VF-1D Super Valkyrie
Review by Showapop
Although the VF Valkyries were the signature vehicle in Super Dimension Space Fortress Macross TV series, it was quite a let down how the Valkyrie was treated by the model kit manufactures at the time. Although Imai released their excellent variable 1/72 VF Valkyrie kit and 1/72 Super Valkyrie Fighter kits in general most of the representations of the Valkyrie, especially in 1/100 scale were disasters. What made this problematic was that most of the kits of the other Macross mecha that Arii and Imai made were produced in 1/100. Macross modelers had to suffer with out of proportioned and sub-par kits of one of the coolest signature vehicles of the decade.
Arii remedied this oversight by releasing a somewhat scaled down version of the Imai 1/72 VF Valkyrie Variable model kit with their Arii’s 1/100 VF Valkyrie Variable kit and which what I believe is the best 1/100 representation of the Valkyrie in the 1980s.
Arii produced a few versions of this kit in VF-1S, VF-1J and VF-1S in the many paint version types that we have grown to expect from Macross model kits and toys. What is not often know, some of these 1/100 kits were imported to the USA by Revell and included in their Robotech Changers model kit line along with Imai’s 1/72 VF Variable kits. This is how I originally built this kit in the 1980’s. In the 1990’s Bandai started to reissue these kits, giving them a new lease on life to a new generation of Macross Modelers.
Visiting a local hobby shop here in Southern California I came across Bandai’s current reissue of the 1/100 Super Armored VF-1D. With the closure of my Destroids in 1/100 scale series shortly, I would like to introduce a new series of reviews called Valkyries in 1/100. Together with Imai and Arii’s 1/100 and the new Waves model kits of 1/100 Valkyries from two years ago, it would be great to revisit and review these old and new kits alike.
Bandai’s 1/100 VF-1D Super Valkyrie comes boxed: 3x Tan sprue, 1x Green Sprue, 1x Clear sprue, 3x die cast struts, 2x diecast hinges, 1x decal sheet, 1x instructions, 2x poly caps sprue. Options include alternate markings for Destroying Falcons, Small Booter Pack or larger Strike pack. Even when Arii’s originally owned the molds to this kit it had two different releases. The first release had small sized super boosters included with the kit. When the Do You Remember Love version was released it was upgraded with larger sized Strike Pack.
Another issue to take notice is that the VF-1D trainer Valkyrie was never seen with a Super or Strike pack in either the TV series or film. Having built this kit back in the 1980’s with the correct markings and tired of building so many VF-1Ds with the same tan and orange scheme I though I would for the first time create my own custom Valkyrie markings. I would be encouraged by Bandai itself to create alternate markings as they included alternate markings for the Destroying Falcons Squadron.
Who was the Destroying Falcons Squadron? Well I am not sure but I would not be surprised somewhere in some old Hobby Japan magazine from the 1980’s there is some small article buried in the magazine retelling the exploits of the Destroying Falcons and perhaps a correct color scheme for them. Otherwise I was free to come up with my own color scheme. In keeping with the spirit of the original tan and orange scheme and recent Hasegawa/Model Graphix markings, I substituted grey for tan and light blue for orange and made up special markings of a VF-1D Strike Valkyrie that was based on ARMD-7.
Keep in mind this is a 30 year old kit but it is still a fun nostalgic kit to build for the Macross collection. The 30 years show and the kit molding was not as sharp as the molding of the original kit I built in the 1980’s. Most of the parts did not go together well and needed a lot of cleanup although I did not use much putty in fixing those parts.
There is a lot of weird funk throughout. For example it appears that it was originally made to just make a regular Valkyrie as the backpack folds up and unfolds to make the rear rudders. But because it is a Super/Strike Valkyrie the backpack should be in the stored position. Why go through all that engineering only for the backpack to be in the stored position. It is also impossible to build the kit as a regular version as the armor is molded on the legs and arms.
Like the Imai 1/72 Valkyrie, the cockpit capsule needs to be changed out when transformed. The fighter cockpit is sparkly detailed but it does come with a tiny Hikaru and Minmei figure to put in the cockpit. After 30 years the Minmei figure lacks any detail compared the original Arii figure I still own.
The chest detail also has some issues. There are four big holes molded in the chest plate that are deep and out of scale. I filled it with scrap plastic and filled the hole with CA glue and sanded it smooth. Luckily I had some black flash decal from another Arii Valkyrie VF-1D kit that I was able to use when I finished the model. Metal die-cast hinges are included for the shoulder hinges for durability, which I am still surprised they are included with the kit 30 years later.
The arms are a quick build but have the biggest issue with the kit overall. They do not swivel in any direction and when the Valkyrie is in Battroid mode the stick out wide and make it hard for the figure to hold the gunpod. This can easily be modified to swivel if you are an experienced modeler.
Some rescribing needs to be done when building the legs as there are not any lines that separate the leg armor from the legs itself. The landing gear is the only significant change from the 1/72 Imai Valkyrie kit. Instead of movable landing gear that can be stored in or out of the legs, the landing gear in the Arii kit can be removed and the hole filled in with a cover cap. The same goes for the cockpit landing gear, which can also be removed and capped off.
When I was a kid I found it odd such small booster packs were included in the first issue of the kit and glad they upgraded them for the DYRL version. Unfortunately, the larger strike version pair is only included with the kit which can be a let down if you want to do the Super version.
Weapons include a gunpod, four missile emplacement and the original 12 missile TV type stores. What is odd is that the DYRL type stores, which should go on three pylons are molded onto two pylons which is unusual.
I painted the kit using Tamiya paints for the main colors and Alclad Metal paints for the steel parts. I lightened the paint and did my usual post shading and airbrushed the kit with Testors’ gloss for decals.
When I first noticed the decals upon opening the box I knew something was not quite right with them and when it came to putting the decals on the kit I realized what it is. First it does not come with enough Macross kite logo decals for the kit, as there should be four (six if you would like to put the decals on the cockpit on the Battroid mode). Second there is not enough handle/Nozzle decals included for the kit leaving the modeler to pick the six most important places to put the decals on. Typical of Bandai and Arii they do not tell you where all the decals go.
I filled out the rest of my VF-1D kit with decals from my spare Macross decal sheets, using spares from my Macross/Model Graphix’s sheet and replacing the red kite logos with grey low viz versions. I liken my custom VF-1D Strike Valkyrie to one of the Valkyrie trainers that was stationed on ARMD-7 that was upgraded to an Interceptor Valkyrie pack with the trainer seat modified for a RIO. After a Testors’ flat coat I did my usual oil paint wash and silver pencil details and painted some of the smaller details.
What is fun about this kit is that when you are finished it is a fully transformable kit with some minor parts swapping.
My favorite mode to keep this kit in is the Fighter mode, which looks great from all angles. Unfortunately the gun pod cannot be stored underneath. The missiles easily snap on underneath. The only issue overall is that the Strike pods do not glue to the side of the backpack but to the top of the fighter. Since the connection is tedious they can easily be broken off the back of the fighter, which I already have done once.
The Gerwalk mode looks great as well and was quite surprised how it came out.
If the kit has a mode where the kit suffers the most it is the Battroid mode. For starters I believe the legs are to short. As stated before the arms cannot rotate so they stick out, especially because of the armor on the sides. But mostly overall it still looks good in that nostalgic soft vinyl toy sort of way and still much better than Arii’s first attempt at the 1/100 Valkyrie.
This is an old kit and definitely shows it age. And if you are not an experienced builder this can be a trying kit to build as many parts can be accidentally built backward or in the wrong direction. I recommend this kit to experienced builders only who want to recapture a bit of their youth from long ago such as myself. If you want to build a good representation of a 1/100 Valkyrie I suggest the new 1/100 Waves kits but as a transforming kit in 1/100 scale this is still the only option available to modelers.
©2011 Pictures and article by Leonardo Flores and CollectionDX
|Posted 26 October, 2011 - 14:39 by Showapop|