Review: No Super Parts? Seriously?
Packaging & Extras: (3/5)
Before we get too far into this review, I would like to point out that I only purchased a Focker VF-1S toy. Pictures in this post of the other variants have been lifted from other websites. Yamato decided to move the Macross GnU toys out of the basic box that the Macross Plus toys came in and into a blistercard. I HATE blistercards and I don’t think any toy that costs more than $20 ought to be packaged this way. As you’ve undoubtedly surmised, Yamato didn’t package this toy with super or strike parts which is a huge shame since Yamato DID show off a Super VF-1S GnU at trade shows. Was the plan to release upgrade parts down the road like they did for the Macross Plus toys? If it was, it certainly didn’t work out that way. Here’s what you got besides the battroid mode toy:
1) Pair of TV hands (open left hand, gun holding right). The toy comes with TV style fists installed.
2) 2x Pair of DYRL hands (fists and open left hand, gun holding right)
4) Display stand (Base, arm, and adapter)
Packaging pictures of most variants below are from Hobby Search.
Charm & Collectability: (2/5)
These toys landed with a thud with many toy stores not bothering to carry them, likely due to the lackluster sales of the Macross Plus line of GnuDou toys that preceded them. The only thing driving collectability these days is there relative scarcity but the only people looking are hardcore completists. The TV-1A Hayao Kakizaki was a Yamato website exclusive and will be a little harder to come by than the others but it’s Kakizaki so not many people will be looking in the first place. If you’ve seen pictures of an Alaska Base or a Stealth variant those are just custom jobs that Yamato used to demonstrate how customizable the GnU line is. There were really three things that killed the VF-1 GnuDou line before it had a chance. First, they were late to the party. Kaiyodo’s Revoltech had been doing highly articulated non-transformable VF-1 battroids for a year before Yamato’s attempt landed. Second, Yamato had botched the Macross Plus releases of the GnuDou, offering improvements which they sold separately with super parts in a move that angered most early adopters. Seemingly hinting that they were going to repeat those same shenanigans, Yamato showed Super VF-1 GnuDou toys at festivals (see picture below) but sold the toy without the super parts. Third, the price point was too high. Yamato’s 1/60 V2 VF-1 transformable toy has really good articulation, is an amazing transformable toy, and retailed for the cost of three GnuDou toys (or two if the V2 was on sale). Here’s a complete list of all Yamato Macross releases under the “Gnu Dou” banner:
YF-19, 3,000YEN, June 2008
VF-11B,3,000YEN, June 2008
YF-21, 3,000 YEN, June 2008
VF-19A Excalibur, 3,000YEN, December 2008,
VF-11B Thunderbolt, 3,000YEN, December 2008
Super parts for YF-19, 2,000YEN, May 2009
Super parts for VF-11B, 1,800YEN, May 2009
Super parts for YF-21, 2,000YEN, May 2009
VF-1J Hikaru Custom, 3,980YEN, June 2009
VF-1A Max TV Custom, 3,980YEN, June 2009
VF-1A Mass Production, 3,980YEN, August 2009
VF-1S Focker TV Custom, 3,980YEN, September 2009
VF-1A Kakizaki TV, 4,179 YEN (includes Tax), July 2009, Yamato web exclusive
YF-19 Special Color, 3,143YEN, September 2010
VF-11B Special Color, 3,143YEN, September 2010
YF-21 Special Color, 3,143YEN, September 2010
The below picture of the Super GnuDou was lifted from the GnuDou thread on MacrossWorld.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (8.5/10)
The only real negatives for this toy are the obvious joints (no where near as bad as the Revoltech) and the heat shield which is attached to the upper chest and bulges out. It’s a fairly small toy at about 13cm (almost perfectly 1/100 scale) so don’t expect much in the way of fine detail like you would see on the Yamato V2 1/60 toys. Yamato promotional pictures below were also taken from Hobby Search except the web exclusive Kakizaki promotional pictures which were lifted from a thread in MacrossWorld:
This toy can do almost all the things you would hope it would be able to do. What can’t it do? It can’t attach fast packs… but those were never released. It can’t attach missiles to its wings… although no missiles were provided anyway. Yamato continues to tout the ease in which these toys can be disassembled and reassembled to try to sell these toys to the custom community and from what I understand, they really do fit that bill quite nicely.
Durability & Build: (8.5/10)
These toys are surprisingly well built but their ability to easily be disassembled occasionally causes unintended disassembly to begin. My VF-1 has not been as bad about coming apart as my Macross Plus toys are but it seems clear that with some good play you would probably get to a point where you’d want to touch the toy up with some glue (if you know you’re not going to customize it). The paint is applied well and I didn’t see any scratches after my photo shoot.
There are two sore points in this otherwise phenomenally poseable toy. First, the feet only move forward and back, there’s no left/right movement. Second, there’s a twist point at the thigh but there’s no twist at the knee. Would both twist points have been overkill? Perhaps… but I like the knee twist even if it doesn’t seem very natural. Other than those minor gripes this toy is a lot of fun to pose.
Total Score: (39.5/50)
The GnU line of toys continue to be a fun line of well built toys… but they also continue to be too expensive and fall short of what they should be. It’s good to see Yamato finally started including a stand with these toys but it’s sad to see they didn’t try to compete with Revoltech in the wide range of accessories included with the toy. If you’re in the market for a VF-1 action figure, and you don’t like the look of bulgy Revoltech joints, I have no problem recommending this toy (but try to find them on sale). Please note, I reflect the advertised scales in my size comparisons, obviously the Toynami products are a little too large to be accurate 1/100 portrayals.