YF-29 Durandal Valkyrie Ozma Lee Custom
Review by VF5SS
The YF-29 Durandal Valkyrie has had an interesting legacy of current Macross spinoffs. While it made its debut as a sort of high-performance stopgap towards the end of the second Macross Frontier movie, this one-off prototype has gotten a number of variants in a short amount of time. Many of these actually originated in the Playstation 3 game that was a part of The Wings of Goodbye's first Blu-Ray release. The game was essentially a slightly stripped down but high resolution version of Artdink's Macross games for the PSP. In it you could play as almost every Valkyrie from Macross Frontier in addition to a few new variations made just for the game. One of these was Ozma Lee's own customized YF-29. The next game, Macross 30, also featured this Valkyrie as an unlockable unit. Macross merchandise is no stranger to repaints and retools so Bandai went ahead and made this virtual Variable Fighter a reality.
I previously review the Alto Saotome's YF-29 which you can read about here
Please check out my video review as well.
The DX Chogokin YF-29 is over a foot long in fighter mode and looks really impressive in this new dark gray color scheme. It almost feels like a proper low visibility version save for the well placed yellow highlights. The dark blue canopy and Fold Crystal transmitters on the front provide an extra splash of equally dark color. It rests of a full set of diecast landing gear like any good Valkyrie toy.
Ozma's version of the Durandal Valkyrie is the fifth time Bandai has released a YF-29 toy. Preceeding this were two runs of the original Alto type, a white Roy Focker inspired 30th anniversary color, and the Isamu Dyson type which also comes from the video games. For the most part this release still feels up to par although a few connections feel a bit tighter.
When I first became aware of this variant I knew I wanted to have one in my collection if Bandai ever made it into a toy. The new colors compliment this design extremely well and the dark hues hide some of its extra bulk not unlike a leather jacket on an aging action star.
Ozma's signature Skull Squadron patch is still present on his new ride but has the swing arm for the pop up beam cannons running right through it. This is not unique to the toy as even the in-game Valkyrie has this quirk.
Like all Bandai Valkyries, the YF-29 comes with an in scale pilot figure. Ozma was just in his Valkyrie right out of the box this time.
And it still has the removable panel that unveils a second seat for a passenger. As none is included with this YF-29, I used the Ranka figure that came with Ozma's VF-25S.
The ungainly display stand is a staple for Bandai's Valkyries.
I think I would like these better if the main armature that holds the Valkyrie was clear plastic.
All YF-29's feature rotating wing mounted engines with each having a movable exhaust nozzle. I noticed that the rotation joint for the pop up turret is very stiff on my figure so I wasn't able to really turn it all the around. This may be due to the different colored plastic use in this figure's construction.
During these photo shoots I often rest the figure somewhere else if I need to adjust something in the booth and I found that a tissue box makes a great inexpensive way to display your Valkyries. It's certainly much prettier than Bandai's black plastic stands.
I always keep the Flight Pose for the real beauty shots.
Seeing the Durandal like this makes it look quite majestic and stealthy. Like the VF-25 toys, the YF-29 has removable intake covers.
The white nosecone is especially striking.
For either Gerwalk or Battroid you have the option of using fixed posed hands. However the default articulated hands work just as well for holding weapons or forming a fist. Of course these extra ones are much cleaner aesthetically.
Gerwalk mode is the same as the Alto type with the new colors making it look especially menacing.
Looks good from the front too. When posing remember to watch the pointy tips that reside near the knee joint on the lower legs. They are very easy to damage if they come in contact with the thighs.
The support bracket that connects the back plate to the ground has a slot for attaching the gun pod. On this release I found the connection to be really tight. I managed to wedge it in there halfway when the snug fit shot the gun halfway across the room like a pressure launched missile.
The stand is slightly less egregious in Gerwalk mode and does a decent job of displaying some VTOL action.
You can get some decent poses but the armature blocks the legs from turning too far inward.
Battroid mode is where Ozma's YF-29 cements its individuality as we get a better look at the brand new head. This Variable Fighter has a monitor turret fit for a king...
A pirate king!
That unmistakable hat brim is worthy of a salty space sea dog. It even has four laser guns like a proper leader type Valkyrie.
The clear green plastic used in the forehead sensor and eyes catch the light with a stunning effect. I especially like the wide black bridge between the eyes that often makes it seem like the figure has one gleaming green point on its face.
The inner two rotate on a swivel while the outer ones are mounted on ball-joints so they can splay outward. Unfortunately you only get a hard plastic pair of lasers guns so treat them gently. They can be easily removed by pulling them out at the main socket. This causes the pirate hat to fall off so be aware.
"Hey who turned out the lights?!"
Both the face and hat scrunch inward so the head can store in fighter and Gerwalk mode. Truly this is a historic event for Macross as we have just witnessed the first Valkyrie with an articulated pirate hat.
When put next to Alto's YF-29 you can see how the new head and colors really change the whole attitude of the design.
Of course Ozma would rather be hanging out with his favorite musician than princess Alto.
The gray used on Ozma's YF-29 is much darker than his VF-25S from the series and movies which helps make the new Valkyrie stand out from its predecessor.
Like the other SMS Valkyries, the Ozma's YF-29 has a knife stored in its shield.
I appreciate how even the box photos show this Valkyrie holds its knife like this because Ozma is a real operator.
It's relatively lithe frame belies the Durandal Valkyrie's multitude of internal weapons like a bank of missiles inside the Armored Core approved shoulder pads.
The legs also have two swiveling missile pods per side. These pull up and then rotate forward with the outer casing flipping up to reveal the pod's payload.
With all of its weapons primed the Durandal is ready to go full force.
It's no slouch in the articulation department either.
Those legs are made for deep leaning poses.
Now unfortunately the metal ball-joints in the shoulders and hips can get loose on these Bandai Valkyries so I recommend keeping some floor polish (with Future) or nail polish around for maintenance. The innards of these joints are easily accessible with a screwdriver so it is simple enough to apply a few layers on the ball or socket to stiffen the joints back up. Many of my fellow collectors swear by this method and it has worked well for me.
Getting back to the toy itself, I find the stand works best in Battroid mode as this form's adapter only requires you to rest the groin and spine on inside a secure mounting bracket. The stand is the least obtrusive in this mode.
You can really kick the legs out for flying poses.
And all the internal weapons can be unfurled for an aerial strike.
A powerful machine like the YF-29 Durandal Valkyrie is needed in a sprawling action RPG like Macross 30. You can tell this is a tough game by the cover filled with cute girls.
From a virtual world to the real one it's quite a stunning design.
The YF-29 Durandal Valkyrie Ozma Lee Custom takes an already great figure and adds that extra bit of swagger with a new head and eye-catching paint job. Fans of Macross Frontier have taken a real shine to this design and companies like Bandai are getting a lot of mileage of their merchandise. Availability on new Frontier Valkyries has been iffy lately with many selling out their initial preorders in the blink of an eye. However checking nearer the release date usually yields some open preorders. I got mine at CDJapan and they often pop up at second hand shops like Mandarake. Bandai's DX Chogokin YF-29 is a beautiful if somewhat temperamental piece. Some of the smaller fins and edges need to be handled with care even though the rest of the figure is sturdy with extra diecast for heft. As such it a bit of a prima donna on my shelf but one I am happy to own.
One final note, the toy comes with a reminder about the obligatory Super Parts set that is a Tamashii Web exclusive and will be available September of 2014 for 3,240 yen. I really wish the figure just came with these parts it can't be helped.
|Posted 25 May, 2014 - 16:30 by VF5SS|