Mega Review: Includes original releases, super releases, armored release, and 2 seaters
Packaging & Extras: (3.5/5)
These toys come in oversized boxes made of very thin cardboard dominated by large plastic windows that reveal everything inside. The artwork isn’t the best and the boxes definitely don’t feel premium. The Elintseeker and SuperOstrich toys come in cartoonishly over-sized boxes. Inside the box you’ll find the following:
1) 4x Missile clusters (three missiles glued together) – excluding super versions, VE/VT-1
2) 4x Do You Remember Love missile boxes – excluding super versions, VE/VT-1
3) A gun with collapsing barrel (V1.2 and greater variants also have collapsing grips)
4) A heat shield/canopy cover for battroid mode
5) An extras nosecone plug for fighter mode
6) A curved antenna for GERWALK mode
7) A pair of fixed posed hands (gun grip and open palm). The Hikaru + GBP toy comes with a second set of fixed posed hands, giant fists
As well as the improved gun, 2003 and later toys also included:
10) Pilot figures (two figures for two seat vehicles, one figure for single seat toys). These pilot figures end at the knees (no lower legs or feet).
While the Hikaru+GBP giftset and the VF-1D toys have the missiles described above, the super toys instead came with Reaction missiles and the VE-1 and VT-1 toys came with no missiles at all. This was a bit of a letdown since all toys have hard points on the wings and the super parts are removable so it would have been nice to have the option to dress up the naked valk with the standard missile battery.
Charm & Collectability: (1.5/5)
There’s no question that Yamato’s release of the “Version 2” 1/60 VF-1 line has crushed the collectability of their original effort and for good reason, this effort wasn’t particularly good. While the toys do contain a good amount of metal, particularly in the lower legs, the imperfect transformation leads to a sloppy feeling toy which, even back in the early 2000s, had many VF-1 turning to Bandai’s re-releases of the original Takatoku toys and Toynami’s underwhelming Masterpiece line. Here’s a list of the release schedule with original MSRP:
Hikaru DYRL VF-1A, October 2001, 7,800YEN (V1.0)
Focker VF-1S, December 2001, 7,800YEN (V1.0)
Mass Production VF-1A Toys-R-Us exclusive, January 2002, 7,800YEN (V1.0)
Max DYRL VF-1A, February 2002, 7,800YEN (V1.0)
Mass Production VF-1A, April 2002, 7,800YEN (V1.0)
Hikaru Super VF-1J, June 2002, 9,800YEN (V1.1)
Focker Strike VF-1S, September 2002, 9,800YEN (V1.2)
Max Super VF-1J, January 2003, 9,800YEN (V1.2)
Miria Super VF-1J, January 2003, 9,800YEN (V1.2)
VF-1D, March 2003, 7,800YEN (V1.2)
Elintseeker VE-1, September 2003, 9,800YEN
SuperOstrich VT-1, September 2003, 9,800YEN
Armored Hikaru VF-1J, May 2004, 9,800YEN (V1.2)
There can be arguments made that some versions are more collectable than others but at this point the key thing to note is that none of these are particularly collectable in any capacity. While completists may still enjoy hunting down the VT-1, VE-1, VF-1D, or VF-1S Focker they still don’t demand a premium and the others are usually purchased
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (6/10)
These toys have weaknesses in every mode although fighter is generally where they perform best. Fighter mode looks a tiny bit too angular or pointy toward the front, the tailfins aren’t quite far enough to the rear, and the feet aren’t recessed enough but compared to its contemporary competition (Bandai’s reissue of the Takatoku toys and Toynami’s Masterpiece Collection VF-1) the Yamato version 1 toy was an easy winner. Originally I gave this toy a higher score because of some of the detail work which has since become expected of all VF-1 toys. These details include the sculpted cockpit and surrounding area, paint application on the pilot’s seat, clear plastic parts on the wings, and three opening doors for the rear landing gears within the leg. On the negative side, the panel lines in the legs are of a different depth of the panel lines on the plastic which creates an uneven appearance. Things get worse as you transform the toy out of fighter mode. GERWALK mode looks jumbled together due to problematic fit at the intakes and the misplaced twist point below the knee. Moving on to battroid mode introduces more problems as these toys have small heads (especially the VF-1S, which is quite possibly the worst effort at a VF-1S head ever) and the narrow nosecone combined with the large hip connectors makes for an awkward look.
This toy is poorly designed. It feels as if Yamato had two goals in mind: 1) a good fighter mode presentation, 2) lots of diecast metal. This created some big problems which I’ll present in list form:
1) Transformation isn’t perfect, it requires some parts be removed and installed again differently in the next mode. The heat shield is not integrated, it’s a separate part you’ll have to swap out with the canopy as you transform from GERWALK to battroid.
2) Super parts weren’t part of the original concept. Yamato addressed this by releasing the version 1.1 toys which have the proper slots to accommodate the additional parts. Only version 1.1 and 1.2 toys can attach the super parts which were bundled with select 1.1 and 1.2 toys. The armored parts included with the Hikaru VF-1J toy and sold separately do fit all versions of the 1/60 V1 toys.
3) Version 1.0 toys have two slender pieces on the forarms which have to be removed hold the gun in fighter mode. This was an absolutely terrible idea that was resolved by version 1.2 which eliminated these forearm filler pieces and introduced the collapsing pistol grip (yet another item introduced in this toy that became standard on subsequent VF-1 toys).
4) The swivel joint located in the legs is located at the upper-calf point rather than the knee.
5) The leg bars in GERWALK mode rub/press against each other causing the legs to look unstable and GERWALK mode itself seems to be a serious after-thought.
6) The transformation is arduous… and that’s despite the fact that it involves removable parts! Trying to get the thin inner-tray to slide into the grooves in the shoulders on this toy can be extremely frustrating and the instructions don’t offer a world of help (the trick is to keep the chest loose while doing this). Then, when you have everything put together right, you may find the shoulders don’t quite clear the chest.
7) The hand that can retract into the forearm does a poor job holding the gun.
8) The armored and super parts eliminate the swivel point in the leg reducing articulation.
This toy was a tremendous learning experience for Yamato… and it’s quite clear this was their first effort.
9) The Elintseeker variant permanently has the radar dome attachment bar protruding from the backpack.
Durability & Build: (6/10)
These toys are slightly below average in terms of build quality and durability. There are a few possible problem areas to look for. First, as with the Toynami MPCs, it is possible to receive one of these with a bent head laser although it’s far less prevalent here. Due to what seems to be manufacture inconsistencies, sometimes the legs on these toys are less apt to stay attached (especially in GERWALK mode) than they ought to be. The front landing gear doors are easy to dislocate. This toy has lots of parts that come on and off so more you’ll have to be concerned about keeping the whole package together more than worrying about accidentally breaking it. That said, I can easily imagine a couple ways in which this toy could be accidentally broken but since I have yet to really have one bust apart on me I’m going to assume it’s much sturdier than it seems. Build issues right of the box should be less common than they are. One large nuisance are the many screw covers Yamato littered this toy with. First off, kudos are in order to Yamato for making a toy that is built in this manner instead of gluing. Unfortunately, the execution sucks and the little screw covers come popping out all the time. Even in very minor, gentle handling it is not unusual for a screw cover to bounce out for seemingly no reason at all. Another sad note is that these toys seem apt to yellowing more than any other Yamato effort I’ve ever heard about. My TRU has two landing gear doors that have already yellowed and none of my toys are ever in direct sunlight.
In the turn of the millennium wars for your VF-1 dollars the Yamato V1 toy was the king of articulation easily trouncing the Toynami and Bandai efforts. There are only a couple real weaknesses here. The GERWALK mode could use improvement. It looks awkward in a couple ways and can’t really be posed dynamically. Another problem are the hips. They are far more poseable than previous efforts but they don’t seem to be a lot of help when it comes to keeping the battroid standing. The toy seems to want to fall over quite a bit and it’s too easy to accidentally dislodge one of the hips. In the toy’s defense though, part of the reason this toy seems to want to fall over so frequently is because valkyrie toy owners, for the first time, could attempt really dynamic poses because of this toy’s features. Future toys improved upon Yamato’s V1 by increasing the range of motion of the elbows and adding articulated hands (Bandai also gave us hips that extend outward for more extreme A-stances and articulated feet as part of their Hi-Metal 1/100 line).
Total Score: (29/50)
This toy best serves as a glimpse into the future. On its own, it’s not very good although it looks sharp in fighter mode and can pull off some cool poses in battroid mode. However, many design attributes here hint to the thinking that eventually would be used to create the 1/48 line of valks and that’s definitely a good thing.
Updated April 10, 2012: This review has been updated. Picture resolution was increased, new pictures were added, line art comparisons were added, and an HD video review was added. In my continuing efforts to make the website easier to navigate, this review combines the following previous posts:
May 25, 2010 – Yamato V1 1/60 Armored VF-1J (Originally posted on October 23, 2007)
May 2, 2010 – Yamato V1 1/60 VE-1 Elintseeker (originally posted on June 13, 2006, updated on November 25, 2007)
December 7, 2009 – Yamato V1 1/60 VT-1 SuperOstrich (originally posted June 12, 2006, updated on November 12, 2007 and then again on December 7, 2007)
March 16, 2009 – Yamato V1 1/60 VF-1D (originally posted September 18, 2006)
September 6, 2008 – Yamato V1 1/60 Super VF-1 Toys (originally posted June 10, 2006, updated February 21, 2007)
September 4, 2008 – Yamato V1 1/60 VF-1 stand alone releases (originally posted June 10, 2006, updated February 2, 2007)
Updated October 16, 2016 to include an HD transformation guide.
Updated October 23, 2016 to include a more complete HD video review.