VF-25F Messiah Valkyrie Alto Custom
Review by JoshB
By now, you are pretty sick of Macross, aren't you? Well too bad. We've got more. But not all that is Macross is good, and the VF100 VF-25F Messiah Valkyrie Alto Custom is a perfect example.
The main idea was to create a smaller toy that could transform into all three modes while remaining anime-accurate. I knew that there would be parts-swapping involved, but this is pretty stupid.
Maybe it's just me? Maybe I am old and cranky. But you can't tell me that they couldn't have pulled off a better transformation with less parts swapping. This isn't a toy, its a puzzle.
The toy is packaged in a nice window box with a flip-up cover that shows the toy inside. the VF-25 is packaged in Robot mode.
On the plus side, you can pretty much take the toy out of the package and play with it in this mode. The thing is loose in the waist and legs, so posing it is a chore. I actually feel kind of bad about these pictures because they actually make the thing look really good.
And here's the rub - it DOES look really good. Those of you who will put this on the shelf and never touch it again should have no problem with it. But the thing does become a mess when you try to transform it.
It is more articulated than the DX Chogokin, and in some cases I think better proportioned. The head looks a lot better, and here the antennae are rigid.
The shield stays on the arm firmly, the hand grips the gun well. The plastic is hard, ABS in most places, with some POM thrown in for sturdiness.
However, things start to go wrong when you actually try to play with it. One of the ankles on mine has a tendency to collapse into the leg, and the white parts on the feet pop off easily. The groin thrusts out too much, and the swivel joint here is too loose.
Accessories for the robot mode include the gun, shield, knife, and several variant hands.
Transforming from Battoroid mode to Fighter mode, to put it bluntly, sucks. Bandai couldn't have made this a little simpler? Who wants to jump through all these hoops? Essentially you have to take apart the entire toy, and half of the toy gets replaced with new parts.
In fighter mode, you can choose to have landing gear exposed or replaced with flat panels. If you have a stand, Bandai includes clear stand parts so you can display this.
Watch the video, and feel my pain.
So as you can see, yeah, it looks OK in fighter mode, but is it worth all the hassle? I mean, good for you Bandai, you can engineer a complex puzzle of a toy, but just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD. This thing really blurs the line between Gunpla and Toy. If you are doing that much assembling and disassembling, how is this not a model? And a model this size wouldn't cost $50, in any country. I really don't know who they are targeting with this one.
I can see the logic. Kaiyodo makes a Valkyrie out of PVC, it doesn't transform, they can sell it for $25 and they sell like hotcakes. Yamato makes the GN-U Dou non-transformable valkyries from PLUS, those are now ABS and POM, CAD-designed, and those sell well at $35. So Bandai makes the logical leap that if theirs transforms into three modes, why not $50?
The difference is that this is not fun. I get frustrated and angry changing all those little parts. With the others, I know what I am getting, they succeed in their purpose, and they are fun. This is not funny or fun.
Back to the toy for a bit, Transforming from fighter to Gerwalk is the same mess, only you have to yet again use some different parts to achieve this mode.
This time you have to add some 90% joints into the legs to position them downwards. Once again, an obvious example of lazy design. How is it that Toynami and even Banpresto can make small transforming Valkyries with less parts swapping than this?
Bandai, you can do better. The VF100 line has the potential for greatness in it's plan to make toys out of some really obscure mecha, but if they are all going to be parts swapping messes than you can count me out. By the time you've imported one to the states, and add on shipping, this thing could cost you as much as $70. At that point you might as well spend the extra bucks and get the DX Chogokin.
Mechanical Chain Display base by Kotobukiya
|Posted 29 April, 2009 - 10:05 by JoshB|