Mega Review: Skip V1, go straight to V2
Packaging & Extras: (3.5/5) +1 for gift-sets
V1 standalone VF-25 toys came in attractive boxes (35.7 x 22 x 7.3 cm) adorned with images of the toy, foil text, but made of very thin cardboard and without collector features like a flip-top lid. The toy within was housed in a Styrofoam trays covered by a taped on piece of cardboard. All standalone VF-25 releases came with the following:
3) Gun attachment piece
4) Three pairs of fixed-posed hands
5) Instructions (color, glossy, and specific to the release)
Version 2 toys are an improvement in every way, including the packaging and accessories. Version 2 toys include a removable pilot figure, additional accessories, and an improved simple display stand like the one only available with V1 accessories and bundles.
The Tamashii webstore exclusive fold edition VF-25F Alto was delivered in a brown shipper box. The retail box inside is colorless with a hologram effect that I enjoyed. Contents are unchanged from the regular release, standalone toys but this time rendered in the same translucent plastic as the fold-effect toy.
Super Part gift-sets were released for Michael’s VF-25G, Luca’s RVF-25, and Alto’s VF-25F in ‘movie colors’. These toys come in a larger box (36 x 22 x 16 cm). While the VF-25 toy is still nicely contained in a Styrofoam tray, everything else comes in plastic trays. The volume of these larger boxes and the flexibility of the plastic trays within often leads to crushed boxes. These toys include everything that comes with the standalone release as well as a plastic tray including:
6) Super Parts
A second plastic tray that includes
7) Display stand (consisting of a base and arm)
8) Display stand adapters
A) Nosecone holder for fighter and GERWALK
B) Leg support for fighter
C) Back support for GERWALK
D) Battroid mode adapter
If you purchased Michael’s toy, taped to the back of the super parts tray, you’ll find
9) Sniper Rifle (VF-25G toys only)
All gift-sets include expanded instructions specific to the release and accessory.
An Armored Parts gift-set was released for Ozma’s VF-25S. It comes in a monstrous (44 x 36 x 15 cm) box that carries forward the theme of thin cardboard decorated by pictures of the toy. As with the other releases, the VF-25 remains in a Styrofoam tray while the accessories come in plastic trays. The plastic trays do not offer enough structural rigidity to the large box so the box often sustains crushing damage. The baggy included with the VF-25 adds an exciting extra:
6) Neck enhancer – a ball joint that extends the neck for a better appearance in battroid
THREE plastic trays contain:
7) Armored Parts
8) GERWALK support brace consisting of a cradle and two support arms
9) Display stand adapters for use with the armor installed
and a FOURTH plastic tray contains:
10) the same display stand and adapters included with other bundles and accessories
Bandai also made Tornado Part gift-sets for Alto’s 25F and Michael’s 25G. The box is the same dimensions and style as the super parts releases with the same problems relating to crushing. Alto’s Tornado gift-set only includes the parts for the atmospheric configuration of Tornado parts. Bandai made the space configuration parts a Tamashii webstore exclusive. Along with the 25 toy in its Styrofoam tray, you received two plastic trays that included:
1) Atmospheric Tornado Parts
2) The display stand (SMS base and arm)
3A) Display stand leg support for fighter mode
In a separate baggy taped behind a tray you received:
3B) Display stand adapters for each mode, including a large back brace for GERWALK mode
4) Gerwalk mode support cradle and braces (three parts)
Michael’s toy added more baggies that included:
10) Sniper rifle
11) 2x attachment parts for the sniper rifle in fighter mode
12) Space configuration Tornado Parts (2 missile pylons and 4x wingtip booster extensions)
Charm & Collectability: (2/5)
The old recipe for this dictates that anything that features metal and perfect transformation has a good chance for being very collectable. Upon release in December 2008, the Ozma and Alto VF-25 toys proved very popular with preorders selling out quickly and additional stock being marked-up. This was a $100 toy before the Yen rallied and demand jumped (supply was slim at first, the price trailed back down as Bandai got more stock and alternate versions to vendors). Though no scale is indicated on the packaging, the 32cm length in fighter mode equates to 1/60, a very popular scale for collectors. The reissue of the 25F (not to be confused with the “Renewal” version or Version 2.0) is packaged identically to the original but the toy has reinforced pegs (although I’ve never seen the pegs that were reinforced break) and holes on the back plate that would allow for the attachment of the fold booster. The least popular release is probably the ‘movie color’ gift-set due to its odd color choices that match neither the movie nor TV show. Even before the release of the renewal toys, demand was starting to wane as contemporary competition was offering superior products. After the renewal version hit shelves, demand for these toys has plummeted and should only be considered by diehard completists. As well as the toys shown in the above release schedule, Bandai also released the following accessories exclusively through the Tamashii webstore:
Ghost & Weapons Set for RVF-25 Luca, July 2009, 5,250 Yen tax inclusive
Galia IV Fold Set for VF-25G Luca, July 2009, 5,250 Yen tax inclusive
Armored Parts for VF-25F Alto, September 2009, 6,500 Yen tax inclusive
Smoke Clear Display Stand, June 2010, 2,625 Yen tax inclusive
Powered Weapons Set for VF-25 Alto Tornado, August 2010, 2,625 Yen tax inclusive
Tornado Parts for VF-25 Alto, August 2010, 5,250 Yen tax inclusive
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (6/10)
Before we dive into the many shortcomings, there were clear positives when these toys hit the shelves. You won’t find sticker sheets in the contents list because of the volume of painted on detail, a high water mark for the time and something Bandai would embrace even more going forward. There’s also molded mechanical details in various places on the toy that might have been more spartan in prior years.
Fighter mode is my favorite mode for the V1 toys. The legs don’t come up high enough and it feels chunky but sturdy. Pilots are permanently lodged in their seat with minimal detail. Though possibly good enough for most, they paled in comparison to Yamato’s efforts. The landing gear are ugly and, like the pilots, fall well short of what Yamato was doing at the time. There are no removable shields to expose intake fan detail. The bronzy feet are nicely detailed.
GERWALK mode is awful but mostly because of design shortcomings. The hip intakes don’t latch in this mode so the legs never look right. The ankles also extend to the point where the vehicle in GERWALK or battroid mode looks like it hiked up its pants too high. The shield on the left arm is too far away from the forearm.
Battroid mode is very chunky. I thought the 25 looked a little thin in the show so I was willing to accept a bit chunkier toy but there are many other shortcomings here when comparing to the line art. The mechanisms that pivot the shoulders out away from the body leave the shoulders too far from the chest. The pelvis doesn’t jut forward properly and the hips are far too high leaving the lower body looking awkward. The back plate the wings attach to has no detail and is color-matched to the body of the toy which makes it look more like a toy rather than a real machine. You’ll note that all of these shortcomings were addressed in the renewal version of the toy.
When the super bundles were released there was an obvious issue with different plastics being used (most obvious in the Luca toy). The varying tones of green are almost imperceptible in most lighting conditions but under the bright lights of a photo booth, they become quite evident. It has also been noted that both the RVF-25’s shoulders are marked “004″ but one should indicate “SMS” (although some art for the show also shows both shoulders with “004″). On a positive note, the radome and antennas have nice paint applications to add some pop to the sensors. Check out my separate review of the V1 VF-25 Super Parts for more content specific to the accessories.
Michael’s VF-25G comes with his sniper rifle. The rifle is huge and nicely detailed though problematic in fighter mode (more on that in the design section). I don’t believe (though I have not validated) there are any physical differences between the original Michael toy and the one included with the Tornado giftset. The good news about all of the super, armored, tornado bundle kits is that they hide most of the flaws that grab most extreme fans who see the naked VF-25 toy. The accessories also conceal the color variations in the plastic for those particular sensitive to that phenomenon.
These toys made many mistakes that Bandai learned from and addressed on their later renewal toys. One major mistake was the choice to ignore the unique traits of each VF-25 in favor of doing simple repaints with head swaps. The lack of back plates customized for the heads caused space problems and led to issues like a very short neck on the 25S toy. Say what you will about the armored VF-25S but it does look imposing in any mode. For comments specific to the Armored Parts, check out my separate review specific to the V1 VF-25 Armored Parts accessory. I don’t think there are any differences between the original release VF-25S Ozma and the toy included with the armored parts (some day I’ll confirm that).
The movie version giftset of Alto’s Super VF-25F comes with blue super parts that stand out as being wrongly colored. Baby blue super armor? Seriously? Not only that, they gave the 25F a blue hue as well. I don’t know a single person that prefers this variant of the toy. To compound matters, when the movie was released Alto’s VF-25F looked nothing like this toy.
The VF-25F toy included with the Tornado Parts bundle has darker interior colors and a darker gun. Bizarre that this toy hails from the same movie as the Super Bundle but doesn’t share the blue hue. My version of this toy had the sloppiest paint application of all of the V1 toys I purchased. For more on the Tornado Parts, check out my dedicated review of the V1 Tornado Parts accessory.
In my gentle first review of this toy I pointed out the following faults:
1) Gun doesn’t stow in fighter mode without an optional part.
2) Knife cannot be stowed in fighter mode
3) Wings angle upward
4) No hard-points on wings
5) Rear landing gear are too small
6) Fins on the leg don’t angle out appropriately
7) Knife-hand fixed posed hands are only useful in (and required for) fighter mode. It would have been nice if there was at least one point of articulation so you didn’t feel you absolutely HAD to change the hands as part of transformation.
8) Hips have to be disconnected to achieve A-stance in GERWALK mode which makes GERWALK mode less stable (rectified on VF-27)
9) The shield sits too far out on the forearm because it doesn’t collapse (rectified on VF-27)
10) Pilot is not removable and possibly not to correct scale (rectified on VF-27)
11) Shoulder mechanisms have no locking feature keeping them in the proper place in battroid (rectified on VF-27)
12) The waist area has no mechanism allowing it to be locked in the angled outward position
13) The pilot is too easily visible from a side-view in battroid mode
14) Head lasers are made of PVC and are often warped
15) Michael’s VF-25G can NOT attach the sniper rifle and sit on the landing gear, you’ll need to use the display stand in fighter mode.
I noted over twenty improvements in my review of the ‘renewal version’ VF-25 toys. I won’t muck up the review by replicating that list here but if you still haven’t checked out my V2 review you should do that.
The gift-sets come with the same underlying toy but the included accessories add flaws of their own. GERWALK mode is awful on the underlying toy and it generally renders all accessories either useless in this mode or requires the use of an extremely awkward brace to achieve something only roughly passable. Of course, you don’t HAVE to use the extra parts. Check out my separate reviews of all the accessories for a rundown of the issues you’ll encounter.
Luca’s RVF-25 adds some new features. The included radome spins and has sensors that extend. You can also remove the radome and tuck in the lower sensor array (almost entirely) to give Luca’s toy the look of a standard VF-25. In battroid mode, the width of the radome means the wings don’t sweep back as far as they should.
Michael’s VF-25G toys come with his sniper rifle. The sniper features extending prongs that allow you to pose the toys in various sniping positions that add some fun to the play value. Unfortunately, as well as not fitting on the toy in fighter mode with the landing gear down, the gun is also heavy and makes the arm droop once the joints loosen.
Unique to the armored Ozma is the toy’s neck extension which isn’t integrated but rather needs to be inserted/removed; you cannot have the extension attached in GERWALK or fighter modes.
Durability & Build: All Releases: (6/10)
There toys suffer from the following durability issues:
1) Sloppy paint applications and paint being scratched off, use extra caution with accessory parts.
2) The antenna-type lasers on these toys are made of PVC and are prone to arriving warped. This was probably viewed as a way to avoid all the broken head lasers seen on 1/55 VF-1 toys but on the 25S these lasers are so thin that they don’t stay straight (though this seemed to improve on reissues and the Armored bundle).
3) Yellowing. Particularly the original Alto and Ozma releases. The different plastics yellow at different rates. The nosecone seems to be particularly problematic. While we know that sun/UV and/or heat tend to cause yellowing, we’re seeing yellowing on toys that were never opened and not stored improperly. This tells us that there are issues with the plastic used.
4) Swirls and color variation in the plastic. Likely related to the yellowing problem and another indication of impurities in the plastic or other plastic formulation issues, sometimes dark swirls can be seen in the plastic. These were most obvious on my Luca toy. As noted above, the Luca toy also suffers from the most obvious color differences between the types of plastic used.
4) The back plate of the toy tends to develop cracks where it connects to the pivot point. This will be exacerbated by the weight of accessory parts or leaving the toy in GERWALK mode.
5) Joint looseness, particularly at the shoulders. While some complained their toys arrived with overly stiff shoulder joints, in the long-term many more have dealt with loose shoulders that can no longer hold a pose. If you encounter overly tight shoulders, your best bet is to gather all your patience, sit down on the couch, turn on your favorite show, then proceed to gently try to work the arms back and forth while you watch. By the end of the program you should find that you can move the arms around although they will probably still require a good deal of effort.
6) Loose crotch lock. While this peg generally does its job well in the beginning (although there were some who noted a weakness immediately) some have found that after repeated transformation the peg doesn’t hold very well and have inserted a piece of paper in the slot in the back to help increase friction.
Another common complaint is that the toys still had some oily residue left on them from the manufacture process (it’s harmless and wipes right off). There were a few toys that came with broken screws that caused the arms to fall off but fixing this was as easy as replacing a screw. The fixed-pose hands included with the original releases have a tendency of separating where the hand meets the armor plate on the back of the hand. Subsequent releases solved this problem by gluing the armor to the hand itself which might be something you should consider if you’re afraid of losing those little armor plates. My Michael VF-25G sample had one intake joint that made loud “clicks” as it moved while the other joint did not but both joints were perfectly stiff so there was no detriment to the experience. The great news is that this toy is otherwise quite sturdy, made of thick plastic, and feels very solid. Several crucial parts are made of metal, things that move often click.
The articulation is not worthy of any raves but it’s a sizable step-up from the chunky toys of yesteryear. The heads are on balls atop the neck so they can pivot in every direction. The hips are ball-joints with decent mobility (although hindered by their surroundings). The feet can pivot nicely in all directions when fully extended (you can also fully extend them, angle them, then retract them). There’s even a waist joint. What you don’t get is a mid-leg swivel or a large range of movement at the knee which creates some minor difficulties for GERWALK mode. That knee design gets worse when accessory parts are used so check out all my reviews of the accessories for me detail on that. The shoulder design is wonky and you can expect that any time you try to pose the arms you’re probably going to move the shoulders out of their proper positions. If you don’t watch how you’re positioning the upper hips you may press against the swing bar which can cause paint rub and press the waist peg out causing the toy to fall (as pictured above the durability and build section).
Total Score: (30/50) + 1 for gift-sets
You shouldn’t get any V1 toy, instead you should look for the new V2 toys. Fighter mode is the only mode I would ever display any of my V1 toys. If you’re considering a toy just for fighter mode, consider the super or armored giftsets as the accessories help conceal some of the faults. Also use the display stand as that will allow you to hide the silly landing gear and attach the sniper rifle if you’ve bought a 25G. Bandai tried to make a “collect ‘em all” phenomenon with the Tornado Parts by releasing a magazine ad that shows Alto’s VF-25F wearing various parts of different armor accessories to create new bundles. Macrossworld member Areaseven translated the ad (obviously first uploaded by toyworld.com.hk) as follows:
- Tornado Wings + Armored Parts = Typhoon Messiah (upper left)
- Tornado Wings + Super Parts = Lightning Messiah (upper right)
- Tornado Parts + Super Parts + VF-27 Parts = Slash Messiah (lower left)
- Armored Pack + Tornado Parts = Destroy Messiah (lower right)
June 29, 2010 – Condensed all separate V1 VF-25 toys into one review
December 17, 2011 – Updated content to reflect renewal VF-25 improvements
October 7, 2021 – Updated format and added images of previously skipped variants