Observations & Critique: Now includes series 1 and series 2 in one post
Gashapon toys never have lots of extras so I mean Yamato no slight by saying there’s nothing special about these packages at all. There’s a big black box full of smaller color boxes but no real way to differentiate them. These toys require minor assembly and come packaged with the following:
1) Display stand
2) Sticker (type of vehicle for display stand)
3) Advertisement (Series 1 only, see pictures below this section)
Series 1 was sold in boxes of 10. Series 2 was sold in boxes of 12.
Some people collect gashapon toys but generally small, non-transformable, no diecast toys don’t garner a lot of attention. Series 1 was released in June 2008 and MSRP’ed at 4,500 Yen for a box of 10 which was considered a bit of a reach in terms of pricing. A Series 1 box includes fighter, GERWALK, and battroid toys of all of the following except the chase denoted by an asterisk:
1) VF-1J Hikaru Custom
3) YF-19 Isamu Custom
4) VF-1J LowVisibility* (you get one random fighter/GERWALK/or battroid)
Series 2 was dropped in January 2009 for an even more astronomical 6,840 Yen for a box of 12. Series 2 included fighter/GERWALK/battroid toys of all of the following (there was no chase):
1) VF-1S Focker Custom
2) VF-9 Cutlass
3) YF-21 Guld Custom
4) VF-1A Event Custom
I was in Japan in the summer of 2009 and noticed that the gashapon shops couldn’t seem to move the battroid and GERWALK mode toys. It seems like Bandai saw the same thing and thus did things better when they created their 1/250 Fighter Collection series. Ultimately series 1 sold very poorly and it seems like many stores were still trying to offload series 1 when series 2 was released so they didn’t even bother ordering series 2. As a result, series 2 can be harder to come by while series 1 is still available, five years later, at very steep discounts.
Given their scale, these are really nice representations. They got a bit thick of a wash, and the colors are questionable at times (the pale blue on the VF-1J toy particularly), but otherwise these toys correlate nicely to line-art of the figures in each mode. If i had to pick a favorite, I’d say the YF-19 came out the best. The YF-21’s battroid is probably my least favorite representation .
These figures feature parts that make sense. A gun will be a piece, an arm will be a piece, a leg will be a piece, etc. You do have to do some minor assembly but it’s obvious, easy, and intuitive. Since each part of the toy that ought to be a piece, is a piece, the construction of the toy won’t hinder your ability to make minor adjustments to get it to stand properly on its own when not utilizing the display stand. All GERWALK and Battroid toys can stand without the stands also although the VA-3 can be a bit tricky to balance. I did find it peculiarly complicated that Yamato opted to create numerous stand attachment pieces rather than having all toys connect to the stand through a simple peg.
There’s only one toy in either of these sets that seems to be a big build quality let down and that’s the VF-9 battroid figure that comes in VFC2. Something went terribly wrong when producing the right arm so that all of the holes on it are too small. There are holes on front and back for antennae or lasers but the incredibly small and frail parts have pegs to attach them that are too big for the holes in the shoulder. As a result, you can very easily stress mark the parts or have them pop off and disappear entirely. While I was able to make the toy come together for one photo shoot, years later I was not able to put battroid together again successfully. Much less troublesome but still annoying was a fit issue I had with the canopy glass on my VF-1J Hikaru Gerwalk figure. The only other thing you may have to worry about here is paint application but all of my parts came out great. Some people may find the “wash” effect (it looks like the toys were dipped in a very thin black paint and then wiped down) a bit much but it shouldn’t conceal anything pertinent, it should just bring attention to the lines of the toy. What is significant here is that the toys are all made out of a more durable plastic than your normal gashapon toys so warping won’t be nearly the issue it has been in the past (especially with the more literal gashapon toys that come from vending machines in little plastic bubbles). As with any Gashapon toy, even ones made of superior materials like these, take care when attempting to rotate anything as the plastic can seize and be damaged by the force… especially if you’re trying to rotate something that isn’t meant to rotate.
You don’t buy gashapon toys looking to put them in exciting poses. The battroid figures here do just enough to let you angle their guns however you like but don’t expect to go much beyond that. I was pleasantly surprised that on some of the toys like YF-21, YF-19, and VF-1 I could rotate the fists. There are definitely gashapons out there that are more fun to pose but there are very few that offer this nice a finish, feel, or provide this nice a representation.
When you’re paying $5 or more per toy, do you really want to spend $15 to collect three more VF-1 figures that have no association with the show you watched? The extras seemed like terrible decisions on Yamato’s part. Also, while Yamato deserves some accolades for trying to break away from standard gashapon marketing procedures, the fact series 2 had no chase and was guaranteed to have a complete set in every box was bound to hurt sales. It seems like both Series 1 and Series 2 should have come in blind boxes of 6 that were more reasonably priced and the chase figures should have been canon paint schemes. After all, if they’re only giving us two VF-1 toys per series, and there are like 20 VF-1 paint schemes, it’s not like they had to worry about running out. Unfortunately the price here is rather high for a diminutive piece. You could almost pick up Yamato’s VF-11B, YF-19, and YF-21 GNU figures (all three) for about the same price so it may have been hard to convince yourself to spend this much money on a gashapon. Yamato had hoped to make quite a series out of this and include one obscure valk in every wave so if you’re looking for a tiny and very complete Macross collection this was supposed to be your best chance. Yamato was planning a VFC3 as evidenced by the pictures below (NOT MINE). Series 3 was off to a very exciting start but Arcadia has no intention of reviving the line. Since series 3 never came to fruition, and since GERWALK and Battroid gashapon toys aren’t popular, it seems the smarter play is to try to collect Bandai’s excellent 1/250 Fighter Collection gashapon figures.
Note: This review has been updated:
December 2, 2013: Combined VFC1 and VFC2 posts, added a high definition video review, and all new higher resolution photos and line art comparisons. Updated content.
April 6, 2009: Created VFC2 post
November 24, 2008: Created VFC1 post