Mega Review: Includes both Yamato and Arcadia Super, Standard, limited, GBP Gift-set, 30th Anniversary, and 2 Seat Variants
A little disclaimer before I begin, this article features some promotional pictures from Yamato that have been taken from Hobby Search Japan and manipulated. Promotional pictures are frequently just repaints done in Photoshop and may not be indicative of the final product. I apologize, I don’t buy every variant so I can’t show you pictures taken by me of each one. Also, some pictures in this article feature an aftermarket accessory (gun strap). Scroll to the bottom of the article for more information on this accessory.
Packaging & Extras:
Standard Releases (4/5)
The packaging for Yamato’s Version 2 line of toys evolved through simplification. Original V2 releases came in boxes that featured collector’s style flip-top lids. These releases also had a standard format to them with black borders along the top and bottom, white borders on the edges, and a picture of the toy in fighter mode on the cover. It was later determined that there were some durability issues with these first releases so I generally advise you avoiding purchasing them now (but I will provide more detail on this further into this article). Gradually the boxes became a bit more flashy (although the art is just limited to pictures of the toy, nothing like the gorgeous art that decorated old Takatoku toys) and then Yamato removed the collector’s style lid. So, what extras come packaged with this toy?
1) Painted pilot figure. The original Yamato Version 1 toys came with legless pilots… no such problems here. Toys with two seats feature two pilots.
2) Gun with collapsible stock and handle
3) 4 sets of TV style missiles (which can be removed from their tree like the 1/48 TV-style missiles)
4) 4 sets of DYRL? box missiles (which can not be opened like the 1/48 DYRL missiles)
5) 2 Yamato display stand adapters for use with the DYRL Launch Arm stand (sold separately)
6) 1 attachment for the separated nosecone to be connected like a gun.
7) 1 Set of DYRL style fixed-pose hands or 2 Sets of TV Style hands
8) Instruction manual
VF-1D Releases (4/5)
There were two VF-1D releases, the standard trainer that was Hikaru’s (Rick’s) first vehicle early in the TV show and the “Virgin Road” VF-1D. The Virgin Road VF-1D wears Max’s livery and is a solution to the question “How did Max’s vehicle suddenly have two seats?” To celebrate his wedding they painted a VF-1D in his scheme (though I think the animation shows a different head on the vehicle… but we’ll ignore that). The VF-1D toys add one element:
1) Painted pilot figure – the VF-1D toys have very cool custom pilots. The standard VF-1D comes with Hikaru in his civilian flight suit. The Virgin Road comes with Max in his tuxedo
10) Painted co-pilot figure – and again, very cool. Hikaru comes with Minmay in civilian clothes, Max comes with Miria.
11) Note of warning – For Hikaru, it looks like Yamato wanted you to be sure to pinch his arms in enough so he didn’t block the canopy. For Max, the warning is that you’re probably going to scrape the paint off the back of the lights on either side of the head in battroid mode (see picture).
VF-X release (4/5)
The VF-X toy added the following accessory:
10) Head replacement and arms cover for fighter mode (VF-X toy only)
30th anniversary releases (4.5/5)
For the 30th anniversary Yamato added “Option parts” with all releases except the VF-1A Cavaliers. Option parts consist of:
10) Side/armpit covers
11) Seat to simulate exposed pilot in battroid mode with head leaned forward
12) Neck cover
13) Instructions on how to use the option parts
Arcadia 30th Anniversary VF-1J (4.5/5)
While the Yamato boxes became more basic over time, Arcadia’s first release, the 30th Anniversary VF-1J, stepped up the game in a big way. This toy comes with a box sleeve with art provided by Tenjin and a flip top lid measuring 32x28x11CM. This toy comes with option parts and the following extras:
13) Waterslide decals
14) Display stand (Fighter mode only, in a bag under the tray)
Arcadia VF-1S (with stand) (5/5)
The first Arcadia VF-1S releases (Focker and Ichijo) returned to poorly photoshopped art but retain the flip top lid. The inclusion of the display makes the Arcadia VF-1S packaging larger than most standard releases at 32x28x15CM. This display stand was significantly better than the solid piece of plastic that came with the 30th anniversary VF-1J:
13) Waterslide decals
14) Display stand (includes base with storage, arm that pivots, and pivot at connector, works in all modes and all existing Yamato launch arm adapters)
Yamato Super Bundle Releases (4.5/5)
Yamato never released any super bundles with option parts other than the 30th edition Elintseeker. The first releases had flipped top lids but those were gone by the time we got to the anniversary release. Yamato super bundles come with everything from the regular standard releases, including expanded instructions and stickers plus:
10) Super/Strike parts (Super Parts only for TV releases)
11) An extra missile boom so the strike parts can be converted to super parts (DYRL releases only)
12) 4 sets of reaction missiles
Elintseeker & Super Ostrich (4/5) +.5 for 30th anniversary Elintseeker
The Elintseeker and Super Ostrich vehicles weren’t known for carry armaments and so Yamato deleted a few of the otherwise traditional accessories with these gift-sets. Inside the tray you get:
2) Gun with collapsible stock and handle
3) 4 sets of TV style missiles (which can be removed from their tree like the 1/48 TV-style missiles)
4) 4 sets of DYRL? box missiles (which can not be opened like the 1/48 DYRL missiles)2) A copilot figure
3) Unique super parts
There was a 30th anniversary release for the Elintseeker which included the option parts as outlined before but since there’s less weaponry the total count of cool stuff in the box drops a bit:
9) Side/armpit covers
10) Seat to simulate exposed pilot in battroid mode with head leaned forward
11) Neck cover
Yamato 1 year anniversary edition bundles (4.5/5)
Yamato reissued their DYRL VF-1S Hikaru and VF-1S Roy Super/Strike gift-sets in anniversary packaging. It was everything the first release was without a flip-top lid but now you also got:
12) A flashlight that showed the Jolly Roger emblem
Yamato and Arcadia Hikaru VF-1J + GBP Gift-sets
Both Yamato and Arcadia have released VF-1J Hikaru toys bundled with Grenade Box Protection (GBP) armor. As well as all the stuff you got with standard Yamato releases and expanded stickers and instructions, you got the following:
10) Side/armpit covers
11) Neck cover
12) GBP Parts (including feet covers)
13) 4x fixed posed hands (the standard fixed posed hands don’t work with the GBP armor on so you’ll have to use these)
14) Display stand adapter
Arcadia Strike VF-1S Focker (5/5)
While the Arcadia Super/Strike gift-set might not come in the most attractive box, the flip-top lid does return. Inside the box you get everything that came with the 30th anniversary standard releases (including the option parts) as well as:
13) Strike parts
14) An extra missile boom so the strike parts can be converted to super parts
15) 4 sets of reaction missiles
Charm & Collectability: (4-5/5)
To many, these toys represent the current high water mark in VF-1 toy evolution. To others, this toy represents yet another VF-1 toy being heaped on an already very tall pile. The demise of Yamato in early 2013 sent the secondary market into a frenzy and prices have stayed high as Arcadia, who purchased the molds, has been very slow in producing more. Yamato did their absolute best to make this the most complete line of VF-1 toys EVAR. As with all VF-1 lines, some schemes are more popular than others and the ones that didn’t have a lot of appeal and are unlikely to ever be reissued are demanding steep premiums. At this point, only the mass production VF-1A toys can be obtained at reasonable prices, everything else goes from high (like the Max/Hayao VF-1A toys) to extreme (like the VF-1J Mass Production, VF-1A Cavaliers, VF-1D Virgin Road, Super Max/Miria). The Angelbirds and VF-X releases were Macross Chronicles exclusives that later were more widely available as Yamato web exclusives. The original VT-1 SuperOstrich and Hikaru+GBP gift-set are great examples of toys that are extremely popular now but were shelf warmers upon release due to the number of broken shoulder hinges. That means some poor folks are paying an arm and a leg for one “new in box” right now and may some day find that the shoulder was broken at the factory. To be safe on the Hikaru+GBP set, look for one where the “1” isn’t painted on the chest and/or check out the head, the first release had a brighter white head than the rest of the body since Yamato just slapped new heads with gray visors on old Hikaru 1J stock. A similar problem is present with the ‘weathering’ versions which are generally limited to 300 pieces and represent initial release toys that received a secondary paint treatment to look weathered. Unfortunately, since these are initial release toys they are prone to the same flaws of rainbow canopies that crinkle and shoulder hinges that were broken at the factory or will break once you begin handling the toy. There was a no paint VF-1S toy that could easily be customized that seemed to be made in very small quantities making it one of the odder releases to demand a premium. Yamato also release un-assembled kits of the 1A/J/S which were cheap at the time, better suited for customizers, and should still be reasonably affordable if found in the secondary market. If you’ve ever seen a picture of a “Alaskan Guard” VF-1A, that was just Yamato advertising what could be done with their assembly kits. Yamato also released photo-etch parts to support their assembly kits… but good look finding them. Above is a list compiled by MacrossWorld’s Grand Cannon, I filled in a couple blanks and added version and durability information. These iterations aren’t commonly accepted so don’t expect to be able to use them in a discussion with anyone but me. Descriptions of the versions are at the bottom of the second page. Several releases suffered from early durability problems.
Sculpt, Detail, & Build: (9/10)
As you can see in the various line art comparisons, Yamato did a phenomenal job capturing the look of the VF-1 in all of its modes. The final product isn’t quite perfect, but some would argue it’s as close as toy manufacturer should be expected to get. Before I dive in too far, I do have a separate super parts review. Yamato did go the extra mile making truly different super parts for TV and DYRL and they didn’t just add different shells to the VT-1 and VE-1, they made new molds there too. The removable armor gimmick exposing detailed interior parts does carry-forward just like it was employed on the 1/48 toys.
In some cases the pre-painted detail applied to these toys goes beyond what I would expect from a toy getting a perfect score. Oddly, Yamato was not consistent in what details they applied to the toys but what’s there is always nicely done. The two toys with the most painted detail are the VF-1J Mass Production and the VE-1. The TV Mass Production VF-1A also had above average painted on detail including “Prometheus” at the base of the tail fin.
I could spend quite a while praising these toys but you can see for yourself just how good the job was so I’ll just jump right into my nitpicking. First, the canopy is a little too bulbous (although I liked the rainbow effect which Yamato is no longer implementing due to quality control issues). On a positive note, Yamato did make different canopies and cockpits for the two seaters (VT-1, VE-1, and VF-1D) and the included pilot figures are a huge step-up from V1.
Second, Yamato continues to opt for the backpack section being too short in fighter mode, likely a compromise made for a better battroid mode but I felt the Bandai Hi-Metal toys handle the backpack better in both modes. Third, and possibly something better addressed in the Design section, is that the neck in battroid mode is elevated above its proper position in the line art (some call it a ‘priest collar’)which makes battroid more slender and feminine looking. Before we discuss the individual releases, it should go without saying that the V2 toys are massive improvements over their V1 predecessors. While the V1 toy was passable in fighter mode, the large metal hunks had thicker seams, GERWALK was gangly, and battroid mode had a narrow crotch, thick hip connectors, and more thick seams. After the V2 toy came out Bandai eventually released a Hi-Metal toy in a much smaller scale. The much smaller toy has lots of compromises but it does a pretty good job given it’s size though it’s still no substitute for a V2.
Speaking of heads, the Hikaru VF-1J that comes with the GBP gift-set (and sold separately as the “gray visor version”) features a gray line around the visor. The GBP hands don’t work particularly well with Yamato’s DYRL off-white color.
The rainbow canopy effect was nice and I was sad to see it go. It can create some interesting conundrums when collecting. Most of the early releases were re-released without the rainbow canopy. With the exception of 30th anniversary reissues, none of the other reissues have any indication on the outer portion of the box to show whether or not they are first releases or reissues without the rainbow canopy. In the pictures below, you can see the Hayao toy has the rainbow canopy while the others do not. I’ve also included a picture of the first VF-1A Max TV version I owned, you can see that one was an early release with rainbow canopy. Both came in identical boxes. The same is true of the TV Mass Production toy which has both early versions and later versions with a clear canopy. The 30th anniversary toy only comes in a clear canopy and the VF-1J Mass Production toy was only available with a rainbow canopy.
There is a Low Visibility Focker release but the gray hue that was used is a bit too rich for me. I much preferred the gray on the Yamato 1/48 Low Vis scheme.
The TV VF-1S Focker was released in two flavors, with or without super parts. The version with super parts comes with a Hikaru pilot figure which makes sense considering Hikaru was the pilot by the time super parts were introduced in the television show. The version without super parts comes with a Focker pilot figure. Yamato used bright whites for their TV releases and a gray white for DYRL releases so, as you would expect, the TV release is bright white. The other notable difference is a black arrow on the head instead of a yellow arrow on the DYRL release.
The VF-X toy was a fun addition to the line-up. Although it doesn’t perfectly simulate the non-transformable prototype Roy is seen with in the show, there were some painted on details added and a new part to simulate a non-transformable underside to fighter mode.
One of my personal favorite Yamato releases was the VF-1A Cavaliers custom. These valkryies made a very short cameo in the original TV series, shown stored in a bay. They were obviously too dark for a series that primarily took place in space but that doesn’t stop them from being a beautiful toy. To me, this toy is miles ahead of boring black repaints. You can see in the picture below, the Cavaliers is a very different hue from the Max paint scheme.
Arcadia’s 30th anniversary VF-1J features an sleek looking orange canopy and a paint scheme that looks straight out of 1982. Unfortunately it looks like it’s wearing a tuxedo from 1982 in battroid mode and that priest collar effect that I hate so much has a little white triangle that draws attention to it and makes me hate it even more.
While Yamato had used off-white to indicate DYRL releases and brilliant white to represent TV releases, Arcadia releases will not be adhering to this practice. The Arcadia VF-1S releases are both badged as DYRL toys but use the same (or very near the same) brilliant white of the TV VF-1S Focker that Yamato had released. If you’re hoping to buy an Arcadia reissue to complete your Yamato DYRL set know that the new toy is going to stick out like a sore thumb. On a random note, there’s also one less bit of tampo printing on the Arcadia Focker release as you can see below.
Yamato learned a lot from their previous efforts in making this toy. Their work with the original 1/60 partsformer VF-1 is what gave us the seamless back and chest halves in fighter mode. That was incorporated into their work on the 1/48 which many still feel is the best VF-1 toy in existence. After that Yamato made the 1/60 VF-0 line of toys which had some flaws of their own but obviously gave Yamato some ideas they could use when revisiting the VF-1. So this product represents a third or fourth generation toy and that’s obvious when handling it. The incorporation of the VF-0 sliding nosecone keeps me from scoring this toy higher. First, there was no real precedent in the animation. Yes, I realize there was “magic” in the shortening of the nosecone when transforming between modes but there was no hint that this magic was caused by the nosecone moving. Second, the head in battroid is connected to the nosecone so when it moves the head migrates to a place where it does not belong. I’m a person who would prefer the head be in the right spot and the nosecone be lower but I know there are several readers who care more about the crotch than the head (yeah… read into that and know I’m judging your life choices).
Griping about the head position aside, here’s a quick rundown of what to expect:
1) Perfect Transformation right down to an integrated heat shield
2) Removable intake covers (just like the 1/48, leave them on to maintain perfect transformation)
3) Removable pilot and opening canopy (that stays open if you want it to)
4) Integrated landing gear with front tow bar that are long enough to accommodate the stowed gun
5) Better proportioned hands than the 1/48 toy
6) Hard points on wing that work 100x better than the 1/48 hard points (they require a twist)
7) Crotch-locking mechanism from VF-0 Toys (V2.1 switch back to the 1/48 VF-1 style)
8′) Removable armor panels on Super/Strike parts (same as 1/48)
9) Removable nosecone section of the craft (to recreate the scene where Roy saves Hikaru/Minmay)
10) Better recessed head and arms in fighter mode than 1/48 toys
11) Super/Strike parts with a new center support to reduce the chances of breaking the backpack
12) A much more solid toy than the 1/48 in all modes (not to say the 1/48 was ever a slouch compared to the competition)
13) Various articulation tweaks and all toys accommodate super/strike parts
14) A hook integrated into the backpack that connects behind the neck to hold the backpack erect in battroid mode (not present on VE/VT-1 toys). This differs from the 1/48 toys that had a less substantial hook on the trap door that reached back and grabbed the backpack.
So what do you lose? No airbrakes, no wing flaps, no gun strap, no removeable micro missiles or GBP grenades, and no ridiculously huge box to have to store. The GBP also loses the sliding forward missiles that the 1/48 toy implements in favor of having a better proportioned chest armor section. You can read more on the GBP specifically on the post dedicated to that accessory. Another thing to consider is that the 1/48 series never ventured into the 2 seater products. Yamato didn’t skimp here and employed a number of design tweaks to compensate for the 2 seaters.
15) The chest plates have been properly redesigned to eliminate the nook in the chest of 1 seater vehicles and the backpack hook has been adjusted to compensate.
16) Revised canopy and cockpit to fit two pilot figures
The VT-1 and VE-1 went even further than that. The VT-1 features concealed head sensors and an impressive amount of articulation on the head-mounted array (the big black piece). Both the VT-1 and the VE-1 feature different backpacks which have tailfins that don’t fold down. Instead, little clips slide up from the back of the plane to pinch the tailfins in place in gerwalk and battroid modes.
The VE-1 features everything mentioned above plus some seriously sweet and well thought-out super parts. Here are the design attributes unique to the VE-1:
1) The art for the VE-1 has the low-hanging radar array flip from one direction to another during transformation. Previously toy manufacturers chose not to deal with this and let owners remove the part, flip it around, and put it back on (or simply leave it on backward). The Yamato V2 incorporates a pivot.
2) The top radar array telescopes. Previous versions of the toy lacked this ability so the dish was always way too high in fighter mode
3) The radar dome spins freely
The other big plus is that Yamato made the spikes that stick out of the boosters tuck tightly in place so you won’t find them popping out all the time like you did on the V1 toy. The one bummer to the VE-1? There’s a big slot in the middle of the backpack which makes a non-super version of the VE-1 look a bit strange in gerwalk mode. Also, the way the super parts connect makes them nearly impossible to remove… be sure to exercise an abundance of patience. If you’re buying one second-hand ask for lots of pics of the super part connections to make sure they weren’t broken when the original owner pried them loose from the valk.
When Arcadia gave us their VF-1S toys in December 2013 they included a display stand. At a glance this display stand may apear very similar in appearance to the one that came with the 1/60 YF-21 toy Yamato made but the truth is there is only one part that the two stands share in common, the connector at the top of the arm. Otherwise the Arcadia stand functions very similarly but it now has base that allows you to store all the extra parts that come with the toy. The display stand gives you the ability to raise the toy higher or drop it lower and to pitch it forward or back. There’s no left to right motion or pivot which is a shame in this day of ball-jointed everything. Another bummer is that the display stand requires the wings to be slightly ajar in battroid mode. In fighter mode the connector for the display stand bumps right up against the gun but I didn’t find this to be an issue and there’s no question that the grip the display stand has on the toy is very solid.
Durability & Build: Toys marked “avoid” in the above chart of releases (4/10), “Safe*” (7/10), “Safe” (8.5/10)
Regrettably the first several releases of these toys have a predisposition toward catastrophic shoulder failure. Even more regrettable that same issue popped back up for the release of the VT-1 and then again when Yamato sold remaining VF-1J Hikaru stock in their GBP gift-set bundle. Getting replacement shoulders is hard to do, I have no idea how you can get them, but if you do get your hands on a set I’ve got a how-to post to show you what needs to be done to replace them. In the end it was a real shame that an otherwise very sturdy toy suffered such an obvious durability issues upon release.
You don’t have to worry as much about the arms breaking off the toys labeled “safe*” toys but you do have to worry about the paint. Out of the box these toys look drop dead gorgeous but after just one transformation you’ll likely start seeing scratches in the paint. The biggest problem is the white paint applied to the sensors that appear near the shoulders in battroid mode. These sensors almost have to rub against the plastic during transformation so the thin white paint just flakes right off. It’s as if Yamato used White-out to paint that area of the toy… so the good news is a little dab of white out every time you transform it may be all you need to keep yourself happy. Another thing to watch out for on these toys is the rainbow effect on the canopy. I’ve seen Weathering versions of the toys that have issues with the rainbow coating coming off. There’s a reason Yamato stopped applying the rainbow effect and that reason was the number of complaints they received.
These toys are a joy to own but you should still exercise some care with the shoulder joints. Some people complain that they’re too stiff out of the box but once you get used to just how sturdy they are that will become a thing of the past. The joints start stiff and they stay that way. The paint is clean and executed in ways where scratching it isn’t likely. There are only two areas of concern. First, some variants (like Focker’s VF-1S) have painted tail fins. Using the backpack support arm in battroid mode causes those painted tailfins to press VERY firmly against the small radar node on the toy’s back. This pressure can the paint on the tailfins to go from dull to shiny or cause scratches. Second, people have broken the hard points on the wings. As mentioned earlier, they require a twist and it seems like that twist might actually cause the missile to shave away at the plastic OR users not twisting far enough are yanking a bit of the plastic off. Either way, be conscious of what you’re doing when applying and removing the missiles. After a dozen or so transformations my Yamato Annniversary Version VF-1S Focker had the backpack break. I’ve successfully glued it back together but you can see where it broke in the picture above. I’m not exactly sure how the break occurred which is a bit of a bummer but it was during transformation from fighter to GERWALK.
The best perfect transformation VF-1 toy to date. There isn’t a waist and some joints have a limited range of movement (like bringing the leg back at the knee) but otherwise this thing is fantastic. The elbows have been designed so the toy can now touch its own shoulders which allows for a huge range of fun posing possibilities. If you want a more dynamic toy you’re going to have to look to the non-transformable Revoltech or GNU offerings. Don’t be worried about the super/strike parts dampening your fun either. Those parts won’t reduce your range of motion at all.
Total Score: (39-45/50)
You know this is a good toy when even the worst of the lot is hitting right at about the 40 mark. Under no circumstances should you buy the very first issue of the Focker VF-1S (in regular or super/strike variants). The other versions (early stand alone and super/strike variants, first issue Hikaru+GBP, and VT-1) you should only buy on super discount and know that you’re playing a QC lottery. Getting replacement parts is very hard. Max & Miria are very hard to come by… and transforming them once will cause big scratches in the paint. The two-seaters have cult allure and are brilliantly executed, especially the VE-1 with its complex super parts. While the weathering versions are cool looking, I’d personally be afraid of handling them often and even more afraid I’d get one with a rainbow canopy that’s damaged. There were lots accessories made. Some were official, like the clear super part armors, exclusives only sold at conventions (like Miria’s baby pod only sold at Winter Wonderfest) and others were made by enthusiasts like the gun straps.
EDIT – August 8, 2011, this is another example of my efforts to reduce the number of postings on anymoon.com and condense the information. This “mega” review has caused the elimination of the following individual posts:
1) Yamato 1/60 V2 Elintseeker (originally posted March 9, 2010)
2) Yamato 1/60 V2 Super/Strike VF-1S toys (originally posted August, 2008, updated March 17, 2009, updated again March 2, 2010)
3) Yamato 1/60 V2 Super VF-1J toys (originally posted November 2008, updated March 15, 2009, updated again March 1, 2010)
4) Yamato 1/60 V2 VF-1D toys (originally posted March 2009, updated March 1, 2010)
5) Yamato 1/60 V2 VF-1S Focker LowVis (originally posted January 2010, updated March 1, 2010)
6) Yamato 1/60 V2 VT-1 SuperOstrich (originally posted November 2009, updated March 1, 2010)
7) Yamato 1/60 V2 VF-1J and GBP Gift-set (originally posted February 16, 2010)
Content was also updated, resolution of pictures was increased, new content/pictures were added, and a video review was added. My apologies to all the comments that were deleted (something like 100) from the previous posts. You can feel free to post comments in this post as it now represents the only spot for all things V2 VF-1.
Updated January 23, 2013 – Updated for additional releases and 30th anniversary bonus parts.
Updated October 9, 2013 – Updated with information about Arcadia and the Arcadia VF-1J 30th anniversary toy
Updated January 15, 2014 – Added content about the Arcadia VF-1S Focker release and included an in-depth HD video review discussing all Yamato and Arcadia releases
Updated July 17, 2014 – Included an HD video review examining Yamato’s VF-X release
Updated November 8, 2016 – Included an HD video review of the Arcadia Super/Strike Bundle
Updated November 20, 2016 – Included content about the VF-1J Mass Production toy, VF-1A Mass Production TV version, VF-1A Hayao TV version, and VF-1A Max TV version
Updated December 4, 2016 – Included content about the VF-1A Cavaliers toy included an HD Transformation guide (fighter to battroid)
Updated December 10, 2016 – Updated the content and structure of the article, increased resolution of numerous photos, added new photos