Review by JoshB
Hikaru Ichijyo was a young stunt pilot who was invited to attend the launch ceremony of the SDF-1 by his Senpai Roy Focker. During the ceremony, all hell breaks loose as the Zentradi attempt to capture the SDF-1 and an all-out battle ensues. Rick, I mean, Hiakru, seeks refuge in the cockpit of fighter plane. Unfortunately for Hikaru, this is no ordinary fighter - this is the VF-1D Valkyrie. Hikaru takes off and joins the battle, and this is his, and the viewer's, first glimpse of the iconic Valkyrie mecha in action.
Roy talks him through the battle but he is forced to land in Macross city, crashing through buildings until finally coming to rest in front of the Chinese Restaurant that Lynn Minmei works at.
As the battle reaches the city, Hikaru rescues Minmei and takes off in the VF-1D, carrying her in the hand of the Valkyrie.
While in flight, the arm is shot off, and Hikaru opens the cockpit and drags Minmei inside. The VF-1D lands again, and then has an encounter with a Zentradi Battlepod, which Hikaru destroys. The battlepod opens and a fatally wounded Zentradi soldier emerges, stumbles a bit, and then is killed by Roy Focker in his VF-1S Valkyrie.
Hikaru's VF-1D is now damaged beyond repair, and is also in the death grip of the fallen Zentradi. Roy uses a feature of the VF-1D to remove the entire nosecone of the VF-1D and place it on the arm of the Valkyrie and return the two to safety.
I tell you all this because I wanted you to know that the VF-1D is not just some silly paint variation of an existing design. No, the VF-1D plays an important role in the Macross saga, and the toy designers at Yamato know this and have added in some cool things to the toy because of it.
I also want to tell you that the VF-1D is important to me because I remember it fondly from the days of the Robotech kits made by Revell in the 80s. Because of these memories, and the lack of a Takatoku 1/55 version, the VF-1D has always been on my wish list. Sure, Yamato put out one in their previous 1/60 line, but numerous QC issues made me pass. Now, I've got the new Yamato version, and it is very very cool.
The Yamato 1/60 VF-1D Trainer continues the excellence set forth by the prior releases in the line, which have been covered here ad nauseum. No, I'm not shooting video for this either, as it's essentially the same toy. I'm going to show you what's different about this one.
The Valkyrie is packaged in the standard Yamato window box and comes with the following accessories:
- four optional fixed-pose hands
- four missile pods
- four three-tube anti-ground missiles
- Hikaru and Minmei figures
- three stand connectors
Please note: The stand shown in the following photos is NOT included with this toy, it is sold separately.
The toy is packaged in Fighter mode, so that's where we will start.
The VF-1D has fantastic lines and sharp detail. The cockpit has been elongated and now seats two people. This decoration of the VF-1D designates it as a training version, so my guess is that the extra seat is so that a pilot can ride with his or her instructor. The cockpit canopy has a neat luminescence that has a shimmering effect when viewed at certain angles.
Both Hikaru and Minmay figurines fit in the cockpit, but the Hikaru figure is a tight squeeze. Minmay has a lot of room, so she just sort of bangs around, much like in the anime.
The wings can sweep backwards and forwards, and the various armaments can be attached under the wings. After re-watching the episodes that feature this Valkyrie, it never seems to have any missiles on the wings, although it is a combat-ready trainer.
Landing gear is located beneath the nosecone and on the rear beneath the fuselage. Each features metal supports with real rubber tires. Opening these doors is tricky if you don't have sharp fingernails. I needed to use a razor blade to get them open. I guess that's a compliment to their engineering that they can produce such tight tolerances.
The gunpod can be stored underneath the fighter by wedging it between the two arm sections. However, this fit isn't really great and the cannon can fall off when you are zooming the toy around the room, if you are prone to such flights of fancy.
Next up is Gerwalk mode, the hybrid fighter/battroid mode.
Flip the back section over, un-click the legs, and swing out the arms. I'm simplifying it a bit, but you get the idea. If you could do Jetfire, you can figure this out. The hands fold out from the arm sections and are articulated (thumb, trigger finger). There is a slight tab in the palms of the hands to secure the gunpod in either hand.
Gerwalk mode is great, but it raises a question. On the old Yamato 1/60s, the Valkyries had an antenna on the back section (see here). What happened to those?
It is in Gerwalk mode that we can replicate the scene where Roy removes the cockpit of the VF-1D. You need to remove the head from the undercarriage, flatten out the Grey connector bits, and then give the nosecone a good tug. It's tight, but it will come out. From there you can attach a connector mechanism that enables you to click the cockpit to either of the forearms of Roy's VF-1S or any other Valkyrie.
Battroid mode is really great as well, and it is in this mode that some of the modifications to the standard 1/60 VF-1 molds become apparent. First off of course is the new head. The head of the VF-1D features two clear horizontal green bars on the front, and two positionable antennae on the sides. The translucent green, while attractive, seems a bit dark. Why Yamato doesn't employ light pipe technology is beyond me.
The chest plate is an all-new mold, as is the heat shield. The hatch on the back that opens to allow the head to pass through is also new, featuring 2 fins instead of the standard one.
Included are two sets of anime-style hands that first came with the VF-1J Super and I love the look of them. In fact, I almost wish the toy had more of this anime feel and less of the cad-rendered design. I guess I have to go back to the old Imai and Arii kits for that.
As for complaints - I have only a few and they are minor. I found the leg fins too easy to bump out of place (as you may see on some of the photos) and think they should be held in place with a firmer mechanism. The gun is supposed to be able to attach to the arms when in Battroid mode, but it barely stays on. Breathe on it the wrong way and it falls off. Perhaps a different connecting mechanism is in order?
Also, how cool would it have been to have the ability to replicate the scene where Hikaru uses the exit in Battroid mode to introduce himself to Minmei. The head can tilt down the requisite amount, it would have been neat if a hatch could open and pop out the two pilots seats with Hikaru in one, or even as an add-on piece.
Ah well, I'm really grasping at straws here. The VF-1D is a fantastic piece and its hard to find fault in it.
This toy will run you about $100, but if you are a Macross or Robotech fan I definitely recommend it. It's a great design that doesn't get a lot of love in toy form.
Yes, I know I forgot to take off the intake covers for some shots. SORRY. Yes, I know I have one of the fins on the legs bent in on some photos. SORRY. No need to start a 37-page thread about it, K?
|Posted 12 April, 2009 - 22:08 by JoshB|