Yamato 1/72 YF-21 Toys

REVIEW(updated): Includes version 1 and version 2 with fast packs

Packaging & Extras: Version 1 (2/5), Version 2 (3.5/5)
The first version of the toy comes with no extras whatsoever.  You get a somewhat large, flimsy box with a large window that can be used as a display piece in box.  You also get the toy, a few decals (precut, unlike the first edition YF-19), and instructions.  That’s it.  The lack of a gun was really depressing.  The second version of the toy was packaged in fighter mode in a thinner box with a lot of nice extras including:
1) Super Parts (2 leg bay covers, two fin pods)
2) 2x rear landing gears (required when the leg bay cover super parts are in use)
3) Gould pilot figure
4) 2x Guns
5) 2x Gun gripping fixed-pose hands

Charm & Collectability (2.5/5)
Of all Yamato’s 1/72 Macross Plus first edition toys the YF-21 was the least plagued by build quality issues.  The first edition toy was released in January 2001 and touted its similarity to the existing Studio Half Eye kit amongst its selling point.  The toy had an MSRP of 6800 Yen.  The second edition toy was released in April 2003 with an MSRP of 7800 Yen.  The fast packs included in the second edition toy are not compatible with the first edition toy which, when weighed with the additional extras made the second edition toy seem a much better purchase.  Unfortunately, the second edition toy adopted a more purple hue which many found to be a large turn off.  When Yamato revisited the YF-21 with their 1/60 release they also revisited a more true blue color.  As one would expect, the release of the 1/60 toy and its huge strides forward in all categories effectively crushed the secondary market for these 1/72 figures.  The 1/72 offerings continue to enjoy the charm and collectability that comes from a fair amount of diecast content but anyone looking for the best representation of the YF-21 should quickly look past these now-classic toys.

Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: Version 1 (5.5/10), Version 2 (6.5/10)
As you can see in the included line art comparison, the effort made by Yamato isn’t terrible but it’s still far from good by today’s standards.  Improvements from version 1 to version 2 include additional tampo printed detail, redesigned leg bays where the legs rotate flat and allow a much sleeker fighter mode, and connecting points for the fast packs.  The second version’s fighter mode does a fairly respectable job emulating the line art (for the era) although in both versions the fighter’s neck is too short, the rear fins too large, and the shoulders are awkwardly exposed.  Battroid mode is a bit of a monstrosity no matter which version is being compared to the line art.  The back of the toy is far too large, the knees look awkward, and the nose cone looks too large and prominent up front.

Design (6/10)
Back in the early 2000s when handling any of the Mac+ toys that Yamato had produced I got a “Wow, they actually pulled it off” feeling and this toy was no exception.  Sure, most of those accolades would be better directed toward Studio Half Eye for their pioneering design-work for their resin models but back in that era I was pleased with these toys (which says a lot for the era and the huge strides that have come afterward).  The YF-21 does not have a simple transformation but Yamato managed to replicate it in a way that flows (although you may find the first few transformations rather frustrating).  There doesn’t seem to be any needless complication in the process and Yamato put tabs where they needed to be to keep the whole thing together well in any mode.  Even back when I first reviewed this toy I did find a few reasons to complain.  The locking mechanisms for the hips seemed too weak allowing the hips to slide upward into the chest too easily.  Version 2 received a bit more praise for adding the guns that expanded and had articulated grip covers but it also received some criticism since the fast packs had to be removed to remove the guns from the bay covers and additional landing gears needed to be plugged into the past packs in fighter mode.  In 2008, when Yamato dropped the 1/60 version of the toy, our eyes were opened to a number of design improvements that forever shifted the score here downward.  The 1/60 toy added little things like articulated hands and removable intake covers but it also added bigger things like tabs to hold the bay doors in GERWALK mode and mobility for the head in battroid as well as gimmicks like the pilot seat that reclined to allow the pilot to be right-side up in battroid.

Durabilty & Build (6.5/10)
Of all Yamato’s first editon 1/72 Macross Plus toys the YF-21 was the least prone to absolute failure or breakage without handling.  That said, it isn’t really hard to break this toy with improper handling.  As you can imagine, the yellow fin near the cockpit in fighter mode doesn’t take a lot to snap off.  I have had a few parts pop off during routine handling.  I’ve accidentally removed one of the silver flaps that cover the rear of the jet as well as one of the tail fins (on the arm in battloid mode).  Both of these pieces are simply snap-on though and it was a cynch to put them back on and I haven’t had to worry about them since.  As you can imagine with any part that can easily pop off it can also be easily lost so it’s something to keep in mind.  What really reduces the score here for both the first and second edition toys is how difficult it is to get the intakes lined up properly with the back of the fighter mode.  Constant fit issues can lead the toy’s owner to get the toy into a position where undue pressure is created on the chest area intakes and all the parts they effect.  If you ever see a picture of one of these toys missing an arm it’s usually caused by these fit issues causing too much strain.

Articulation (6/10)
Unfortunately, of all the Mac+ toys this one is the least poseable.  The list of improvements needed here is rather long.  First, the feet need to be far more adjustable.  Some people don’t even attempt GERWALK mode because they feel the balancing act on these feet isn’t worth it (I had no problem personally, but I’ve heard that complaint).  Second, the back is too wide and solid which cripples articulation throughout the torso.  Third, the head can’t be angled.  There is good mobility at the hips but that’s hampered by the looseness of the leg bay doors.  That said, you can use the leg bay doors as additional points of stability in battroid mode if you don’t mind cheating a bit in your displays.  Keep your expectations very low and you might be able to pull off a pose that surprises you… but probably not.


Total Score: Version 1 (28.5/50), Version 2 (31/50)
The first version of this toy really seemed short-sighted and it was good that Yamato fixed many obvious little issues when they released the second edition.  It was a bit sad that Yamato also made the second toy so purple but it was possible to eventually look past this for the improvements to the fighter profile and the inclusion of guns and fast packs.  For a long time, I really loved my display of 1/72 Macross Plus toys and for that reason these toys still have a good amount of charm (to me).  Of course, these days, unless your a completionist or a  diehard collector of diecast, there really isn’t much of a reason to seek these older toys out.  The 1/60 scale Macross Plus toys outclass their 1/72 brethren by great strides.

NOTE: This review has been updated, two posts were condensed into one, content was updated, many new pictures were added including comparisons to other YF-21 toys, line art comparisons were added, a video review was added, and resolution of existing pictures was increased.

The following reviews were consolidated as part of the most recent update:
Yamato 1/72 YF-21 Omega One, Original Post Date: July 9th, 2006, updated February 26, 2008
Yamato 1/72 YF-21 Omega One Fast Pack Edition, original post date July 9th, 2006, updated April 21, 2008.

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