Mega Review: Includes Super, Standard, limited, GBP Gift-set, 30th Anniversary, and 2 Seat Variants
Packaging & Extras: Standard Releases (4.5/5)
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.
The packaging for the Version 2 line of toys has 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) 3 Yamato display stand adapters for use with the DYRL Launch Arm stand (sold separately) + 1 attachment for the separated nosecone to be connected like a gun.
6) 1 Set of DYRL style fixed-pose hands or 2 Sets of TV Style hands
7) Instruction manual
9) Side/armpit covers*
10) Seat to simulate exposed pilot in battroid mode with head leaned forward*
11) Neck cover*
12) Head replacement and arms cover for fighter mode (VF-X toy only)
I was sad to see the collector’s style lid go but ultimately, only that and not including a basic display stand keep this toy from scoring better. Yamato raised the bar further for to celebrate the 30th annivesary of Macross. Items above marked with an asterisk were included in special reissues of certain toys that include the 30th anniversary badging. See my comprehensive list to identify which toys were reissued.
Packaging & Extras: Super Releases (5/5)
The super releases come with everything mentioned above plus:
9) Super and/or Strike parts
10) 4 sets of reaction missiles
11) A flashlight (anniversary versions only)
You may not get a collector’s style lid (depending on when your toy was made), and you still won’t get a basic display stand, but everything included is pretty sweet so I have no problem giving this a perfect score.
Charm & Collectability: Standard & Super Releases (3.5/5)
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. So, for now I’m placing an average score on these toys with some obvious exceptions. Of course, as with any VF-1 line of toys, some paint schemes do significantly better than others and Yamato has done their absolute best to make this the most complete line of VF-1 toys EVAR. Don’t believe me? Check this list as 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. Here’s how it works:
Version 2.0: Original version 2 releases. These feature a tinted canopy and a new type of crotch locking mechanism for battroid mode.
Version 2.05: These toys feature a clear canopy and the crotch locking mechanism found on the 2.0 toy.
Version 2.1: These toys feature a tinted canopy and a similar crotch mechanism to that found on Yamato’s 1/48 line of VF-1 toys
Version 2.2: These toys feature a clear canopy and the 1/48 style of crotch locking mechanism.
Note: I do not own every single V2 release. If I mislabel a release here according to the structure I’ve provided above, please let me know. Also, the anniversary version of the VF-1S toys (Hikaru and Roy) feature little flashlights which some may feel make them more collectable.
Charm & Collectability: 2 Seaters & GBP giftset (4.5/5)
The VF-1D toys and the VE-1 in particular seem to be becoming more highly sought after amongst the available Version 2 offerings. The Virgin Road VF-1D is just starting to demand a premium and I’d say it’s very unlikely Yamato will reissue it any time soon so we might see that one become hard to get. The VF-1D Trainer is already starting to gain steam as a sought after product and the VE-1 has become a very hard toy to find at anything resembling a reasonable price. The one ugly duck of this group has been the VT-1 toy which is most likely due to the fragile shoulders. Word got out that this rather expensive offering was also extremely fragile and ever since this toy has been on sale at a number of stores that seem to be having a tough time unloading it. Given time we might see things turn around for the VT-1 so I’m going to leave it grouped in with its more successful brethren. (Update January 2013, the VT-1 is now long since sold out and back in demand). The Hikaru GBP giftset was marred by an early release which featured a Hikaru VF-1J that hadn’t sold in the original release with a new head on it. The head wasn’t made of the same color white plastic as the rest of the toy. The toy itself had shoulders prone to breaking since it wasn’t a new manufacturing run but just unused stock. This first version has the “1″ painted on the GBP’s chest and you should pass on it and look for the reissue which features a minty new production of the 1J.
Charm & Collectability: Limited Weathering, LowVis & Magazine Exclusives (4.5/5)
It’s too soon to tell just how hot of a collectible these items will become. Some of the weathering editions have been made for some fairly unpopular valks (Hayao and Max’s DYRL schemes) so I can’t foresee them ever being very hard to track down items. There’s also been some backlash against Yamato’s Weathering editions. Some people feel these toys look poorly weathered and that the average fan would be better off buying the basic version of the toy and applying some weathering themselves. Others Weathering Editions like the HyperHobby Exclusive Hikaru VF-1J was made from a base toy that had questionable shoulders. The two more recent magazine exclusives, the VF-X and the VF-1A Angelbird are both unpopular valks so it’s unlikely they’ll ever be super hot items either (the 1/48 Angelbirds is the very definition of ‘shelf warmer’) and it appears both received more mainstream releases as well. One surprising release was the “no paint” version which was available both assembled and unassembled. Those toys originally retailed under standard MSRP and were meant for customizers but they quickly sold out and ultimately demanded a premium. Subsequent reissues and additional variants have helped cool demand and the reissues included the 30th anniversary bonus parts. Yamato also made a web exlcusive VF-1D “no paint” toy (although the chest was cast in orange). Yamato supported these toys for customizers by selling photo-etch parts which themselves are becoming collectable.
Sculpt, Detail, & Build: (9/10)
As you may have noticed, over the last year or two I’ve been incorporating lots of line art reviews into my posts using line art taken (with permission) from The Macross Mecha Manual. As you can see in the various 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. Indeed, in some cases the pre-painted detail applied to these toys goes beyond what I would expect from a toy getting a perfect score (see close-up of the VE-1 detail). Oddly, Yamato was not consistent in what details they applied to the toys but what’s there is always nicely done. 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). 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 head in battroid mode is elevated above its proper position in the line art which makes battroid more slender and feminine looking. 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 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.
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 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) A revised backpack support to keep the backpack erect in battroid (the backpack now features an arm that reaches forward and grabs the back, the 1/48s had an arm on the back that reached back and grabbed the backpack)
13) Various articulation tweaks and all toys accommodate super/strike parts
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.
1) The chest plates have been properly redesigned to eliminate the nook the head should appear recessed into (although, as per my complaints above, the head does not sit where it should on the non-2 seat variants)
2) The backpack locking mechanism was adjusted to compensate.
3) 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.
Design: VE-1 (9.5/10)
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)
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.
Durability & Build: Toys marked “avoid” in the above chart of releases (4/10)
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 HERE 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.
Durability & Build: Safe* releases (7/10)
You really don’t have to worry about the arms breaking off these 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.
Durability & Build: Safe releases (9/10)
These toys are a joy to own. 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.
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: Toys marked ‘avoid’ on the list in the charm section (39-40.5)
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. For those of you who have bought one of these toys AND managed to find replacement parts, see my post here for instructions on how to replace the shoulders.
Total Score: Max & Miria Super VF-1J toys (42.5/50), Virgin Road VF-1D (43/50)
These toys are popular and fortunately don’t have shoulders that are going to snap on you. They do have paint that is easily scratched so if that’s a concern you should stick with the higher scoring toys in the next section. All of these toys have currently only seen one release so let’s hope some day Yamato does reissue them and hopefully by that time they’ll have figured out a way to make the paint chipping less of a concern. If you have a Miria VF-1J or any VF-1D toy you might be particularly interested in the baby pod/battroid seats kits sold by T-Rex and highlighted in my post here. It looks like these parts may soon be mass-produced by Yamato.
Total Score: Late Edition standard toys (44/50), Super/Strike editions (44.5/50), VF-1D (45/50)
These toys are phenomenal and many will argue long and hard that they are the pinnacle of VF-1 toy collecting. Is the Bandai Hi-Metal too small and the 1/48 too big? Then this toy should be just right. If you’ve purchased a Max TV-1A, you might want to hunt down the Zentran uniform seen in the Great Escape episode and highlighted in my post here. If you have a toy with super parts, you may be interested in tracking down the clear casings as discussed in my post here.
Total Score: Late Hikaru GBP set (45/50), LEs & Exclusives (45/50)
Granted, if an LE is made from a fragile toy it wouldn’t fit in here (I’m looking at you Hyper Hobby VF-1J Hikaru). These toys are all very sweet. Sure, some aren’t going to appeal to the average fan or the more sane collector but these are going to be hot items for the diehards.
Total Score: Elintseeker (46/50)
I really should have a database so I can check if this is the highest score I’ve ever given a toy. Not everyone cares about the VE-1 but for those of us who do this is the defining toy incarnation. Would I spend $400 on one? No… but you may have had to before Yamato’s recent reissue… which likely means you will have to again some day if Yamato doesn’t reissue it again or come up with a V3 VF-1.
AFTERMARKET ACCESSORIES: Below are some pictures of an after market gun strap accessory that can be found on MacrossWorld. The gun strap looks pretty slick in battroid mode and tucks away enough for it to not have to be entirely removed if you opt to display your toy in fighter mode (you’ll just have to push the strap to the side you’re not displaying).
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.