Observations & Critique: The original VF-25 Armored Parts, not renewal
Armored parts for the original DX VF-25 toys were available in two custom schemes (Alto and Ozma) and in two ways. First, they could be ordered through the Tamashii website and shipped to a Japanese address. Inside a gigantic brown shipping box was a nearly equally gigantic two-tone white package that contained:
1) Armored Parts
2) Display stand and adapters
3) GERWALK support (3 parts)
Second, you could purchase a gift-set that included an Ozma custom VF-25S and the Ozma custom armored parts. This gift-set included all of the above and a VF-25S toy and all the standard accessories that came with those as well as a neck extension part. The neck extension part was incompatible with GERWALK and fighter modes but it was a significant improvement in battroid. The packaging for all armored parts, regardless of how they were acquired, was silly in its excess. Bandai clearly learned from this misstep as the renewal toys have significantly thinner boxes.
Now that the renewal version of these armored parts are out (released July 2012 for 8190 Yen) it can be expected that demand for the original armored parts reviewd here (released July 2009 for 6500 Yen) will wither up and blow away. This is for the best as these original parts were known to break the underlying VF-25 toy (more on that later). Since the renewal version of these parts represent improvements in all capacities it’s highly recommended that you enjoy pictures of these original parts online but pass on purchasing them.
In fighter mode these parts do a fair job of concealing the various weaknesses of the underlying VF-25 toy. In GERWALK mode, if you can get it to work at all, you’re usually stuck in a position that is pretty awkward but otherwise looks decent enough. In battroid mode the weaknesses of the VF-25 toy can’t be adequately concealed so, while all the kibble might distract the eye a bit, the end result is weak by today’s standards. The missile detail in the missile bays is poor. While there are some nice painted details and some excellent panel details Bandai improved on both for their renewal release.
The design of these parts, even at the time of their release, was substandard and time has not been kind. The major faults were as follows:
1) The parts do a terrible job staying on the toy. The most problematic parts were the hip armors and the “wing root” armors next to the hip.
2) The GERWALK support system that was devised to try to overcome the original VF-25 toy’s inability to hold up the weight of the back end of the craft is horrid and barely workable.
3) The gun can’t attach in fighter mode. This is more sad since all Bandai needed to do was include a longer attachment part for the gun but they failed to do so.
While the armored parts themselves seem relatively sturdy they create pressure on the VF-25 toy that seems certain to cause fractures on one of the major hinges. I can’t say if one mode is more likely to create the pressure on these hinges more than others but it seems like the simple act of putting the armor on might be one of the culprits. When putting the armor on you should also be extra careful about scraping paint on the VF-25 toys.
Unlike the super parts released for the original VF-25 DX toys, the armored parts do not block the backward knee movement of the toy. Unfortunately, these armored parts represent so much mass that there’s very little the toy can do while remaining structurally sound. As mentioned earlier, in GERWALK mode the toy is more headache than its worse and if you can get that pathetic support to work your toy is locked into an awkward looking position. Use of the stand is highly recommended if you hope to get anything interesting going on… but the included stand isn’t very attractive of dynamic.
Any add-on part that breaks the underlying toy is an easy pass for me (I only own this toy today so I can show others why they shouldn’t own it). The big highlight of this toy at the time of its release was that it buried many of the comprises made on the original VF-25 toy under layers of burly looking armor. This was especially true of fighter mode which looks decent. Of course now that we have the Renewal Version VF-25 toys and the armor part that comes with them it’s even easier to pass on this original release. Don’t buy these parts… do buy a renewal toy and the renewal armored parts.