Mega Review: Includes all 1/60 YF-21 and VF-22S toys
Packaging & Extras: (5/5) YF-21 with Super Parts, (3/5) VF-22S & YF-21 Reissue
The original release of the YF-21 toy comes in that huge 1/48 box you’ve come to abhor but this time it’s 100% packed full of goodness. Many first adopters of Yamato’s YF-19 toy felt let down by the giant box for that toy that came with so few accessories. That isn’t the case with the first edition YF-21, you get all of the following:
1) Removable Pilot figure
2) 2x guns (with collapsing gimmicks)
3) 2x attachment pieces for fold booster (fold booster sold separately)
4) Stickers & Instructions
5) Super Parts (consisting of 2x bay covers & 2x fin pods)
6) Display stand (Base, arm, support arm, connector, and cap)
The reissue of the YF-21 and the VF-22S toys stopped at item 4 above so no super parts or display stands. The VF-22S toys came packaged in the same box as Yamato’s VF-11B toy which is much more compact and better for storage but lacks the flip top lid of the original YF-21 box.
Charm & Collectability: (3.5/5)
I don’t hear many people exclaim “the YF-21 is my favorite!” so I can’t give this a score better than average here. It is, by far, the best transforming representation of the YF-21 to date and the VF-22S toys are the only transformable VF-22 toys I know of. There was a feeling at the time of the original YF-21’s release that the steep MSRP would scare off buyers and that may have been the case. The YF-21 with Super Parts was released May, 2008 with an MSRP of 22,890 YEN. Gamlin’s VF-22S was released in January 2009 for 19,740 YEN. The Max & Miria VF-22S toys were released in December 2009 also with an MSRP of 19,740 YEN. In June of 2010 Yamato re-released the YF-21 without the super parts for the same 19,740 YEN. In August 2010 Yamato sold the YF-21 super parts bundled with the YF-19 super parts and fold drive for 6,090 YEN. I was a bit sad to see Yamato released repaints of their YF-19 toys in quasi-canon schemes (Double Nuts and Bird of Prey) but we never saw other repaints of the YF-21 in its other possible Super Nova competition schemes.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (8.5/10)
Check out the line art comparisons of fighter mode and be blown away by how well Yamato nailed it. Considering the proportion shifting the YF-21 does in the show I’m very impressed with how well this toy replicates fighter mode while still being passable in battroid. The only shortcoming that jumps out to me in battroid is some chunkiness around the intakes. Initial reviews were a little unhappy that the bottom of the feet are visible from the back of fighter mode but it is something you will notice the first time you handle the toy and then quickly dismiss as being too minor an issue to bother you. The way the feet were handled in fighter mode actually makes things look very clean from the rear. Yamato didn’t skimp on the details either featuring painted turbine detail, tampo printed markings, and clear plastic parts where appropriate. The guns on other representations of this vehicle are often blue on non-super parts versions and gray on super parts versions. Since Yamato included super parts on the first YF-21 release they compromised with a dark gray color that looks excellent in both configurations. So where does this toy fail? Mainly in battroid mode where the legs are too thin (to be expected with how thin the profile of fighter mode is) and the back of the plane is much too large (although still a massive improvement over the clownishly large 1/72 YF-21 toy’s back plate). I am a huge fan of the YF-21 design and while I can see the issues with battroid mode it still hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the toy in this mode.
Design: (9/10) YF-21 toys, (7.5/10) VF-22S toys
Transforming this toy can be so frustrating that I felt it was worth shaving a point off (see my new HD video guides for a how to!). Most people have a hard time getting the feet back into their bays, a situation that was apparently so prevalent that Yamato included a flier detailing exactly how the legs should look in fighter. It is not uncommon to see pictures of these toys in fighter mode with misaligned leg bays from owners who have their toys slightly mistransformed. Needless-to-say, there’s a steep learning curve and more than a little bit of patience is required. This is also true of the super parts on the YF-21 toys that cover the leg bays. The way those super parts attach without leaving any trace is admirable but it takes a while to learn the trick to get them connected as they should be. Once the leg or fin armors are attached they will not accidentally plop off on you like the 1/72′s would, you can leave them on right through transformations. I really loved how these toys shorten the nose of fighter during the transformation into battroid. The extras like delimiter mode and a seat that reclines so the pilot can look out from the cockpit in battroid mode are pure icing on the cake. You also get extras that you may have come to expect like guns that expand and collapse, integrated landing gears, and removable intake covers. I also liked that the anchor points for the fold drive parts are hidden under plastic plugs although it would have been nice if those plastic plugs were integrated into the toy as the tiny plugs can easily be misplaced. Other well thought out pluses include a peg on the articulated hands to make holding the gun more secure and slots and pegs for GERWALK mode to lock the bay doors in place. The VF-22S toys get a lower score for two reasons: First, I hate the lack of an integrated heat shield in battroid mode. Heck, even a removable heat shield piece would have gone a long way here. I think Yamato could have easily solved the issues surrounding the heat shield’s odd shape by simply including a piece that snapped in on the inside of the canopy in battroid mode. The lack of a heat shield on these toys leaves the pilots quite obviously exposed. You might be thinking that’s not that big of a deal but the pilots aren’t as squat as the Guld pilot figure so they easily become jostled while posing the battroid toy leaving the pilot in some terribly awkward position that you can easily see. This can lead to a frustrating game of picking the toy up, fixing the pilot, putting the toy down, and watching the pilot fall forward again. The VF-22S toys also are unable to store their guns in fighter mode. The in-show idea is that the VF-22S stores its guns internally but Yamato couldn’t figure out a way to make that work so they just skipped storing the guns in fighter mode entirely. That might not seem like a big deal because you wouldn’t be able to see the guns in fighter mode any way… but then you’ll transform your toy and realize you have to go hunting for the box to find the guns so your battroid toy doesn’t look like a pacifist.
Durability & Build: (8/10)
Yamato bucked their trend of faulty first releases by putting out a stellar YF-21 with super parts toy and then never looked back. There are a couple issues with glued on parts not staying glued on but that seems to be the worst of it. For example, the actual head within the cowl is simply glued to a grey prong on either side of that and I’ve seen YF-21s where the head has popped off (easily fixed by a spot of glue on either side). There are also little trap doors that have popped off in transformation which is most likely caused by the binding of the glue being broken as parts are stressed (have I mentioned that transformation is very hard? I felt fortunate that no parts popped off on me). The tail fins attached to the arm can pop off which can be all sorts of dangerous… if this happens to you then you are transforming the toy wrong and you should look carefully at the provided instructions. The one clear problem is that the paint is prone to chipping (and hence why Yamato wrapped so much of the toy in thin plastic seals for shipping. Once you take the plastic seal off the leg and then squeeze the legs back into their bays there’s a good possibility you’ll also shave some paint from the area just above the feet. Later VF-22S toys saw some other complaints, usually in the form missing knee cap parts. My Gamlin VF-22S came with stress marks on either side of the front nose hinge in fighter mode. Over time the joint the bay doors are attached to gets weak which can really hamper the fun of battroid mode.
This toy is a bit top heavy with very thin legs but it still manages to do EXTREMELY well here. There’s a waist pivot joint and the whole cowl that sheaths the head moves. Grab both guns and prepare for John Woo style mayhem! Use the bay doors to cheat and give yourself four support points (2x legs, 2x bay doors) in various kneeling action shots.
Total Score: (43/50) YF-21 with Super Parts, (41/50) YF-21 reissue
In the Macross universe it was the YF-19 that won the competition but in the Yamato toy universe the YF-21 is the hands-down winner. In fact, the score here puts this toy in the same league as my other highest scoring toys on the site. If you’re a fan of the design you should save your pennies and buy this toy.
Total Score: (39.5/50) VF-22S toys
The VF-22S toys don’t come with as good of accessories as the original YF-21 toy and they suffer from some unique design flaws to make them an overall worse selection than the original YF-21. It’s a shame too because both the heat shield issue and the failure to stow the guns seem like obstacles that could have easily been overcome. Apparently I’m not the only one who liked the YF-21 better than the VF-22 offerings… you can now find the VF-22 toys at incredibly large discounts from a number of toy stores. If the design appeals to you, now’s the time to buy. Will we see a V2 some day now that Yamato has stepped up their game with the VF-19 Mac7 toys? Maybe… but I suspect that’s a lot of years from now.
Note: As part of my continuing effort to make the site easier to navigate and keep the content up-to-date, this Mega Review posted December 14, 2011 is an updated compilation of two previous reviews:
Yamato 1/60 YF-21 posted October 6, 2008
Yamato 1/60 VF-22S posted November 24, 2009
Almost all pictures are new with increased resolution, line art comparisons, scale comparisons, and video review were added. I apologize to those who left comments on the previous 1/60 VF-22S post. Feel free to leave new comments here as this post will not be deleted.
Updated April 23, 2013 to include HD video transformation guides and new group photos.