Observations & Critiques: Super Parts for Alto, 30th Anniversary, Isamu, and Ozma
All Bandai DX YF-29 Super Parts were Tamashii Web Exclusives (TWE) and delivered in brown shipper boxes (17.7 x 23.7 x 4.5 cm). Within the brown shipper is a ‘retail’-style box adorned with pictures of the Super Part equipped YF-29 in various modes rendered in two-tones rather than full color. Inside the box is a plastic tray containing the super parts which consist of:
2x Wing extensions
2x front covers for wing extensions
2x Rear boosters
1x Shield cover
Beneath the tray you’ll also find:
Instructions (printed on regular paper)
Bandai released the Super Parts for Alto’s YF-29 in November 2011 and has reissued Alto’s YF-29 twice in the year’s following without making the Super Parts available again. While the other super parts appeared in the Macross 30 video game, only Alto’s was used, briefly but heroically, in the animation (Macross Frontier: Wings of Goodbye). This has created a lot of demand for Alto’s Super Parts which has led to a high price in the secondary market. No other YF-29 toy was reissued after their Super Parts had sold-out, so all others are easy to find still near their original MSRP of 3,150¥. Bandai has shown the YF-29 Alto with Super Parts at several conventions leaving the door open for a gift-set release some day. TWE items are rarely reissued so, over time, all variants will only grow scarcer. Even so, outside of huge fans of the Macross 30 video game, it’s unlikely the non-Alto variants will become highly sought after as these are rather insubstantial parts that don’t add a lot to the YF-29 experience. See the image above for a complete list of releases.
There is a smattering of painted on detail on the various parts. The extensions for the amplifiers (they look like harpoons) have nice mechanical detail and some ‘fold quartz’ paint applications (clear plastic would have been better). The missile pods have Bandai’s standard missile detail which looks like black pegs with red tops, just enough to get the job done from a distance. While there’s nothing wrong with the look in GERWALK mode, I would only use these parts in fighter mode. The fin at the end of the wings adds a peculiar bird-like effect that might not be to everyone’s liking.
While most super parts make the vehicles legs and arms look beefier in battroid mode, the YF-29 Super Parts are entirely back kibble. With the extra weight and the underlying toy’s tendency to have loose joints, I highly recommend using the stand included with the YF-29 if you want to display the toy in battroid.
The 30th anniversary toys have jolly rogers painted in white on white plastic which seems a very silly design choice. The dark gray parts have a pearl effect to them that was retained on all later releases as well.
While not ugly, Isamu has the most boring YF-29 paint scheme and the most boring super parts to match. The lack of a trim paint and the addition of more of the tan do nothing to make this toy pop. Of all the YF-29, the Isamu version suffers the most from the glossy finish.
Ozma’s dark gray bird looks properly menacing with or without the super parts. The black of the boosters help break things up just enough.
The most important design element for any add-on like these is “Do they stay on the toy well?” and the answer to that is a solid “yes.” You can whoosh this toy around without fear of a booster, wing, or other part flying off. All super parts fit any YF-29 so you can mix and match however you please. The super parts don’t inhibit any of the fun gimmicks of the underlying toy like the ability to pivot the wing engines or raise up the integrated guns. The amplifiers on the leading edge of the wings slide out from their housing and lock gently in their extended position just well enough. There are missile bays on top and bottom of the wing pods with two opening doors that expose the inner missile detail. The fin that comes off the edge of the wing feels spring-loaded, seemingly to allow it to be pushed down so the missile bays can be opened further, but the missile bays don’t open far enough for this ever to be necessary so the functionality is a bit of a mystery. The boosters on either side of the vertical stabilizers have an extension and, like the amplifier, there’s a slight lock in the fully extended position. The bell at the end of the booster is articulated.
Be careful with the spikes on the leading edge of the amplifiers (the harpoon-looking parts). The first time I extended the amplifiers one of the spikes went flying off and it could have easily been lost. The ball jointed thrusters are sometimes very stiff and I wouldn’t advise forcing them, if they don’t seem to move then leave them straight. The super parts do expose some weaknesses of the underlying YF-29 toy. The weight of the super parts will make any slightly loose joints seem very loose and add a level of slop. If you have a first release Alto toy, the weight of the Super Parts in GERWALK mode (even though there’s no substantial heft here) may cause the spine to look broken. A piece of paper tucked into the support mechanism may resolve this and it was never as bad a problem as we saw with super parts on the v1 VF-25 toys in GERWALK. After the first release of Alto’s YF-29, Bandai made the GERWALK support joint wider to provide more support so this shouldn’t be an issue on the later releases.
The YF-29 also has hip joints that can get loose and have a hard time supporting the additional weight in battroid mode. You can still apply the super parts to battroid and not use a stand if you adopt a forward leaning pose but in most scenarios the stand is recommended. There isn’t much of a need for concern in fighter mode but you should keep an eye out for paint that could theoretically be scratched while popping the parts on or taking them off (although I witnessed no issues). If your toy has weak rotation points mid-wing then the super points will exacerbate this. I resolved this on my 30th anniversary toy by using a piece of clear tape; it was simple and effective.
I like these parts for fighter mode although I can also see why some criticize them as adding kibble to the overall look. It’s not necessarily a sleek fighter any more, it looks more like a super fighter from a 90s video game to me. If the look appeals to you, then there’s really no reason why you should avoid the parts. If the look doesn’t appeal to you, then there’s no compelling reason here why you should get them.
Original post date: December 7, 2011.
October 24, 2013: included content about the 30th anniversary release.
May 17, 2020: included Isamu and Ozma parts, some higher resolution photos, and a 4K review.