Review by VF5SS
The 30th anniversary for the Macross series consisted of a great many things from concerts, to promotional events, and of course lots of merchandise. One of the centerpieces of this celebration was Macross 30: The Voice that Connects the Galaxy for the Playstation 3. This self styled "flight action RPG" was the culmination of developer Artdink's work on the various PSP and Blu-Ray pack-in video games which combined high speed Valkyrie action with a free-roaming environment. Players assumed the role of SMS pilot Leon (or Rion) Sakaki, who found himself stranded on the planet Ouroboros after surviving a sneak attack from an unknown assailant. He is rescued by the leader of the local SMS branch, Aisha Blanchette, who quickly employs Leon as her own personal errand boy as she continues to investigate the ancient ruins scattered around the planet. Along the way Leon teams up various heroes and heroines from all eras of the Macross universe who have been brought to Ouroboros through some mysterious power. Pilots, singers, and giant robots from the past thirty years come together in a big crossover adventure!
And of course it wouldn't be a grand Macross even without the reveal of at least one new Valkyrie. The player begins the game with an under powered VF-0D and unlocks plans to build newer and newer Valkyries with each completed quest. Towards the end of the story, Aisha the resident grease monkey constructs the ultimate Variable Fighter for Leon to test out in combat.
Enter the YF-30 Chronos.
A promotional image featuring the Chronos in game.
As Bandai has been moving right along with several game only variants of existing Valkyrie toys like the YF-29 Ozma Lee Custom and in a stunning move announced that they would be making a DX Chogokin of the YF-30. The turn around on this toy was relatively quick given that it the Valkyrie in question debuted in a video game. Considering this is a brand new design, that's quite admirable.
Please check out my video review for a more in-depth look on the toy's features and transformation.
Here is the YF-30 in fighter mode and it is a rather beefy airplane. The design is said to take cues from the Russian Pak-Fa as it sports a large delta wing configuration and a relatively flat fuselage. In its default colors, the Chronos sports the traditional white body with red and black stripes that are still eye catching to this day. Oddly this toy has a matte finish unlike the other Bandai toys which are usually more glossy all over.
As DX Chogokin, the Chronos has a good amount of heft like the other Bandai Valkyries. Like the VF-25, the whole inner foot and ankle mechanism is metal. The Chronos rests atop the requisite diecast retractable landing gear. I noticed that that you cannot pull the nose wheel out while the gun pod is attached which is a bit of an oversight.
The canopy pulls upward a bit before hinging open to reveal a tiny Leon Sakaki. While the toy itself is roughly 1/60 scale, this pilot figure is kind of undersized like with the Macross Frontier toys. Also note that the canopy has a golden hue much like with modern stealth fighters.
One unique feature of the YF-30 is a huge weapon container filled with a large number of missiles. It is mounted on its own articulated arm and can swing up into firing position in Gerwalk and Battroid mode.
For fighter mode you need to detach the missile pod before it can be displayed in the deployed position. It's interesting they designed it this way since in the game there appeared to be enough clearance for the pod to move without taking it off. During interviews, Shoji Kawamori mentioned that the pod could conceivable be swapped for other equipment like a beam cannon or troop carrier. I guess the engineers at Bandai decided to use this idea to simplify the design while still allowing the functionality seen in Macross 30.
Each of the tiny doors on the missile pod can flip open and even feature tampographed markings that read "MISSILE CAUTION." Be careful when opening these up as the sharp edge on each door can dig into your flesh.
Another DX Chogokin Valkyrie staple is the boring yet functional display stand. Simply snap a big black bracket into the groin area of the Chronos and you can mount it on this large SMS themed armature.
For the beauty shots it goes on the Flight Pose stand.
The massive wings and thicker nose make the YF-30 look a bit more beastly in flight than the VF-25.
The beam gun pod affixes itself to the container with a flip out tab in the stock and the bottom of the gun handle. Unlike in Macross 30, the gun cannot remain attached to the underside while the pod is flipped up. In the game there was a little bracket that connected the gun to the groin but that is not present on the toy.
For high speed flight the YF-30's tailfins line up with the wings. The fins have some soft detents for few different positions but they are mostly free to move around.
The YF-30's missile pod flipped in and out depending on what sub weapon was selected as a neat visual cue. It's good that the toy can replicate this but the lack of a way to keep the gun pod is a glaring omission.
And speaking of extra weapons, the YF-30 comes fitted with hardpoints that can utilize the under wing stores included with either VF-171 Armor Parts set. These are not included with the main toy and even in the game the Chronos carries no under wings ordnance. I think this feature is more of an easter egg for collectors rather than something representative of the design.
The YF-30 also has removable intake covers as expected on modern Valkyrie toys. Just pull down from the top of the cover to remove them. They go in and out quite easily.
Kawamori promised a stress free transformation with the YF-30 and the toy is fairly straightforward when going from fighter to Gerwalk to Battroid. Going in reverse however, is kind of a pain. A few panels open up to allow the arms to unlock from the wings a la the YF-21 or Sv-51. Then the shoulder joint pulls out a bit for more clearance with the legs and waist swinging forward just a bit for Gerwalk mode.
From here you can add one of two black plastic brackets to help stabilize the Chronos in Gerwalk mode but they are not required. However since there is no way to lock the groin in place without an extra piece, you will probably end up using a bracket just to avoid frustration. Again this a weird oversight on Bandai's part. These brackets snap in securely and even have extra slots for attaching the intakes in case you want to keep the upper legs level when posing.
In a first among Valkyries, the YF-30 actually features a fully functional waist swivel in Gerwalk mode. This allows the upper plane portion to rotate around like a turret. Seeing the Chronos move around in the game made me think it was designed with ease of animation in mind. This extra bit of articulation goes a long way to making this Valkyrie seem more unique next to its predecessors.
As with the other Bandai Macross toys, the YF-30 uses a lot of metal ball-joints for articulation which have their strengths and weaknesses. Over time they can loosen up but are fixable with the usual floor / nail polish methods. The rest of the joints are quite good like the ratcheted knees and hinged elbows. You can even extend the arms forward a bit for a deeper elbow bend.
The hands are the same type seen on the previous 25/27/29 figures colored to match this Valkyrie. You get the full spread including flat saluting hands, fists, gun holding hands, and hands with articulated fingers. Also provided is a pair of hard plastic head lasers to replace the soft PVC ones that are installed on the toy.
One of the Gerwalk support brackets allows you to display the figure on the stand. Sadly the bracket nullifies the waist joint's range of motion which limits how dynamic the figure can look in this setup.
Continuing onto Battroid is mostly painless save for a specific way you're supposed to fold the upper body over the cockpit block. You need to bring up the head and neck section before moving the chest in front of the cockpit where it will then hinge back over on top of the canopy.
Keep in mind that the small moving shield in the middle needs to be pushed towards the cockpit before you flip the main body over. When you move this piece into position the red and black detailing will no longer be visible. Please check my video for a better view of how this all works.
The upper body and waist move around the central cockpit block on their own swing bars with the nosecone folding back through the lower forks. After that the head pops up and swings around and the backpack neatens up a bit for finished robot.
As with Gerwalk mode, Battroid mode can be supported by one of two additional brackets. Unlike the Gerwalk mode pieces, I feel like these are largely unnecessary. The Chronos locks together quite well in Battroid mode without any help. The bracket is really there to prevent a potentially loose nosecone from giving it an unattractive floppy "tail." Here I am using the larger of the two parts which has a brace along the bottom that connects the tail to the groin.
The Chronos transforms from a beefy airplane to an athletic looking robot warrior.
Its signature Weapons Container evokes the old Zentradi Battle Pods that carried similar missile launchers as well as resembling Kawamori's work on the Armored Core series.
The huge wings fold up a little but the backpack is unashamed of its size. Having the played the game I will say you don't really notice the Chronos's quirks as it's spin kicking an enemy space bug in the face.
There's a bit of a discrepancy with how the tailfins are supposed to be folded with the game model sweeping them toward the front of the robot and the instructions saying they should be aligned with the wings. I'll let you in a little secret: they actually change position during different attacks so whichever way you prefer is fine.
And let me tell you the Chronos has some sexy legs and really knows have to use them! While the toy is a bit top heavy, it stands up well enough given its unusual configuration. Note that the hips have extra pull-out diecast blocks that help add extra clearance between the legs and groin.
Out of all the modes, Battroid is definitely my favorite on the YF-30. Its body is smartly arranged so the arms and legs have an excellent range of motion which is further supplemented by the rotating waist joint. The top heaviness is a factor but the toy carries its unusual form really well.
The head features a striking clear green visor nestled within the more traditional face design. If you found the Frontier Valkyries a bit too busy in the cranial department, the YF-30 happily goes back to the streamlined bike helmet look.
The neck consists of a ball-joint mounted on a double hinge which gives the Chronos's head an expressive range of motion.
The beam gun pod is a new design introduced with the YF-30 and the toy can easily wield it with either the articulated hands or the fixed pose weapon holding hands.
Aim carefully to score a critical hit!
One strange omission is the YF-30 toy does not come with the knife it uses during melee combat. Since its hands are the same as the previous figures, you can just borrow one from there. I guess since it's never shown where the knife is stored, the toy simply left it out.
You can even pose the Chronos in the sharpshooter position. Just push in the left thumbstick to zoom in. The gun also splits open for beam cannon mode which also causes the sniper scope to rise up.
And here is the YF-30 in Battroid mode with the missile pod removed. While it does look a bit more streamlined, I got so used to that big old egg carton of Itano Circus that the Chronos seems naked without it.
"Uwaaaah! Mom's gonna kill me if I don't have my missile pod!"
For mounting the Chronos to the display stand in Battroid mode you get a two piece adapter. The large cradle hooks around the groin and actually plugs into the rear of the cockpit block via a pair of tabs. That other piece is a more simplified version of the Battroid mode support bracket. What you're meant to do is attaching this to the Chronos and then snap it into the cradle part but I found the the connection was way too tight and didn't seem to work at all. It actually doesn't matter because the main adapter handles the YF-30 just fine by itself.
Attaching the YF-30 to the stand in Battroid mode is a lot easier without that inner bracket.
Now you can perform its Special Attack where it FIRES EVERYTHING and seriously takes like a half a minute to finish!
And of course the real fun of the YF-30 is that its from a crossover heavy video game so be sure to team it up with Valkyries from all eras of Macross!
Sadly the VF-4 was left out of Macross 30 but thanks to Bandai we can pair it up with its distant relative. I definitely feel like there's a kinship between these two Valkyries.
"That's my mom right there!"
The DX Chogokin YF-30 Chronos continues Bandai's track record of making some great modern Valkyrie toys. While it's not perfect, its main flaw is the usual propensity to joints loosening over time which appears as fixable as on the other figures. Otherwise the toy is a welcome new face on the Valkyrie landscape and this goes double for fans of Macross 30 like myself. It is good to see a game original design get the full deluxe treatment as a regular retail release. The Chronos itself is a solid entry in the pantheon of Variable Fighters and I feel the toy captures all of its gimmicks (and quirks) faithfully.
|Posted 21 August, 2014 - 13:29 by VF5SS|