YF-19 25th Anniversary
Review by VF5SS
The YF-19 from Macross Plus is a interesting design. Co-starring in the 1994 OVA and Movie Macross Plus, it shares an obvious design lineage with the X-29 experimental airplane and I feel it represented a new successful experiment in Macross Valkyrie design. The manner in which the whole fuselage claps down on itself was an innovative twist that would be repeated in future designs like the VF-25. Curiously enough, the YF-19 has had at least five fully variable Garage Kits, which out numbers even the VF-1's offerings. These represent some of the best homegrown engineering for a transforming model. On the toy front, there have been three variable YF-19 (and VF-19) toys: Bandai's 1/65th scale VF-19, Yamato's 1/72nd scale YF-19, and Yamato's 1/60th scale YF-19.
I had initially skipped out on Yamato's original offering of their YF-19 toy mostly because its strange beige/tan color. It's almost the same color as an unpainted resin kit, which I find to be really weird for an airplane. For the 25th anniversary of Macross, Yamato released a black YF-19 which I picked up. I actually picked up the toy at the post office before heading in to work and spent my lunch break just playing with it because I'm a goddamn nerd. What I found is a toy that is surprisingly simple in execution while also being somewhat fidgety and complex.
The 1/60 scale YF-19 comes packaged in fighter mode. It comes with two stand adapters for Yamato's Macross Display stands and their upcoming standardized display stands. Since I do not have either of these stands, I did not bother to extradite these bits. It comes with an extra set of canards, which have additional gold detailing and can be swapped out with the installed set. It also comes with one gunpod, which has a removable magazine and a pilot. Also included is a very sparse decal sheet that consists mostly of UN Spacy symbols and a few miscellaneous details.
The YF-19 sits on three diecast landing legs which have rubber tires. I found the nose wheel easy to deploy while the other wheels require a good fingernail for both the door and the landing gear itself. Everything locks in tightly in this mode and offers a fairly lightweight toy you can zoom around the room.
This close-up shows the pilot figure festooned in an odd Halloween style flight suit. The figure itself is rubbery and you may have to squeeze it into the seat. You can also see the matte finish of the toy. Even the gold detailing is not especially shiny.
Here you can see more of the gold detailing and writing. The markings read, "25th Anniversary," "U.N. Spacy," and "YF-19 Excalivor" proving that there is no limit to the pervasiveness of Engrish.
In the half-GERWALK mode one can see some more detailing such as the red and blue formation lights as well as the bright orange dot on the shield. The legs themselves feature a telescoping knee joint that allows the leg to swing forward almost 90 degrees. There is also a swivel joint in each knee and the feet angle back with a satisfying "click" (well more a "pop" really).
GERWALK mode for the YF-19 has always been a bit of a pain. The transformation deems that the upper body just sort of straddle the rest of the plane while edges of the wings rest directly under the armpits. This mode is really only good for display as there is no good way to lock the chest down. I must point out that Yamato re-used the hands from their 1/48th scale VF-1 for some bizarre reason as the hands were worst part of that toy. There is one improvement in that the palms have a small peg for attaching the gunpod. The shield is securely attached to the left arm via two pegs.
From the rear we can see how the tail fins slide up the lower leg and the movable indents that allow the arms space to rest in while the toy is in fighter mode. I found that to be a pretty clever solution to the arm storage problem.
In Battroid mode the toy is about a foot tall. Getting to this point can be daunting at first. I found that the tabs and pegs holding the two parts of the forward fuselage together are unnecessarily tight and simply sanded them down. That is actually the only tricky part to the Battroid transformation as everything else clamps down pretty easily. One caveat is the upper chest does not lock together, but the position of all the parts tends to keep it together. This mode also allows you to use the toy's extending hip joints that provide a more natural A-stance. These joints are the only diecast part other than the landing gear.
Not much going on in the rear. I do like how the wings hang off the legs.
The YF-19 is good at holding its gunpod in that classic Han Solo style. I should note that the front portion of the head and the visor are removable to expose some technical details like in the OVA. It's not terribly exciting.
In defiance to all tradition, the YF-19 toy can achieve a kneeling pose.
Just as a point of comparison, here is the YF-19 with another all black variable jet toy (also 1/60th scale). The YF-19 might have looked better with a shinier coat of paint, but as it stands the toy looks good. Overall I feel satisfied with the toy itself. Yamato has just announced a pair of new YF-19 repaints that I am considering for purchase. Ideally, I would really love to see the light blue color scheme from the Macross VFX-2 game. That is probably the best official YF-19 color scheme out there. My final word on the toy is get one for a fair price and take care of it until you figure out its quirks. You'll have a great YF-19 toy.
|Posted 27 April, 2009 - 15:12 by VF5SS