VF-25G Michael Custom
Review by Atom
Ok, so let's just get the basics of the review out of the way. Other than a new paint job, head and actually including the Super Parts with the release; it's the same toy as the Alto Custom or Ozma Custom. So before I proceed with the specifics of this release let's go over the highlights from the last review... The Good
- Excellent representation of the mecha in both Battroid and Fighter mode while remaining very “toy-like”. Not “anime perfect”, but good.
- Very high quality and sturdy plastics in use.
- Transformation is fairly straightforward and easy
- All markings and details are pre-painted on.
- Die-cast landing gear, ankles, thigh intakes and crotch
- Shoulder design allows for large range of motion
- 1/60 scale has a nice presence on the shelf. Not to big, not to small... just right.
- Worst Gerwalk mode ever. Only able to create dynamic poses by disconnecting the intakes and fiddling with the feet angles, leaving you with a very un-toy like, fragile and precarious display.
- The head lasers/antennas are made of soft PVC and are prone to bending.
- Spotty Quality Control. Many report having very loose or very tight shoulder joints. My Alto had a loose and a tight shoulder. Some have reported having the screw holding the block assembly together breaking in two after only a few transformations.
- Swappable hands getting loose after being changed out a just a few times.
- Printed detail on plastic parts rubbing off after casual handling.
- For something in the “Chogokin” line, there isn't a lot of the key ingredient in it. Approximately 15% of the piece is metal, the rest is all plastic.
- Die-cast landing gear is short and stubby.
- Die-cast ankles are too loose to hold Gerwalk mode upright.
- Range of motion overall in the knee area is severely lacking in both Gerwalk and Battroid mode.
- Bandai is capable of creating a much better and well rounded toy and really left me feeling like they rushed the design and settled for “good enough” instead of “great.”
So how does Michael's Custom VF-25G fare since the Alto release? In a nutshell. The super armor and stand makes a mediocre toy, awful.
It didn't start with hate. I picked this up knowing it's faults from my experience with the Alto Custom release but I expected the extra parts to make it better, not worse... When I got it, I carefully transformed it to Battroid mode, put on all the armor, equipped the stunning sniper rifle and created a very nice, neutral looking pose to accompany my Klan Klang figure. There it sat for a week and a half and everything was good. It looked pretty on the shelf and I was satisfied. The paint scheme looked sharp and the armor looked relatively good (Granted the thigh intake cover was a bit delicate and kept popping off but it stayed on after I stopped trying to pose it.) But then I picked it up last night and took it through its paces while shooting photos for this review and any enjoyment to be had almost got itself thrown out the second floor window. Seriously. The suggested retail price is 16,800 YEN and at the time of this article that's approximately $170 bucks before importing to the states. So the average collector state-side is paying close to $200 after shipping. In this economy that is a $h!t-ton of money so keep that in mind as I show you what Bandai has decided is “good enough” for your $200. Super Armor and a Stand All the armor feels like quality plastic molded in greyish-blue with all other markings painted on. The white detailing on plastic feels very light and thin and looks as if it will scratch or rub off easily. Be careful when handling. Putting the armor on is pretty straightforward and the included manual leaves no question as to where everything goes. Also in the box is a black stand with the base in the shape of the S.M.S. Logo.
Honestly I think this thing is very utilitarian and ugly. No points for style on this one. It's a fixed pose base that can be swapped around a bit to accommodate the piece in all three modes. Sort of...
Battroid So I must say I think that I like the blue, white and black coloring of Michael's Messiah over all the others and the colors on the piece really do pop. The plastic parts are molded in blue with the white and black being painted on. So be very mindful when handling one wrong scratch will show very prominently on those parts.
A super secret waist joint in the nose cone... Which lets you rotate the piece at the crotch. Look at that isn't it dynamic and exciting? I didn't think so either. They can think to add this stupid joint but can't give the legs proper range of motion for Gerwalk mode? With the armor on it's pretty wicked looking but you do have to fiddle a bit to get the boosters to sit properly on the wings The thigh intake armor is very touchy and has a very loose grip on the mecha. Again, short sighted design here. There is no reason better "grooves" to get the clips to hold aren't there. In and of it self, it's not a huge deal but all these little things add up... It sits fine for display but I imagine if a kid actually tried to bring this to show and tell at school they would be the parts lost before the day is over. No matter how careful you are, if you are handling it and posing it they're going to end up on the floor. They do have a hinge so you can use the joint there on the mecha. In Battroid mode, what pose-ability it did have in the lower knees is lost when you put the armor on the back of the legs. There is no range of motion, not even one “click”. If you do the armor pops off... So when you try to use the stand to pose it in mid flight your options are limited if you want to leave the armor on because you cant really bend the knee very well. I tried for a while and gave up... Gerwalk Mode Same complaints as the Alto...
You can cheat a dramatic Gerwalk mode without the stand or the armor on, on a flat surface. You basically disconnect the intakes from the fuselage, squeeze them up and in a bit and just let the rest of the fighter sit there on the top of the intakes leaving you with dramatic A stance.
With the armor it becomes an incredibly difficult exercise in Zen-like patience. The ankles can not hold it upright in even the most basic and neutral pose impossible. You have to close the feet and balance very carefully, it also helps to rotate the ankles a bit. I did the following for a half hour... parts flying and falling off... it wasn't pretty. You see while the armor does stay on, it's pretty twitchy once you start handling it. Thigh intake falls to the ground, pick up, put on, booster pops off one of its “peg holes” and needs to be realigned, realign the booster, a leg armor piece falls off, pick up leg armor off the floor, put back on, thigh intake falls off, pick up off the floor, Gerwalk mode falls onto its nose... I hope you get the point. I walked away very flustered at this point and came back a day later with the Zen-like patience took some time and figured another cheat to make the display hold up a bit more solidly... If you roll the "hip plate"... ... sort of halfway so it sits between the fuselage and the shoulder bars.. it helps it all sit a bit tighter. You must be asking yourself, “Atom, surely it can be look good in Gerwalk mode with the stand?” You would think so, it even includes a “brace” to hold up the back end. With the stand it's an even bigger joke. Leaving the intakes attached to the fuselage looks pretty lame. With the stand, you have to drop the crotch at 90 degrees to get the clip to hold the nosecone in place when you pull the intakes off to try to “cheat” your Gerwalk mode. This is the mode on the stand... Apparently this is supposed to be “good enough”... Don't believe me? Think I've just posed something wrong? Check any of the official promo photos for this or better yet check a showroom picture. Fighter In fighter mode there isn't much to complain about. It looks beautiful and everything is nice and stight. Very solid in fighter mode.
Remember that stunning looking sniper rifle I mentioned earlier? Want to attach it to your fighter and “land it”? To bad, Bandai decided short and stubby was “good enough”. Really Bandai? This is a joke right? [Editorial Note: If you need your own Pheyden (Wraith Version) to hold up the nosecone of your VF-25G be sure to check out the CollectionDX Store. and get yours while supplies last.) It is a toy that is sure to stay together unless you want it to come apart.] With the armor on it's again pretty solid except for the boosters and intake armor. With handling these will get jarred loose.
With the stand you're meant to display it like so... But you can use the Gerwalk attachment to get a nosedive pose that I prefer a bit more... Wrap Up I'm sorry Bandai, but “good enough” is NOT going to cut it in this current worldwide economy. Toys and collectibles are far from a necessity and if someone is going to drop $150 to $200 dollars on something these days it better be the very best it can be. You are capable of doing so much better and I am imploring you do just that with your upcoming Macross Quarter. I've given up on your “Chogokin” interpretation of the Messiah's sadly. Only you as a collector can decide if your willing to put up with all the short comings. I am strongly suggesting you sit it out and wait a few years till a better redo comes along especially if your toy funds are thin. If your a Macross Frontier fan, I completely understand the burning desire to own at least one of these and if you must have one I implore you to pick your purchase carefully and stick to just one. No need to reward Bandai's lackluster effort with large profits because you got all caught up in the Macross frenzy and went off on a buying spree before it sinks in - These are not that good. When they redo them all in a few years as an SOC or Chogokin 2.0 or whatever don't come crying to me. I warned ya early, I did my part as a “toy-journalist.”
|Posted 4 May, 2009 - 23:29 by Atom|