Mega Review: Includes all YF-19 variants and Super/Fold Giftset
Packaging & Extras: (2.5/5) Standard Releases
Each standard version YF-19 comes with the following:
1) Detailed removable pilot figure
2) Gun (with removable magazine gimmick)
3) Replacement ABS front canards (allegedly because the POM plastic canards on the toy are hard for customizers to paint)
4) 2x Display stand adaptors for Yamato Launch Arm Display Stand (1 GERWALK, 1 Battroid)
In a bag behind the cardboard tray that holds the plastic clam shell you’ll also find:
5) Instructions (see a scan here: Yamato 1-60 YF-19 Instructions)
All of this comes in a box the size of Yamato’s 1/48 VF-1 toys and features the same collector’s style flip-top lid which reveals the toy in fighter mode within. The box art is Yamato’s standard “not-so-good” and there was a definite let-down feeling that there wasn’t anything more exciting included as an extra. When Yamato later released their 1/60 VF-11B toys they revised the sculpt of the Isamu pilot figure making him less pudgy as illustrated in the picture below.
Packaging & Extras: (4.5/5) Super Giftset
I couldn’t believe it, Yamato, the kings of the absolutely over-inflated box, actually included fast packs and a fold drive in the exact same-sized box as their original effort! The box and its art is kinda blah but whatever, it’s not huge(r)! Extras in addition to what you got in the standard box included:
7) Lang Neumann (was it Yang?) co-pilot figure
8) Fast packs (four parts, 2x leg cover, 2x shoulder cover)
9) Fold drive (lights-up)
10) 2x attachment parts for fold drive
11) Fold drive cradle
12) Cover for second seat (to convert it back to the standard edition one seater)
Like the standard releases, the stickers and instructions are housed in the bag behind the cardboard tray and this version of the toy also includes a separate manual for the fast packs and fold-drive (click here for a scan: Yamato 1-60 YF-19 Fold Booster & Fast Pack Instructions). There is one HUGE item missing that’s bound to tick a lot of people off; you do NOT get the batteries necessary to make the LEDs in the fold drive work. Even Toynami gave us the actual battery necessary… For the record, you need THREE LR44 batteries (they go by many different names by many different manufactures) and they can cost as much as $4.99 (US) each (or can be found for much cheaper). Yamato later sold the fast pack parts separately which is astounding considering how little there is to them… they should have been included with all subsequent YF-19 releases. As one would expect, the fast pack parts fit each YF-19 toy universally.
Charm & Collectability: (2/5) Standard Releases (3.5/5) Giftset and ‘weathering’ edition
At the time of the original 1/60 YF-19 toy’s release the 1/72 toys had just become very hot collectibles, within weeks of the new YF-19 being on the market the 1/72s quickly lost all their new found demand. Here’s a list of the releases:
December 2006, 19,740 Yen, YF-19 Isamu Custom (1st edition)
June 2007, 23,940 Yen, YF-19 Isamu Custom Fast Packs Gift-set (2nd edition)
December 2007, 19,740 Yen, YF-19 25th Anniversary Custom
August 2009, 19,740 Yen, YF-19 Double Nuts Custom
August 2009, 19,740 Yen, YF-19 Bird of Prey Custom
August 2010, 19.740 Yen, YF-19 Isamu Custom (3rd edition)
August 2010, 24, 990 Yen, YF-19 Isamu Custom Weathering Edition (3rd edition)
The first edition 1/60 YF-19 toy was was considered quite expensive. The price tag convinced many to hold off on their purchase and wait out early reviews and those early reviews often included comments about the gun not sitting straight in fighter mode and some joints being floppy. At the end of June 2007 the 2nd edition fixed the gun in fighter mode. More positive initial reviews made this the YF-19 to get for quite some time. In December 2007 Yamato released their 25th anniversary edition of the YF-19 featuring a black and gold paint scheme (selected over a red and white scheme that was initially displayed and panned by convention attendees, pictured above). The 25th anniversary toy seems to be the least desired YF-19 released to date. Also pictured above is the nice detail work on the 25th anniversary… unfortunately Excalibur is a tough word to spell for a Japanese company. Yamato didn’t revisit the YF-19 toy again until after the 1/60 YF-21 and 1/60 VF-11B were produced. In August 2009 Yamato released two new versions of the toy, the ‘Double Nuts’ (blue trim) and the ‘Bird of Prey’ (orange trim)paint schemes. Being quasi-canon unseen paint schemes they seemed to struggle to find an audience but a fairly limited production run kept them from being long-term shelf-warmers. Yamato wasn’t done with the 1/60 YF-19 toy yet. In August 2010 Yamato revisited the toy, slightly altering the color beige and allegedly making tiny tweaks to some of the joints to make them less likely to lose resistance. As was Yamato’s fashion at the time, they also released a “weathering” version of the toy at an MSRP of 24,990 but it didn’t seem to make much of a splash. When Yamato released their Mac7 VF-19Kai toy in 2011 demand started growing for a 1/60 YF-19 V2 toy and one was indeed in the works when the company was shuttered. Arcadia, a new company, purchased Yamato’s work on the V2 YF-19 and released their version in March 2014. This newest toy has greatly diminished the value of the original Yamato products and is definitely far superior to the original Yamato product. The charm and collectability of this Yamato toy was further diminished in July 2015 when Bandai released their VF-19Advance DX toy which is also vastly superior to this Yamato offering while being more competitively priced than the Arcadia toy. By the time Bandai released a proper DX YF-19 toy in 2018, the Yamato YF-19 price had stabilized in the secondary market far below any of the modern offerings.
Sculpt, Detail, and Paint: (8/10)
This was easily the best representation of the YF-19 in toy form until the Arcadia toy released in 2014. It looks a wee bit plain out of the box though and there are a few concessions that had to be made since the YF-19 and YF-21 involved SK’s greatest amounts of “animation magic.” Fighter mode is definitely not as narrow as it should be and battroid mode isn’t as chunky as it should be as Yamato made concessions to both modes to get things to work. Many fans of the YF-19 have pointed out that Yamato has done a much better job on the VF-19Kai’s fighter mode, particular the neck area. The biggest knock on the profile of Yamato’s YF-19 from fighter mode is the “gullet” in front of the intakes. Paint applications and detail work are sparse. In battroid mode, the cod piece seems large and the figure looks slightly bow-legged. Another issue is a small gap between the nosecone and the upper part of the chest. Seam lines and flashing were minimal. The gun seems under-sized.
There is lots of cool stuff to rave about here but there are a few significant issues that really tug this score down. Pros include:
1) Integrated landing gear. The front landing gear has an articulated tow bar, the rear landing gear descend and then pivot outward for a wider track.
2) Gun features removable magazine
3) Perfect transformation. I particularly liked how the tail fins slide up along the leg to make them less of an issue in battroid mode. The legs feature collapsing sections to accommodate transformation without additional filler parts.
4) Interior shoulder guards that prop the shoulder up in battroid.
5) Removable face plate that expose the battroid’s head detail as seen in the show.
6) The cockpit can accommodate two figures (though the pilots were too big). The second seat can be replaced and concealed.
That’s a lot of good stuff right there! Unfortunately, there are also some shortcomings.
1) GERWALK needs, by its original design, help being held together and Yamato did nothing to that effect and the result is a floppy mess. This seemed especially problematic to me if I went from Battroid back to GERWALK mode… the whole toy felt sloppy no matter how much massaging I did. If you move the YF-19’s arms in GERWALK it’s almost guaranteed that you will need to re-adjust the back area. Yamato learned from the floppiness of this toy and provided tabs on their future Mac7 VF-19 toys that locked everything nicely together. Those tabs were carried forward to both Arcadia and Bandai’s subsequent offerings for a much improved experience.
2) The toy should have a latch to keep the chest area locked in position for Battroid mode. Moving the arms often requires readjusting the chest area to conceal any gaps you may have created. This issue was also fixed in Yamato’s Mac7 toys as well as Arcadia and Bandai’s offerings.
3) When using the fast packs in fighter mode, the toy becomes unstable. The legs armors attach via magnets but not well enough to hold fighter mode together. Installing the fast packs in fighter mode requires the legs to go down one step at the hip and up one step at the knee but this reduces the toys structural rigidity. The shoulder parts don’t attach securely enough to the leg so fighter mode never truly regains the structural rigidity it loses during the application of the parts.
4) In battroid mode the shoulder super parts just make it more evident that the interior shoulder supports are insufficient. Gravity easily wins out and the shoulders covers become limp.
5) Opening the cockpit requires the nosecone being angled slightly downward but with all the other little frustrations that’s not really such a big deal.
6) The toy lacks the small fast pack part that attaches behind the calf
This toy doesn’t have an intuitive transformation, it’s complicated with seemingly every part of the toy doing something, so expect to spend some time trying to tweak everything just right when you go from mode to mode. With time you’ll know just where to put a thumb or a finger to adjust things… but don’t expect to be a master at this toy with a quickness. Cool features you’ll find on the Bandai VF-19Advance and Arcadia YF-19 that you won’t find here include missiles stowed in the legs, hard points on the wings, and high speed mode (though high speed mode has proven a problematic feature for later toys).
Durability & Build: (6.5/10)
It seems that fewer people are reporting catastrophic failures with the later releases of the YF-19 but those failures were never as bad as Yamato’s 1/72 YF-19 toys or later 1/60 VF-0 toys. The transformation process still isn’t easy though and a fair amount of patience is still HIGHLY recommended, especially in the neck of the fighter. Mine had a tendency to have one of its shoulder supports pop out when going from pose to pose. There’s no damage to the toy though and the part just needs to be slipped back into its track when this happens… still, that could prove annoying and I could definitely see someone having their’s pop off only to be lost forever. There are also still some complaints swirling about certain areas of these toys getting loose; of special concern are the wing roots which need to do a lot of moving and also need to support the weight of the wings. I might be being generous scoring this toy ‘average’ in this category as I highly recommend it be handled somewhat gingerly and certainly not be given to a child as a present. As these toys continue to age, I’m seeing more complaints of gray plastic parts breaking in the arm.
When I first reviewed this toy I was impressed but Bandai has since raised the bar in this category. Bandai’s inclusion of a waist seemed like a big step forward but it doesn’t add a lot of value. Wing flaps could have been cool but they could have proven more annoying than fun. As with practically all toys like this, more mobility in the feet could have really helped as Yamato’s later VF-19Kai toy demonstrated. The hips are stiff enough for most poses but if you get a little too extreme the toy is bound to topple. The hips also don’t have quite the range of movement you’d saw in Yamato’s 1/48 VF-1 series but they still have more than some toys. I was a little let down that there wasn’t another swivel point at the intakes to let you spread the legs further into an A-stance. The head can move up and down and left and right but it would be better if the head were a true ball joint. Also, the elbows offer only a fair range of movement. While your imagination isn’t quite the limit here, you can achieve some pretty cool looking poses. If you want to get more dynamic, Arcadia and Bandai’s YF-19 toys have more points of articulation with improved ranges of movement.
Total Score: (33.5 – 37/50)
I gave the more recent VF-19Kai a score of 43.5 which makes me feel the score here is a little too generous but it’s hard to determine which scores exactly should be lower. When I first reviewed this toy I argued it was a good toy but not quite as good as its high MSRP would lead you to expect (a common refrain). It seems more first edition toys are breaking down at the joints so it probably could be argued I should lower the durability score down but my giftset version is holding up pretty well, albeit a lot looser than when I purchased it. The number one complaint about this toy is that its floppy by design with many moving parts not having adequate latching mechanisms to hold things together in each mode. A toy that’s difficult to transform and doesn’t lock together in its desired mode tends to leave owners feeling unsatisfied; perhaps I should lower the design score. At the end of the day, this isn’t a terrible toy, it was the best YF-19 toy for a long while and a HUGE improvement over its predecessor (the Yamato 1/72 YF-19). If you’re really hungry for a YF-19 toy but don’t have the budget for the Arcadia or Bandai DX releases, and you know this one has some issues and you set your expectations accordingly, you’ll probably be fond of it. If you’re a finicky collector definitely save up and get the Arcadia or Bandai toys. While I’m still fond of my gift-set, I often wonder how many people would have bothered buying the fold version if Yamato had only included those 4 little super parts in the regular releases… to this day it seems like such a cheap way to make a buck.
Original post date: September 16, 2007
Updated November 2, 2011. New higher resolution pictures were added, content was updated, line art comparisons were added, new comparison pics to other toys were added, and a video review review was added. As part of my ongoing effort to reduce the number of posts, I have deleted the post dated February 23, 2009 dedicated to Yamato’s VF-1 and YF-29 25th anniversary editions since the content particular to the YF-19 toy has been included here and the VF-1 was included in the Yamato 1/48 VF-1 Mega Review.
Updated October 21, 2015. Added an HD transformation guide and updated content to reflect the release of more modern Arcadia 1/60 YF-19 and Bandai VF-19Advance toys.
Updated December 23, 2018, Added scans of instructions, add scan of stickers, updated pictures and content in relation to Bandai’s DX YF-19 toy.
Updated June 30, 2019, Added 4K Battroid/GERWALK/Fighter transformation video.