on either side of the forward section is a pre-attached decal with the number 176 and "Rodger Young" in tiny letters. Overall, the ship looks pretty darn close to the film version, an excellent miniature version.
The Rodger Young comes packaged with a resin display stand. It's all black, with felt cradles for the ship sized to hold it level. Below the ship is a metal nameplate with the film and the ship's name (and edition number for non-samples), while the bottom of the base has the film's Tristar copyright information. Because the ship has such a convoluted surface including tiny metal "guns" around its midsection I highly recommend using the base and not putting down the Rodger Young on a flat surface.
The Rodger Young is a work of art. It truly brings the vessel directly from the screen into your collection, and looks fantastic. Every sci-fi ship collector should check this out. The only downside is the price, substantial but definitely worth it at approximately $130. High quality spaceship replicas, especially of "old" properties, are few and far between these days, so don't miss out on this one.
The Federation is waiting for you. Do you want to know more?
For more images of the Rodger Young, CLICK HERE!
Review sample courtesy of Yamato USA
Photos and Review by Scott Rubin