Observations & Critiques: Includes First, Second, and Third Missions
Bandai’s First Mission gashapon toys came in the classic two-part plastic bubble you would expect from a vending machine. Inside the bubble was a leaflet that advertised the toys in the series and the toy disassembled in a little plastic baggy. When Bandai released the Second Mission the plastic bubbles were gone, replaced by a large plastic sock that contained all the toys in individual plastic baggies. Inside the plastic baggies were the toys, each packaged with an insert advertising all the toys in the line. Bandai included a Regult in this second series and included bonus parts with the Regult, you could either get a light missile pod OR a heavy missile variant. Bandai retained the same format used in the Second Mission for the Third Mission toys.
Some of these missions sold better than others. It seemed like the second missions Regult was the most coveted of the toys. Here’s a breakdown of the toys that come with each series (for those that are skeptical of the pictorial breakdown):
1x Fighter VF-1J Hikaru (no stand)
1x Gerwalk VF-1J Hikaru
2x Battroid VF-1 (VF-1J Hikaru, VF-1S Roy)
1x Destroid Tomahawk
4x Battroid VF-1 (VF-1A Cannon Fodder, VF-1J Max, VF-1J Miria, VF-1S Roy)
1x Regult (with light or heavy missile parts)
2x Fighter VF-1S Strike (Roy, Hikaru) with stand
4x Battroid Super VF-1 (VF-1A Hikaru, VF-1A Max, VF-1S Roy, VF-1S Hikaru)
1x Female Power Armor (TV)
2x Gerwalk Super VF-1J (Miria, Max)
At this scale purchasers weren’t get the amazingly detailed pieces. Kaiyodo’s contemporary gashapon releases (Kaiyodo/Movic Series 001 & 002) were slightly larger and featured much better paint jobs. Later gashapon releases by Charaworks, Yamato, and Bandai blow these early gashapon toys out of the water. That said, these toys are so small that at most distances their little flaws and lack of detail are hard to pick up on.
These toys improved with each release. The first release featured a fighter mode VF-1 toy without a stand or landing gears so it was just sort of a lump of plastic. The GERWALK and battroid VF-1 toys lacked more the slightest semblances of articulation so they were most fit for being put on a shelf and forgotten about. The same was true of the Tomahawk which could adopt one really aggressive pose and that was it. The Tomahawk does not feature opening missile bays. By the second series Bandai had added stands for the fighter mode toys and redesigned the battroid toys with some functioning joints. The Regult toy included with the Second Series also has some nice knee and ankle articulation plus the ability to add on either the light or heavy missile attachment. By the third series the VF-1 toys all featured fast packs which can be removed (although they leave behind large pegs). The GERWALK toys have wings which can swing shut. The Glaug toy is clearly the highlight of this set with excellent articulation and fun factor. The loser of the third set is the female power armor which is incredibly rigid and requires a clear stand that attaches to the foot to keep this toy standing.
All of these toys are put together with the care and effort one would expect to be applied to a rubbery tiny scale product… meaning there are numerous flaws. The First Mission, having been packaged in plastic capsules, will nearly always show very bad warping of the fighter and GERWALK VF-1 wings. The most common issue on all missions is uneven or paint applications. Occasionally the flaws are quite large such as parts that don’t adequately fit together. If parts don’t fit together an entire toy can be rendered unless you’re willing to do some surgery to fix things. These toys pretty clearly are built to be mostly static pose items so don’t expect something you can play with.
Almost everyone buys gashapon toys based purely on look so please review the photos here and draw your own conclusions. You shouldn’t be expecting fun toys, you should be expecting niche display items that won’t take up much space. Bandai later revisited the gashapon market with a fighter mode only series, the Macross Fighter Collection (MFC). The MFC series features superior build characteristics and focuses entirely on the mode sales experience from both Bandai and Yamato reflected was the most popular representation of a valkyrie, the fighter. If you’re one of those people who bucks the trend and prefers their battroid gashapons, the second and third missions do offer more articulation than Yamato’s battroid gashapons but they’re less detailed and not built as well.
NOTE: This review as been updated:
October 19th, 2011: Increased the resolution of existing pictures, added new pictures and a line art comparison. Condensed the following posts into one post:
Bandai 1st Mission Gashapon, posted August 19th, 2007
Bandai 2nd Mission Gashapon, posted January 2nd, 2007
Bandai 3rd Mission Gashapon, posted December 1st, 2006