Observations & Critiques: Super Parts
These super parts come in Tamashii’s standard two-tone packaging. The box features pictures of the YF-29 toy adorned with super parts in various modes. Everything comes shipped in the standard brown Tamashii shipping box with a description of the parts within. Inside the boxes you’ll find the following:
2x Wing extensions
2x front covers for wing extensions
2x Rear boosters
1x Shield cover
Instructions (printed on regular paper)
As previously mentioned, these super parts are Tamashii web exclusives (which tends to mean they’ll get one production run) and distribution was limited to Japanese shipping addresses. The Alto parts were available for preorder beginning July 14, 2011 and shipped on November 30, 2011. The 30th Anniversary scheme super parts went on order October 19th, 2012 and were shipped on May 25th, 2013. The original MSRP was 3,150 YEN. Both the YF-29 Alto and its super parts have gone on to be very hot collector’s items. The 30th anniversary toy wasn’t quite as hot an item, which is to be expected since it’s not canonical, but both it and its super parts also tend to sell at a premium in the secondary market. Bandai is giving us an Isamu variant of the YF-29 as seen in the Macross30 video game some time in December 2013. The Isamu custom YF-29 in that game also had super parts. It’s Bandai’s process right now to announce super parts shortly after the release of a toy so I’d expect an announcement about Isamu custom super parts before the new year.
I don’t have line art handy to compare this to so I don’t have a lot to go off of. There is a smattering of painted on detail on the various parts. The extensions for the harpoons have nice mechanical detail. The missile pods have Bandai’s standard missile detail which looks like black pegs with red tops. That’s not exactly ideal but it does the job from a distance. The 30th anniversary toys have jolly rogers painted in white on white plastic which seems a very silly design choice.
The first time I extended the harpoons and tried to unfold the front spikes one of the spikes went flying off. It’s a tiny little piece of white plastic but fortunately it landed on a black table. So, I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the way the tips attach. The harpoons do slide out nicely from their housing and stay in their extended position well enough. There are missile bays on the wing pods with two opening doors that expose the inner missile detail which works well enough. When I first handled my Alto super parts I was convinced the nozzles at the end of the rear boosters weren’t articulated. Even today, knowing that they should be, I can only get them to move a hair. The nozzles on my 30th anniversary paint scheme super parts do move freely though and that’s a nice touch.
As mentioned above, you should use some caution when opening the fronts of the harpoons. As far as the super parts themselves go, that’s really the only area of concern. 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 where before lines seemed nice and tight. The best example of this for me was GERWALK mode where the toy now started to develop that broken spine look despite the GERWALK support mechanism built into the YF-29. I think a piece of paper could have been used to resolve this (by placing it in the support mechanism’s slot) but it’s worth noting none-the -less. Bandai did resolve this by thickening up the support for the 30th Anniversary toy so the experience with those toys is much better. Of course the support is still there so you don’t have to worry about any super frustrating collapses like we used to see on the version 1 VF-25 toys in GERWALK mode. The YF-29 also has hip joints that can get loose and have a very 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 very effective.
I like these parts for fighter mode although I can also see why some criticize these parts as adding a new dimension of kibble to the overall look. It’s not necessarily a sleek fighter any more, it looks more like a super fighter from some 90s video game to me. If the look appeals to you then there’s really no reason here 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.
NOTE: This review was updated on 10/24/2013 to include content about the 30th anniversary release.
Original post date: December 7, 2011.