VE-1 Super Fighter
Review by Showapop
Going to Pony Toy Go Round about once every other month back in the 1980’s was one of the best experiences of my life. My dad would load me up in his truck and we would take the 45-minute drive from Montclair to the Little Tokyo district in Downtown LA to a shop in Honda Plaza called Pony Toy Go Round. Pony Toy was a Japanese owned toy and gift shop that had three shops in the area, with one shop being exclusively devoted to anime, kaiju and tokusatsu toys, figures and model kits.
Pony Toy was a special place, as it separated those who were just sort of into anime and those who wanted to dive deeper into those mysterious and exotic Japanese toys than what was being offered at the local swap meets and domestic toy stores. A bulk of my toy collection that I have reviewed here on CDX was purchased from Pony Toy, especially my Bandai Spiral Zone figures, which could not be purchased anywhere else in Southern California.
With most of my vintage larger toys have already been reviewed here on CDX I believe it is now time to review some of my smaller toys that I purchased in the 1980’s that normally do not get the attention that larger and more expensive pieces might get but were just as enjoyable as any Popy piece I might have owned over the years.
One type of item that I picked up in large numbers at Pony toy were the series of gashapon capsule toys known as Nice Present Giveaway. These capsule toys sold for $1.00 here in the USA and ¥100 in Japan making an inexpensive toy for young kids to pick up and collect. Nice Present Giveaway covered many genres and eras, from a Godzilla kaiju series, to Go Nagai and Mazinger classic robots series, to Gundam and other real robot series.
The quality and sculpt of these capsule toys were excellent for there price range and nicely captured the spirit of the subject even though it was only a SD representation. One complete series of Nice Present Giveaway that I was able to complete and still own after 25 years is the Macross series that was released roughly in 1984.
Four Valkyries were represented in this series of capsule toys: VF1S Fighter, VF-1S Strike Valkyrie, VE-1 Super Fighter, and VF-1A Gerwalk. These came in a gashapon capsule complete with the parts of the figure, a small fold out instruction sheet and were molded in either red or deep blue plastic. What was great about these figures was that they were component, meaning that you can mix and match all the parts to make a custom Valkyrie of your choice. Many variations were possible and we had fun taking them apart and building our own custom Valkyrie.
As the stated before, the sculpture of these were well done and captured the tiny nuances of the subject. Take a look at this VE-1 Super Fighter, the small details are well captured, including the correct leg armor, booster pack, radar array, radar dish and rounded head. Of these details alone, the VE-1 is my favorite of the four, considering it is one of the more obscure Valkyries in the series.
The deep blue and red color look nice and appropriate for the figure, no odd day glow child colors here. Kids such as myself at the time tended to want to paint these in their own custom colors as well, with my figures being painted for many years until I stripped the paint off my figures and restored them for this review.
About the only issues these Macross Valkyrie figures had were how easy the tiny pins that connect the legs bracket to underneath the body have a tendency to break if they are constantly being misused or taken apart. Three of the four figures I own had to have those parts glued together to the body as the pins are weak with time or had broken off into the hole.
I am personally shocked that I actually still own a complete set of all four, especially considering how many parts are involved, the way I (didn’t) store them, and the many times I have moved over the years. But it is these small pieces such as this VE-1 that reminds me of the 1980’s and my early love and excitement for anime and Macross.
©2011 article and pictures by Leonardo Flores
|Posted 14 December, 2011 - 14:36 by Showapop|