VF-25S Messiah Valkyrie Ozma Custom
Review by JoshB
The DX Chogokin VF-25S Messiah Ozma Custom is one of Bandai's first new transforming Valkyries since the disappointing all plastic Macross 7 Valkyries. In their absence, Yamato started making Valkyries and just now, some ten years later, they have finally gotten them right. The new DX Chogokin Valkyries from Macross Frontier are, in a way, Bandai's way of saying "Move aside son and let me show you how it's done"
Unfortunately, like anyone who has been away from their craft for a while, they are a little rusty and could use some practice.
The VF-25 Valkyrie is the standard variable fighter used by the SMS - a private military contractor assigned to protect the massive colony ship, Frontier. The SMS Skull Squadron is led by ace pilot Ozma Lee, and the VF-25S Messiah Ozma Custom is his Valkyrie.
Bandai initially released two DX Chogokin VF-25's - the Alto and Ozma Custom. Both toys are essentially the same, save for the head and paint decoration.
The toy comes in a nice, albeit small and light box. I expected it to be heavier for a DX chogokin. Inside the box is a full styrofoam tray with the Valkyrie in fighter mode.
In my opinion, fighter mode is the most beautiful and solid of all three modes. All of the parts line up nicely and the fighter has a great aerodynamic feel.
The cockpit opens to reveal a detailed interior with a painted pilot.
The landing gear is diecast metal with hard rubber tires. The front landing gear is hidden behind two thin doors underneath the cockpit which are flimsy and precariously held in place. These doors will later prove essential in the transformation procedure, so its a wonder that they were designed this way.
The rear landing gear is located underneath the engine sections behind two large panels that flip open from one side.
Near this rear landing gear there are fins on each side of the fuselage that need to be revealed upon removing the toy from the packaging. These fins look as if they should splay outwards but are only able to point downwards. Not sure if this is a design flaw or what.
Also underneath the back of the vehicle is a connection point to store the gunpod. An included connector attaches to the back of the ship and then clips onto the plastic gunpod. Getting this connector to connect in and stay in is a bit of a chore.
Unfortunately, the Gerwalk mode isn't executed as well as fighter mode. While the figure technically does transform into Gerwalk mode, it doesn't do it very well, making for an awkward looking display.
The main fault lies in the lack of range of motion in the legs. Had there been some kind of swivel joint in the upper legs you could splay the legs out and get a better looking mode, but as it is it is just stiff and boring.
You can fake a good Gerwalk mode by separating the legs at the intakes and just angle them out a bit.
Here's where the toy all comes together. You are going to hear a few complaints but keep this in mind - I still think it is great. But toy giant Bandai could use to learn a few things from Yamato.
First off, the transformation is not too bad, not that much different than a classic VF-1J or something, with the addition of some tricky moves around the torso. Pay special attention to the small bars that connect the shoulders. The joints are REALLY tight, and there have been reports of these breaking.
These joints do provide a ton of articulation, so just be careful.
Other arm articulation includes a swivel above the elbow, elbow, and wrists. One complaint is that the hands need to be swapped between modes, and do not store in the arms. For fighter mode you need to use the flat hands so that they can fit into the tail section, but you need to replace these with some of the other hands for it to look right.
The head is finely sculpted and looks great, but it barely clears the chest plate. There are ways to really ensure that the head clears the body, and that is to make sure you have the chest seated properly.
A good rule of thumb is that make sure the front chest plate is angled down as much as it can be, while the shoulder plates are angled back as much as they can.
Another issue with the head is the antennae - they are bendy. Bandai used a soft rubber for these instead of a firm plastic (probably to keep them from breaking) but what happens is that they don't retain their shape and are bent a bit. Supposedly you can straighten them out by heating them up, but mine are fine as is.
Due to the transformation mechanism, there is no waist joint.
The legs attach to a hip "block" via sturdy metal bars, but the block itself is an issue. It's supposed to secure to the body by a small tab, but that tab is not as tight as it should be and frequently pops out.
The top of the legs are diecast metal, with a joint just below the intakes (for Gerwalk mode) and then a double jointed knee. The cover for the knee is also articulated.
The ankles are one of the best things about this toy. They are SOLID METAL and really striking. They provide a solid foundation for this thing, so there are absolutely no problems standing it up. The foot sections are both jointed and feature a moveable cowling and diecast metal on the insides of the feet.
There aren't many accessories or weapons included with the VF-25S Messiah, and that is kind of a letdown. You do get the large rifle that has a telescoping barrel and moveable lower section as well as a shield (from the tail section in fighter mode).
Also included is a knife. You know, because giant transforming spaceships need a bladed hand-held weapon.
There will be an armor pack and stand set available as a Tamashii Web Shop exclusive.
Despite its flaws, I really enjoy this thing. It's fun to transform and not too daunting. The joints are ridiculously tight and the toy is very solid in all three modes. The diecast is well done, and let's face it, the thing looks killer.
The downsides, as noted above, are the weak Gerwalk mode, lack of accessories, bent antenna, and the need to change hands between modes. But somehow I can overlook this - this thing is a great toy and fun to play with.
It's actually a refreshing change of pace in regards to transforming Macross mecha. I actually like the fact that anime accuracy was put aside for a fun and easy transformation. I like the feel of the metal and the sturdiness that I think has been missing from other Valkyries. That is not to say that I dislike the Yamato ones - far from it. This is a very different animal though. I think you will like it.
Comments15 comments posted
Nice review Josh. Where can I buy those Display Hangar that you use?
Thanks! Those are Kotobukiya Mechanical Chain Bases. You can get them off of ebay.
Thanks for the review! Glad to read an opinion outside of the MacrossWorld bawwing over every little niggle on the toy. I'm still waiting for my Alto from BBTS.
Nice Review, I've always been hesitant towards the VF-25s. Don't get me wrong, they're sleak and awesome in the animation, but something about them doesn't transition into the real world very well. I've been looking at the 1/72 models from time to time (debating on building one), but find myself walking away every time.
The Gundam Model Guy
I like the fighter mode (though I can't imagine those wings support the machine in atmosphere. I think the toy is nice, but far from perfect. Lack of accesories (why won't they give them underwing missiles anymore?), the gerwalk mode and rubber head lasers. Also, something about the back of the Battroid mode feels awkward, just the hull with wings, doesn't look that good like VF-1/11 or VF-19.
I'm considering if I should get one of these DX Valkyries. I really like the color for Luca's custom (light green). They don't seem like they're worth the asking price so it'll have to only be if I can find a good deal for one. I don't care that much for perfect proportions. Certainly did a good job at least.
Nice review Josh, impartial as always. We as collectors need that, because the fad of the arrival of this long anticipated valks can cloud some fans vision.
I recently bought an VF-25F ALTO CUSTOM, and think they are beautiful works of design by Shoji Kawamori, somehow he continues to improve his already groundbreaking VF-1 design decade after decade, In the 80's it was the VF-1, in the 90's the awesome YF-19 and YF-21, and now the VF-25, and as for Bandai translation of the design, like you said, it's not without it's flaws... The gerwalk mode it's a pain in the butt to get him to pose right, the hands are not only a drag to be swapping'em over and over, but are not tight enough to hold the gun aligned, the almost absurd price, and the last fact that you have to wait and paid another hundred bucks for the Fast Packs... Bandai is only feasting on the franchise and the fad of us fans...
But that aside, and crazy as it sounds, I don't regret paid almost 180 dollars for it. Because the thing is absolutely gorgeous... Is a nice, slick and fresh design, is like a natural evolution of the VF-19 they both look alike a little bit, and the design of the transformation is very clever and well thought. I'm right now saving money in order to bay the Ozma design and the Fast Packs....
Even the trading figures and gashapones of Macross Frontier by Bandai are excellent and well done, I know that you guys don't do a lot of Trading Figures reviews, but I propose you do a review of this figures anyway...
Keep it up, and greetings from Venezuela.
One of the coolest Mecha designs I've seen this year and one of the best Valkyries in all of Macross. Sticker price is steep... More metal would be nice.
Believe it or not, the DX DOES have a waist joint. Of course, it's easy to miss unless you happen to be able to read Japanese since it's barely covered in the instructions, heh (shame on you, Bandai!). The entire waist assembly can disconnect from the cockpit, leaving it on a free moving ball joint which gives the waist about 10-15 degrees of twist and swivel in all directions. It's something that should only be unlocked if you're actually going to use it, though, because if you don't actually torque the joint it's extremely loose and your DX will probably have difficulty standing.
Also, it's entirely possible to transform the figure without using the "knife hands". Both the fist and gun hands will tuck in under the shield without removing any need for swapping. Of course, the tradeoff is that you have fingers poking out from below the mech, but you pretty much wont notice unless you look for them.
Great review all around.
I talked to Josh about the waist-joint and he believes that since it's so loose, it is probably there to allow space for the Super Pack and Armor Pack in fighter mode. I also have to agree with Josh that the DX is a good toy, but it doesn't feel like Bandai's A game. I hope the full armor set is coming out soon.
While I suppose it's possible that it's exclusively meant for the super packs, I don't think it would be as the design of the packs would only need extra clearance in the back of the jet, not the front where the hips disconnect.
Plus, the instructions do point out (in one or two unclear photos) that you can pop it out to pose the figure, and it's only loose if you don't use it, oddly enough. Bend it one way or the other and it's fine.
Count me double on hoping for full armor packs. I'll be picking up all of the DX's other than Ozma until I can get an armor pack for him to wear.
Great Review Josh, As a collector I feel the Dx is quite impressive in person. I have already purchased three. A good balance of sexiness;),durability and playability. The bendable antennas are very thin and using any other materials would most likely break and require super glue. You are right about it being a different animal. If Bandai releases the full armor it will be a beast. In my eyes the Dx has already become a collectible. I am interested to see what other macross toys Bandai make.
I want to buy a ozma custom, micheal blanc custom, or the luke custom messiah. Which should I get? Do they include stands?
I picked up the vf-25s and the vf-25f and I really can't say enough great things about them. As far as Bandai goes, these are light-years ahead of their previous offerings. They're not perfect designs, but they feel solid, and look damn sexy.
I'm not really sure what other accessories everyone expects to see with these Valkyries since the ones in the show were pretty leanly equipped without the super or armor packs. Aside from some design issues that I think could have been refined; these ring true to the anime.
As far as improvements that should have been implemented, the first thing would have to be articulated hands. I hate having to shuffle through a bag of loose parts for the right type of hands. I’d pay good money for an aftermarket articulated set that I could just pop on and be done with.
I would also like to have seen the rear landing gear giving some detail rather than looking like an after thought that was just slapped on. Also, in the same area, the rear fins on the undercarriage should be designed to tilt out.
The other area that should have been worked on is the survival knife. The one included in the box more closely resembles a butter knife. If you’re going to have a knife, make it look freaking sharp. I would have also liked to have seen a way for the knife to be stowed away in the shield like it was in the anime. This would have also made one less part to track down.
Overall, I love the look of these Valkyries and I’m glad I bought them.