Review(updated): Includes first, second, and VF-19A Ravens
Packaging & Extras (2/5)
These toys are packaged in a large, flimsy box. The front of the box is almost entirely window while the back of the box has some Photoshop art of the toy in a scene from the show. These packaging elements defined Yamato’s box style until they produced the 1/48 series toys. The first and second versions of the toy come in the same box separated by a “2nd Version” sticker applied to the front. The VF-19A Ravens release enjoys a unique box with art specific to it. The first edition is housed in a plastic tray that does nothing to keep the pointy chest from destroying the plastic window in front of it so it’s not uncommon to find some pretty banged up windows for toys that are still MISB. The cover was updated for the second release of the toy to prevent that from happening and, while it served that purpose, the toy still jostled within the packaging enough to suffer paint chipping. As a result, the VF-19A Ravens release was twist-tied down to the tray and given some plastic flaps to help separate parts. Inside the box you’ll get the YF-19 and:
1) a nicely detailed gun
2) a gun grasping fixed-posed hand
The stickers included with the 1st release of the YF-19 were uncut so have an exacto handy if you plan to apply them. The stickers were pre-cut for the 2nd version and the VF-19A Ravens toy.
Charm & Collectability (2.5/5)
The release of improved 1/60 scale YF-19 toys effectively crippled the collectabilty of these classics but it didn’t eliminate their charm. Despite the VF-19A Ravens being the most improved version, its unfamiliar scheme has limited demand for it. If none of the companies producing newer YF-19 toys ever revisit this scheme then it may yet become a collector’s item. At one point it was hard to find these toys for less than $150 and now you can easily find it for less than $100 in perfect condition. All of these toys were extremely easy to damage so finding pristine examples should become harder and harder so it’s conceivable that some day we’ll see their values tick back up. If you’re not going to transform your toy then I’d recommend seeking out a version 1 toy which has more diecast and the charm of being the first Yamato Macross toy. If you want a toy you can transform then I’d recommend either the second edition or the VF-19A as those toys have reinforced tabs. Though Yamato did produce improved versions of the 1/72 YF-21 and VF-11B that included super parts before moving on to the 1/60 scale, the YF-19 never received a super part release. Hunting for a Version 1 toy is made a little trickier by an early version 2 release that did not have the “2nd Version” sticker on the front of the box. Releases were:
YF-19 Isamu Custom, July 2000, 6800¥
YF-19 Isamu Custom (early 2nd version), December 2000, 6800¥
YF-19 Isamu Custom (2nd Version), 6800¥
VF-19A Ravens, August 2001, 6800¥
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint (5.5/10) YF-19 Releases, (6/10) VF-19A
I do love the YF-19 and I am, and was initially, thrilled to get a perfect transformation version of the toy that captured the look this well. That said, it’s a long ways off from the line art. There are numerous unsightly gaps. When viewing the toy in fighter mode from a bird’s eye view you can see through to the ground beneath in the area where the arms are tucked beneath the shield. In battroid mode the toy’s knees expose the internals. There is a fair amount of detail here and the paint application is decent. The die-cast does clash with the plastic as the plastic has a somewhat dull finish and the painted metal is shiny. While Yamato gets credit for painting the landing gear the end result still left a lot to be desired.
The VF-19A toy scores slightly higher as Yamato adjusted the position of the shield in fighter mode to reduce the large gaps and fixed the knees so they looked more like a finished product. I love the Ravens scheme and hope we’ll get another incarnation some day.
Design (5.5/10) 1st Edition, (6/10) 2nd Edition, VF-19A
Hey, it was Yamato’s first attempt at a transforming toy, we should cut them some slack! This toy borrows its engineering from a Studio Half Eye model, beefing up the materials to make a complicated and delicate model become a toy. Positives:
1) Perfect transformation
2) Opening canopy
3) Integrated landing gear
It’s a little crazy that this complicated design was perfect transformation while Yamato had to resort to parts-forming for the rather straight forward VF-1 when they took their first stab at that. Now, less address the cons:
1) Perfect transformation but all three modes show compromises. In fighter mode there are big gaps, in Gerwalk mode the wings don’t tab into the torso, and in battroid mode the chest doesn’t lock down
2) Version 1 toys have vertical stabilizers that fold the wrong direction when going to battroid (Version 2 fixed this_
3) Many of the most important joints are awkward and the hips should be ball joints.
4) The front landing gear has exposed tires in fighter mode and the rear landing gears have wheels that are nearly too small to serve their purpose. 5) Can’t stow the gun in fighter mode
Durability & Build (3/10) First Edition, (5/10) Second Edition, (6/10) VF-19A
In the YF-19 we see a relatively complex transformation that is supported by tabs that break or otherwise don’t fit. If you need to transform it, take extreme caution. The second edition is a bit safer, the Ravens even more-so, but, with paint-chipping being so probable, it’s best to avoid transformation when possible. I also had my second edition toy lose a leg rather suddenly in fighter mode. It seems being in fighter mode was causing outward pressure on the leg which eventually caused the plastic connecting the hip to snap off. There is a lot of painted die-cast metal here that is prone to scratching. The gun-holding hand is too tight, don’t push the gun in too far or you’ll never get the hand off (this was fixed for the VF-19A release). If you want a toy to play with, buy the 1/60 YF-19 toys (Yamato, Arcadia, or Bandai).
As one might expect, this toy has numerous shortcomings. Sadly, no effort was made to get the legs to swivel adequately which should have been deemed absolutely necessary somewhere in the mid 90s when the engineering of such joints became pretty standard fair. One of the biggest problem area for many poses is the lack of articulation in the feet. There’s no ability for the waist to swivel and many of the joints seem to want to rest at positions just off from where you might like them to be for certain poses. The arms do have mobility (as required for transformation) but even that could be better. It is a neat looking toy though and it’s pretty easy to get it into a static position that looks good enough on a shelf even if it’s far from dynamic. I found battroid mode often looked like an odd hunchback.
Total Score (24-26/50) YF-19 Releases, (27.5/50) VF-19A
It’s important to remember that this toy was made when Yamato still had training wheels on the bike. There’s actually a lot more to it than that and the history is pretty cool and even involves the creation of Toynami and the dissolution of Toycom (or inception into Yamato if you prefer). I’m far from an expert here but many people out there have some very heated opinions on the subject. To Yamato’s credit, they listened to the people who purchased the first version and corrected many issues, and re-released it in better forms. If you’re looking for the ultimate in collectability stick with the 1st edition as they have got to be pretty rare in primo condition. With a 2nd edition or Ravens toy you can feel a little more comfortable bringing those into your displays in modes other than battroid. For a toy you can play with, skip the 1/72 line all together and go straight to one of the 1/60 offerings.
NOTE: This review has been updated
First update: February 15th, 2008, separated out first and second editions.
Second update: October 12, 2011, added all new pictures, add line art comparisons, added video review, and collapsed the following three reviews into one post:
1) 1/72 YF-19 First Edition posted February 15th, 2008
2) 1/72 YF-19 Second Edition posted March 28th, 2008
3) 1/72 VF-19A Ravens scheme posted May 28th, 2008
Original Post date: July 18, 2006