Review: It’s got a head so big it’s a virtual planetoid
Packaging & Extras: (4/5)
This toy doesn’t come in a collector’s style package. The packaging is decently compact at 22.3 cm tall, 15.2 cm wide, and 7.2 cm deep. There’s no flip-top lid and the cardboard is thin. There is a clear window on the front which could be a danger for allowing the sunlight to yellow the toy. That said, it does come with lots of fun stuff:
1) Smaller head (necessary for transformation)
4) 2x (R&L) gun or knife holding hands
5) Display stand connectors (Fighter/GERWALK/Battroid)
6) Display stand
7) Gun-firing effect
8) Instructions (black & white on standard printer paper)
The score is dropped a little bit lower because the toy doesn’t include super parts or a standing figure like the old Joke Machine toys did. The extra head is a huge plus. Bandai could have just given us the slightly over-sized head that works for transformation but instead they also gave us a mega head which better drives home the super deformed effect. The firing effect is fun.
Charm & Collectability: (4/5)
Released in September 2010 for 4500 Yen, this toy appeared to sell well but it never received a reissue and the line abruptly ended. It seemed likely that it would be the first in a line of SD VF-25 toys but it was not to be. At about 10 cm tall in battroid mode and 68 grams, there’s not much of a ‘bang for your buck’ feeling in handling these toys. There is some heft added by metal in the feet and the swing bar. It plays very well with the Joke Machines of old. Will it be a huge collector’s item some day? It’s bound to have limited appeal since it’s non-scale and super-deformed, but it demands more than original MSRP in the secondary market.
Sculpt, Detail, & Paint: (7.5/10)
For a super deformed toy, you can color me impressed. In the past, a faithful representation of the scheme would have been considered good, but Bandai has gone beyond that and given us the SMS logos, little red triangles and squares, and other little details that will impress you. The big weakness in fighter and GERWALK modes is that Bandai did not include a pilot. The canopy is translucent so the missing pilot is obvious. In comparing it with the Tiny Session VF-25 toy that came out later, fighter mode looks more ‘super deformed’ on the SD Infinity toy. This is caused by the huge head tucked into the back and the more bulbous canopy. The SD Infinity toy also stays closer to the spirit of the VF-25, retaining many of the transformation mechanisms, including the legs poking out of the backplate in fighter mode. The Tiny Session toy has ‘back-of-leg-looking-detail’ molded into the back plate instead.
My least favorite mode for both the SD Infinity and the Tiny Session toys was GERWALK mode. The simpler design and stubbier dimensions of both toys limits articulation and leaves GERWALK awkward. Both toys rely on disconnecting the hip creating something that looks more ‘between modes’ rather than a true third mode. The SD Infinity toy scores points for having a gun that simulates the two distinct modes (Fighter or hand held) whereas the Tiny Session toy has a gun that is permanently in some in between state.
Battroid is suitably adorable for both the SD Infinity and Tiny Session toys. The mold for the Tiny Session toy looks sharper and that carries through to the panel lines and details. Since the SD Infinity toy tried harder to stick to the VF-25 transformation, the cockpit is better concealed more toward the toy’s butt rather than below its waist. The SD Infinity toy also has a cod piece that juts forward properly while the Tiny Session toy has a backward lean. Paint applications are far more plentiful on the SD Infinity toy.
Compromise was the name of the game. Bandai gets points for the completely overhauled transformation to work in SD. Transformation is both fun and clever. Pulling off perfect transformation (provided you’re using the smaller head) at this scale is an impressive feat. After that, the bummers begin. There’s no opening cockpit, no pilot figure removable or otherwise, and no integrated OR attachable landing gear. I love landing gear. Sure, we get a little display stand, but my wife has a fighter mode Joke Machine on her desk at work and it slips under the radar, so it’d be nice if this toy could do that also.6
The hip swing bar lacks a stopper in the battroid position which can be a little awkward as you try to get that perfect pose. GERWALK mode is present but, as mentioned above, the hips have to be disconnected from the body of the plane making it appear more half plane and half human than a bird with its talons out. Fighter mode comes together and handles nicely.
The display stand is rudimentary. You can swivel it at the base and at the peg that receives the display stand adapter and there’s a pivot point. Why did we need display stand adapters? Couldn’t Bandai strategically place holes on the toy to receive the peg that comes up from the display stand? It seems silly that the fighter mode adapter doesn’t work with the gun attached. If you don’t display the toy banking to either side, you can use the GERWALK display stand adapter in fighter mode with the gun attached.
Durability & Build: (8.5/10)
I’ve read a few other reviews where people thought the toy felt frail, but I haven’t heard of common points of breakage, and I thought the toy was solid. The paint job had only minor flaws, only noticeable when taking close ups for website reviews. There is a bit of metal in the swing mechanism for durability purposes, but the majority of metal is in the feet to give the toy stability in battroid mode.
This is an amazing score for such a dinky toy. The neck is a ball joint allowing the head to spin all the way around, look up/down, and cock left or right. Each head laser swivels on the smaller head and swivels and angles on the larger head. The shoulders are also ball joints and they’re on swivels which allows you to angle the ball to get the arm to reach away from the body. Larger VF-25 toys add a swivel inside the shoulder to allow the arms to reach straight out away from the body; the range of motion is much more limited here. There’s a twist point at the top of the bicep. The elbows are a basic hinge allowing just a bit more than 90 degrees of motion. There’s no waist. While the hips are on ball joints the housing of the hip is right next to the waist so the outward motion is minimal. You can swing the hips forward or back on the swing bar that allows them to move for transformation. A twist point is located where the GERWALK joint is in larger toys, allowing for more natural poses where the feet are angled. The knees are a weakness, only allowing about 45 degrees of bend. The feet barely move but you can use their ability to open and close to simulate putting the heel or toe down.
Total Score: (36/50)
A score of 35 is average so this pint-sized toy scores solidly in the range where VF-25F fans (who aren’t disgusted by SD) should consider a purchase, if you could find one near MSRP. While the articulation didn’t fall in the Robot Spirits spectrum, this toy was fun to handle in battroid mode. It may be cute, but it feels well-built and the level of detail on a toy with this kind of purpose is very impressive. It’s too bad we didn’t get super parts, a pilot, or landing gear. This toy isn’t going to blow you away with anything other than its cuteness.
This review has been updated
November 23, 2010 – Original Post
November 19, 2014 – Added HD Video Review and HD Transformation guide. Increased resolution of a couple photos.
April 16, 2023 – Added comparison to Tiny Sessions VF-25 Toy