VF-2SS Valkyrie II Super Armed Pack
Review by VF5SS
What can you say about the 1992 OVA series Macross II: Lovers Again. It sure does exist and let's leave it at that.
This review is meant to focus on what is currently the only mainstream merchandise of the VF-2SS Valkyrie II that can transform. And it looks like that's not going to change anytime soon.
My own personal history with this kit goes back to the days when I would often visit Bop City Comics (now Bedrock Comics) and buy all their nifty robot toys and kits. At the time I was fascinated by the VF-2SS kit because unlike the other Macross kits, it could transform and appeared to be easy to assemble. I do have a bunch of Imai, Arii, and Bandai kits but those were mostly built and painted by my father after which I would play with them. Sadly I missed out on the VF-2SS kit at the time and it wouldn't be until years later I ever saw it again. Now in the aftermarket, this kit tended to be kind of expensive. Also it seemed like each time it was reissued for the next big Macross anniversary, certain people would pre-order like five kits just to hock them on eBay.
I'm not bitter or anything.
So when I finally had some money, I pre-ordered the VF-2SS to make sure I would get one.
So here is the mythical VF-2SS Valkyrie Super Armed Pack's box. It's pretty nice as far as boxes go. The image of the Valkyrie II laid over a drawing of Ishtar is pretty classy.
The sides of the box are pretty standard. You've got images of the kit in its various modes with highlights of the gimmicks.
I like this image of the built up kit in particular because of how the photographer had to angle the big rail gun forward just to keep the Valkyrie II from toppling backwards. Also I hope you like these pics of the finished kit because mine sure as hell ain't painted or even stickered.
Below the above image is some information about the kit itself. Anyone care to translate?
In the box you get a good sized poster of Ishtar that pulls double duty with the kit's instructions on the back.
You get two sets of stickers with this kit. The first is a set of paper stickers for things like the chest stripes, canopy cover, and the yellow dot on the Valkyrie II's forehead. You also get those weird Macross II UN Spacy kites. As this kit is marked as being Captain Nexx's Valkyrie II you only get blue chest stripes. This was presumably done because Nexx is both male and the only named character to do cool things with the Valkyrie II.
The next sheet is full of those little thin plastic stickers everyone loves. I always love putting the name of the robot on the robot itself so the sheet comes with plenty of those stickers. We also get those ubiquitous "VF" stickers that go near the feet. Despite those things appearing on almost every old Macross kit or toy, I've never seen them as being part of the official markings.
Now before anyone asks you cannot built this kit without the Super Armed Pack. All the armor parts are integrated into the kit itself. The Bandai subsidiary B-Club did make conversion kits which allow you to build an unarmored Valkyrie II. These were resin kits made for advanced modelers and are long out of print. The Valkyrie is rarely seen unarmored in Macross II so it wasn't a huge priority for Bandai to make the kit capable of doing both configurations. In fact, outside of the show's opening and eyecatches the Valkyrie II is always armored.
The VF-2SS Valkyrie II is true to its name, an upgraded version of the classic VF-1 Valkyrie. It was designed by both Kazumi Fujita (who I believe did the initial design) and the most dangerous man himself, Koichi Ohata. This most obvious difference between this Valkyrie and the ones Kawamori designed are the less attention paid to faux-realism in the fighter mode. The Valkyrie II and its fellow VF's from Macross II are all very futuristic.
As for the kit itself, it is molded in three colors with a pair of clear green parts for the canopy and eye piece. The green is very vibrant and looks very pleasing. Due to the age of the kit, things like parts fit and seam lines are all serviceable but not outstanding. This is from the era of Gundam F-91 kits so there are polycaps a plenty involved in the Valkyrie II's construction. Overall it does look good in fighter mode but the weight of that big rail gun tends to make the whole backpack sag downward. Also for the life of me I cannot get the arms to tuck under enough to allow the nose wheel to reach the ground. As far as stability is concerned, the main body does have locking tabs to keep it together for fighter and Gerwalk mode. The legs are fairly stable while the arms tend to sag down when the fighter is picked up.
The model possesses a good amount of detail such as a small pilot and console under the canopy.
Seeing as this is an updated VF-1, the question of how it handles the tricky leg transformation has an impact on the model itself. The VF-1 is somewhat infamous for it's weird leg transfer mechanism that no toy or kit has every attempted to replicate. So what did the collective efforts of Fujita and Ohata come up with?
Oh boy. Tiny hinges attached to small articulated rods. Yeah let's just forget about that.
So instead of transforming hip parts, the Valkyrie II comes with three pre-transformed hip pieces to get the legs where they need to be in each mode. Going left to right, the pieces are for Fighter, Battroid, and Gerwalk. You simply peg the legs into these parts using a ball and socket joint. The ball on each joint is actually a little bigger than the cavity the socket rests in so you have to force it through.
Top prep the legs for Gerwalk mode you extend the telescoping knee joint like in modern Valkyrie toys and expand the thigh joint. The thigh mechanism is fairly intricate and robust for a kit its age. Next you plug the legs into the appropriate hip part and plug them back into the Valkyrie II.
The fully armed Valkyrie II is looking pretty sweet in Gerwalk mode. There is no useful articulation in the legs but at least their static nature lets the kit stand up. The arms have fairly good articulation due to the numerous polycap joints and since this kits wings are permanently retracted there is nothing to impede the arms. Sadly the fists do not retract on this kit.
To prep the kit for Battroid mode you attach the legs to the final hip piece. Not only is this the biggest hip piece, it also contains numerous pegs for locking the two halves of the Valkyrie II's body together.
Prepping the upper body involves some very familiar motions for any VF-1 fan. Swing the arms out and fold the body in half along the big ol' hinges. Note the single screw that holds the whole arm mechanism together. Also you can see the small locking tabs near the base of the backplate.
Popping everything together nets you one Valkyrie II in Battroid mode. It stands about as well as a kit with a huge amount of plastic on top and mostly hollow legs would.
For my own sanity I'm going to show off the articulation with the backpack attached. Again it's pretty standard for a Bandai kit of the time. The thighs bump into the wings so the hips are somewhat limited.
What good is a Valkyrie without guns? The VF-2SS comes with Nexx's custom heavy rail gun which features a collapsible body and swing-out handle and hand guard.
You can store the heavy rail gun on the leg pack.
Also included is the standard medium rail gun. This weapon does not collapse like it is supposed to but still features a swing-out handle and leg guard. Now in the lineart this medium rail gun stores inside the arm packs. This kit does not do this. One has to wonder where does either gun store when the VF-2SS is without its Super Armed Pack.
The real gimmick of that huge rail gun (rail gun means it is the future) is the ability for the whole thing to hinge over the head. This is cool in theory but it suffers a bit when you realize the whole thing just kind of rests on the head with the articulated arm on the back supporting it. Plus the little flap over the face is a little goofy.
If there is one thing this kit does really well, it is the head. It looks perfect. The clear green visor piece is a nice touch.
Well that's the VF-2SS Valkyrie II kit by Bandai. In the end it is what it is, a nearly twenty year old kit of a transformable airplane. A competent modeler can probably do a lot more with this kit but on its own it's decent enough. If anything the overall engineering of the kit gives us an idea of what a VF100s VF-2SS would have been because yes, Bandai did show interest in doing a VF100s toy of the Valkyrie II. It would be the same size as this kit and would most likely have the same kind of hip mechanism. Of course anyone who read Josh's review of the VF100s VF-25F knows that VF100s were terribly executed and the line quickly died only to be replaced by VF Hi-metal. The unspoken hope was that all the ideas for VF100 would be transferred to VF Hi-metal. Sadly VF Hi-metal also appears to have petered out so the future looks grim for any hope of a modern VF-2SS figure.
At least we got that tiny fighter mode trading figure.
As for me? Well I finally got that kit I missed out on as a child. In some way it makes it all worth it.
|Posted 30 August, 2011 - 12:45 by VF5SS|