The First of the Tiny Sessions Line
Packaging & Extras: (3.5/5)
This toy comes in colorful packaging that captures the chibi essence of the offering. The box is efficient at 19CM tall, 4.5CM deep, 13.5CM wide. Inside you’ll find a plastic tray that includes the VF-25 toy as well as:
1) Heroine figure
2) Pair of hands (L&R open, so you can place the heroine in an open hand)
Behind the tray you’ll find plastic baggies that contain:
6) Display stand consisting of a base, an arm, and a connector
7) 2x heroine figure connectors, one to the base of the display stand and another for the cockpit
And behind it all you’ll find
8) Black and white instructions on standard printer paper
I didn’t like that the baggy was sealed so you have to cut it open and then you’ll need to supply your own zipping plastic bag going forward to make sure you don’t lose anything. What isn’t included? The DX toys include a dagger and several more sets of fixed posed hands, which would have been fun. The SD infinity toy came with a gun firing effect. Super parts would have really set the whole thing over-the-top. Why can’t we have chibi figures of the pilots too?
The VF-25G toy is much the same with two exceptions. As expected, Michael doesn’t come with the standard VF-25 gun, instead coming with his sniper rifle. You’ll also get:
9) 2x pairs of speaker pods for the wings
These speaker pods allow you to recreate the scene where Ranka soothed a raging platoon of Zentraedi with her singing.
Charm & Collectability: (3/5)
Super-deformed toys are incredibly charming but the world at large prefers metal content and perfect transformation, neither of which are present here. These toys weigh a diminutive 32 grams (300 grams less than a DX VF-25 toy) and are 11cm long in fighter mode from the tip of the shield to the top of the nosecone and 10 cm tall to the top of the head in battroid. Scale is generally not important when talking about super deformed toys but if you’re curious, it works out to about 1/170 in fighter and 1/156 in battroid. The heroine figures stand 3 cm tall. The VF-25 toys hit shelves in November 2022 for 4,500¥ before tax. Next up is the VF-31 toy with Messer, Hayate, and Arad landing in April 2023, Chuck’s and Mirage will hit shelves in June 23. More releases have been teased with Basara’s VF-19, Hikaru’s DYRL VF-1S, and Alto’s Super YF-29 having made appearances at toy shows. Info graphic above includes release date and MSRP. Visit the official website at https://tamashiiweb.com/item_brand/tiny-session/?wovn=en
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (6/10)
This section is much more subjective when it comes to super deformed toys. I am very pleased with the quality of the paint applications but it’s a shame the SMS markings were relegated to stickers. How does it stack up against the SD Infinity toy? Positives include a matte sheen and crisper lines with more molded details than the SD Infinity. Otherwise, the toy feels like an attempt to make a cheaper version of the same thing. The new character figures are, of course, utterly adorable and very well done. Sheryl’s outfit has plenty of small details that have been captured with paint.
Unique transformation mechanisms that accommodate the smaller size mean the toy resembles the vehicle in each mode, but liberties are taken to get there. Fighter mode is my favorite with my only gripe being the cockpit. I wish they had made the canopy much less translucent so it wasn’t so obvious the cockpit was just a detail-less cavity. The SD Infinity toy had a more bulbous cockpit which better caught the ‘egg plane’ vibe. The fists stick out from under the shield but that’s minor (and can be removed if it bothers you). I wish Bandai had used a darker gray for the feet, hands, and internal swing mechanisms as the light gray feels out of place.
GERWALK mode is my least favorite mode. The toy cheats by disconnecting the intakes at the hip. While it’s passable, I’m not a fan. The gun does not extend and open like it does on the SD Infinity toy. It looks like it’s somewhat extended already which provides the spot for the display stand to attach and makes a decent compromise between its two configurations. GERWALK is also the first mode where you’ll notice the fins on the legs don’t fold backward, but it’s a minor detail and easily forgiven.
Battroid is adorable. The big concession to the smaller size (ignoring the parts-forming head) is what happens to the cockpit. The proper VF-25 transformation tucks the cockpit along the spine which is then shielded by the back plate. This toy leaves the cockpit upside down below the crotch. Since it’s not right in front of you, it’s easy to overlook. The VF-25 is usually depicted with a jutting forward pelvis but the pelvis on this toy is angled back significantly. It’s too bad the inner piece of the pelvis isn’t a separate part so that it could have stopped rotating at the proper position while the rest of the housing went further back like it does on the SD Infinity. The toy also ditches the hip kibble seen on the line art and more deluxe toys. Gone are the little green diamond on the VF-25F head, the black cheek accents, and the gray mandible border. The lack of painted accents continues throughout. There are no SMS logos or “007” badging anywhere on the Tiny Session toy. Paint applications are completely omitted from the gun, hands, and feet. The chest loses black stripes and gray verniers. The shield loses the red accent stripe. The hips and lower parts of the legs lose black striped accents. The wings and stabilizers are a bit more rounded/thick.
This is the section that gives toys credit for things like integrated landing gear, opening cockpits with removable pilots, removable intake fan covers, integrated landing gear and perfect transformation… and this toy has none of those things. I would have appreciated some plug in landing gear… even if they plugged into the display stand and the toy just sat on them. The gun attaches via a peg which allows it to be left on the forearm for a familiar look the VF-1 used to sport frequently but not seen often on newer valks.
It’s a parts-former… and not the kind where all the parts that come off are reattached later, but the kind that requires you to go grab your box of parts so your battroid mode can have a head. That is a bummer, but it’s still cool that such a simple, small, and affordable toy looks convincing in all modes.
The included display has two pivots points (Left/right & up/down). The arm of the display stand is very short which inhibits GERWALK mode fun (but you can revert the adapter back to the fighter position to get things higher up). The adapter doesn’t seat firmly in any mode, popping out during the lightest of handling. It feels like putting a couple holes in the toy to receive the peg from the display stand arm would have been a simpler and better solution than an adapter.
Durability & Build: (7/10)
This toy is small and relies on a number of ball joints to hold it together so rough handling will cause parts to pop off and need to be replaced. I was relieved to find the plastic was not soft or rubbery; the toy feels solid while being manipulated. The ball joints are generally all stiff so I’ve had no issues with the toy slumping or failing to hold a pose and, given how light the toy is, I don’t expect issues to develop. I had no warped pieces and haven’t heard of any complaints that are hampering the line so far. I wouldn’t call this “child-friendly” but it’s not frail either.
The head guns (on the 25F) are ball joints as is the head which has an impressive range of motion for both up/down, spinning all around, or cocking at any angle. This range of movement allows you to obtain very expressive poses which is important since the tiny extremities will limit you. You’ll never be able to get a pose with both hands on the gun because the arms are so small and the chest is so big that the hands can barely make it a quarter across the chest. The shoulders are ball joints which are mostly exposed which allows you to angle the arm outward as well as spinning it all the way around. The elbow is also a ball joint that also allows a twist but it’s mostly encumbered so you can’t move the elbow past 90 degrees. The hands connect via ball joints so they can twist and rock. There is no waist. The hips connect via ball joints with limited ability to twist and I was a little let down that there’s no other twist point at the knee. The knee can go 90 degrees backward and almost 90 degrees forward with the knee cap in the forward position for GERWALK mode. The feet attach via a ball joint that allows for a decent amount of rotating and rocking.
Total Score: (31.5/50)
If you’re not into SD figures, this is an easy pass. If you are into SD figures, then don’t let the low score here chase you away. This is an inexpensive toy that is adorable and feels like you’ll be able to play with it with little concern of it crumbling apart. While I would have rather they continued the SD infinity line of more involved SD vehicles, I appreciate the cost conscious design and the emphasis on the chibi humans and I look forward to reviewing more of them. If they do a VF-25S Ozma, will it come with Cathie or Ranka in a different outfit?