Observations & Critique: Dress-up never looked so good
Like all Tamashii exclusives at the moment, these toys come packaged in a brown shipper box that houses the true box within. Unlike the Super Parts for the original Bandai DX VF-25 toys, there’s no longer a thin gift-paper wrapping around the interior box. This doesn’t seem to detract in any way as I haven’t heard a single complaint about the interior box being damaged in shipping. More importantly, the box for the Renewal Super Parts is much more slender than the Super Parts for the original DX toy. Bandai was able to accomplish this because they now include the display stand with the VF-25 toys themselves so there’s no need to include a display stand with the accessories sold separately. In each package you will receive the following in addition to the Super Parts:
1) Instructions (see scans below)
2) Display stand adapters (4 parts)
The RVF-25 Super Parts added the following:
3) 3x Ghosts
4) 3x Display stands for ghosts (3x bases, 3x arms, 3x adapters)
5) 2x Ghost controllers for RVF-25 toy
The renewal version VF-25 toys are hot properties and so are these accessories. All versions were originally available to residents of Japan (valid shipping address required) via the Tamashii website. Releases were as follows:
VF-25F Alto Custom Super Parts, April 2012, 4,500 Yen before tax
VF-25S Ozma Custom Super Parts, April 2012, 4,500 Yen before tax
VF-25G Michel Custom Super Parts, October 2013, 4,500 Yen (preorder June 14, 2013)
RVF-25 Luca Custom Super Parts, November 2013, 8,925 Yen (preorder June 14, 2013)
VF-25A Mass Production Super Parts, April 2014, 4,500 Yen before tax (preorder October 25, 2013)
The secondary market quickly slapped a premium on the set as would be expected given the need to pay for shipping twice (once to the valid Japanese address and then off to markets outside of Japan). That premium has continued to rise as we’ve moved away from the release date but the relative scarcity of the original VF-25 toys should keep prices somewhat in check.
HOW DO I AVOID BUYING VERSION 1 PARTS?
Only the VF-25F Alto and VF-25S Ozma super parts were available for version 1 toys separately as Tamashii exclusives and were sold in April 2009 for 4,000 Yen. This means if you’re buying JUST super parts for any of the other toys you know you’re getting renewal versions. Also, all the boxes picture above are renewal versions, if they don’t look like these boxes then they are NOT renewal version parts (you can see the version 1 boxes in my version 1 super parts review). Finally, Renewal toys have NEVER been sold as gift-sets. If you want a renewal toy do NOT get a toy that has both super parts and the VF-25 in one box.
Every single part shows a marked improvement over the super parts released for the original Bandai DX VF-25 toys. In some cases the improvements are small with a few extra panel lines or additional painted on details. In other cases the improvements are substantial as in the interior detail on the shoulder missiles. When taken together, this set is beautiful. The line art comparison above shows that Bandai essentially got this nearly perfect. It would have been cool if there was some mechanical detail buried somewhere or individual removable missiles in the missile bays but I’m very happy with what we got. The only negative is the crotch armor. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to determine exactly how that piece of armor is supposed to look from the line art above (the shading makes it hard, it could be the same color as the arm in the background which I would guess means it should be whiter than it currently is) but it’s obvious it doesn’t look very good as is.
The RVF-25 comes with three separate ghost toys and two controllers which install on the wing-mounted boosters. The ghost toys use the same mold as the original releases but with three minor improvements. First, a screw cover has been added to the underside. Second, the attachment point for the display stand has been reworked slightly. Third, the antenna array has been reworked and painted better.
Sticklers for perfect transformation toys will have good reason to not be completely thrilled by this offering. There are three pieces that require removing the original part from the toy and replacing it with a new part. You’ll have to swap the following parts:
1) the upper portion of the plate next to the shoulder (Left and Right)
2) the front of the vehicle’s crotch
3) the wingroot guards (I’m probably making that word up) (Left and Right)
In an ideal world super parts would just be something you clip onto a toy so it’s a little bit of a bummer that you can’t pull that off here. The “wingroot” guards were swapped parts on the original super parts as well but the need to swap the crotch and shoulder plates is new. You can also leave the new wingroot guards on and remove their armor but you’ll have a big empty slot that you don’t have using the original part. By requiring parts swapping Bandai has increased the range of motion on the shoulder missile bays and made transformation smoother. Other improvements include:
1) The shoulder missile bays now feature a sliding hinge that allows the bay to open wider while concealing the manner in which it opens
2) The chest piece now clips on much easier
3) Articulated nozzles… everywhere
While the hip armors were improved in a few ways over the original releases, I was still let down by my ability to jostle them free when handling the toy on the VF-25F and VF-25S super parts. At the time I reviewed those armors I said “I feel like Bandai could have used the removable intake covers on the top of the hips to really lock these parts in place. It looks like there is a tiny magnet in the hip armors but I haven’t sensed it helping in any way. Oh well, maybe when we get a V3 on some future Frontier anniversary.” Fortunately, Bandai didn’t make us wait until a V3. All subsequent armor releases (25A, 25G, RVF-25) included hip armor that attached via the slots that hold the compressor fan cover in place. The included display stand adapters are a big improvement over the ones that come with the renewal toys but they may be overkill. While a new fighter mode adapter was necessary, the GERWALK and Battroid mode adapters are included just to keep a better grip on the toy. Instead of relying on the toy’s weight to keep it stuck on the display stand, the new adapters actually pinch the toy in position to make sure the toy stays on the stand even if you give it a good jolt.
As you may suspect, the array on the back of the RVF-25 does conflict with the wing-mounted boosters so you won’t be able to close the wings entirely in battroid. There is also an unfortunate quirk with the revised fighter mode display stand adapter and the RVF-25 toy. The RVF-25 has a special piece that lets it hold the gun in a different position in fighter mode to solve some anime magic. That special piece attaches at the same point the fighter display stand adapter attempts to attach and will cause your fighter mode toy to look a little funky. This can be resolved in two ways: 1) Don’t use the gun on the RVF toy or 2) Only use one of the two attachment pieces for the gun which will make it much less stable but can still hold on for display purposes.
You don’t need to be worried about the durability of your super parts so much as you do need to be worried about the durability of the underlying toy. The VF-25 toys have paint that seems prone to scratching so you’ll want to apply the super parts with care and make sure you keep track of where you put those parts you’ve removed during the super part installation process. On the super parts the only piece that looks fragile to me is the fin that protrudes from the backpack booster. All other parts are simple and sturdy and don’t look like they would give any reason for pause. The paint application on my sample is flawless as you can see in the close-up comparison pictures I’ve taken for this review. The display stands that come with your RVF-25’s ghosts are generally pretty loose out of the box. They were manageable but you’ll need to find a way to tighten them up if you don’t when them to slump or fall every time you inadvertently bump a display case.
Everything that should be articulated is articulated. Every little booster can now pivot freely which is a very nice improvement over the original toy. The super parts also no longer inhibit the leg articulation which was one of the more major flaws of the original release. In fighter mode the leg armors have a hinge that frees up the landing gear doors (just as the original super parts did).
The renewal super parts are a big improvement over the original super parts (and the 25G, RVF-25, and 25A super parts were even better than the 25S/F super parts). If you are a fan of the Super VF-25 then there’s nothing here that should discourage you from getting the super parts. Unfortunately, they can be a bit pricey to track down in the secondary market. If we ever do get a VF-25 V3 or an attempt from a different manufacturer I hope we get a toy that doesn’t require any parts swapping at all but retains the improved range of motion Bandai was able to achieve this time around by using parts swapping.
Original Post: September 17, 2012
Updated July 2, 2017, added content related to the renewal super parts released for the 25G, RVF-25, and 25A. Added HD Video Review of the VF-25G and VF-25A parts
Updated August 6, 2017, added more detail about the RVF-25 super parts and a HD Video review specific to the RVF-25 Super Parts.