Observations & Critique: The Renewal VF-25 Armored parts, not original release
These Tamashii exclusive super parts come in the standard brown shipping box with a two tone interior box (blue box for Alto, black box for Ozma). The parts are packaged much better than they were for the original release and since there’s no longer a display stand included everything fits in a much more reasonably sized box. Inside the box you’ll get the following:
1) Armored Parts
2) Battroid back support and extra crotch armor to accommodate it
3) Display stand adapters for each mode
4) Instructions (above)
The only thing that seems to be able to limit demand for these armored parts is the persistent demand for the long sold out stand alone VF-25 toys. If people can’t find those toys to purchase they don’t have much of a need for buying these armored parts. These renewal parts, released July 2012 for 8,190 Yen were released three years after Bandai’s original effort priced at 6,500 Yen. For the additional cost you get a much better looking product with lots of detail improvements. You don’t get a stand though and the price increase seems a little much and this is compounded by what the exchange rate has done in those three years. Ozma’s armored parts always seem to be a little more popular than the Alto custom as Ozma got more use out of the armor in the show. Similarly, Alto’s super parts seem to sell better than Ozma’s super parts.
As you can see in the pictures above and below, the Renewal Version Armored Parts do an excellent job emulating the computer model from Frontier and look more natural on the toys. The detailed pictures up above also compare all the renewal parts to the original parts so you can see that each part has been reviewed and improved for the renewal. Hinges have been hidden, additional paint details have been added, there are more panel lines, interior missile detail is improved, everything is better. There was still some room for improvement. When you think about the individual missiles on Yamato’s 1/48 and 1/60 V2 GBP Armor for VF-1 toys you’ll definitely be a little let down by even the improved missile detail here.
The original armored parts had lots of flaws in the design department, most have been addressed here.
Original Armor Parts Flaw 1: GERWALK mode required separate parts to support the weight of the back half of the plane, the supports came up from the back of the legs making GERWALK and immobile disaster. Choosing not to use the support parts for GERWALK made the mode nearly unmanageable, if you accidentally bumped the toy it would come crumbling down. On the Renewal Version the toy has a built in support that makes this whole system unnecessary. The toy handles perfectly fine in GERWALK mode.
Flaw 2: The original armored parts that cover what I refer to as “Wing roots” was infuriating in how easily it became dislodged as they only stayed on the toy when in very specific angles. On the renewal parts the pieces connect in such a way where they stay on well, can be articulated with a wide range of motion and can even be used as supplementary support for the back of battroid mode. The original hip armors also clipped on in a way that wasn’t particularly secure. On the renewal version you now need to remove the intake shield and the hip armors plugs in using the same connector as the intake shield did. While this is a notable improvement you’re going to want to make sure you don’t lose your intake shields.
Flaw 3: On the original armor parts the gun couldn’t fit on the toy in fighter mode. This perplexed me since that toy already required a separate gun attachment piece and all Bandai would have had to have done would have been to include a longer gun attachment piece. On the renewal version, you don’t need a separate gun attachment piece. Unfortunately, there’s one additional part you probably will need, a plastic clasp that keeps the legs tuck together tight enough as to keep pressure on the gun. The solution isn’t ideal but it’s a step forward from the original version.
A forth flaw that went largely unaddressed was the lack of a stopper in the leg landing gears. The landing gears pull forward but there’s nothing that stops them from being pushed back. On the renewal version toys the landing gears need a tiny bit more pressure before they go back down but it’s nowhere near enough. There are also some other design improvements here. The way the shoulder missile pods attach now requires removing an existing part on the toy and replacing it with a new part. Any time you have to swap parts out that means you have one more part to track so some people aren’t going to like this. The benefit to this is that the new part allows the shoulder missile bays a much broader range of movement which better allows you to emulate the line art.
Perhaps the biggest improvement made to the renewal parts over the original is that the armored parts no longer break the VF-25 toy. On the original toy the armored parts created stress on a hinge leading to it cracking. While the toy could usually function with these hinges show cracks it looked like the kind of thing that might some day lead to the toy splitting in two. I haven’t seen any such problems on the Renewal version.
This big bulky armor does a good job in not impeding the articulation of the VF-25 toy. However, the armor does play tricks on the center of gravity and it’s recommended you use the display stand. While you can get the toy to display decently without the display stand in battroid mode it always seems like it’s one good knock to your cabinet away from falling over. This is compounded by the VF-25 Renewal toys propensity to get loose joints. If the hips on your renewal are loose then you might find battroid mode frustrating to pose with all this armor heaped on it.
Overall I think the armored VF-25 toy looks outstanding. I initially wasn’t a big fan of the VF-25, I originally likened its battroid mode to “a feminine insect”. These days the VF-25 has grown on me and with the armor on the toy it gets that real bare knuckle teeth puncher look to it. If you were lucky enough to snag a renewal VF-25 toy and the armored parts at all appeal to you then you should definitely go out and buy these.