Observations & Critique: Go big or go home
The Reactive armor comes in a reasonably sized box but the plastic clamshell that contains the goods is so tall and the cardboard so thin that the box feels hollow. Once you pull the tray out you’ll find the armor, instructions, and a sticker sheet. There’s a lot of cool stuff that could have come with the reactive armor like a display stand, missile firing effects, bigger hands, some standing figures, or replacement parts for broken 0A legs, so what we get here is fairly minimal.
These parts do NOT fit the VF-0D toys or anything made by Yamato but they will fit either the VF-0A or VF-0S. The problem is that using the Reactive Armor will mean you’ll have to hide your beautiful battroid which isn’t a proposition everyone will buy into. You can’t use these parts in either GERWALK or fighter mode. So, barring some pretty extreme scarcity, it’s unlikely these parts will become Holy Grails down the road. Arcadia hinted at Winter Wonderfest 2017 that a plain white kit version may be in the pipeline. There has only been one release so far:
Reactive Armor (regular release), February 2017, 17,800 Yen
Whether or not you like the overall blue tone there are a few detail touches that are very nice. First, the gold in the back boosters adds a lot of visual punch. The colored red and blue bulbs on the backpack are also nice details. The pink missiles in the shoulders and chest are a bewildering letdown. Even if they were more gray than white it would be preferable to pink. The armor that goes over the wings looks good from behind but it seems like it should be a sleeve that also covers the front of the wings or that the plate should sit closer to the wings. The backpack armor looks too low on the back to my eye and the chest and shoulder areas, which house the missiles, look too bulky. The dearth of painted on detail is sadly standard for Arcadia and, at this point, most people are getting too spoiled by Bandai’s abundance of painted on detail in their products to consider using stickers.
These parts can be thoroughly disassembled but all snap back together easily and securely. The hip armor features a removable grenade though the chest and shoulder missiles are fixed. Putting the armor on the toy is generally easy though the chest piece can be a bit tricky at first. Once on, the armor does a great job stubbornly staying on the toy so you will have no concerns of things popping off unintentionally. Connecting the shoulder armors via pegs extending from the backpack feels a little awkward and definitely a step backward from the V2 VF-1 GBP but that makes sense in some way. I would have preferred a solution more similar to the VF-1 GBP with some sort of cover that connected to the toy’s natural shoulder. A mechanism that attached to the shoulder but allowed the armor to pivot on top of the shoulder is probably the best solution but would involve more parts and more cost. There are less opening doors here than there were on the VF-1 GBP (by nature of the design). You won’t find any missiles/grenades in the legs or arms. The most important element here is that the armor goes on smoothly and stays there and that the missile doors that should open do open exposing multiple cans of kickass. The toy can hold the gun with the armor installed though it’s not as secure as it would be otherwise… it’s a real shame there are no optional fixed pose hands.
There are only two areas that seem like they may be durability concerns. First, the wing cover armor slides underneath the backpack and so you might run the risk of scratching some paint, particularly on 0A toys. Similarly, the chest armor has three little clips (one on top, two beneath) and in trying to line up and attach the armor you may run the risk of scratching something. Potentially those chest clips may prove to be durability concerns but we’ll have to wait and see. Everything else seems very sturdy and very well manufactured.
If you love the Reactive Armor there’s nothing here that should convince you not to pick this accessory up. If you’re on the fence, it’s just too expensive of an accessory for me to feel I need to strongly recommend. It definitely has presence but it didn’t really up the fun factor for me. I also like the look of the naked VF-0S so I’m not a huge fan of the notion of covering it up (it’s a little easier with the VF-1 or even VF-25 where there are so many other variants). If these toys were cheaper I might be able to convince myself to buy a second VF-0 so I can have the best of both worlds. Since the Reactive Armor never appeared on Shin’s 0A, I don’t see much of a need to ever own more than one Reactive Armor accessory. At retail the 17,800 price point is dangerously close to Bandai’s DX Delta toys which are far more fun to play with than an accessory like this.