Toynami VF-1 Morphers (Standard Releases)

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Review: Pull-Back, Spring-Forward

 Toynami Morpher Box.jpgToynami Morphers Blister.jpg

Packaging & Extras: (3/5)
No, the guns don’t fit in any mode other than Battloid. Toynami released a combo package that comes in a collectors box and this was the only way Ben Dixon’s morpher was available… humorously enough this is because they neglected to include the Cannon Fodder paint scheme in their combo package which means the only way that toy is available is via blister card. Oddly enough, the box art features a cannon fodder and does not feature a Ben Dixon paint scheme. See pictures above for the various packaging schemes. Also note that Toynami made a great deal of variations of these Morphers, those will collectively be considered in a separate post as I don’t want to get too carried away with the pictures in this post.

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Charm & Collectibility: (2/5)
To my knowledge, no one is out there hunting for these toys and, if they were, they wouldn’t have a hard time finding them. They are neither intensely desired nor hard to come across. You won’t find any diecast here and the transformation, while not requiring parts removal, is limited to two modes, neither of which is remarkable. If you’re collecting these individually, the list of toys available (all pictured in this review) include: Ben 1A, CF 1A, Rick 1J, Rick 1D, Roy 1S, Max 1J, Miriya 1J.  Below is a scale comparison pic with a Bandai Joke Machine, the Morpher, A CharaWorks 1/144, and a AA Battery.

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Sculpt, Detail, and Paint: (5/10)
Okay, it’s super deformed, get into that mindset when trying to judge this. They don’t do nearly as well as the Bandai Jokemachines and so really, if you have a super deformed itch that needs to be scratched, I highly recommend going with the Jokemachines instead (comparison pics provided below). I don’t like how all the heads featured guns pointed straight back, I think it would have been a very nice touch if the head lasers could be articulated. I understand why the head lasers couldn’t be on Takatoku’s release, those toys are even smaller and were made eons ago, but I think Toynami could have pulled it off (although perhaps this is a design issue). While on the subject of Takatoku’s Paro Valkyrie, it seems to me that Toynami worked to improve the fighter mode’s look at the expense of the Battloid mode (but they also picked up a tiny gap near the intakes in fighter mode that didn’t exist before).  I’ll have comparison pics of the Morpher and Paro-Valk in next month’s review of the Paro-Valks.

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Design: (5/10)
As previously mentioned, it transforms from fighter to Battloid (no GERWALK/Guardian) without needing any parts removal. Essentially what Toynami did was replicate the Takatoku Paro Valkyrie but with their own mold (slightly larger and elongated). Toynami’s version of the toy does deserve some kudos for having wings that completely collapse in Battloid mode, Takatoku’s effort never could quite pull that off. Sadly, after 20 years, that seems to be the only improvement Toynami could muster.

Morphers Battloid 1.jpg 

Durability & Build: (7.5/10)
These are tiny toys and pretty darn simple so you don’t have to worry about them being overly frail. You can handle them quite liberally at length and not fear once that something is on the verge of breaking. Since they are so small though it certainly is possible to break them. One thing to be concerned about in the long run, as has been witnessed with Takatoku’s Paro-Valkyrie, is the little hooks that attach the chest to the back in fighter mode.  I did find one of my samples had a scratch on its cockpit (pictured below).  Another thing you might want to be concerned about are the little rivets that attach the legs to the body, they appear as though they could get loose over time and you’d have no ability to tighten them (also pictured below in a combo pic with the production stamp and spring motor assembly).

Morphers 12 copy.jpgMorpher Miriya.jpg 

Articulation: (4/10)
Please do not buy these toys in the hope that you will have fun posing them. If a joint isn’t necessary for transformation you will not find it here. The hips and shoulders work but there’s no ankle, knee, elbow, or wrist here. The head doesn’t even turn. They look cute in any mode… but they don’t do anything.

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Total Score: (26.5/50)
Yes, the score here is pretty abysmal but these toys can be had extremely cheap and they put up to some moderate play. If you can think of a good niche to fit with toys like that then at least you can purchase them with the piece of mind of knowing that, even if you’re terribly let down, you won’t be out much money. That said, there are a ton of special edition Morphers, Toynami went nuts with these, so maybe you’d rather look into one of the variants as none of them really seem to go for anything approaching a substantial price. A special thanks to Zor Master who made all of these Morphers available.

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