Review: A whole new toy
Packaging & Extras: (4.5/5)
True to Arcadia’s style, this toy comes packaged in a relatively ugly, non-descript box made of thin cardboard with a flip-top lid. The good stuff is bundled in plastic trays safely within. Included is all the weaponry from the cover of the This is Animation Macross Plus special. The first tray includes the toy and:
1) GU-15 Gun with removable magazine
2) 2x Isamu pilot figure (with/without helmet), head is articulated
3) 1x Yang Newman passenger figure, arms are articulated
4) 2x rear leg fillers
5) 1x passenger seat
6) 1x neck filler piece for fighter/Gerwalk modes
7) 2x display stand adapters
The second tray includes:
8) 4x pairs of AOM-8S mid-range missiles
9) 4x LPP-12 green beam weapons
10) 4x SPP-8 green micro-missile launchers
11) 2x pairs of reaction missiles
12) 4x HMM-111CS aerodynamic gun-looking things
13) 6x hard point connectors
14) Fast packs (2x leg armor, 2x calf armor, 2x shoulder armor)
15) 2x fold booster connector (Yamato fold booster sold separately)
Behind the cardboard tray you’ll also find:
16) Arcadia YF-19 Instructions
17) stickers (I’m not a sticker guy but I understand the stickers are so-so at best)
Originally I gave this toy a perfect score but thought Arcadia had done themselves a disservice by going so extreme with the extras. At some point, extras need to be weighed against affordability and the price for entry on this toy is staggeringly high. I felt a better strategy would have been to sell an options set that included all the weaponry, the fast packs, Yang Newman figure, a fold drive, and a beige gun if it would have allowed Arcadia to drop the price of the core toy down to the 25,000¥ level. Then Bandai produced their DX YF-19, provided just about everything here and added a fold drive, a transformable arm cannon, pin-point barrier punch effect, and a display stand and charged less for it. Regardless of business strategy or pricing, there’s no arguing that this is an impressive assortment of included extras.
Charm & Collectability: (4/5)
You may have noticed that this toy carries over a lot of characteristics from Yamato’s stellar line of VF-19 toys from their Macross7 license. This is no coincidence as the Arcadia YF-19 began its life as a Yamato project before Yamato’s doors were shuttered. Arcadia purchased the plans along with a handful of Yamato’s molds just prior to, or during, Yamato’s liquidation. You may have also noticed that this toy comes with anchor points for the VF-19Advance’s “advance packs”. This was an Easter Egg added by the designer T-Rex in anticipation of being able to offer limited quantities of Advance Packs at Wonder Festivals. The YF-19 design is heroic and a fan favorite and the Arcadia YF-19 is perfect transformation (with the exception of that optional neck cover piece and leg cavity fillers) and does contain metal so the elements are all here for a hot collectible. The charm diminished a bit when Bandai released their VF-19Advance in June 2015 for an MSRP of 23,000YEN and then their DX YF-19 Full Set in September 2018 for 27,000¥. Fortunately there are plenty of pros/cons between the Bandai and Arcadia toys leaving people with good reasons to either own both or either. The end result is that demand is still strong for the Arcadia product despite the cheaper and also very cool Bandai offerings. Arcadia announced their YF-19 via a leaflet included in the Macross Plus blu-ray boxset released in June 2013. Releases to date have been:
YF-19 Isamu Custom, March 2014, 32,800¥
YF-19 Isamu Custom, April 2016, 32,800¥ (identical reissue)
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (9/10)
Arcadia skimped big time on the tampo printing. The original prototype had a brown gun that was switched later in the process to gray to some people’s relief and other’s scorn. The cream color is the perfect example of ‘be careful what you wish for.’ There seemed to be a lot of desire for a paler YF-19 since Yamato’s first 1/72. Arcadia gave us the palest one yet and it seems to have garnered a ‘meh’ response with most people preferring the more beige color of Bandai’s interpretations. While overall color, tampo painted details, and even sculpted details seem to favor Bandai’s DX 19 toys, the Arcadia definitely has the mold truer to the line art. There’s a bit of a caveat as the YF-19 is hand drawn whereas Bandai’s mold started with the CGI model for the VF-19Advance. I’m sure there’s VF-19Advance line art out there that looks just like the Bandai toy so rather than speaking in absolutes let’s just say that if what you want is the vehicle from Macross Plus than the Arcadia toy is the better visual approximation… especially if you’re speaking strictly of what was in the animation since the lack of tampo printing and finer details should bother you less. The curves of the Arcadia toy, particularly around the neck of fighter mode, are pretty striking and the gullet that marred the fighter mode of the Yamato 1/60 YF-19 has been eliminated (as it was on the Yamato Macross7 VF-19 toys). Negatives in fighter mode include extended knees, intakes which carry forward the erroneous shape/size from Yamato’s Macross7 VF-19 toys, the fat leading edge above the intakes, and the round pegs for the canards. In battroid mode this toy trounces the Yamato YF-19 from many years ago but continues to make the argument that the line art for this particular plane involves quite a bit of anime magic. Arcadia also retained the rather unsightly gap above the nosecone in battroid mode.
Obviously this newest rendition comes with all the cool features that Yamato originally put in their 1/60 YF-19 offering many years ago. Those features include:
1) Opening canopy (split canopy opens front and back)
2) Removable intake cover to reveal intake fan detail
3) Integrated front landing gear with articulated tow bar
4) Integrated rear landing gears that pivot out and lock in position
5) Ability to stow the gun in fighter mode without interfering with landing gear
6) Fast packs that don’t require any part swapping
7) Removable face to reveal internal mechanics in battroid
8) Gun with removable magazine
9) Second seat in cockpit with removable cover
While you get those cool features from the original Yamato YF-19 there are a lot of issues that have been resolved. All modes of the Arcadia toy lock together firmly. Whereas GERWALK mode was a floppy mess and the chest wasn’t locked down in battroid mode on the Yamato toy, the Arcadia toy locks and tabs exactly as it should. The legs/hips are also superior in design to Yamato’s Macross7 VF-19 toys allowing for better GERWALK posing and less likelihood of damaging the hip joints trying to angle the legs further. Magnets are no longer integral to keeping the leg fast packs on which is good as the tabbing on the Arcadia toy is stronger. Arcadia also added more features:
10) Hard points on the wings
11) Integrated internally stored leg missile
12) In addition to the gun’s removable magazine, the gun also has a collapsing hand guard that allows a better fit in fighter (same as Yamato’s VF-19 Macross7 VF-19S/F/P)
13) High speed mode
14) Shield has trap door to conceal head laser slot and can now stow the gun in battroid/GERWALK
There are also some negatives:
1) While I’d consider it perfect transformation, sticklers will be turned off by the separate ‘neck cover’ piece for fighter and GERWALK modes and leg fillers for the cavities on the backs of the legs in battroid.
2) The implementation of the high speed mode was done so poorly as to render this gimmick a detriment. The swing bars the wings pivot on are too loose so the wings don’t stay in the proper position when handled, particularly when also using the included additional weaponry.
3) The integrated leg missile is not accessible when the fast packs are applied to the toy.
Durability & Build: (6.5/10)
While I’ve already reduced the Design score due to the lousy implementation of high speed mode, that’s unfortunately not the only looseness that will drive you nuts. The ankles on this toy retained the flawed ankles of Yamato’s Macross7 VF-19. In fact, the Arcadia toys seem to be even more prone to loosening than was seen with the Yamato toys. These loose ankles will inhibit your fun in GERWALK and fighter mode and may cause your toy to take some nasty falls. On my toy the removable magazine also slides out too easily which can be an issue when handling the toy in fighter mode. The larger issue you’ll have in fighter mode (beyond the sloppy high speed joints) is how easily the weaponry falls off the included trees that then connect to the hard points. The hard point connection is fine but the connection of the weapon to the tree is just loose enough where they are easily jostled. Usually I wouldn’t drop a score so low here for something that doesn’t truly BREAK when being handled but the sloppiness of this toy just really sucks the joy out of handling it.
If it weren’t for the loose ankles battroid mode would be an absolute joy to pose. Nothing has really changed here from the Yamato VF-19 Macross7 toys save for a little better range of motion in the legs in GERWALK. There may be a few joints you wish had a greater range of motion but the only serious shortcomings I identified were the lack of a waist and the fact the head isn’t on a ball joint so it can’t tilt.
Total Score: (41.5/50)
A toy that is overall this good should be a lot more fun than the Arcadia YF-19 is. The looseness of fit and sloppy joints are really irritating, especially at this price point. It’s still a huge step up from the Yamato 1/60 YF-19, that toy should now be avoided as it’s vastly inferior. Still, Arcadia left the door open on this release to be one-upped by Bandai. Maybe some day we’ll get a reissue where they fix the issues that made this toy a lot less fun to handle but that seems unlikely with Bandai now releasing their own YF-19 toy in the same scale.
Original Post: October 30, 2015
Updated November 27, 2015, included HD transformation guide.
Updated December 23, 2018, included scanned instructions, scan of the stickers, improved resolution on numerous photos to 4K, added content and photos related to Bandai’s DX YF-19 offering, added more comparison photos, added 4K battroid to fighter transformation guide.