Observations & Critique: Everything you wanted your Hi-Metal VF-19 to come with
This set of extras comes packaged in the standard brown Tamashii shipper box with a very limited color box inside. Cutting the tape on the shipper box, then the standard box, then the plastic trays inside gave me access to pretty much everything I had wished came with my original VF-19Kai toy. In the box you get:
1) A display stand base
2) 2 x closed fist hands
3) 3x landing gear (that plug into the stand)
4) 3 x display stand adapters for connecting the toy to the stand (one for each mode)
5) a bracket to attach the gun to the toy in fighter mode (also works on VF-19S)
6) an extra display stand post for attaching the sound booster (sold separately)
7) Optional shoulders which have the shoulder speakers exposed.
These parts were released as Tamashii exclusives in August 2010 for an MSRP of 2100 Yen. So, is it worth the extra money to get those extras you wish came packaged with the VF-19Kai in the first place? I’m sure many Macross7 fans will think it is but the combined MSRP of the Kai with these extras would be around 9500 Yen. The fact this kit was made is a positive sign that the VF-19Kai sold well. The chance that these items would become highly desirable was essentially eliminated with Yamato’s release of their much superior 1/60 VF-19 toy. There was hope Bandai would release a gift-set eventually but it was not-to-be.
I was a little let down by how plain the base of the stand looks despite its nice layout. If someone were to paint the stand it could really be an exceptional display piece. I was also let down that the speakers in the shoulders were a muted dark plastic color instead of getting a bit of paint to bring them more to life. Everything is definitely sculpted well it’s just a shame that Bandai didn’t go the extra mile and paint it all.
From an engineering standpoint, the display stand is a bit more sophisticated than the typical cheap stand included with some toys. The stand is articulated at its base and top with an extra swivel joint at the top. For more display options the base of the stand can be rotated into different positions. The extra clear stand for the sound booster can also be used for a Hi-Metal VF-1 toy utilizing the stand attachments that toy came with. The rear of the stand also has a place to stow the gun. The extra hands just pop in and out with ball joints and the extra shoulders attach in a similar method. Most major complaints about this extra accessory stem from the fact the landing gears have to be used in conjunction with this stand (since the gears plug into the stand rather than the toy) and that the gun can not be attached to the VF-19Kai while it is on the display stand. While the VF-19S comes with essentially the same display stand with a less extravagant base, my VF-19S display stand is much stiffer and functions much better with the toy in GERWALK mode. Sadly, my VF-19Kai display stand is essentially useless in that mode due to the way the center of gravity is so far forward of the display stand arm.
My largest durability concern was the tiny connectors for both the original shoulders and the bonus shoulders. The shoulders attach via two very small plastic prongs and it seems like it wouldn’t be too difficult to snap one of those prongs and render the shoulder useless. Caution is definitely advised.
Overall I enjoyed my VF-19 toy despite some flaws and had it come with all these extras I would have scored it very high (that, of course, was before Yamato showed us how much better a VF-19Kai toy could be). Buying all these extras separately as a hard to get exclusive isn’t the most pleasant proposition. You can find other display stands for much cheaper that will work with the attachment pieces provided by Bandai so I only really recommend this for the Fire Bomber diehards out there.
Note: This review was updated on May 6, 2015 to include an improved HD video review and higher resolution photos. Content was also updated to reflect that Yamato’s VF-19Kai significantly raised the bar.