Review by VF5SS
Galactic Drifter Vifam is one of the lesser known series in Sunrise's cadre of 80's mecha shows. It follows the adventures of a group of children as they are forced to fight their way back to Earth after their home colony is attacked by invaders. Along the way they learn how to survive in space, pilot giant robots, and that boys do not have tails. The titular Vifam is one of many Round Vernians that have popped in various model kit and toy lines over the years. You may have seen them previously in Bandai's landmark High Complete Model series or the late CM's Corporation's not so landmark Sunrise Mecha Action Series. Now, Bandai asks everyone to give them their courage with this new Robot Damashii Vifam.
So here is the main Round Vernian, the FAM-RV-S1 Vifam as used by protagonist Roddy Shuffle. As the show focuses on young children who are barely old enough to fall into a Gundam, Kunio Okawara's mecha designs for this series have a simple, bulbous, and friendly appearance that is in many ways quite cute. The Vifam stands about five inches tall and is made of sturdy plastic with a soft PVC antenna on its head.
The figure has excellent detail all around and looks like it stepped right out of the anime. Its clean design is lovingly captured from front to back.
Inside the clear green visor is an array of sensor equipment that gives the Vifam that authentic 80's feel. Note that the soft PVC antenna can be replaced with a hard plastic one if you so desire.
As a Robot Damashii figure, the Vifam comes with just about everything it had in the show. You get the regular backpack, the huge Sling Pannier, a beam gun, a shield, two space pods, a hard plastic antenna, two stand adapters, and a whole slew of optional hands.
The in scale space pods are a well detailed pair of accessories. One has landing skids while the other does not.
With the pods you essentially have a scale party in a box.
By using the pod without skids, you can replicate the Vifam's requisite "sorta like Gundam" gimmick where the pod enters the back of the Round Vernian and serves as the cockpit. Simply flip up the backpack and push the pod into the back until it snaps softly in place. On my figure the standard backpack falls off rather easily so I tend to just remove it when inserting the pod. Thickening the slot on the backpack should solve any fit issues.
You can also open up the abdomen hatch to reveal the pod from the front. It sits inside Vifam's tummy quite snugly and will not fall out accidentally. The hatches have to be pulled out a bit before being flipped upward.
There's a good amount of mechanical detailing around the hole where the pod docks. It's kind of cool to see the Vifam with a big hole going through it that wasn't caused by a beam rifle.
Also note that the outer edges of the shoulder armor can rotate around the re-position the little verniers. I must say they are some nice round verniers.
Articulation on this figure is incredibly well designed with everything feeling natural and smartly implemented. The head moves on a ball-joint with a separate sleeve around the inner neck while the upper body can tilt around thanks to a chest joint. Vifam's arms have a full range of motion and will do just about anything they need to. There is no waist joint due to the pod docking gimmick.
The shoulders feature an additional swing out armature so the arms can move in front of the chest. Also note that elbows have extra hinge that lets them flex upwards slightly in that common 80's mecha manner.
The hips feature a pull down joint to allow the thighs maximum freedom of movement while remaining close to the groin.
Leg articulation is downright sublime with everything working smoothly. Extra details like movable leg thrusters help to complete the package. It has a very good sense of balance too although it could benefit for a little more weight in the feet. We'll get back to that in a bit...
Aside from the immovable waist, the Vifam can do everything it needs to. Kneeling is especially easy for this figure.
The beam gun is a good looking weapon that has Kunio Okawara's signature style like the forked gun barrel and little knobs that must surely do something. Watch out the little antenna up top as it is quite thin. The whole barrel can rotate which allows the hinged foregrip to move into position.
You also get a simple shield. Before attaching it to the Vifam's forearm you have to remove the front handle and then thread the shield over the arm. The instructions say to reattach the handle over these relaxed looking hands. Once it's all set the shield stands in place.
Using either of the stand adapters lets the Vifam sortie out in space. One of the adapters is a simple clamp that clips in right under the groin.
The Vifam can hold its beam gun with two hands but it's a little tricky to accomplish. You actually need to angle the foregrip a bit inside the hand's tight grip rather than have it running perpendicular to the palm.
Once you get everything just right the Vifam can do its iconic shooting pose.
This figure is excellent and feels like it belongs in a space battle.
A Round Vernian can fire all around in zero gravity.
The Sling Pannier is a large set of winged jet engines that replace the Vifam's regular backpack and allow it to fly inside a planet's atmosphere. Many different figures of the Vifam have included this signature accessory and the Robot Damashii is no different. To install it on this particular toy, first remove the other backpack. Then you have to carefully thread the head and chest through the space between the Sling Pannier's armored brassiere and wing units where you can then snap the front portion to the Vifam's chest and connect the backpack to the other one attached. Be advised that the tubes that connect the two halves of the Sling Pannier are not made out of flexible plastic and do not bend. If you're using the hard plastic head antenna you may also want to remove that while attaching the Sling Pannier.
Once attached the Vifam's lack of weighted feet becomes a bit of a bane as the Sling Pannier makes the figure very back heavy. If you lean it forward enough it can stand unaided but it's quite touchy like this.
The main engine pods extend outward a bit on a sliding rail before they can swing into flight mode. Be aware that you can pull the engine off the rail entirely with too much force but I will simply slide back on.
The Sling Pannier looks very impressive in flight mode but the shift in position makes the figure even more prone to falling backwards. When all fitted out it is best to keep the Vifam up on a display stand.
Just add the beam gun and shield to complete the Vifam's look.
It's a rather majestic tub of robot in flight.
Just like Dragonar but with fewer greaser teenagers.
I guess little boys do have tails after all...
Here I am using the other stand adapter which swaps out with a small panel on the back of the posterior. The adapter plugs in quite snugly and shouldn't fall out accidentally.
The Robot Damashii Vifam is quite an amazing figure. It is a loving tribute to a charming mecha series and its plucky robot heroes. While some of the accessories have some odd quirks, the main figure is incredibly solid and well engineered. From all accounts these have handily surpassed both the old Bandai HCM figures and the somewhat iffy Sunrise Mecha Action Series toys. It's everything you could want out a Vifam figure.
|Posted 7 April, 2014 - 14:04 by VF5SS|