06.09.12

Toynami 1/55 VF-1 Appendices A, B, & C

Posted in 1/55, Macross/RT Macross Saga, Toynami, VF-1, VT, VE Valkyrie at 1:30 am by micronian

Observations & Critique: Mo’ Missiles, Mo’ Boosters, Mo’ Armor

I used to review accessories just like toys and back in those days I gave this toy a perfect score since the box is so darned nice.  Today I’d probably drop that score down a little bit.  Everything here is great but it’s not like Toynami included anything not absolutely necessary to the fast packs and a perfect score should be reserved for companies that do manage to throw in some bonus items. That said, this toy’s packaging is still a good bit above average as it comes in an only slightly smaller bookcase (width-wise only) than the MPC VF-1 toys.  The Rick Hunter appendix A has been reissued once in 2004.  You can tell the difference from an original and a reissue in that the original has the picture of Rick on the outter white box (see picture above).  Reissues came in a box that was completely devoid of that picture.

I think we’ve gotten to the point where we can be reasonably reassured there will be no more MPC VF-1 Super Part appendix reissues.  It really seemed like Toynami missed a golden opportunity to make some money on a Max & Miriya reissue but since the appendices initially warmed shelves only to be sold at steep discounts before mounting a dramatic comeback in popularity it might have been hard for Toynami to get retailers interested in ordering more.  When Toynami’s only competition was the Bandai reissue of the Takatoku toys and Yamato’s version 1 toys the Toynami Super Parts did have some allure despite their many quirks.  These days we all have better options in the form of Yamato’s 1/48 and 1/60 V2 lines.

There was a point in time where the Toynami MPC Appendix was arguably the best representation of super parts in toy form.  Even upon release it was clear that these Super Parts did have some shortcomings.  First, the missile booms ride too high above the vehicle and don’t follow its natural slope well enough.  Second, the missile booms look a bit slender and long.  Third, the intrictate detail pieces also could have been painted a bit to bring out all the detail better if Toynami was really striving for perfection.  Below are some close-ups to give you a better idea of the level of detail.  Fourth, Toynami should have included both gray outer leg armor covers for the Max & Miriya toys as well as the color-matched leg armor covers as the anime often shows the armors being the same primary color on the M&M valkyries/veritechs. 

First, I want to penalize this product for the way the missile booms attach to the backpack but I think that flaw is equally to blame on the original design of the MPC vehicle it attaches to.  Yamato’s method of attachment is clearly superior with tabs on the booms fitting in slots on the backpack.  Toynami took another route that involves attaching pieces around the backpack.  Once again, Toynami has made a slight improvement on the original Takatoku design but hasn’t taken the giant stride that was certainly possible.  The most major flaw here comes with the leg armors.  Some credit is due Toynami in their excellent use of magnets but, unfortunately, they came up short of what is necessary.  The magnets just aren’t strong enough to really keep the parts together through any movement that isn’t very gentle.  Also, the pegs that hold the base of the leg armor to the back of the leg armor appear to not be long enough or strong enough as it’s not unusual for the entire assembly on the outside of the leg to pop right off.  It would have also been nice to see Toynami implement some sort of fix that would have allowed the hands to be slid forward with the arm armor attached.  In its current form a user must remove the armors during the transformation from fighter mode and replace them once the fists are out.  Add that to the fact the missile booms must be removed so that their locking contraption doesn’t prohibit transformation from Guardian to Battloid and the experience can get a bit time-consuming.  The final negative I found was the tops of the missile booms.  These peices don’t seem to lock into place as well as they should and can easily be knocked off, especially during transformation.  On the positive side, the removable parts with detail underneath is quite nice and the adjustable booster nozzles are an excellent touch. 

Nothing here seems particularly fragile but the fit of some of the pieces occasionally seems a bit off.  For example, the two removable covers on the missile booms can sometimes snap so well into place they involve a tremendous amount of force to remove.  If a little adjustable booster nozzle gets in the way it can also be knocked off while trying to force that cover free.  Don’t fear, should a booster be knocked off it seems to clip right back in.  The biggest problem with fit appears to be the missiles that attach to the wing.  As with most peg and hole parts, occasionally you will get parts that either have too big of a peg or too big of a hole.  Be careful how hard you press when trying to get the legs to keep from drooping down (it’s a lost cause anyway) in fighter mode or you might find your armor with these gashes.  Overall the sloppy fit of these parts combined with the lack of rigidty of the underlying toy can lead to a frustrating experience.

Back when I gave full reviews to accessories I said this toy had average articulation based on the fact it features nozzles that can be repositioned and some removable armor bits.  You get some individually removable reflex weaponry, removable armor parts, and, for the most part, the armor does not impede the articulation of the original toy (with the exception of the backpack).

These appendices are a fine accessory that really does greatly improve the look of the original MPC toys.  The smooth finish to the plastic is something I prefer and wish the Japanese manufacturers would emulate but I understand I’m in the minority there.  It’s too bad Toynami didn’t think further ahead when developing the original toy to better accomodate this accessory.  It used to be not so hard to find these things for $19.99 and at that price they were a no-brainer addition to any MPC.  Since they are such a welcomed addition to the overall look of the MPC it’s no wonder demand crept up.  If you’re just now looking for VF-1 toys it’s easy to recommend that you should skip the Toynami products entirely as Yamato’s version 2 VF-1 toys (both the vehicles themselves and the super parts) are two generations superior to Toynami’s Masterpiece line.

NOTE: This review has been updated
Original post date: May 29, 2006
First Update: January 7, 2007 – Cleaned up existing pictures and added more pictures
Second Update: September 13, 2008 – Combined some pictures for quicker load time and added content about V2 Yamato Super Parts
Third Update: June 9, 2012 – Increased the resolution of pictures, added a line art comparison, combined more pictures to further decrease load times, and added a video history of Super Parts

3 Comments »

  1. robodragonsdf1 said,

    January 7, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Another nice touch that Toynami could have added would have been the strike parts. It would have been cheep for the to do and make the collectability that much more. To me that’s just another example of Toynami’s short mindedness.

  2. micronian said,

    January 7, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    Honestly, a strike cannon would have only worked with Rick’s appendix though and since it’s being sold under the Robotech name it might just really confuse a lot of people. Also, the DYRL strike set has different arm armors so if they wanted to make this an interchangeable set that’s two more parts they’d also have to include. At that point they might want to raise the cost of the appendix and that may have upset RT fans since MANY don’t even know what DYRL is. If they were really cool they could have done a Toynami.com website exclusive DYRL conversion kit for like 1/4 of the cost of the original appendix. THAT would have been cool… and collectible. I’m still waiting for my Toynami MPC GBP :)

  3. jimbo913 said,

    February 16, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    My biggest problem was the price. When they first came out, I couldn’t imagine paying $90 plus shipping for three sets of fast packs. I knew the trend that many of the MPCs went, going down in price dramatically after a short amount of time. So I waited and waited. Then something odd happened… they sold out at the original price. Suffice it to say, I wound up paying about 50-75% more for these that I would have had to pay had I got them when they came out. Plus, to add insult to injury, I didn’t get the background cell from the RT.com store to match all my other animation cells. I am still a bit bitter about it all.

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