Observations & Critique: It should be “spiritia-booster”
The minute you see the box you’ll start wondering if you paid too much. Inside an outer brown shipping box is a layer of tissue paper and then the typical two-tone box of a Tamashii exclusive. Cutting some tape and opening the box reveals the diminutive sound booster and a black clip to connect it to a VF-19Kai toy.
This accessory was released in August 2010 and retailed for 2950 Yen. Diehard Mac7 fans who own a Hi-Metal VF-19Kai toy were eager to snatch these up. Paying full price with finder’s fees and shipping it’s pretty easy to imagine a Hi-Metal VF-19Kai with all the extras could cost over 12,000 Yen which is definitely spendy considering the 1/100 scale. If you went the Yamato route your VF-19Kai at MSRP would cost you 22,000 Yen and the Sound Booster would tack on another 10,290 Yen for a total of 32,290 Yen… before you got it shipped to you. Long story short: being a Macross7 fan isn’t cheap.
While the sound booster is very small it’s also very clean in its presentation with some nice painted on detail. The reflective surfaces are made of a clear rubbery plastic which gives a very nice impression. There’s solid detail work inside the booster. The VF-19Kai is a colorful toy so it was nice to see the sound booster carry the theme. Together the two pieces make a very nice display piece (for those not immediately turned off by the design). Yamato upped the ante by including additional detail panels and by positioning the Sound Booster lower on the VF-19Kai’s back in battroid mode.
The sound booster transforms nicely from a flying vehicle to a backpack amplifier and speaker system for the VF-19Kai. The transformation is smooth and easy with some design elements that help conceal the transformation methodology. It’s a shame Bandai couldn’t figure out a way to have the booster attach without requiring the removal of the antenna and the attachment of a separate connecting piece but at this scale certain concession seem necessary. It’s also a shame that Bandai didn’t have the forethought to make it so that the sound booster could attach in fighter mode like the Yamato version can. Since the sound booster already has a hole on its bottom it would have been a very simple matter to make the existing battroid attachment piece also work for fighter mode or to supply a separate attachment for fighter mode. Bandai deserves credit for having their sound booster lock into place well on the battroid mode VF-19Kai, the Bandai Sound Booster definitely out performs the Yamato effort there.
The only durability issue I could find was that one of the plastic pink reflective pieces inside my boosters was loose and could pop out of its proper position. It very simply pops back into place so I don’t really consider this much of an issue but it certainly could become one if someone popped the piece out and was unable to find it. After handling both the Yamato version and the Bandai version it does seem like the Yamato version is made out of better quality and thicker grade plastic.
For what it is, I enjoy the sound booster. It made for a more dramatic display piece. That’s really all this sound booster brings to the table though. On it’s own it’s not a very fun toy and for the price it’s pretty underwhelming. Diehard Mac7 fans are the only ones who will likely track this thing down but I’m sure that’s exactly what Bandai expected (and why the price point was where it was). If you’re looking for the very best VF-19Kai and Sound Booster than the Yamato (or Arcadia) effort, as a whole, is much better. If you’re a Mac7 fan on a modest budget the Hi-Metal toys do offer a fair package at a still high but much more reasonable level.
NOTE: This review was updated May 13, 2015, the resolution on some photos was increased an a new HD video review was added.
Original Post Date: January 18, 2012