Observations & Critiques: Also known as “super armor”
Like the sold-separately VF-1 toys; this accessory comes in a two-tone shipper box. The retail box inside is composed of a large window that shows off the goods with some pictures of the fast packs on a VF-1 adorning the back. I like this two-box approach; It’s not quite as classy or convenient as a box with a flip top lid but it gives similar benefits. Inside the box you’ll get the following fast packs and:
1) 8x LR626 batteries
2) 6x reaction missiles (2 sets of 2 and 2 individual missiles)
3) Instructions (you can see the scan below)
A new display stand adapter meant to handle the toy with the fast packs installed should have also been included.
It’s too soon to tell what the KitzConcept(KC) market strategy will be for this accessory which is currently offered as a bundled item with the Roy Fokker VF-1S or as a standalone accessory at some retailers. For their super deformed VF-1 line, KC offered each new variant as either a standalone VF-1 or a gift-set with the fast packs while continuing to offer the fast packs separately. If KC doesn’t offer each subsequent toy as a potential gift-set then it’s conceivable the value of this accessory will increase like it did for Toynami’s fast pack appendices for their Masterpiece line. So far there has been one standalone release:
April 2019, $69.99
Like the 1/72 VF-1 toy, the paint applications on this accessory are top notch and easily surpass the Yamato 1/60 version 2 toys. The kites painted on the backpack boosters give these parts a more complete look. You’re essentially getting a similar product to Arcadia’s “Premium Finish” super parts (currently available only in the Do You Remember Love? style). Not only will you find little warnings and descriptions painted on, the parts also have a panel lining effect for additional pop. Even the paint on the internal mechanical detail pieces surpasses that seen on any current super parts/fast packs on the market. The forearm armors are constructed in a way as to eliminate any visual evidence of screws. Where KC doesn’t exceed their competition, they match them, such as the mini missile detail on the ‘missile booms’. I’m also a big fan of the color used. The Yamato super parts always struck me as undersaturated. As the 1/72 VF-1 toy clearly takes a lot of its visual cues and design elements from the Yamato 1/60 V2 toy, the same is true for the fast packs, right down to the overly large forearm armors that extend way too far behind the elbow in battloid (a compromise to make fighter mode more perfectly emulate the line art). My only nitpick was that the boosters on the backpack sit a little farther from each other than they do on the Yamato accessory.
The most critical design aspect for fast packs, as far as I’m concerned, is their ability to stay on the toy and allow a person to handle it similarly to how they did without the accessory attached. There was a learning curve for me on this one as I wasn’t getting the covers for the micro missiles on correctly and they kept sliding off. Once they were pressed firmly in position, I was quite happy with how well everything came together and stayed together.
Unfortunately, while the toy doesn’t handle worse with the fast packs attached properly, they do introduce a new issue. When the fast pack is attached in fighter mode and the gun is stowed beneath the vehicle, the VF-1 can’t sit on its landing gear. You will find your front landing gear floating off the ground. The VF-1 toy does come with a display stand, and you can use the toy and that display stand with the fast pack attached, but the toy won’t lock onto the display stand securely so you’re kinda just propping the toy up. KC should have included a display stand arm/adapter that worked better for the toy when outfitted with the fast pack with this set.
Though the bracket used in inconspicuous and see-through, I’m not a big fan of needing a bracket to attach the backpack boosters in the first place. Given the smaller scale, it’s more forgivable here but not ideal. I think of Bandai’s original Hi-Metal (OHM) line (which handled super parts better than the Hi-Metal R line because the OHM line had a backpack that locked into position) and how simple and well that system worked, it’s a bit of a bummer to see the less sleek approach used here.
As mentioned above, the toy does enjoy removable armor that exposes engine detail within. The lights are bright and they don’t bleed through in areas where they shouldn’t. One of my complaints about the design of the 1/72 VF-1 toy was the awkward positioning of the switches for the lights and KC compounded that issue with their fast packs. In order to turn on the lights in the legs or arms you need to remove the armor panel and expose the detail beneath and a teeny tiny switch. Making this much worse is how firmly the covers attach. It’s tough to pop those panels off which would be a good thing if you didn’t need to do so to get to the light switch but, as it is, makes the feature unfriendly at best. A much better solution would have been to turn the Vernier thruster on both armors into a button for quick-and-easy light-up fun.
The build quality and paint on my sample seems top notch. Speaking of paint, I did have an odd issue with the paint where the forearm armors attach, it’s almost like some plastic got left behind when the armor was removed. The Vernier thrusters are a weakness from a durability standpoint on both the backpack boosters and leg armors. This weakness is compounded by how tightly the armor covers fit on these sections and made worse by the fact you need to pop those covers on and off if you want to enjoy the light effect. In my first hour with the toy I had already glued THREE thrusters back on. For the leg armors, it’s very important you unlatch the top peg (toward the knee) before worrying about the connection near the foot, watch my video review for instructions. I hope KC is able to work on a way to make the armor covers more user friendly without getting them to a point where they pop off all the time. Though my underlying VF-1 toy had its hard points sheared off by the TV-style missiles, I did find the reaction missiles much more forgiving.
There are two primary areas I look at when it comes to articulation relating to an accessory. The most important aspect is that an accessory should not (generally) inhibit the articulation of the underlying toy. Fortunately, these fast packs pass that test and leave this toy as much fun to handle with the fast packs as it was without them. The other area to be considered is whether the accessory itself has any articulated features. For most fast pack toys, the big booster on the back pack is a ball joint that can be angled but the light-up feature likely made this impossible. Sometimes the smaller thrusters can also be repositioned. On this accessory, there is absolutely no articulation to fiddle with.
I’m a big fan of the KC VF-1 toy in battloid mode and I think that’s also where these fast packs perform best since the weak hardpoints on the wings won’t be an issue. The light-up gimmick could have been a lot of fun so it’s unfortunate that the execution wasn’t better. Like the 1/72 toy, these fast packs show a lot of promise but also several issues I hope are addressed in subsequent releases. If you’re happy with your VF-1 purchase then you’ll probably be happy with these. Given how close this accessory is to the price of a VF-1, and how clunky the light-up effect was employed, I really wish these fast packs were simpler and less expensive.