Observations & Critique: New & Improved
Note: This post covers the RENEWAL version of the VF-25 Tornado parts. Renewal accessories do NOT fit version 1 toys. If you are looking for accessories for your version 1 toy, please look for the separate post on those parts.
Staying true to the Tamashii standard, these parts come in a brown shipper box. Inside you’ll find a simplified, two-tone retail-style box (23 x 36 x 8 cm). The box contains two plastic trays, a baggy, and instructions. In the first tray you’ll get the wing sleeves, wing-mounted boosters, and space-mode intake caps. In the second tray you’ll get the back, arm, and leg armors as well as the under-wing missile pylons for space mode. In a perfect world, this would be all you would need… but we also get a baggy that includes:
A) Battroid mode crotch lock
B) Fighter mode gun attachment part (regular for Alto custom, Sniper specific for Michael custom)
C) Fighter mode stand adapter
D) GERWALK mode brace (3 parts)
And behind all that you’ll find instructions.
These parts will fit on any VF-25 toy so I would have preferred that both sets include both gun adapters. It would have also been nice if there was a GERWALK mode stand adapter that supported the hinges on the wings that could be used in lieu of the (awful) GERWALK brace in much the same way that using the battroid display stand adapter eliminates the need for the battroid mode crotch lock.
The renewal version Tornado parts are ONLY available as standalone offerings (see picture above for releases). No ‘renewal’ giftsets exist. If you want to get renewal versions, buy only ones that look like the above boxes. Bandai never released standalone VF-25G Tornado Parts for the V1 toy, those were only available as a giftset.
If you’re familiar with the differences between version 1 and renewal version VF-25 toys, then you’ll know to expect significant upgrades to these parts. The enhancements are obvious before you even put the accessories on the VF-25. While the mold might not be 100% brand new, it is 100% refreshed. Even re-used parts (the boosters at the end of the wings and the connector between the two cannons) have additional panel lines and better paint applications. All parts are made to this improved standard of sharper lines, paint applications, and better proportions. Speaking of better paint applications, Bandai also fixed the “SWS” error that was present on all V1 leg armors. The missiles within the space-part pylons are significantly improved. Paint has also been added beneath the cannon flaps that are opened when the space parts are installed.
One of the biggest improvements over the V1 parts is the ability to put the parts on in fighter mode without canting the wings upward (required on the V1 toys). The straight wings are achieved by angling the legs down slightly at the hip and then up at the knee like the VF-1 and VF-25 super parts.
I still only like the Tornado parts in fighter mode, and even then, I prefer the full space set to the atmospheric presentation. The space set looks different from everything else out there, pleasantly over-powered, but still recognizable. Part of my dislike for this accessory comes from the existence of the YF-29, which does everything the Tornado VF-25 toy does but BETTER both cosmetically AND functionally.
Though better than the version 1 toy’s attempt at Tornado GERWALK mode, the toy still struggles maintaining this mode and looks awkward in it. The awkwardness in handling and look make this an easy pass for me.
Battroid mode fares no better than GERWALK in my estimation. Again, the toy struggles less than the Version 1 toy did, and looks better doing it, but it still relies on the tripod drooping off the back which is a design element I just can’t get behind. Adding the space parts creates a cape heavier than the figure. Not my cup of tea… and again, the YF-29 does it all better.
This toy includes and improves upon the design elements incorporated with the version 1 accessory, including:
1) Parts that stay on the toy securely
2) Pivoting cannons that also rotate left/right and have opening panels (two on each cannon)
3) Pivoting wing-mounted engines
4) Articulated exhaust nozzles on wing-mounted engines
5) Opening missile bays (on space equipment pylons)
In comparison to the V1 toy, the missile bays have reworked hinges that operate more smoothly. A depression was added to the missile bay doors so you can slip in a fingernail in to help pry them open.
While most the V1 Tornado parts fit securely, the arm armors in fighter mode were a notable exception. On that toy, the arm armor clamps to the back of the arm, a location that is unavailable when the arm is perfectly straight for fighter mode. This meant you had to angle the forearms slightly to get the arm armors to stay on and you could easily pop them off during handling. On this toy, the arm armor connects to a slot in the forearm which is equally accessible in all modes with no imperfect workarounds required.
I hate that we STILL need a separate attachment part for the gun in fighter mode, that it connects poorly is just insult to injury. The need for the gun attachment parts arises from the fact the arm armors taper as they move away from the arm leaving a large gap where the gun should attach. The gun would need to have a grip that extended past the height of the armors to attach where the arms come together. A better solution would be to only taper the arm armors on the exterior edges so there would be no gap in the middle. I would argue that this would be more aerodynamic in fighter mode and hardly perceptible in the other modes where it would be the back edge of the armors. The gun for the 25F (or other standard Messiah Valkyries) connects to an adapter with horizontal pegs that then attach to the inside of the forearm armors. The 25G, with its radically different sniper rifle, has an adapter that splits in two, is reconnected with the gun in the center, then pegs into four slots on the tops of the forearms. The 25G gun adapter was much more secure.
A cavity filler piece has been added where the space parts missile boom connects to the wing. This mount is unchanged from version 1 so, you could mount version 1 missile towers to a renewal toy or renewal missile towers to a version 1 toy. You would probably never do that, but what you might do is use the reaction missiles and mounts included with the version 1 Powered Weapon Set on your renewal Tornado Parts.
The worst aspect of these toys is the continued reliance on a brace in GERWALK mode (like we saw on the V1 toy). This mode benefits from the renewal toy’s inclusion of an integrated backpack brace and the ability to leave the hips seated in GERWALK but the amount of weight on the wings is still too much for the unsupported wing hinges, especially when the space parts are added. You CAN pose the toy in GERWALK mode without using the brace but I wouldn’t recommend it. Worse though, the brace is very awkward. It attaches to the toy too firmly making it hard to install and remove and the supports that connect to the legs make handling the toy uncomfortable.
Battroid mode has a brace of its own but it’s a much simpler affair that acts as a spacer between the pelvis and back. Using the display stand eliminates the need for this brace. Given the various joints on this toy that can get loose, it’s entirely possible that the only way you will be able to enjoy this toy in battroid mode with the Tornado parts installed will be by using the display stand. This may also be the point where you realize the battroid mode display stand adapter could have used some improvements as the connection isn’t as stable as you would like, particularly when accessory armors are installed. While my Alto toy is stiff enough to handle the weight admirably, my Michael toy does not have sturdy enough hip connections to support the weight. The hips pop out and the toy plunges backward… and that’s before the space parts are added that make the wings even heavier.
Improving the tornado parts so that they could be applied to fighter mode without angling the wings upward does reduce ground clearance but it’s still possible to have this toy on its landing gear without the exterior engines hitting the ground. Some owners resolved this issue by sliding a thin piece of cardboard inside the wing edge to remove the slop that allows the wing parts sag enough to touch the ground.
The tornado parts are a difficult accessory for these VF-25 toys. The preponderance of the weight needs to be supported by the wings which are on hinges that allow them to drop back for battroid mode. A version 3 toy will require additional consideration of this mechanism to ever make Tornado Parts feel like a safe accessory in every mode. In the meantime, fighter mode, where the weight is buttressed by the leg underneath, and battroid mode, where the weight presses down on the opposite axis, feel much more secure than GERWALK mode… even with the included brace. The brace fits so tight that putting it on and taking it off feels like it could lead to breaking the pegs that are pivotal to holding the toy together in fighter mode.
Frontier pushed the envelope when it came to accessories for the VF-25 and the toys weren’t able to keep up. While the Super parts work well, the Armor and Tornado parts overwhelm the toy and introduce concerns for looser joints at a minimum but also stress marks, cracks, and even worse. I can only stomach this accessory in fighter mode. If you love the look of a Tornado VF-25 in fighter mode, than this may still be a worthwhile acquisition, otherwise, there are probably better ways to spend your money.