Mega Review: Both VF-11B and VF-11C variants
Packaging & Extras: (4.5/5)
As you can see in the picture above, Yamato has started listening to customers and decreasing the vast expanse of their boxes. The down side of doing this is that it’s now clear to consumers that they’re paying a lot more money for not a whole lot of toy. The VF-11B comes in a box with goofy art but the flip top lid is there. The VF-11C comes in a better looking box but the flip-top lid was no longer present. Here’s what you get:
1) A small sticker sheet
2) Instructions are included behind the tray in the now typical Yamato fashion
3) A gunpod (the 11B’s has a flip-out bayonet that can be partially disassembled to reveal inner detail, the VF-11C’s has no bayonet but can also be partially disassembled)
4) A pilot (a trimmed down Isamu for the VF-11B in comparison to the Isamu that came packaged with the YF-19. The 11C’s pilot is often complained about as it looks kind of like a marshmallow man)
5) Connectors for Yamato’s stands
6) Super parts.
This all might have come together to be a perfect score but at this price range there really needed to be a stand or something along those lines.
Charm & Collectability: (3.5/5)
The VF-11 isn’t a hero valk (even if Isamu was shown using one to make mince meat out of Zentraedi in one of the versions of Mac Plus). The VF-11C is almost entirely cannon fodder in the Macross7 series… and annoyingly so since there was so much recycled animation of VF-11Cs. It seems that both toys were made in short order as I’ve never seen a retailer slash prices too low on either variant. This is in contrast to the Macross7 VF-22 toys, all of which languished on store shelves and eventually sold for greater than 50% off. It’s my guess that Yamato never expected the 11 toys to sell gangbusters so production runs were kept very low but there must have been hope that Gamlin, Max, and Miria could generate some sales for the 22 toys and those never materialized. The price of entry was very high at 19,740 Yen (including tax). The VF-11B was released in April 2009, the VF-11C followed in May 2010.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (8.5/10)
This is a pretty valk but it looks a bit bland through a combination of limited panel lining and a dreary paint schemes. Yamato did apply fine details to the sculpt in a number of places including behind the green see-through eye piece and the plates that conceal the holes near the neck. The 11B is the first Mac+ valk Yamato has released to include the rainbow effect on the canopy, this effect was not in place on the 11C toy as Yamato encountered too many quality control issues with the rainbow coating. Some have complained that the tail fins aren’t long enough, a common complaint amongst VF-11 toys since anime magic was required to make them more sizeable in the show, but Yamato clearly did what they could to make the fins fairly large. My biggest complaint in this region comes from the lack of painted on detail. The giant swabs of dull gray or pale white could have really been spruced up with a few painted on emblems/labels. While the fastpacks are clear improvements over the 1/72’s fastpacks (comparison below) they’re also absolutely nothing in comparison to the VF-1 fastpacks and are honestly a bit of a let down. Yamato didn’t skimp by giving the 11C the same fast packs as the 11B.
There are some really cool features to this toy but there are a couple drawbacks that kept it from knocking the proverbial ball out of the park. On the cool side you do get an integrated heatshield that encompasses a cockpit that can be removed from the toy as an escape pod (primarily scene in Mac7). You also get little plates that fold out to cover holes that might have otherwise been distracting. In pursuit of anime accuracy (and nothing else) there are two bumps that slide up next to the battroid’s head. As mentioned previously, the rear fins also have a little shimmy to them which allows them to extend out further than one would expect given the size and thickness of the calf they are housed by. GERWALK mode features two tabs that slide out to cover a gap as well as locking the wing roots in their proper position (although I still found one occasionally drooping a bit lower than the other). The fastpack implementation is exceedingly well done with magnets and a tab locking the leg pieces firmly into position and the back attachment points being cleverly concealed. The rear landing gears are definitely too small and very difficult to extend. I suggest peeling the tire off (you will probably do this in any effort to take the landing gear out) and then just loop the tire around the post and pull it outward.
Durability & Build: (8/10)
When I first reviewed this toy I expressed a lot of uncertainty about this score because of Yamato’s failures with the VF-0 line and their botched rollout of the V2 VF-1 toys (both had shoulders made to fail). Fortunately, this toy has done much better than those toys although there are still some concerns. I still feel that this toy feels sturdy, I was able to fumble my way through the first couple transformations without once feeling frightened that I was on the verge of breaking anything. I haven’t read a single report of anyone getting their magnets applied in the opposite direction or incorrect hinges being used in some locations as has happened on some of Yamato’s previous toys. Someone commented here that they did have a catastrophic failure of the tab that connects the neck of fighter mode and then locks battroid mode in position. I think I may have seen this complaint one other time so it certianly doesn’t seem to be a common issue but something to be careful with none-the-less. There have only been two common complaints from what I have seen. First, there have been numerous complaints that the cockpit ejection pod is loose within cockpit region which lets it rattle around a bit and makes it hard to position properly. Second, there have been some complaints of improper fit where the shoulders come together in the back of fighter mode. Similarly, there have been some people grumbling that the shield doesn’t fit in tightly enough to the arm. All of those complaints have been minor with most users stating they figured out ways to resolve their own issues. For my part, I think the emblem on my VF-11B’s heatshield was painted the tiniest hair off center but I’ve convinced myself it’s an optical illusion, chime in below if you have the same feeling about yours. The VF-11Cs did have some issues with legs snapping off (no, not with regularity of the 1/72 VF-11 toys) but I haven’t seen good pictures of what the culprit was so just try not to yank on the legs too much. On a build issue that borderlines a design issue, the gun on the VF-11C almost never sits straight. The gun’s grip isn’t substantial enough to avoid twisiting and there’s no second stopper further up the barrel to lock it in line.
The arm and shoulder articulation leave a lot to be desired here. The elbows don’t offer a very good range of movement (less than the 1/72??) at all and that will really hamper your ability to reach some poses. The neck is also a bit of a let down in that it’s essentially non-existant which keeps the head from looking down very well (although making a VF-11 look down will quickly make you realize how much the VF-11 battroid looks like the build of a person with a giant foreign object strapped to their chest). The leg articulation is impressive but you don’t get a waist pivot to help you take better advantage of it.
Total Score: (40.5/50)
The YF-21 remains my favorite of the Mac+ toys Yamato has produced but the VF-11 has slid in front of the first edition of the YF-19. In the Macross 7 category I prefer Yamato’s VF-19Kai to the competition as neither the VF-22 or VF-11C really grab me. Unfortunately,the VF-11 suffers from a cost/benefit standpoint in that it’s really not much larger than the 1/60 VF-1 toy that runs about HALF the cost (and received a higher score). In battroid VF-11’s legs have an extension mechanism so your height measurement may vary depending on whether or not you have the legs down all the way. This is easily the best VF-11 toy ever and if you’re a fan of the VF-11 you should do yourself a favor purchase one. While I was let down with the articulation these toys do well in all other respects and it’s an easy toy for me to recommend. The blue background pics below are promotional, all other pics are mine.
Note: This review has been updated twice. Original post date: May 16th, 2009
Update June 22nd, 2011: Line art comparisons, toy comparisons, and video review were added. Increased resolution on existing pictures and updated content.
Update February 7th, 2013: Added VF-11C pictures, added HD transformation guide, added HD Video review.