Mega Review: Includes all YF-19 variants and Super/Fold Giftset
Packaging & Extras: (2.5/5) Standard Releases
Each standard version YF-19 comes with the following:
1) Detailed removable pilot figure
2) Gun (with removable magazine gimmick)
3) Replacement ABS front canards (allegedly because the POM plastic canards on the toy are hard for customizers to paint)
4) 2x Display stand adaptors for Yamato Launch Arm Display Stand (1 GERWALK, 1 Battroid)
5) Instructions & Stickers
All of this comes in a box the size of Yamato’s 1/48 VF-1 toys and features the same collector’s style flip-top lid which reveals the toy in fighter mode within. The box art is Yamato’s standard “not-so-good” and there was a definite let-down feeling that there wasn’t anything more exciting included as an extra. When Yamato later released their 1/60 VF-11B toys they revised the sculpt of the Isamu pilot figure making him less pudgy as illustrated in the picture below.
Packaging & Extras: (4.5/5) Super Giftset
I couldn’t believe it, Yamato, the kings of the absolutely over-inflated box, actually included fast packs and a fold drive in the exact same-sized box as their original effort! The box and its art is kinda blah but whatever, it’s not huge! Extras in addition to what you got in the standard box included:
6) Lang Neumann (was it Yang?) removable, detailed co-pilot figure
7) Fast packs (four parts, 2x leg cover, 2x shoulder cover)
8) Fold drive (lights-up)
9) 2x attachment parts for fold drive
10) Fold drive cradle
11) Cover for second seat (to convert it back to the standard edition one seater)
There is one HUGE item missing that’s bound to tick a lot of people off; you do NOT get the batteries necessary to make the LEDs in the fold drive work. Even Toynami gave us the actual battery necessary… For the record, you need THREE LR44 batteries (they go by many different names by many different manufactures) and they can cost as much as $4.99 (US) each (or can be found for much cheaper). Yamato later sold the fast pack parts separately which is astounding considering how little there is to them… they should have been included with all subsequent YF-19 releases. As one would expect, the fast pack parts fit each YF-19 toy universally as illustrated below:
Charm & Collectability: (3/5) Standard Releases (3.5/5) Giftset and ‘weathering’ edition
At the time of the original 1/60 YF-19 toy’s release the 1/72 toys had just become very hot collectibles, within weeks of the new YF-19 being on the market the 1/72s quickly lost all their new found demand. The first edition 1/60 YF-19 toy was released in December 2006 for an MSRP of 19,740 Yen which was considered quite expensive. The price tag convinced many to hold off on their purchase and wait out early reviews and those early reviews often included comments about the gun not sitting straight in fighter mode and some joints being floppy. At the end of June 2007 Yamato released the 2nd edition of the toy with bundled with the fold drive and super parts for a price of 23,940 Yen. Obviously this toy wasn’t cheap but the fixed gun in fighter mode and more positive initial reviews made this the YF-19 to get for quite some time. In December 2007 Yamato released their 25th anniversary edition of the YF-19 featuring a black and gold paint scheme (selected over a red and white scheme that was initially displayed and panned by convention attendees, pictured above). The 25th anniversary toy cost the same as the first release and didn’t feature the giftset extras and seems to be the least desired YF-19 released to date. Also pictured above is the nice detail work on the 25th anniversary… unfortunately Excalibur is a tough word to spell for a Japanese company. Yamato didn’t revisit the YF-19 toy again until after the 1/60 YF-21 and 1/60 VF-11B were produced. In August 2009 Yamato released two new versions of the toy, the ‘Double Nuts’ (blue trim) and the ‘Bird of Prey’ (orange trim)paint schemes. These toys had the same MSRP of the toy released back in 2006 but being quasi-canon unseen paint schemes they seemed to struggle to find an audience but a fairly limited production run kept them from being long-term shelfwarmers. Yamato wasn’t done with the 1/60 YF-19 toy yet. In August 2010 Yamato revisited the toy, slightly altering the color beige and allegedly making tiny tweaks to some of the joints to make them less likely to lose resistence. As was Yamato’s fashion at the time, they also released a “weathering” version of the toy at an MSRP of 24,990 but it didn’t seem to make much of a splash. When Yamato released their Mac7 VF-19Kai toy in 2011 demand started growing for a 1/60 YF-19 V2 toy so there seems to be a chance somewhere down the line that these V2 toys will go the way of the original 1/72 efforts being relegated to the kind of thing only hardcore completists look for. In the meantime, if you have to own one version of these toys, the most recent release, weathering version, or the original fold combo giftset are the way to go (unless you really fancy one of the less canon paint schemes).
Sculpt, Detail, and Paint: (8.5/10)
This is easily the best representation of the YF-19 in toy form. It looks a wee bit plain out of the box though and there are a few concessions that had to be made since the YF-19 and YF-21 involved SK’s greatest amounts of “animation magic.” Fighter mode is definitely not as narrow as it should be and battroid mode isn’t as chunky as it should be as Yamato made concessions to both modes to get things to work. Many fans of the YF-19 have pointed out that Yamato has done a much better job on the VF-19Kai’s fighter mode, particular the neck area. I expected to be more put off by the gap between the legs and the wider “cod” piece than I was. I was also not quite as put off as I expected by the gap between the nosecone and the upper part of the chest in battroid mode. Seam lines in most cases are very minimal.
There is lots of cool stuff to rave about here but there are a few significant issues that really tug this score down. The design of the landing gears is beautiful (although first edition toys often had flaws which made the rear landing gears very annoying). The gun can be disassembled. The tail fins slide up along the leg to make them less of an issue in battroid mode. The legs feature collapsing sections to accommodate transformation. The shoulders have interior parts that allow the shoulders to remain propped up in battroid mode. The head has removable pieces that expose the battroid’s head detail as seen in the show. That’s a lot of good stuff right there! Heck, even the whole cockpit area and its ability to accommodate two figures (which Yamato should have made slightly smaller), the ability to replace one figure, and its functioning entirely without hindering the transformation process is impressive. There are some things lacking here though that I felt were obvious necessities. First of all, GERWALK needs, by its original design, help being held together. Surely some sort of mechanism could have been developed to make GERWALK a bit more stable. This seemed especially problematic to me if I went from Battroid back to GERWALK mode… the whole toy felt sloppy no matter how much massaging I did. If I went from Battroid to Fighter then back to GERWALK it felt better but it’s just not as rock solid as the VF-0 or VF-1 toys. For example, if you move the YF-19′s arms in GERWALK it’s almost guaranteed that you will need to re-adjust the back area. Another seemingly simple fix would have been a latch to keep the chest area locked in position when in Battroid mode. Again, if you move the arms around there’s a good chance you’re going to have to re-adjust the chest area to conceal any gaps you may have created. This toy doesn’t have a really intuitive transformation either, and it’s complicated with seemingly every part of the toy doing something, so expect to spend some time trying to tweak everything just right when you go from mode to mode. With time you’ll know just where to put a thumb or a finger to adjust things… but don’t expect to be a master at this toy with a quickness. The implementation of the super parts also left something to be desired. The legs attach well via magnets but not necessarily well enough to be an integral part of holding fighter mode together. The toy also requires you to ratchet the legs down one at the gerwalk joint and up one ratchet at the knee which further makes fighter mode unstable. There shoulder parts also don’t attach as securely as they would need to considering how unstable fighter mode starts becoming. In battroid mode the shoulder super parts just make it more evident how insufficient the shoulder uprighting tabs are. Gravity more easily wins out and the shoulders can quickly look limp. Opening the cockpit requires the nosecone being angled slightly downward but with all the other little frustrations that’s not really such a big deal.
Durability & Build: (7.5/10)
It seems that fewer people are reporting catastrophic failures with the later releases of the YF-19 but those failures were never as bad as Yamato’s 1/72 YF-19 toys or later 1/60 VF-0 toys. The transformation process still isn’t easy though and a fair amount of patience is still HIGHLY recommended, especially in the neck of the fighter. Mine had a tendency to have one of its shoulder supports pop out when going from pose to pose. There’s no damage to the toy though and the part just needs to be slipped back into its track when this happens… still, that could prove annoying and I could definitely see someone having their’s pop off only to be lost forever. There are also still some complaints swirling about certain areas of these toys getting loose; of special concern are the wing roots which need to do a lot of moving and also need to support the weight of the wings. For a toy with this much going on, it seems to have better than average build and durability, but with as much going on as there is I still highly recommend it be handled somewhat gingerly and certainly not be given to a child as a present.
There isn’t a whole lot that can really be improved upon here. The inclusion of a waist might have been nice… but it also seems pretty impossible and it may have been overkill since this toy has so many joints and twists as it is. I guess wing flaps could have been cool but those too could have proven more annoying than helpful. As with practically all toys like this, more mobility in the feet could have really helped as Yamato’s recent VF-19Kai demonstrated. The hips are stiff enough for most poses but if you get a little too extreme the toy is bound to topple. The hips also don’t have quite the range of movement you’d see in the 1/48 VF-1 series but they still have more than some toys. I was a little let down that their wasn’t another swivel point at the intakes to let you spread the legs further into an A-stance. The head can move up and down and left and right but it would be better if the head were a true ball joint. Also, the elbows offer a fair range of movement but the range could be better. While your imagination isn’t quite the limit here you’ll certainly find this a fun toy to pose.
Total Score: (37 – 39.5/50)
I gave the more recent VF-19Kai a score of 43.5 which makes me feel the score here is a little too generous but it’s hard to determine which scores exactly should be lower. Back when I first reviewed this toy I argued it was a good toy but not quite as good as its high MSRP would lead you to expect. It seems more first edition toys are breaking down at the joints so it probably could be argued I should lower the durability score down but my giftset version is holding up pretty well. It seems the number one complaint about this toy is that its floppy by design with many parts moving not having adequate enough latching mechanisms to hold things together in each mode. A toy that’s difficult to transform and doesn’t lock together when it finally gets to its desired mode tends to leave its owners feeling unsatisfied so perhaps I should knock the design score lower. At the end of the day, this isn’t a terrible toy, it’s the best YF-19 toy made to date and it’s a HUGE improvement over its predecessors. If you’re really hungry for a YF-19 toy and you know this one has some issues and you set your expectations accordingly you’ll probably be quite fond of it. If you’re a finicky collector you should hold off and hope Yamato takes another stab at this toy somewhere down the line. While I’m still fond of my giftset I often wonder how many people would have bothered buying the fold version if Yamato had only included those 4 little super parts in the regular releases… to this day it seems like such a cheap way to make a buck.
NOTE: This review has been updated. New higher resolution pictures were added, content was updated, line art comparisons were added, new comparison pics to other toys were added, and a video review review was added. As part of my ongoing effort to reduce the number of posts on Scorched Earth Toys I have deleted the post dated February 23, 2009 dedicated to Yamato’s VF-1 and YF-29 25th anniversary editions since the content particular to the YF-19 toy has been included here and the VF-1 was included in the Yamato 1/48 VF-1 Mega Review.
Original post date: September 16, 2007