Mega Review: Includes VF-25F, VF-25S, VF-25G, RVF-25, VF-25A, & YF-25
Packaging & Extras: (4.5/5)
If this toy came in a beefier box with a flip-top collector’s lid to it than I very likely would have given it a perfect score. I would have ignored the flimsiness of the box and given it a perfect score if the toy came bundled with super parts. As it is, you do get some nice extras:
2) Removable pilot figure (YF-25 comes with 2)
3) Gun (with collapsing stock), note: Ozma and VF-25A gun is a non-canon dark metallic gray but is otherwise the same as the purple guns included with Luca and Alto. Michael’s gun features pop out supports and mock pump action.
4) 3x Pairs of fixed-posed hands (6 hands total)
6) DX Display stand and adapters (the RVF stand differs slightly in the fighter mode mounting position from the other releases, the VF-25G stand has extra front end support… not sure why). The YF-25 Prophecy comes with a plain black stand instead of the SMS stand as the plane has NUNS markings instead of SMS.
7) Smaller co-pilot figure (Ozma and Michael only)
8) EX armor figure with Base and black wire to connect figure to base (Alto only). Grappling hooks (Michael only).
9) ABS head lasers (Ozma, Michael, VF-25A, and YF-25 only). YF-25 lasers are in the display stand tray.
10) Shield extender (Luca only)
11) Gun attachment parts (Luca only)
You’ll note that there are no stickers included with the toy; the idea being that all the detail you could need has already been painted on. I felt either a few stickers or some more detail could have been added for the cockpit area but that’s probably a discussion for a different section. The Ozma toy was the first toy released with that sleek Macross 30th anniversary logo. The grappling hooks included with the Michael release open and close. The YF-25 release came with the pilots and dagger in a new type of bag which can be opened without cutting (but was not resealable).
Charm & Collectability: (4/5)
Bandai’s first renewal releases were produced in small runs which quickly sold out. The version 1 DX VF-25 toys originally sold beginning December 2008 were hot sellers for Bandai. Whereas those toys retailed for an MSRP of 12,000 YEN we do see some price inflation on these “renewal” toys which went on sale in October 2011 with an MSRP of 14,000 YEN (although your extra 2,000 Yen did get you a display stand). The upward creeping price didn’t keep fans away and most stores saw all variants sell out (although it took Michael’s VF-25G a bit longer to disappear and Luca’s RVF-25 has been easily obtainable months after its release). I think the YF-25 release has all the hallmarks of a hot future collectible although it may take some time. It’s a very unique release and even has some mold changes, it was seen in the movies, and initial demand was probably subdued so it’s a good bet that Bandai skimped on the production number of any of these V2 toys and won’t reissue it. Releases have been as follows:
October 2011, 14,000 Yen, VF-25F Alto Custom (reissued July 2013, July 2014)
January 2012, 14,000 Yen, VF-25S Ozma Custom (reissued November 2014)
September 2012, 14,000 Yen, VF-25G Michel Custom
June 2013, 14,000 Yen, RVF-25 Luca Custom
October 2013, 14,000 Yen, VF-25A Mass Production
June 2014, 14,000 Yen, YF-25 Prophecy
Super parts, Tornado parts, and armor parts for these toys were available exclusively through Tamashii. As you should expect, accessories for the version 1 toys do not work properly with version 2 toys since the version 2 toys are completely different molds. Check out my separate reviews of the renewal accessories.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (9.5/10)
It is almost uncanny how well Bandai nailed it. When the version 1 toy came out in 2008 there were a lot of grumblings from fans who felt the transition from CGI to toy should have been straight forward but had clearly been botched. At the time, I felt the version 1 shortcomings in emulating the art must have been sacrifices to build a sturdy toy since the line art can look very thin at times. It’s clear to see now that I was wrong, emulating the line art nearly perfectly was possible, Bandai just needed some time and some feedback to their first effort to figure it out. With the combined experiences from Bandai’s DX VF-25 V1, DX VF-27, and DX YF-29 they now have the required expertise. If there’s one item that still stands out as not being quite right it’s that the hips are still just a tiny bit north of where they ought to be. From a detail perspective, it would have been nice if the turbines were painted and if more paint had been applied to the pilots and cockpits. The turbine detail is lacking, particularly on the VF-25G and RVF-25 toys where the entire area is left in the trim color (white and lime green respectively). It looks bad enough where you might want to just leave the intake covers on at all times. The paint job on the YF-25 toy is probably the best of all the releases (although I’m sure the scheme turns some people off). Check out the little arrow and latch near the landing gear doors. While the paint job overall is very nice the NUNS logo within the red diamonds should have been sharper. The YF-25 also features a different canopy shape and layout and a very nice-looking head.
Here’s a straight forward list of all the improvements seen on the V2 toy although some of these more appropriately belong in the sculpt/detail section:
1) Landing gears are larger and more properly detailed. Front landing gear has articulated tow bar, rear landing gears lock in place and can be removed without partially transforming the toy.
2) Leg fins angle out properly and are a much better size (although this makes them poke out the back of the leg when in battroid/GERWALK)
3) Pilot figure is removable
4) Area behind pilot in cockpit can be converted into a second seat which can fit the Ranka figure (included with Ozma and Michael). On the YF-25 this has been changed to be a full-time two-seat vehicle that accommodates two full-size pilot figures.
5) Intake covers are removable to expose turbine detail
6) Gun attaches in fighter mode without an additional part (except for the renewal RVF-25 toy)
7) Gun locks opened/closed and has a groove in the handle to help keep it in the hand
8) Fighter mode: head integrates more smoothly into the back
9) Fighter mode: legs sit higher
10) Fighter mode: nose doesn’t angle down as much
11) Fighter mode: blue parts in the nose are now blue plastic instead of paint
12) Wings no longer peg into the legs, instead the pegs attach at the side of the leg improving fit and ease of transformation
13) Articulated hands can now be stowed in fighter mode with a latch that collapses allowing the shield to hug the arm tighter in GERWALK and Fighter modes
14) Shield can hold dagger
15) Shoulder assembly is improved, transformation is easier, and shoulders maintain their position better
16) An additional joint has been added allowing the arm to move away from the body at the shoulder improving articulation
17) Legs now extend revealing a twisting articulation point at the knee, this allows the hips to remain locked to the fuselage in GERWALK mode which lends far more stability to that mode as well as increasing overall articulation
18) Arms now extend allowing the elbows a further range of articulation
19) GERWALK support has been added with the ability to hold the gun
20) Neck area is on a Z joint allowing it to extend further up placing the head further up in battroid mode
21) New pelvis latch mechanism has been added moving the hips lower down and allowing the pelvis to angle out properly (like the YF-29)
So are there still some areas that could be improved? Yes. While the plate the neck sits on has been improved the transformation to battroid still feels a little sloppy. It’s also pretty clear that the renewal toy wasn’t designed with the RVF-25 in mind. The RVF requires additional parts to stow the gun in fighter mode because the lower radar assembly renders the typical stowage between the arms inaccessible. The RVF also requires a peg to extend the existing peg on the shield so that it can reach beyond the radar assembly into the socket on the arm. On the plus side, the RVF retained the spinning and extension gimmicks from the V1 toy while adding the ability to fold the wings completely back in battroid mode.
Durability & Build: (7/10)
The same issues that have plagued all DX Frontier toys will rear their ugly head here again. First, joints will get loose. Word is that the joints are improved over the version 1 toy but there have already been complaints about joints getting loose. Of particular concern are the shoulder joints. Generally if the joints become too problematic and start hampering your enjoyment of the toy then you can tighten them up by inserting some friction (try clear nail polish or tape on the ball). The head lasers on the Ozma toys seem to be universally loose, regardless of whether or not you use the installed PVC guns or the supplied ABS guns. While loose they are still manageable and the same tricks you would used to tighten any ball joint can be used on these. It is nice that Bandai supplied both rubbery PVC guns and more rigid (but more fragile) ABS guns for people who were turned off by the floppier look of the PVC guns. The second big problem is paint that can be chipped off. Transformation is usually when the paint is at its most vulnerable as the toy’s design tends to keep sharp edges away from the paint when the toy arrives in any of its final three modes. Michael’s grappling hooks connect at a spot of the toy where there is no paint so you can attach these extras without fear. There is a new concern in the form of the sharp points located on the inside of the knee which can be easily bent while articulating the toy. If the knees are fully extended they can be swiveled and bent at will without danger but if you’re attempting a daring pose and the knee is no longer at full extension then the edges are in danger. Of concern of the Ozma toy in particular, some owners have noted inconsistency in the tones of gray used (generally, in the tone of the lighter gray color). On my sample the light gray paint seems reasonably consistent but my pictures and experience with the toy was all under fluorescent lights so maybe the type of light shining on the toy affects how visible any differences are. I was a bit let down that the gray used on the knee joint isn’t the same gray used along the interior side of the leg but it’s not hugely noticeable unless you’re looking at the toy close up (check the last pic in this review to see if it bothers you).
Articulation is best witnessed by checking out the video reviews. The range of motion on each joint is superb and every joint you could need is present. For a transforming toy, I don’t think articulation could really get any better. Pictures with a black background below are from Saburo, check out his Flickr account here.
Total Score: (43.5/50)
I gave the YF-29 a slightly higher score because the knees didn’t look like they were as prone to damage and because I enjoyed the integrated missiles and tornado-like guns. Obviously the VF-25 has more global appeal than the YF-29 (since the 25 was in far more shows). I know some would argue against considering the YF-29 a better toy because the YF-29 has a less fluid transformation, particularly where the shoulder parts are concerned, when the toy is being transformed from battroid to fighter. I produced a list of over 20 improvements over the version 1 toy so yes, this is a significant upgrade. If you’re a fan of Macross Frontier, buy this toy. Could a better VF-25 toy be made? Maybe…. but i really doubt it’d be at this price point. Of all the renewal releases to date, the shield extension and extra gun attachment parts make the RVF-25 the least refined. Gray background pictures below are Tamashii advertisements.
Note: This review has been updated on October 1, 2017 to add an HD Battroid to fighter transformation guide
Note: This review has been updated on August 27, 2017 to increase the resolution of a few photos and add an HD fighter to battroid mode transformation guide.
Note: This review has been updated on October 28, 2014 to include pictures and details about the YF-25 Prophecy as well as an HD video review
Note: This review has been updated on December 15, 2013 to include pictures and details about the VF-25A as well as an HD video review
Note: This review has been updated on December 9, 2013 to include an HD video review of the VF-25G
Note: This review has been updated on October 21, 2013 to include the RVF-25 Luca.
Note: This review has been updated on May 13, 2013 to include the VF-25G release and a new HD video showing the differences between the original toys and the renewal releases.
Note: This review was updated on January 25, 2012 to reflect the release of the DX VF-25S Ozma Lee custom. Originally posted on November 21, 2011.