Review: All versions
Packaging & Extras: (4/5)
Before its demise Yamato had moved to simpler/cheaper packaging. Arcadia has decided their niche is decidedly upper scale so they’ve brought back the premium flip-top lid (though no Velcro or magnetic tabs as we’ve seen on some other premium offerings). Having handled a lot of masterpiece Transformers toys lately, I was thrilled to see that the plastic tray Arcadia uses doesn’t crack and break when being handled. Sometimes it’s the little things in life. As with Arcadia’s other “premium finish” (PF) toys, the VF-0S PF toy comes in a matte black box that drops the flip top lid. Even the cardboard tray inside the PF box loses the bright yellow of the regular release. Nothing screams “PREMIUM” like the most boring boxes ever but I guess that’s encouragement to take these toys out and put them in display cases rather than showing off just the box. Here’s what’s in the box besides the big toy:
1) Gun (with extending stock and grip)
2) 1x Pilot figure for 0A and 0S variants, 2x pilot figures for 0D toys (Shin Kudo and Edgar LaSalle)
3) 3x display stand adapters (fighter/GERWALK/battroid)
4) 4x Missiles (0A/0S variants have 4x tree of three missiles, 0D has 2x long distance missiles and 2x micro missile pods)
6) Replacement pitot tube
7) 2x conformal tanks for the legs (0A/0S variants only)
8) 2x chest conformal tank adapters for use with a Ghost toy
The toy is housed in a plastic clam shell with those accessories. The plastic is in a cardboard tray and behind that tray you’ll find:
9) Instruction Manual Arcadia VF-0A Instruction Manual Web
10) Stickers (not included with Premium Finish version)
There were complaints that the 0D toys didn’t come with enough weaponry to occupy all the potential hardpoints on the wings. A counterpoint to this would be that the extra hardpoints let you deck out the weapons you do get at different spacing and those hardpoints do accommodate weaponry from other Arcadia and Yamato releases. Should the toy have come with more weapons? At this price range I could see where that would be an easy expectation though, conversely, I think everyone agrees that if that meant the price would be even higher we can live with the payload we get.
Charm & Collectability: (3.5/5)
MacrossZero is kind of a red-headed stepchild of the Macross universe. It was a short OVA series that isn’t particularly popular in Japan or abroad. Shin Kudo was the not particularly popular co-hero to the younger depiction of Roy Focker. The VF-0D was Shin’s training vehicle with his more heroic battle featuring a VF-0A. Here’s a list of Arcadia releases and MSRP:
VF-0D Shin Kudo Custom, February 25, 2015 36,800 YEN
VF-0A Shin Kudo Custom, August 28, 2015, 34,800 YEN
VF-0S Roy Focker Custom, December 25, 2015, 34,800 YEN
VF-0S Roy Focker Custom “Premium Finish”, 41,904 Yen (tax included)
VF-0A Mass Production, TBD, 34,800 YEN (teased at WonderFest 2016, we’ll see if it actually happens)
The price is at a stratospheric level placing it well beyond the reach of the casual collector. There’s an alternate gray drab VF-0D cannon fodder color scheme that would serve as an easy repaint. The VF-0D seems to have sold very well. Shin’s VF-0A didn’t do as well, potentially because of the catastrophic failures of the hip joint reported by several early adopters (see durability section). Even with the durability gamble on the 0A, it eventually sold out and demands a premium. The VF-0S sold very well and quickly demanded a premium. At the point Arcadia released their PF, the seemingly astronomical asking price reflecting the average sell price of a regular release VF-0S in the secondary market..
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (9/10)
Let’s address the elephant in the room. The 0D toy was made in the wrong colors. How wrong those colors are is a matter of opinion ranging from “Eh, they missed it a bit” to “Holy crap, it’s like they’ve never watched the show.” The blue needs to be lighter and more gray (less saturated). The white needs to be more gray. The good news is, the colors they did use, while not accurate, certainly look good. I felt like Shin’s 0A, on the other hand, looked terrible. It’s a light gray mixed with baby blue occasionally painted with gray white trim that’s barely noticeable and some points seem to have a bit more baby blue than others. On all regular releases, Arcadia skimped on the level of tampo-painted detail. While I was thrilled to see some great detail work ranging from the big UN Spacy kite to the cock-pit displays the other little warnings and modex numbers are conspicuously absent. The molded in panel lines are crisp and the toy molds are gorgeous. The black plastic used for the gun has a sparkly additive of some sort for a metallic finish but the gun appears to be the one item that is retained from the original VF-0 mold though the grip is new and now locks in place better when extended.
Both the Yamato and Arcadia VF-0 toys measure 31CM to the top of the nose, 32 CM to the top of the pitot tube and about 25.5CM tall in battroid with the feet fully recessed. You can see in the battroid comparison that the chest is much more narrow on the Arcadia while everything else is very similar. This was one of the main differences between Yamato’s 1/48 scale VF-1 toys and their V2 1/60 VF-1 line so it’s not surprising to see the narrower chest here also. The pilot figures are much better than the Yamato VF-0 molds and may even invoke a ‘wow these are really nice’ moment before you put them in the cockpit and no one ever sees them close enough for it to matter again.
The Premium Finish toy is a reissue with nearly every conceivable marking now painted on the toy. The tampo detail is amazingly crisp and, if you grab a magnifying glass, it’s mostly legible. There were a couple little paint applications that were overlooked. There’s a light (I believe) on the front landing gear that is painted on Shin’s 0A that isn’t painted on the PF-0S. Also, the barrels of the guns on the heads could have used a dot of dark paint to add depth. Otherwise, there’s no question that the Premium Finish version has more pop.
This toy has all the premium design attributes you’ve come to expect by now. There are integrated landing gears that feature rubber wheels. The front landing gear has an articulated tow bar and the rear landing gears angle outward and lock into position. The gun can be attached in all modes though, in fighter mode, it would have benefited from a notch near the elbows to prevent the gun from pointing downward. The intake shields are removable exposing the intake fan detail within. The attachment of said shields has been improved since the V2 VF-1 valkyrie now featuring a central peg that makes it easier to pop the shield off while still fitting on securely. The included weaponry attaches to the hard-points securely and work well with the attachments from the original VF-0 Yamato line as well as Arcadia’s YF-19 from 2014. Fast packs/leg armors from Yamato VF-0 toys will not fit on the Arcadia toys due to the different shape of the leg and lack of a mate magnet within the leg at the location the Yamato toy required.
The ghost from Yamato toys will also not fit the Arcadia VF-0D due to the differing location of the tailfins and the lack of attachment parts and it only fits on the VF-0A/S toys without the extra armaments which don’t peg in properly. This toy does have the same airbrake gimmick that the Yamato VF-0 line featured although the detail has been very slightly upgraded. The 0D does hit a pet peeve of mine in that it has numerous items that are articulated but don’t have a notch or lock to keep them in their proper position. This is particularly true of the tailfins and the forward canards of the VF-0D (forgive me if those aren’t the proper aeronautical terms). Though the joints for these problem areas are sufficiently stiff, handling the 0D in fighter mode can easily cause you to accidentally bump them out of place and then you’ll have to eyeball it to make sure you get it back into a spot that ‘looks right.’ At this price point, I expect some sort of detent to tell me “yeah, you got it.” The transformation is very similar to the original Yamato VF-0 line although the chest involves an extra step.
There’s no rotating cockpit gimmick on the 0D but it is present on the 0A/S toys. The 0A/S toys also added integrated cavity fillers for the area above the chest. In fighter mode the 0D toy has several spikes and with a full payload it can be kind of a pain to handle it without knocking a canard or tailfin out of place.
Durability & Build: (4/10) (seems to be higher for VF-0S)
There is nothing that peeves me more than pulling a toy out of its tray and immediately seeing flaws before I’ve even handled it. Looking at the intakes of the Shin toy, it’s clear they don’t connect as solidly as they’re supposed to and I’m fairly certain this is a problem with almost every 0A toy. WTF? This is a $300 toy and that’s what you get? Terrible.
Arcadia has eliminated the broken back in GERWALK and fighter modes. On the Yamato toys there were joints that were very prone to breakage, those joints are now metal on the Arcadia toy (all metal is reserved for joints). You will likely have issues with paint scratches on 0A and 0D toys. There are a lot of very sharp edges that will sheer anything they come in contact with during transformation and all versions of these toys have a lot of paint on them.
Check out my 0D transformation video for a pointer on how to avoid one of the more common areas of scratched paint. Those sharp edges are potentially blunted if your toy were to take a small fall from an over-aggressive dynamic pose. If you’ve seen my videos you’ll also notice my 0D and my 0A toy’s frickin’ legs fell off.. Absolutely inexcusable.
At the time, I figured I was the one sorry sap that would experience this but since then it’s become clear that it’s happened to others for both the 0D and 0A. I received numerous questions about “how’d you fix it?” after the 0A came out and more people had their legs come off. I’ll link to a fix-it guide someone else created later. So far, the 0S doesn’t seem to have the leg issue as I haven’t heard of a single instance of a leg falling off. The 0S also has far fewer painted surfaces so scratching should be less of an issue. The 0S head is on a ball joint that popped free frequently during handling. One new issue on my latest turn handling the VF-0D, I can no longer get the long missiles to stay on their hard points. Either the missile has shrunk a tiny bit or the pegs have swollen ever-so-slightly.
The 0D toy has better articulation than one might expect given the giant barrier directly behind the hips. There are four notable improvements over the Yamato VF-0 line. First, there are ball joints in the ankles. These look like the same ball joints that didn’t perform particularly well in the Yamato VF-19 line but they feel much tighter so cross your fingers they won’t get loose on you. Second, the head is on a ball joint allowing it to be cocked at an angle. Third, the legs can be pulled away from the crotch allowing a steeper angle to the legs. Fourth, the elbows have been improved to add a larger range of movement. Of course, the 0D toy does have a huge wings right behind the hips so articulation of the 0D toy is bound to be a bit more encumbered than the VF-0S and VF-0A follow-up releases.
Total score: (38/50)
It’s a decent toy if you’re lucky enough to get one where the leg doesn’t pop off but honestly, very few people should buy the 0A toy. It’s not worth the chance of having it be marred with scratches or having a leg fall off in your hand. Only the diehard Macross Zero fans with more dollars than sense should really jump aboard on the 0A. The 0D is similarly delicate but I found the aesthetic a lot more appealing. .
Updated January 12,2016 to include VF-0S content
Updated January 27, 2016 to include VF-0A leg fix video
Updated February 17, 2016 to include VF-0S/A fighter to battroid transformation guide
Updated September 3, 2017 to include VF-0S/A battroid to fighter transformation guide
Updated July 1, 2018 to include VF-0S Premium Finish content, added scan of instruction manual, increased resolution of some photos