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A brief history of the VF-4's design.

The fan favorite Valkyrie known as the VF-4 Lightning III had a rough journey to being a machine with scant seconds worth of screen time to a fully realized transforming fighter.

It began humbly enough with the VF-X-4 prototype seen briefly as a scale model in the last episode of Super Dimension Fortress Macross. This served only as a tease for what was to come. The VF-X-4 possesses a similar layout and overall design as the final VF-4 but still differs in some of the finer details.

Rough sketches by Shoji Kawamori show that the VF-X-4 did have a mostly unseen Gerwalk mode. The configurations of the arms and legs is very similar to that of the final VF-4. A few notable differences include how the gun barrels in the forearms end up pointing backwards when the arms are deployed and that the upper engine nacelles swing upward in order to point the wings of the craft at the ground. Curiously the VF-X-4 features a pop-up double turret like the recent YF-29 Durandal Valkyrie.

In 1987 the VF-4 appears in the music video compilation Macross Flash Back 2012. It is piloted by Hikaru Ichijo and accompanies the SDF-2 Megaroad-01 on its journey into deep space. It is not shown transforming.

Prior to Shoji Kawamori's return to the Macross franchise, the PC Engine game "Macross Eternal Love Song" attempted to finish the VF-4 design with Gerwalk and Battroid modes that are unique to the game. There is no official artwork of this version besides the in game graphics. The transformation appears to take some cues from the VF-X-4 Gerwalk in the way the upper engine nacelles swing out ninety degrees while the rest of the design homogenizes the VF-4's Battroid mode into a VF-1 style robot. Screencap source

Image source: Macross Digital Mission VF-X Official Program page 72.

When Shoji Kawamori returned to Macross with tandem productions Macross Plus and Macross 7 he introduced a plethora of new Valkyrie designs ready to be made into merchandise. The upcoming Macross Digital Mission VF-X Playstation game allowed Kawamori a chance to finally finish the VF-4 design about eight years after it had been created. Over the years he had lost some of his original notes regarding the VF-4's transformation. The finalized VF-4 was completing using some reverse engineering from the then recent VF-19 design.

When the game was released in 1997, the complete VF-4 design was seen front and center on promotional material. In the game it is designated as the upgraded VF-4G variant and is the second Valkyrie made available to the player.

Posted 31 December, 2012 - 21:15 by VF5SS


4 comments posted
VF-4 Images from Dreamcast game

Great article. Here's my contribution with some screencaps of the VF-4 from the Dreamcast game. Enjoy.

Arbit's picture
Posted by Arbit on 14 January, 2013 - 19:46
Thanks! I've got that game

Thanks! I've got that game and played through it. I even made silly gifs of the VF-4 doing its dodge roll!

VF5SS's picture
Posted by VF5SS on 14 January, 2013 - 21:39
If the VF4 actually

If the VF4 actually transformed I didnt see it. Maybe went by too fast!

Arbit's picture
Posted by Arbit on 15 January, 2013 - 08:43
I meant in the game itself

I meant in the game itself not in the opening.

VF5SS's picture
Posted by VF5SS on 15 January, 2013 - 14:25