Bandai 1/250 Fighter Collection Gashapon (Series 1-4)

Observations & Critique: now includes all four series

There isn’t much to complain about here. The packaging is colorful, clear, and has some decent art. Each blind-packaged box contains one semi-randomly packaged toy, a display stand, a base (with information specific to that particular toy), and a flyer showing off all the toys available for that series. The stand is nice in that it pinches the wings of the toy rather than requiring a peg hole to attach the stand directly. Of course, some may not like this makes the stand itself a bit more of an eyesore.  Beginning on the third series, “deculture” edition of the toys came with a spangly blue stand instead of the standard black one.

This collection offers a little bit for everyone.  Series 2 was the hardest to procure here in the states although I don’t know why that was.  Each series was sold in blind packaged boxes containing 12 toys, there are no duplicates in the box.  Series 1 was released in August 2009 with an MSRP of 5,040 Yen per box.  Series 2 was released in November 2009 with an MSRP of 5,040 Yen per box.  Series 3 was released in March 2010 with an MSRP of 6,000 Yen per box.  Series 4 was released in November 2010 with an MSRP per box of 6,000 Yen.
Series 1 consists of the following 16 toys:
1 x VF-25F (Alto custom)
1 x VF-25G (Michael custom)
4 x VF-1J (Hikaru, Max, Miria, & Miria Mac7 customs)
2 x VF-1A (Max TV & Hayao TV customs)
1 x VF-0A (Standard)
1 x VF-0D (Standard)
1 X VF-0B (Standard)
1 x VF-19S (Docker? custom)
1 x VF-19F (Standard)
1 x VF-19P (Dynamite livery)
1 x VF-2SS (Sylvie custom)
CHASE: VF-25 Sheryl Deculture

Series 2 consists of the following 20 toys:
1 x VF-27Gamma (Brera custom)
1 x VF-27Beta (Mass production)
1 x VF-25S (Ozma custom)
1 x YF-25 (Prophecy)
1 x VF-25A (Mass production)
1 x RVF-25 (Luca custom)
1 x VF-25F Tornado (Alto custom)
2 x VF-1S (Roy & Max customs)
4 x VF-1A (Hikaru, Hayao DYRL, Angelbirds, Cannon Fodder)
2 x YF-19 (Isamu & Blue Supernova customs)
1 x YF-21 (Gould custom)
1 x VF-22S (Gamlin custom)
1 x VF-2SS (Nexx custom)
1 x VF-0S (Roy custom)
CHASE:  VF-25 Ranka Deculture

Series 3 consists of the following 20 toys:
1 x VF-25F Armored (Alto custom)
1 x VF-25S Armored (Ozma custom)
1 x VF-25F Tornado Plus (Alto custom)
1 x VF-25F Super w/Fold (Alto custom)
1 x VF-25G Super (Michael custom)
1 x RVF-25 Super (Luca custom)
1 x VF-25S Super (Ozma custom)
1 x VF-27Gamma Fold (Brera custom)
1 x VF-25F Super (Alto custom)
2 x VF-1S Strike (Roy & Hikaru customs)
3 x VF-1A Super (Hikaru, Hayao DYRL, & Max DYRL)
1 x VF-1S Super (Roy custom)
1  x VF-25F Ranka Deculture 2
1 x RVF-25 Nanase Deculture
1 x VF-25G Klan Deculture
1 x VF-25S Cathy Deculture
Chase: VF-4

Series 4 consists of the following 20 toys:
1 x VF-25F Tornado Plus (Alto with shiny paint)
1 x VF-25F Super w/Fold (Alto with shiny paint)
1 x VF-25S Armored (Ozma custom)
1 x RVF-25 Super (Luca custom)
1 x VF-27Gamma w/Fold (Brera custom)
2 x VF-171EX (Alto custom,  mass production)
1 x VF-171EX Super (alto custom)
1 x RVF-171EX (Luca custom)
1 x QF-4000 Ghost
1 x AIF-7S Ghost
1 x VF-171 (Mass production)
1 x RVF-171 (Mass production)
1 x VF-25F (Mac zero movie custom)
1 x VF-25G (Galia IV speaker version)
1 x VF-25A Super (mass production)
1 x VF-1A (Hikaru custom)
Chase 1: VF-25S Sheryl Deculture
Chase 2: VF-25F Ranka Deculture (3)
Chase 3: VF-25S Klan Deculture (red)
The chase toys and the more heroic valkyries tend to draw more demand from retailers who sell them individually.  Some of these figures can demand quite a premium in the secondary market from people who bought multiple boxes only to wind up still missing one or two pieces.

For their very diminutive size these figures pack in quite a bit of detail.  Clear plastic is often used where appropriate rather than painted plastic which makes things like canopies and fold drives look much more attractive.  You won’t get the heavy “wash” Yamato applied to their VFC gashapon series which I think is a plus since the size of these toys would require a very delicate touch with a manufacturer attempting to apply a bit of a weathered look.    Bandai has included a lot of different vehicles in this line and each and every one appears very well done.  The deculture editions are sometimes a bit questionable in what they’re representing but the paint jobs themselves are impressive. 

There isn’t much you can do with these toys other than display them.  The VF-1 toys do feature swivel mechanisms for their wings but that’s as sophisticated as these figures get.  The stands provided are fairly nice in that they allow you to swivel and tilt the figure with a fair range of motion.  Having the fighter slide in to the adjustable wing clips allows you to position the fighter with either the wings facing the clips or backed into the clips which gives you a few more display options (such as diving downward or upward).  Not requiring a peg to insert into the fighter toy allows the toys to look much cleaner.   Assembly is typically minimal with many of the toys requiring no assembly at all.  Some of the toys that do require assembly have very tiny parts (like the VF-27 toys requiring the head to be installed in fighter mode) so you will definitely need to keep a close eye on things.

These toys are built and painted well for their tiny stature but you can expect to occasionally have a problem with fit and/or finish.  They are made of PVC and ABS plastic. PVC is the plastic that bends when mis-shaped and is generally responsible for “gashapon disease” or misfigured toys (usual symptoms are dropping wings and curved guns). Fortunately Bandai put the PVC where it could generally do no harm and made the parts that would be susceptible to the affects of packaging/gravity out of the more sturdy ABS plastic.

From what I understand, the Yamato VFC’s fighter modes are easily their biggest sellers so it’s no surprise that Bandai made an entire gashapon series dedicated to just the fighters. The tiny scale encourages people to buy them all while the fact a box can’t possibly contain the entire set will make gashapon sellers happy. For my part, I’m still dealing with a bit of a Macross larger scale hangover so I’m really digging these little fighters. I could see myself 10 years from now having sold off all the toys that are sucking up so much storage but still having a shelf dedicated to my various gashapons. In fact, if you have a kid who isn’t too small and loves fighter planes, you might want to consider buying these, putting a dot of glue on each part that can be pulled apart, and giving that child 12 new planes (s)he can soar around with.  I used to have Micro Machines, I can’t imagine these would be any less safe if they’re glued together.  I’m glad Bandai left the chase figures largely as non-canon paint schemes of little girls so I don’t have to feel too bad about not tracking them down.  Did Bandai manage to make every fighter?  No, here’s a list of the 20 valks I’d like to see in a Series V… although I’m fairly certain at this point we won’t be seeing a Series V:
2 x VF-22S (Max & Miria Customs)
2 x VF-11C (mass production and Miria custom)
1 x VF-17S (Gamlin custom)
1 x VF-17D (mass production)
1 X YF-21 w/Fast Pack (Gould custom)
1 x YF-19 w/Fast Pack (Isamu custom)
2 x VF-11B (mass production and Aegis custom)
1 x VF-0S w/Ghost (Roy custom)
1 x VF-0A w/Ghost (Shin custom)
3 x SV-51 (Ivanov, Nora, & Mass Production versions)
2 x YF-29 (Ozma & Alto customs)
1 x VT-1 SuperOstrich
1 x VE-1 Elintseeker
1 x Chase: YF-29 deculture version
Have different valks you’d like to see as part of a Fifth Series?  Like I said, there probably won’t be one, but leave a comment if you feel Bandai missed a valk you’d really like to see.

NOTE: This review has been updated with content for Series 2, Series 3, and Series 4, pictures were added, resolution of existing pictures was increased.
Original post date: September 22, 2009.


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