Mega Review: Now includes fighter only, armored, limited, and standard releases
Packaging & Extras: Standard Releases: (3.5/5), VF-25Fmart (3/5)
If first impressions were everything this toy would have scored higher. Unlike similar sized offerings, the VF100 series features a collector’s style box with flip-top lid and window that prominently displays the battroid packaged toy within. The one exception to this is the FamilyMart exclusive VF-25F which lacks the flip top lid. It isn’t until one starts opening the package that things start taking a turn for the worse. The plastic inserts within have been mummified with clear tape wrapped around gratuitously so have a knife handy. Once you dig in far enough you’ll find that the unfinished paper on one insert (maybe a coupon?) has been taped to the instructions so you can expect to do some damage if you want to read those instructions (and with this many parts, having instructions handy can be a good thing). The minimum extras are present here but the true story is that, according to the instructions, this toy comes with 31 different parts. In addition to the instructions you’ll get the following:
1) 2x Gun, one collapsed for fighter mode, the other extended for battroid (Michael’s comes with one gun)
2) Gun pod attachment piece
4) 3x pairs of fixed posed hands
5) Optional head lasers on sprue
6) 3x Landing gears and 2x open landing gear bay doors
7) 3x Display stand connectors (display stand not included)
8) Replacement shoulders, head, fuselage, nosecone, GERWALK joints, tail fins, leg fins, and shield connector pieces for transformation from battroid to the other modes.
9) Michael toy only – 4 clip on speaker pods for the wings
With all those parts it was a bit astounding there was no stand included. The Toynami VF-1 1/100, the Mega House Ride Armor, and the Kaiyodo Revoltechs all come with basic stands (and two of the three cost substantially less).
Packaging & Extras: Armored VF-25F Alto (3.5/5)
This toy has the nice flip-top lid style box and the plastic trays inside were graciously entombed in far less clear tape . From the outside things look great but the inside leaves a lot to be desired. The armored toy comes with everything listed above plus the following:
9) Various bits to complete the permanently affixed armor such as the radar array, shoulder armors, and large guns
10) A rudimentary stand consisting of an arm, panel, and piece that connects the arm to the panel
11) Opened door parts so you can swap out the closed missile bay doors with open ones.
This time the only item that is conspicuously absent are reaction missiles. Originally I gave the armored toy a slightly higher review than the standard version because of the inclusion of the stand but since the stand was almost entirely necessary to get the toy to stand in battroid mode I’ve shaved that slight advantage off.
Packaging & Extras: Fighter mode only (3.5/5)
These toys come in the standard two-tone Tamashii exclusive packaging. There’s no flip top lid and the boxes are much smaller than the standard releases. There’s good reason for this since these toys don’t transform and don’t need all those extra parts I mentioned in number 8 of the included parts of the standard releases. In addition to the instructions the fighter mode only toys come with the following:
1) Display stand (packaged separately) featuring either Sheryl (with the VF-25F) or Ranka (with the VF-25S)
2) 3x landing gears and 2x landing gear bay doors
3) Gun (collapsed for fighter mode)
4) Gun attachment piece
5) Fighter mode display stand connector
Charm & Collectability: (2/5)
I originally wrote, “A lot of the collectability of this line will rely on how many other 1/100 offerings Bandai makes. If things stop with Macross Frontier then I don’t see these toys being loved by many.” Subsequently, Bandai cancelled the line never extending it beyond Macross Frontier. Releases for this line were as follows:
February 2009 – Alto VF-25F, 4800 YEN
April 2009 – Ozma VF-25S, 4800 YEN
May 2009 – Michael VF-25G, 5400 YEN
July 2009 – Alto VF-25F Armored, 6500 YEN
August 2009 – Fighter VF-25F Alto, 4000 YEN LIMITED
August 2009 – Fighter VF-25S Ozma, 4000 YEN LIMITED
November 2009 – VF-25FamilyMart, 5460 YEN LIMITED
The fighter mode only variants were initially sold at the Chara Hobby 2009 Event and subsequently sold via raffle on the Tamashii website (as I understand it). The FamilyMart version was a promo item for the first theatrical Frontier movie and sold via the FamilyMart website. It’s likely that the limited toys have somewhat greater appeal than the standard releases but the fact of the matter is that all these toys have very limited appeal. There’s no metal here, the toys require excessive part swapping for transformation, and the audience for a product like this is tiny. Sales were so weak the line ended abruptly before the Luca model, which had been displayed at shows, could be released. Bandai abandoned the VF100 line and created a new line with very limited partsformation in its wake: the greatly improved “Hi-Metal” line. While the Hi-Metal line showed significant advancements in engineering it too seems to have failed to live up to Bandai’s dreams. Perhaps these failures prove that Macross really isn’t meant for the masses anymore; it’s really just the ultra deluxe niche that’s profitable.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (7/10)
Like the V1 DX VF-25 toys upon their initial release, I went way too easy on these toys the first time around. The VF-25 as a design was still growing on me (it still is growing on me) so I didn’t have quite the eye for all the inadequacies that some of my visitors did. On the plus side, the level of tampo printing was beyond what I expected. There is an empty cockpit with some detail but we have since seen Hi-Metal toys that have pilots as well. The head visor is translucent plastic rather than painted plastic so that’s a nice touch. The chunky vibe of the DX toy is diminished here in part because of the more accurate proportions but also because of the toy’s lack of heft and presence. Now that we have the V2 DX toys there’s finally an excellent representation of the VF-25 in physical form and making it easier to see the many faults of this toy, particularly in battroid mode. In many ways it’s sad that this toy carried over so many of the original V1 DX offering’s shortcomings considering this toy didn’t even make a pale effort at transforming without massive partsformation. What excuse can Bandai have for not getting the hip placement right when they were so willing to throw so many other parts in trays with these toys? Overall, fighter mode is nice, GERWALK mode is problematic but not because of the sculpt, and battroid mode is subpar. You could probably argue I should score the fighter mode only toys higher here because they have fancy metallic paint and because they’re stuck in this toy’s best looking mode. I might have done that except the V2 DX toy looks better in fighter mode than these dedicated fighter mode toys.
To be clear, the armor on the armored version of this toy does NOT come off. Also, the fighter mode only toys are glued together in fighter mode, you can NOT transform them. To start on a positive note, the toy does fairly well as a standalone battroid toy right out of the box (excluding concerns with the overall look of battroid mode). If battroid is the mode you like the most then someday you’ll probably be able to buy this toy on sale and just leave it in that mode, pose it for fun, and call it a day. Now that Bandai has released their Robot Spirits version of the VF-25 it makes far more sense, if all you want is battroid, to seek the RS toy out as it’s a lot of fun, comes with super parts, and captures that mode a little better. When it comes to actually transforming this toy it quickly becomes a nightmare. A toy with this many parts REQUIRES a stand that also serves as storage but none of these toys come with one. Instead, if you want to transform this thing, you’re going to have to dig out the box, pull it apart, and put it back together with 90% new parts. This is not a partsformer in the sense you take a part off, transform a hunk of the toy, and put that part back on. The whole transformation process is best described as tedious. Sure, it’s pretty easy to figure out what part will have to go where (especially after you’ve gone through the drill once, there’s not much of a learning curve) but it’s definitely not fun. Want to put the gun on in fighter mode? You’ll have to find the gun specifically meant for fighter mode and the gun attachment piece. Please keep all children and pets away from this toy at all times lest you have to watch one of them choke to death on any number of the bite-sized pieces. For me, the transformation of the armored toy was particularly painful as the head lasers would keep popping off. If I could keep the head lasers on then the shoulder armors would pop off. If I could keep those parts on then some other random piece of kibble would go flying off. It was miserable. To make matters worse, when you wanted to then display some of the missile bay doors open you had to go and swap parts yet again… it’s ridiculous. After about two transformations you’ll likely have figured out a number of ways Bandai could have made this toy better or you’ll be convinced that the whole package would have been better off just including nearly two toys… a battroid with a waist that could be removed and attached to a fighter (where the legs could have been down for GERWALK or up for fighter mode). Speaking of fighter mode, while mine comes together decently enough, it does seem to lack a peg or two to really keep the seams tight and secure the weight of the legs. Obviously this isn’t a problem on the fighter mode only toys since they’ve been tightly glued together. It’s also pretty silly that they couldn’t just use one gun in both modes and that they needed to include an attachment piece to make the gun work in fighter. The armored toy is nearly incapable of standing in battroid mode without the stand.
Durability & Build: (6/10)
It’s not at all uncommon to hear that this toy “feels cheap.” It’s tiny and light so it’s easy to convince yourself that it’s also flimsy. In comparison to Toynami’s VF-1 1/100 scale toy it was immediately clear that much better plastic was used by Bandai. The plastic here is hard (but flexible) rather than Toynami’s soft stuff. I was rather rough on this toy as I fumbled my way through the first transformation and it held up to some pretty intense strain without and breaks. I did notice some fit and finish issues, particularly with my armored VF-25F toy. The fit and finish issues can lead to even more parts popping off the toy during transformation and handling which can greatly diminish a user’s enjoyment of the toy while not necessarily leading to anything breaking. The paint application is really superb on my standard releases and I haven’t heard many people complaining about theirs either. There are a couple of clear weaknesses though. First, some of the joints are too loose right out of the box. The hips were stiff enough to hold poses but I would have liked them tighter, the feet were so floppy that GERWALK was essentially useless without my putting the feet in wonky positions. The handle of the guns and knives are also incredibly thin and getting them in and out of the hands seems like a good way to cause some twisting damage. My toy came with a tighter grip in the left hand (although the right hand certainly worked fine enough) and it was so snug I opted to let Alto go lefty for many of the pics to save myself from potentially damaging the handle. I might have been tempted to give the fighter mode only toys higher score but the metallic paint applied to these toys has some obvious flaws.
This toy doesn’t fare as well as a Revoltech or Robot Spirits toy but it does handle itself pretty well. Had the joints been tighter this toy could have been a lot of fun to pose, it’s certainly comparable to something like Yamato’s GNU line. GERWALK was essentially useless to me since I didn’t have a stand and I’ve heard that the parts meant to attach it to a stand in GERWALK leave the legs in a stiff position (more standing than osprey). The elbow’s inability to go more than 90 degrees and the ankles inability to really work with Gerwalk mode are definitely bringing the score down here. The armored toy is nearly impossible to balance in battroid mode without the stand and usually the effort it takes to pose the toy isn’t worth the results.
Total Score: (29.5/50)
The VF100 line is dead, long live the Hi-Metal line. What? The Hi-Metal line is probably dead too? Well, I’m bummed about the Hi-Metal line’s death and I couldn’t care less about the VF100 line so that ought to tell you pretty clearly where I stand on these offerings. It’s a shame too, I would have loved to have seen Bandai revisit the VF-25 as part of the Hi-Metal line and make right all the mistakes exhibited by this toy. These days these toys tend to sell really cheap so if you have no modeling talent you could buy one of these and glue it in a particular mode and maybe get some more enjoyment out of it.
Note: This review has been updated, content was added, video was added, and photos have been updated in higher resolution.
As part of my continuing effort to make the site easier to navigate, content for the armored VF100 toy has been added to this review. The armored review was originally posted on
First updated on May 29, 2010: content was updated and a line art comparison picture was added.
Original Post Date: March 22, 2009