Review: Both VF-11B and VF-11C variants
Packaging & Extras: (4/5)
Though the cardboard remained very thin, the VF-11 toys come in a much more reasonable sized box (about 32.5 x 28 x 10.5 cm) than Yamato’s YF-19, YF-21, and 1/48 VF-1 toys (about 37 x 36 x 14 cm). The VF-11B comes in a box with goofy art but the flip top lid is there. Here’s what you get:
1) A pilot figure
2) A gun pod
3) Connectors for the Yamato Launch Arm display stand (1 for fighter & GERWALK, 1 for battroid)
4) Super Parts (consisting of 2x backpack boosters/missile pods and 2x conformal leg missile pods)
In a baggy behind the tray you’ll also find:
5) A flyer warning to remove the padding under the cockpit before transforming the toy
Fixed posed hands are sorely missing and this toy approached the price point where some sort of basic display stand wouldn’t seem an unreasonable expectation. Extra weaponry and the boosters seen in Macross Plus would have also been fun inclusions.
The VF-11C box retains the dimensions of the 11B box but eschews the flip-top lid. Contents were the same though the pilot, gun, and super parts look a bit different. The instructions received some minor tweaking and the sticker sheet was expanded with some Macross7 specific locations.
Charm & Collectability: (3.5/5)
The VF-11 isn’t a hero valk (even if Isamu uses it in one of the single best fights in all of Macross to open episode one of Macross 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. Transformation is close enough to perfect for most collectors. There is almost no metal content here with the toy weighing only 244grams, 285 when laden with the super parts (the old Takatoku/Bandai 1/55 VF-1 weighted 354 grams). At about 29 cm long in fighter mode and 22cm high in battroid, the toy is roughly 1/60 scale which has become the most complete Macross collecting universe (outside of models). Both toys were made in short order and never received the steep discounts of some other Yamato products but neither sold well. The 11C did better than the Macross7 VF-22 toys, which languished on store shelves and eventually sold for greater than 50% off. The global recession that was just starting was a very unfriendly time to introduce new, somewhat expensive, toys. Releases for this mold included:
Super VF-11B Isamu, April 2009, 18,800¥
Super VF-11C mass production, February 2010, 18,800¥
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (8/10)
This is a pretty valk but it looks bland through a combination of limited panel lining, limited painted on details, and dreary paint schemes. Fighter mode looks a little chunky as the line art cuts a svelte form that’s magically thickens as it progresses to battroid mode. 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 did what they could to make the fins decently sized. While the fastpacks are clear improvements over the 1/72’s fastpacks, they’re also insubstantial in comparison to the VF-1 fastpacks.
GERWALK mode looks impressive though Kawamori’s design leaves a large opening in the back that makes some people wince. The 11B was the only Mac+ valk Yamato released with the rainbow effect on the canopy. Yamato discontinued using this prior to the release of the 11C toy as it created too many quality control issues. There is some nice gauge detail inside the cockpit. The Isamu pilot figure has been improved from the YF-19 sculpt to be much more lean/natural looking.
Battroid mode exposes some of the finer details of the sculpt including camera/sensor details behind the transparent green eyepiece and mechanical details on the plates that conceal the holes near the neck. The biggest battroid mode line art deficiency is the position of the hips. This toy places the hips behind the mid-section of the body while the line art shows the intakes swung forward and against the fighter mode nose. The Yamato position is awkward visually and functionally.
While the underlying 11C toy is just a repaint of the 11B, Yamato didn’t skimp by giving the 11C the same fast packs as the 11B. The pilot also gets an updated sculpt to match Macross7 (some refer to his as a ‘marshmallow man’). Once you’ve seen Isamu take out a male power armor with a bayonet, it’s hard to be satisfied by the gun for the 11C but it’s the perfunctory peashooter you would expect from 7. In an utterly gratuitous touch, both guns feature removable tops to expose inner barrel detail.
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:
1) an integrated heatshield
2) a cockpit that can be removed from the toy as an escape pod (primarily scene in Mac7)
3) integrated cavity fillers at the neck
4) integrated plates in the backpack that slide forward in GERWALK to conceal a cavity and support the back
4) integrated plates near the battroid’s head to better invoke the line art
5) vertical stabilizers that slide and extend to better approximate the massive stabilizers in the art
6) 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
7) Integrated landing gear (including a tire twist gimmick to get the rear gear to fit)
8) Almost perfect transformation (you need to pop the shield off and put it on the other side of the forearm during transformation)
9) Ability to stow the gun in fighter mode (though the gun does not want to sit straight on the VF-11C)
Unfortunately, some areas could have used more refinement that we can consider wish-list items if another manufacturer ever takes a stab at this vehicle. Locking the two sides of the integrated heatshield together could be tricky or frustrating. The removable cockpit didn’t lock firmly enough into position and could be jostled during light handling of GERWALK or fighter modes. The shield can be knocked off the forearm too easily. The integrated landing gear are small and the rear gear don’t have an easy access point to help deploy them but when all gear are down the toy does have just enough clearance to not sit on the landing gear doors or gun. Today we expect all toys to include hard points on the wings to at least provide the option to load them up.
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). 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’ve only seen one person have this issue but it’s something to be careful with none-the-less. Common build quality issues include a loose fitting cockpit, easily knocked off forearm shield, and difficulty getting the shoulders aligned properly for fighter mode. There is a paint issue I encountered and seems somewhat common; the emblem on my VF-11B’s heatshield is painted a tiny hair off center. I also encountered a couple of under-gluing areas: the back of one hand popped off and one foot popped apart. If you’re looking for proof that a toy on the secondary market has been transformed, there’s a nub that holds the back of the plane in position that rubs against the body during transformation leaving a smooth trail when pivoted… unfortunately, you need to partially transform the toy to see the trail.
There were some reports of VF-11C toys having legs snap 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. Now that we’re 10 years removed, more common wear issues are starting to surface. One prevalent, though thankfully not catastrophic, issue is stress marks or fine cracks on the hinges for the neck cavity fillers and the backpack.
This toy has enough articulation to get some fun poses but it’s not incredibly dynamic. The head rotates all the way around and can look up or down about 20 degrees. The head is not connected via a ball joint so you cannot tilt the head to either side. The big head laser connects via a pivot so you can angle it as you please. The shoulders spin all the way around but will run into the wings behind them. The pivots the shoulders sit on allow the shoulder to move up/down in battroid or forward/back in GERWALK. In GERWALK this adds a tremendous range of movement to the arm and allows very fun poses. There is a rotation point where the bicep meets the shoulder and you can angle the arm away from the body at the shoulder about 75 degrees. The elbow doesn’t even allow 90 degrees of bend. Within the elbow there’s a pivot that allows you to rock the forearm about 15 degrees in either direction which assists with transformation but can be used to pivot the shield into the ideal position. The hands connect via pegs that allow them to spin. There’s a pivot at the wrist and the standard Yamato hands featuring an thumb and trigger finger articulated at the end of the palm and three other fingers that are one piece. The hips feature a nice gimmic that allows them to extend away from the body a bit. While the hips do connect via a ball joint their awkward location on the battroid toy inhibits their function. You can get a naturally looking ‘A’ stance and can angle the entire legs in or out and rotate them forward and back. When swinging the leg back the knee area will run into the wings and the intake will run into the body requiring you to bring the leg inward, over the body, and then back out again. The GERWALK joint under the intakes allows a nice range of forward motion. There is a twist point within the knee and 90 degrees of backward motion (utilizing the knee extension does not increase the range of movement). The foot allows a nice range of movement forward and back with an individually articulated heel (needed for transformation). When fully extended the foot has a very limited range of movement left/right. There is no ability to twist the foot in the housing.
Total Score: (39/50)
While I preferred Yamato’s 1/60 YF-21 to the 11B, I did like the 11B over Yamato’s YF-19. In the Macross 7 category, Yamato’s VF-19 toys were improvements to both the VF-22 and VF-11C. Unfortunately, the VF-11 suffers from a cost/benefit standpoint in that it’s not much larger than the 1/60 VF-1 toy that retailed for almost HALF the cost (and is a better toy). In battroid. 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.
Original post date: May 16th, 2009
Updated June 22, 2011, line art comparisons, toy comparisons, and video review were added. Increased resolution on existing pictures and updated content.
Updated February 7, 2013, added VF-11C content
Updated November 4, 2019, still a work in process, added new 4K pictures, updated all content to reflect current observations and review standards, added 4K fighter/GERWALK/Battroid transformation guide.