VF-19 Fire Valkyrie
Review by JoshB
The VF-19 Kai Fire valkyrie is the first Hi-Metal toy from Bandai in about 25 years. There seems to be a wave of nostalgia sweeping toymakers by resurrecting long-lost brand and toy line names. Perhaps it is in an effort to recapture the spirit of toys from the past. Hell, Bandai brought back Popy as a manufacturer, why not bring back a toy line.
The last Hi-Metal toys, while not the heavy diecast toys of the 70s, still had a fair amount of metal in them. When it was announced that Bandai was resurrecting the line and making the VF-19 the inaugural release, I was excited to finally get a Fire Valkyrie with a decent amount of heft.
Unfortunately, I must have been HI to think there would be any METAL in this valkyrie.
My first impression when picking up the box was how light it was. taking the toy out, I thought to myself "this can't be it, can it?"
However, handling the toy quickly changes your mind. While light, the toy is really, really nice.
Before continuing with this review, I must give you this disclaimer: I love Macross 7 and I love the YF-19/VF-19 design. I was super excited to get this toy, the first VF-19 since the plastic one Bandai released years ago.
The VF-19 is the next generation valkyrie on the Macross 7. It's piloted by Basara Nekki, lead singer of the band Fire Bomber. Basara believes that his songs can change the world, and that they can reach even the most alien of species. When the Macross 7 is threatened by an unknown enemy, Basara and his band are recruited to form "Sound Force", a squad of valkyries that use Fire Bomber's music to try and turn the fight to their advantage.
Basara is a pacifist, and as such, does not use any weapons in battle. The gun shoots sound pods that attach to the enemies armor to amplify Basara's song.
Yes, it's small. It's 1/100 scale, so it's bigger than a Revoltech, but smaller than the 1/60 DX chogokins. If all of the Hi-Metal valkyries are in this scale, I will be happy. It's packaged in fighter mode and it's ready to go right out of the box.
Fighter mode is solid, all parts are fastened securely. A quick inspection reveals that the whole outside is plastic, with the only metal visible on the inside of the engines/feet. The cockpit is clear, with a small figure of Basara inside. The cockpit does not open.
Another omission - no landing gear. No landing gear doors. Just a sleek and solid underside. Despite the lack of features, it looks stunning.
A stand is included - sort of. A clear plastic attachment can fasten to the underside of the valkyrie, but it ends in a peg, but no base is included for this piece to attach to. You need to purchase a Tamashii stand separately to use this feature.
Transforming this toy is one of the things that make me overlook the low metal quantity. I shot a video that goes through the transformation procedure, but what I want to you to take away is how nice this gerwalk mode is compared to a lot of recent valkyrie offerings.
Gerwalk mode was not an afterthought here. The transformation mechanism and articulation lend itself to this mode.
My only real complaint here is that it isn't a perfect transformation - you have to remove small panels from the ends of the arms and replace them with hands. One would think they would have been able to come up with a way for the hands to be stored in the arms.
Once again, a flaw, but one that does not detract from my enjoyment of the figure.
There's a bit more parts-swapping to get it to battroid mode. The head requires the fin and two antennae be attached after transformation. A small panel near the head needs to be removed. And while not absolutely necessary, Bandai has provided filler panels to smooth out the look of the back of the legs.
For transformation, again, see the video. Pieces click into place nicely, and the finished toy is solid and articulate.
What makes this toy great is the poses it can do and how well it holds them. At no time does this feel floppy or half-assed. It's the polar opposite of the VF100s. Each limb features full articulation, including swivel shoulders, rotating and splaying hips, double jointed knees and ball jointed ankles.
As for accessories, there aren't many. A gun is included (that's not really a gun) and an extra gun-holding hand. Also included is a variant face that represents a closed faceplate (not shown, sorry). What is more interesting is the lack of certain accessories, such as closed fists, landing gear, a complete display stand or the Sound Force boosters. In typical Bandai fashion, the boosters will be sold as Tamashii Web exclusives.
It's a good toy. It's fun. It looks great. But it is not cheap. At almost $80 USD for a 6-inch transforming plastic action figure, well... you gotta really want it. You would think for that cost (more than your basic Soul of Chogokin, to put it into perspective) they could have gone the extra mile and fixed some of the above flaws. Some I can see are stylistic choices, like the lack of landing gear. But despite its diminutive size and high price tag, its a much better toy than the DX Chogkin Messiah valkyries.
My love for this design, coupled with fantastic build quality and articulation, make this a recommended piece.
|Posted 12 February, 2010 - 06:53 by JoshB|