Observations & Critique: Could be worse… should be better
These super parts make a great first impression. The packaging is efficient (23.3 x 15.5 x 3.8 cm, including the height of the card on the back of the box) and attractive with a large window revealing the goods. It comes with everything you could want with this accessory. All versions include:
1) Super parts consisting of: 2x leg and calf armors, 2x arm armors, 2x backpack boosters, 2x micro missile pods that attach to the boosters)
2) 2x mounting parts for connecting the backpack boosters
3) 6 x reaction missiles (red tip for TV versions, yellow tip for DYRL versions)
4) 2 x reaction missile dual mount racks
5) A strike cannon
Taped to the back of the tray you’ll also find:
You could also get these parts as part of a bundled set with Toynami’s 1/100 VF-1 Wave 4. Those boxes included everything listed above as well as a VF-1 toy and all the normal accessories that accompany those (see my review of the Toynami VF-1 toys).
When Toynami debuted Wave 7 of their line of VF-1, they changed the packaging and updated the tray. While Wave 4 was sold under the Macross banner, Toynami had switched to Robotech by Wave 7 which might account for the dropping of the strike cannon from the package. The later homage release of the VF-1S under the Macross name lacks the strike cannon as well, but so did the Takatoku 1/55 toy the packaging is based on. It’s possible that Toynami will not revisit Do You Remember Love designs so we may have seen the last of the strike cannon.
The 1/100 doesn’t have a diehard fan base, it doesn’t have any diecast to it, it’s only kinda perfect transformation, and everything Toynami touches is built to break. It’s unlikely these super parts will ever be difficult to track down but the strike cannon might become desired if Toynami can’t revisit that design anymore. See the image above for a complete list of releases.
As much as I may complain about the durability of this product, I can’t complain about the looks. Some people may have preferred if Max and Miria (Miriya) received leg armor the same color as their paint schemes, other people may note that the arm armor is more DYRL than TV, but these are forgivable sins on a $10 accessory. There are no removable parts to show internal workings. The paint applications are sparse and you won’t find any clear plastic inserts to represent a lens or light.
The largest superficial issue seems to be a fit/finish problem: the micro missile launchers/strike cannon don’t sit flush with the backpack booster. No matter how hard I press, there always seems to be a small gap between them that should not exist. It’s almost as if the pegs in these parts are a little too large for the boosters. A minor complaint about the underlying VF-1 toy is that the kneecaps can’t sit flush when the leg is bent at the knee. This means that fighter mode has protruding kneecaps.
The Wave 4 VF-1 + strike parts gift sets come with strike parts that are all slightly darker than the movie version strike parts that were sold separately in Wave 3. The weathered Hikaru VF-1S + Strike parts set contains a weather VF-1S but strike parts that are not weathered, just like the strike parts included with the other toys in the set. The SDCC09 exclusive Stealth toy comes with navy blue, black, and gold strike parts that look great but had they been more black with subtle trim they would have been more interchangeable with other toys you own.
While I was glad to see reaction (reflex) missiles with red tips for TV-style and yellow tips on DYRL-style, not all the missile tops are correct. The homage release of the Super VF-1S is a TV scheme but was given the yellow missile tips (oops!). The homage release gets special gray super parts. While I think the original standalone super parts released for Hikaru’s VF-1J were a closer match to the color of Takatoku super parts, I don’t think the gray used here looks bad.
The standalone super/strike parts were done under the Macross brand, the first Robotech rendition of the super parts were done as bundles with the VF-1 (I call it “wave 7” but Toynami had stopped using the ‘wave’ terminology by then). Wave 7 included the same super parts that had been sold separately but without the strike cannon and the lighter gray parts were made darker and more of a gray/blue than a blue. The VF-1D received custom super parts in its exclusive release while the regular release gets one tone super parts… even the backpack attachment pieces are rendered in the same color as the super parts rather than the color of the backpack.
My most important consideration for an accessory is how well it integrates with the toy. No one wants an accessory that pops off and makes the toy no fun to handle and, in that respect, these parts do a decent job. Only one of my arm armors fell off frequently and that’s a factor of the fit-and-finish of the VF-1 toy rather than the super parts. The second most important consideration is how well the toy handles with the accessory attached. A poorly designed accessory inhibits articulation or gimmicks of the underlying toys and again, these super parts do an admirable job of not making the underlying toy worse. The strike cannon is perfunctory, but it swaps out effectively and pivots like it should so it’s good enough.
The attachment of the backpack boosters to the toy is unnecessarily complicated. Toynami’s decision to make removable sides on the backpack is befuddling. You have to remove fragile parts from the fragile backpack to attach the booster mounts. It’s a TERRIBLE design and it wasn’t forward thinking at all. What if you wanted to put Max’s VF-1J super parts on his DYRL VF-1A? The sides of the backpack would need to be blue and it looks funky. You can see some other combos I did above and that, by incorporating this awful design element, Toynami reduced the utility of their product.
Then there’s the dual mount for the reaction missiles. Toynami’s thin bracket is at its thinnest at the point that receives the most strain during installation… I’ll discuss the result more in the next paragraph but it’s about as disastrous as it sounds. The one bright spot in this design comes in the form of slots in the leg armor that help keep the toy together in fighter mode. This attachment point overcomes the short pegs in the knees on wave 1 toys (the leg separated frequently at the knee on Wave 1, Toynami made the pegs longer on wave 2 and later toys) and also helps overcome the incorrectly positioned slot on the legs that would cause the arms to fall out in fighter mode (this problem remained until an update in 2016).
A slot in the arm armor allows your VF-1 toy to retain the ability to stow the gun on the arm in GERWALK (Guardian) and Battroid (Battloid) modes.
The missile piece that creates two hard points from one breaks easily. A hint on this, if the dual mount rack doesn’t fit easily on the hardpoint, flip the missiles on to the other side and try again. It seems like this rack has a top and bottom though they both look the same. If your racks break, you’ll be left with a max of two reaction missiles on the wings. If the fit isn’t perfect on the backpack then expect lots of issues. Getting the super parts on some toys is a major pain and once they are on removing them may seem impossible. The force from the application caused a stress mark on one of the backpack attachment parts in one of my samples. One of my strike cannons also had some excess glue on it. The underlying VF-1 toys are not durable and the weight, though not substantial, of these parts may prove problematic if your VF-1 toy is beginning to fall apart.
While there isn’t much movement in these parts, the fact that these parts don’t screw up the movement of the underlying toy is a win. This set has the necessary movement in the Strike cannon and also the ability to reposition the large boosters. These are the two most important points of articulation for a super/strike set and they work fine. I’m glad Toynami didn’t try for anything more, I doubt it would have ended well in this small of a scale.
These parts are cheap in price and execution. The breaking dual mount missile rack is a serious issue so exercise caution. I made some jokes the first time I reviewed this about Toynami firing the guy who designed the missile racks and attachment process for the boosters and I’m pretty sure that’s happened by now. Everything LOOKS good enough but it’s a shame that after all these years Toynami never bothered to improve the obvious weaknesses that have persisted from the original release of the standalone kits.
Original post: September 29, 2008
May 24, 2020: Added content to related to all the subsequent releases, included new higher resolution photos, included additional observations, and added a 4K video review.