Observations & Critique: Not All VF-1 Toys are Created Equal
I couldn’t decide how to set this post up so it may be a work in process for a while. I didn’t really want to do a showdown because the subject matter is too broad. Instead, I’m going to do a brief summary of the pros and cons of each valkyrie toy featured here and provide you some pictures so you can compare and contrast on your own. Summaries are presented by scores each toy received from highest to lowest and the name of each toy is a hot link to its review so I hope you’ll use that to get more detail if you’re doing research now. As always, all reviews are subject to updates as new toys are released and as new information becomes available. Please note that some of these toys have had several editions, I tried to base this comparison off the best edition of each of these toys (and that’s where the individual review will point you). Feel free to leave comments disagreeing with me or bringing up points you think I’ve missed here or in the more specific reviews.
Yamato 1/60 VF-1 (Version 2) (45/50)
1) Fighter & GERWALK modes: This toy looks great in ever mode but it really shines in these two.
2) Articulation: You’d be hard pressed to find a transformable toy that is as much fun to pose as this one.
3) Detail: It’s all there right down to the detachable parts on the Super Armor that reveals the inner-plumbing. I don’t like applying decals to my toys so it’s nice Yamato painted on so many for me.
4) Feel: While light (no diecast here folks) the toy comes together tightly with missiles and super parts staying on snugly, even through transformation.
1) Battroid Mode: Yamato ret-conned the VF-1 to have a more normalized human appearance in battroid mode by moving its head out of its chest; purists noticed.
2) This toy is so new that there may be flaws that just haven’t come to light yet… such as continuing reports of shoulders breaking. UPDATE: Avoid the first run of the VF-1S… lots of cracked shoulders. Also note that a second edition of the 1/60 V2 is being debuted on the VT-1 and VE-1 with upgrades that will appear in all subsequent releases. UPDATE 2: Apparently it wasn’t just the first VF-1S that had issues, check my newer reviews for a list of which toys you should worry about (and I recommend being a bit careful with all).
Yamato 1/48 VF-1 (44/50)
1) Fighter Mode: The shoulders droop a little low but otherwise fighter mode is a real sight to behold. The other modes aren’t too shabby either.
2) Little Things: The airbrake, gun strap, detachable nose cone revealing radar, and wing flaps were all the sorts of things customizers dreamed of back in the late 80s when playing with their Chunkies.
3) Design: It was this design that really got the ball rolling for Yamato. The toys features many instances of bold innovation and many more nice tweaks of previous efforts. No parts-forming here, even the heatshield was integral.
1) Size: This may not matter to you but this toy is huge, and its boxes are even larger. If you’re getting one this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. If you’re building an army you may want to invest in a storage space.
2) Faults: There were lots of little things on these toys that could go wrong. I received floppy airbrakes, loose hooks (that held the backpack when in battroid mode), loose hip joints, and had one backpack hinge break. For the most part these toys are great but having one built a little sloppy sure hurt considering the $150ish investment.
3) Loose Parts Fit: Super Parts and Reflex Missiles just don’t stay on these toys well. Transformation leads to things falling off left and right. The Reflex missiles sometimes fit so loose they actually sway when the toy is tilted.
Toynami 1/100 VF-1 (37/50)
1) CHEAP: At $19.99 MSRP (and easily available for less) these toys are easy to get. The pictured Super Parts will run an additional $9.99ish.
2) Extras: They come packaged with display stands (although they’re not much use on Wave 1 and the SDCC exclusive) and pretty much all the extras you could want which is even more impressive when one considers the size and price.
3) Fun: There’s something nice knowing if you break a toy you’re out less than $100. Couple that with the fact that this toy is more easily articulated than the two 1/55 offerings pictured here and you can see why these can be fun to post up on your shelf in exciting poses.
1) CHEAP: These aren’t built particularly well. They pull apart pretty easily and they can be pretty floppy (especially Wave 1). The super parts feature a reflex missile linking system that is so fragile it’s despicable.
2) Bits: It’s cool to have lots of little extras but the sheer number of little bits is a pain. This is even more evident when you have the super parts as well.
Takatoku (and Bandai) 1/55 VF-1 (Pictured; 1990 Super) (35.5/50)
1) Sentimentality: The chunky is the original most of us remember from our childhood. It feels at home in your hands.
2) Durability: You may actually be able to kill someone with one of these, it’s that sturdy and has a fair amount of diecast. Did I mention the joints that actually offer audible “CLICK”s when you move them? How many modern toys give you that?
1) Articulation is sorely lacking on these classics. Of all the toys pictured here the Chunky is easily the stiffest and least fun to pose.
2) Sculpt: While the sculpt isn’t atrocious, the classic 1/55 doesn’t exactly look great in any mode (which earned it its nickname as the “chunky monkey”).
3) Heat Shields: While Bandai is rectifying this with more recent releases, the original Takatokus didn’t have heat shields which left the cockpit exposed in battroid mode or, worse in my opinion, permanently hid it (in the case of the original VF-1S toy).
Toynami 1/55 VF-1 (35.5/50)
1) Lights: You may laugh, but somebody somewhere has to like that little light in the head.
2) GERWALK Mode: Toynami took the old Takatoku 1/55, mated it to a Bandai HCM, and while the results are, at best, mixed in the other modes, the GERWALK mode looks pretty sweet, is remarkably stable, and easy to pose.
1) Price: The MSRP of $79.99 on these toys is robbery and people were clearly paying for the fact there weren’t many other VF-1 toys on the market and that these were limited to 15K. Humorously enough, it doesn’t seem like 10K’s worth of people wanted them, let alone 15K so the price was quickly slashed by retailers and it wasn’t hard to find these for less than half MSRP which is much closer to what I’d say they’re worth. The appendices, on the other hand, that included the Super Parts, are pretty decent although a much better buy at $19.99 than $29.99 (and now they fetch up to five times MSRP).
2) Design: Diecast legs are a great idea… provided the hips are strong enough to hold them up in fighter mode. The MPC’s hips are not so the toy ends up a floppy mess. Pegs were included to try to keep the legs where they ought to be but the implementation was botched and failed.
3) Articulation: While better than the original chunky, the MPC fails to include the hips of the High Complete Model which makes it only a marginal improvement over that toy-like model at best.
4) Sculpt: It’s hard to believe but the MPC’s sculpt in fighter mode is actually worse than the Chunky Monkey’s with more odd undulations rather than a streamlined profile.
Yamato 1/60 VF-1 (Version 1) (35/50)
1) Fighter Mode: This toy was optimized for fighter mode with the sharpest front section of all the toys here.
2) Articulation: There’s a huge range of motion in this toy’s battroid mode although it’s frequently too much for its own good.
1) Reflex Missiles: They don’t stay on well and mine were essentially useless beyond staying in long enough to snap a picture.
2) Parts-forming: Nobody likes a parts-former. If you like parts-forming toys, you’re a nobody, and I’m sorry I had to break this to you.
3) Build: My littany of 1/60 version 1 complaints included: mal-formed metal, warped plastic, and screw caps that flaked off and vanished.
4) Design: While the design of the V1 improved over-time, the original releases weren’t just parts-forming, they featured guns with handles that didn’t collapse and required chunks of the arms to be removed so that they could be mounted in fighter mode.
5) Battroid and GERWALK modes: The leg locking mechanism utilized for the parts-formation seemed to be too close together in GERWALK mode causing the legs to get a little cocked (which often led to legs plopping off or otherwise being difficult). In battroid mode the legs exposed giant hip nubs. The rotation point below the knee was also a bit garrish and I’m sure I don’t even have to mention the head (see battroid comparison picture).