VF-17S Diamond Force Color
Review by VF5SS
One of the many signs of our collective mortality is the fact that the Macross franchise has been going strong for nearly thirty years. During that time, the enigmatic Shoji Kawamori has been living the dream. He combined two of the most otakuist of otaku things, combat aircraft and giant robots, into an ever expanding line of fictional machines that are collectively known as Valkyries. As such, the equally otakuish hobby of toys based on giant robots is home to a wide variety of Valkyrie toys.
This is one of them.
One of the appealing aspects of Valkyries is how Kawamori combined his aforementioned love of airplanes with the sensibilities of transforming robots. Practically all of them manage to create an air of realism, mainly by being adaptations of real-life fighter jets and bombers. Both Macross Plus and Macross 7 introduced numerous new Valkyries that drew inspiration from the then cutting-edge ideas of the future of aerial warfare. Chief among these was the VF-17 Nightmare, which was based on the actual F-117 Nighthawk. As the F-117 was often called the "Stealth Fighter," the VF-17 was nicknamed the "Stealth Valkyrie."
See, it says "Stealth Valkyrie" right there. Trust me; I am an expert on these things.
As one of the main Valkyries in Macross 7, the VF-17 is primarily used by the fleet's elite three man unit: Diamond Force. Because this is science fiction, one of these pilots naturally is a main character. Gamlin Kizaki, a young man with lilac hair (whose love interest is a girl with pink hair) is a straight laced, no nonsense kind of guy. His backstory can be summarized in about two and a half minutes. During the course of the show he is forced to rise up and take command of Diamond Force, when he graduates from using a VF-17D to inheriting captain Kinryu's VF-17S.
Yamato has continued its foray into the Macross license by creating toys based on the Valkyries seen in Macross 7. After the success of the truly outrageous VF-19Kai Fire Valkyrie they set their sights on the VF-17, which has to be important since it is in the intro. Transforming VF-17 figures are harder to come by. The only two I can recall are the Bandai VF-17 Stealth Valkyrie (produced in both VF-17D and VF-17S variants) and the Experten VF-17D/S 1/100 kit.
This toy is so beautiful ;-;
The VF-17S in fighter mode is absolutely stunning. As a rather unconventional looking Valkyrie, its matte plastic exudes the sleek and stealthy nature of the design. Like the two VF-19 toys, this figure is locked solid. Within its dark exterior lie many diecast metal structural supports that give the whole craft a surprisingly hefty feel. The accents on the VF-17S are very minimalist with only a few yellow stripes along the wings and legs to indicate its status as an S-type Valkyrie for those who are like Roy. Part of me was wishing this toy was done in a shinier finish like the VF-19s, but upon reflection that would probably cause dust and fingerprints to hyperspace fold from all over the known universe onto the toy.
The VF-17S is designated a space superiority fighter because it is black which makes it hard to see in space. Well, not in anime's typical bluish star field space, but you get the idea.
The figure includes a pair of stand adapters for Yamato's Macross display stands or their defunct Mighty Block stand. Of course, I just stick with the Flexi-Display stand for ease of use. Like every Yamato Valkyrie, the VF-17S is held together in fighter mode through numerous locking tabs that keep everything in line.
If this figure has one small issue with its impeccable blackness it'd be the exposed locomotive knee-joints underneath. I don't see that as a huge deal since it shows off some of that magnificent metal. Also check out that landing gear. It's metal, painted white, and has rubber tires just like every other Valkyrie in this toy line. Also note the slots in each wing which will be used to secure the Super Packs in fighter mode.
The shape of the fighter mode is perfect. It's a black arrow that pierces my heart in a good way.
Underneath the stealthy purple canopy is a fully painted figure of Gamlin Kizaki. True to the series, his flight suit is physically identical to Docker's with different colors. Gamlin is much more handsome.
As a neat concession the real idea of passive stealth, the VF-17S carries its gun pod internally. Now, due to the fact a toy needs to have things like screw holes and joints bigger than small hydraulic pistons, Yamato's VF-17S cannot do the characteristic stock footage scene of the gun pod launching out of one leg. Yamato was still able to make a rather elegant solution that allows you to store the gun pod in two halves in each leg. Each piece does stick out a bit, but they are still covered by a ventral flap. Each wing is attached to that large diecast metal bar embedded in the back plate.
The storage cavities can be covered by a sliding panel that completes the look of the calves.
For this review I borrowed Josh's Bandai VF-17S in order to show off how it compares to the new Yamato toy. As a 1/65th scale figure, the Bandai VF-17S is only slightly smaller than the 1/60 scale Yamato VF-17S. The new toy is much sleeker than its predecessor, yet does not sacrifice durability for anime accuracy. In fact you will soon see how the new toy goes out of its way to surpass the original in terms of build quality.
See it's the Diamond Force. Do you get it?
For details on the transformation, please check the accompanying video in this review.
As a way of establishing the VF-17S as a more powerful Valkyrie, it has a unique Gerwalk mode where the arms are bent backwards to expose beam cannons inside each elbow. You need a good fingernail to pull each cannon out, so space out time between clippings. Like every single Yamato Valkyrie, the VF-17S uses a combination of swivel joints and sliding ratcheted knee joints to achieve the characteristic A-stance. The new metal ball-jointed ankles give it even more stability. The back plate with the wings is secured via fold out tabs on the previously seen ventral plate so it will not sag over time.
Interestingly enough the swivel joint on the legs is right on the Gerwalk joint rather than the usual position of right above the knee.
Through the use a hidden mechanism, you can expose a pair of verniers in the back plate. The one on the left is open while the one of the right is partially closed. When the figure is returned to fighter mode, the legs will push the vernier covers into the closed position.
The figure has a pair of optional hand covers to hide the fists while they are stored. I've been told these parts look like a moody cousin of Balrog (huzzah!) and are easily removed by retracting the arms at the elbow, which will push the hands through enough to dislodge them.
Each arm has a double hinged diecast metal and plastic shoulder joint.
To ensure the longevity of the toy, the articulated shoulder pauldrons are attached to the shoulders via a diecast metal frame.
As a fully qualified love-interest saving device, the VF-17S can be configured in the typical Gerwalk mode in order to solve problems. This happened a few times in the show, as well as in the game Macross VF-X2 because the programmers weren't getting paid to code a new primary weapon just for one mode.
Oddly enough, the VF-X Ravens VF-17 has purple stripes, which means it's totally a Baltimore Ravens Valkyrie.
The VF-17S in Battroid mode is tall, striking, and powerful. I absolutely adore the way this toy renders it. It feels very solid and stable. More of the yellow highlighting is exposed in this form, which creates a striking contrast with the stealthy lines of the VF-17S. Official publications call the VF-17 a Heavy Battroid, and it certainly looks like a bruiser.
While the VF-17S has a fighter mode unlike any other Valkyrie, its silhouette in Battroid mode is unmistakably that of a Variable Fighter. Note the pair of slots on each side of the back plate which will be used to attach the shoulder mounted Super Packs.
Some have noted this toy has some sizable gaps in the Gerwalk mode. One of these issues can be fixed by simply sliding the wing roots in towards the back plate. The gap between the shoulders and chest plate are due to the deletion of some mysterious panels shown in the line art. In my opinion, the toy is so fantastic that I don't care~.
May your forehead grow like the mighty oak
As an S-type Valkyrie, the VF-17S exudes authority through the four laser cannons on its monitor turret. The space ninja faceplate and piercing red visor command respect.
The VF-17S has no issues assuming the classic Valkyrie pose.
Due to the roomier forearms of the VF-17S, this toy uses hands that are similar to the ones of the VF-22S toys. These have better proportions than the typical articulated Valkyrie hands. The thumb, trigger finger, and three remaining fingers are all hinged with a peg in the palm for securing the gun pod. Handling the gun pod with both hands is no problem due to its retractable foregrip.
The gun pod has a removable magazine which reveals some Gatling gun detailing. Through the beauty of stock footage, this is also where the beam adapter attaches for when Gamlin needs to ward off an angry Tengu.
As an a fine example of the effort put into this figure, both shoulders have an additional diecast metal hinge allowing the arms to angle backwards for more expressive poses.
Diecast metal ball-joints in the hips and ankles allow for a perfect combination of stability and flexibility. The ankles especially are beastly chunks of metal that slide in and out for added range of motion.
The VF-17S is capable of very dynamic wide-legged poses while maintaining stability.
Its tight joints allow it an easier time interacting with some of its fellow robots.
You find a King Tiger in the desert and flip it over.
It lays there, its treads baking in the sun while you just sit there watching.
You're not helping.
Why is that?
One must stand tall in the face of giants.
"I believe in you, Karaoke Ninja."
The VF-17S's transformation was engineered to also allow access to the cockpit in Battroid mode.
The build quality on this figure is amazing. The hips are attached with a collapsible diecast metal frame, which is in turn attached to a solid block of diecast underneath the cockpit. This area is hidden by the retracted nosecone in Battroid mode.
The head and upper arms are connected to another diecast metal block. Essentially everything in the upper body is connected to this area.
Right now the VF-17's Super Packs have not been released in any form. This is probably due to them being prominently used on the VF-17D rather than the VF-17S and we know how Yamato likes to stick to the story. We can, however, see this rather ingenious method they have engineered for allowing a deep slot at the front of the legs while maintaining a solid look when the VF-17 is not fully equipped. Simply push in this panel on the opposite side of the landing gear door…
…and then move the black switch inside the wheel well to fully retract the panel. You also use this switch to push the panel back into the default position.
One thing you may have noticed is the lack of the usual Diamond Force logo and UN Spacy logos on the Battroid's chest plate. According to my liege, Lord Graham, this is because the designer in charge of the toy preferred how it looked without any markings other than the yellow stripes. While I know it offends some that we may have to apply stickers like bloody serfs, I must admit I do like the look of the unmarked VF-17S. The sticker sheet includes a wide variety of options for giving your VF-17S any number of configurations. You can even make it part of the Macross Frontier era with a few New UN Spacy logos.
Also included with the VF-17S is an announcement by Yamato that they are going to produce a 1/60 scale Perfect Transformation VF-4G Lightning III from Macross Flashback 2012. Not only is this year the thirtieth anniversary of Macross, but it's also the last third of Flashback's title. My liege confirmed this is going to be a completed toy, and while it a web shop exclusive, certain online retailers have been carrying Yamato Web Shop items so I am not worried that this fan favorite Valkyrie will be too difficult to obtain.
I bequeath thee the title of Sir Gamlin of Seven.
With all the craftsmanship that went into Yamato's VF-17S toy I can confidently say that the torch has been passed. The Bandai VF-17S that once held the rank of the only transforming VF-17S toy can now recognize this newcomer as a rightful heir to the throne.
The Macross 7 television series always had the most varied and colorful cast of Valkyries. While it took over a decade for the show to receive some well deserved attention to the mechanical designs that inspired a new wave of fans, I am truly glad to have this many Valkyries from one of my favorite shows in my collection. Each is an enjoyable toy in its own right and there are still many more to come.
To be continued...
Comments56 comments posted
It was, really, the only Valkyrie I truely loved from Macross seven. Doesn't help that most of the others were slight retools and recolors of old friends from Macross plus.
Still, I always thought the Nightmare was a very DIFFERENT beast from it's cousins and someday, when I have the cash to spare, I am hunting this or one of it's near-inevitable future variants down.
I recall Macross Frontier having some interesting color variations on this baby... maybe someday...
VF-171 in Macross Frontier is not just color variation of VF-17, it's a heavily revised design. Longer nosecone (that it needs to fold in Battroid mode), slimmer proportion etc.
Just for reference on the differences between the VF-17 and the VF-171, check out Experten's expensive Garage Kits of both Valkyries.
He's quite a genius.
The plane's purple cockpit looks like it's glowing. I like that effect. It's a small shame this black knight beauty doesn't have a pair of beam sabres. The sabres would make it look more formidable than any kind of Gundam.
Great review and beautiful toy. Well done!
I need to catch up on my valkyrie purchasing.
That matte black is gorgeous. The engineering on this thing is beautiful!
Great review. Really nice summary. I love how the matte black plays off of the white head with the quad guns. That first picture is just awesome. And love the pictures of the metal shoulder joints and explanation of the underlying structure. Yamato is just getting better and better.
I agree with you about that. I think Yamato should make another version of this valkyrie into a 1/60 PG model kit. Perhaps they're making one this year.
Uh, Yamato never made PG model kit. That's Bandai.
"May your forehead grow like the mighty oak"
"You find a King Tiger in the desert and flip it over..."
Oh, that's definitely Blade Runner.
Sweet Jesus, the VF-4 is coming... =D (C'mon, Yamato- stretch out your highly generous and genius arms, take that last step and give us the VF-2SS-!)
Good review, Andrew. Makes me want this all the more.
Minus several million nerd points for pointing out the references and talking about the VF-2SS.
Dude. I'll lay money on the -2SS being the most attractive Valkyrie design of all of them (and the only one to make a reasonable stab at the arms-inside-legs transformation method without resorting to magic pistons or chickening out by going to over-the-wing.)
Not that I wish to pursue this tangent any further as I am still baffled why the VF-2SS is brought up nearly every time the VF-4 is, but I must ask are you daring to question the sacred copic marker drawings in the presence of a card carrying Kawawhori
I have a doctorate in Overtechnology
... Heh. Kawawhori.
I LoL'd as well.
Because despite coming from a crappy movie, the VF-2SS is frequently overlooked and underestimated as a good Valkyrie design.
Also, of all the Valks out there, the VF-4 and -2SS haven't gotten their dues from the collecting and modeling communities aside from a smattering of limited-articulation models (Bandai's one transformable -2SS kit aside, which you reviewed).
(I'm still trying to figure out if the VF-4 got an ABS w/ screws toy made in the early 2000s, or if that was an original custom model I saw.)
The VF-4 has been rendered in almost a dozen different garage kits over the course of a few decades and eventually became a regular character in several video games.
Plus it's tied to a popular character (second behind Roy in Macross Ace polls) and in an OVA that's still considered an important part of the franchise.
The VF-2SS is none of these.
"The VF-2SS is none of these. So stop. "
NEVORR! Niche it may be, and unwanted by the true and learned fans (such as yourself), but I love the VF-2SS. No one can take that from me no matter how hardcore they are.
If they can recreate the VF-1s dozens of times over including repaints that are back-alley obscure, then surely they can cough up the yen to make a proper 1/60 -2SS w/ SAP at least once. And I shall not rest easy until they do! (The VF-2JA... meh, I'll let that one go by. And the Metal Siren was pretty bad.) That Yamato is even considering making the VF-4 just gets me that much more excited that a -2SS is a real possibility.
And when that great day comes, Andrew, if you don't want to review it, then I will. (I certainly won't hold that against you!)
If there is news of one you'll be the first to know.
I already explained why the two are not comparable in terms of notoriety and demand.
Until then you don't have to mention the VF-2SS every time I review a Valkyrie. I know I review a lot of them but that's just my thing.
Fair enough. I can accept that.
Sorry I hogged the comments with my ranting again. ^^;
I can understand why they wouldn't consider it a good investment, though. Thing is, with one basic toy (VF-1) you can get twelve different toys just from head swaps and different paint schemes. Add in super/strike/armored packs and it gets worse; include "weathered" to multiply everything by two, and that's almost fifty toys just from canonical sources. And the otaku will buy all of them, because you just Gotta Catch 'Em All. With the VF-2SS you don't get that, because there was only one paint scheme for that toy. We, as Americans, might say "but we don't want to just buy the same toy fifty times!" but we aren't Japanese, and ultimately these toys are not being made for us.
But remind me again, please, how many official repaints and mods there are of the VF-11, -17, -19, and -21 each compared to how many Yamato has made of the -1...?
Yeah, and those Valkyries are all from shows THAT PEOPLE LIKE
If we can get multiple toys from a license as retarded as a transforming train, then is it too much of a stretch to get a VF-2?
We got one modern basic action figure of Sausuraiger and it sold poorly.
Go watch Macross II. There are multiple color schemes for the VF-2SS. Red, yellow, blue, green, I think there was even pink! But seriously, give me a break. While I'd like a VF-2SS toy (and I'd like a toy of EVERY VALKYRIE EVER), it's probably not going to happen. It's from a sequel to DYRL that is not part of the mainline Macross series, with mecha designs by someone other than Kawamori. The fact that they're making a VF-4 has nothing to do with that. The VF-4 comes from Macross Flashback 2012, which is a Kawamori/Studio Nue/Artland production. Yes, there's only like 5 minutes of new animation, but those five minutes feature Misa, Minmay, and Hikaru, who is in the VF-4. You know. Hikaru. The main character of Macross. It's his jet.
The OVA also is set in 2012 and it's 2012 now. That is why this is coming out. Macross II is set in 2092. Maybe in 2092 you'll get this toy, when every other robot in Macross has been given a toy. We will get Mylene's VF-11 MAXL before we'll get the VF-2SS.
In other news, the VF-17 is pretty sweet and I'm looking forward to the VF-17D because it has a cooler head and I think blue trim goes better with a black stealth robit. Also: You can reenact the moving death of Physica. PHYSICA! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!
We need figures of Physica's cheating wife and new husband.
Barring that, the music box that plays Planet Dance.
I'm sitting here with the Macross Design Works book I got back in 2001 after reading this review and looking at all the other choices.
Stampede... 3000... hey even a Sound Force VF-17...
So many choices, but Yamato goes for the jugular. VF-4-T-W!
Veef, hands down, best review you've done for the site.
This thing looks great and your photos are top notch!
I am also mystified as to why folks talk about both the VF-4 and VF-2SS together. They are pretty different. I think a lot of that has to do with when Macross II came out many were expecting the VF-4 to appear. I like Macross II and the designs but DAMN the VF-4 is one I've been wanting since I was The Small R.
Please, keep up the good work, man.
My favorite Veef review was the Beastwars one....
Yes, same here, the VF-4 was an end of an era, the VF-2 the beginning of another!
I just bought a resin kit of the VF-4 that I will start on sometime early this year. Looking forward to finally buying a toy of one myself since I was a kid!
My favorite review was Rainbow Dash due to incredibly heavy bias.
Although the Beast Wars one did make me snicker.
I decided to sticker my VF-17S like a bloody caveman
This is the legacy of Diamond Force.
Very nice Valk, this Nightmare S, though for me the more iconic look is the D variant. S's head remind me too much of the helmet of Jashugan from Battle Angel Alita. However, seeing we already got two VF-19s, chances are Yamato will use their cash-in instincts and throw the D at as as well.
I do hope they will make a VF-0D though, the delta-wing Valkyrie looks gorgeous (especially on Hidetaka's artwork), even if the back kibble is easily comparable to the Frontier Valkyries.
I'm glad you managed to snatch this one, VF5SS. I think in terms of Macross collecting you became my current role model and hopefully one day I'll be able to get so many VFs myself (Macross kind of became my main collector focus in terms of what I wish to get, taking over this role from TFs). So far mu own fleet consists of VF-1S and J, but you gotta start somewhere ;)
Valkyries do not have kibble.
They have ordnance carrying stations.
Might be, but some of these stations are more questionable than others. Especially YF-29's wings in Battroid mode.
Just don't call them kibble. Every time you say that word, VF gets so mad that a few of his neurons die.
No that's from all the drugs.
My toy enthusiast habits just kick in, I spent last 16 years handling Transformers, so when I see something not fitting into humanoid mode at first glance it's hard to call it otherwise than "excess elements of vehicle mode that didn't make it into mecha mode properly". Seriously, only after the Superpacks were shown this began to make sense ;)
... which still is a bad sign for Durandal seeing how his Super Packs work.
I appreciate the clarification (CDX Member: GTG), but I only brought up Perfect Grade as a pastiche. Perhaps I should've said 'PG-like' to avoid confusion. Also, keep in mind that Yamato Inc. has jumped their Macross products into the model kit bandwagon. They just brought out G1 VF's in 1/60 scale (1A to 1J) model kits in limited eds. This includes the 1/2000th SDF-1 which exemplfiles Yamato's capability in producing a PG-like kit.
I don't know if there's a Perfect Grade-like 1/60 VF Nightmare, 4, or the other valk that I'm afraid to say here that's in works for Yamato's model kit lineup, but I hope they're working on it or at least thinking about it. If so, I hope they'll be released as regular eds. Bandai remains to have license permit from Big West in producing Macross toys & kits, & as we know Bandai's the leading 1# Gunpla company in the world. If not Yamato, then perhaps Bandai will.
Those model kits are just unassembled toys.
Yes, those Yamato kits are more directed to toy customizers rather than model kit builders who don't want to take a perfectly good expensive toy and mess with it. It was just easier for Yamato to make a kit for toy customizers. Scale is really the big difference as Modelers usually build in certain established scales such as 1/144, 1/100, 1/72, 1/48 for aircraft where as Yamato kits are always in 1/60 to fit in their own "brand Scale." Yamato's Hikaru's Fan racer would fall in the later category as a "brand scale" kit.
It would be Bandai, WAVES, or Hasegawa that would manufacture such kits. Bandai seems to be doing all the new 1/72 and 1/100 Macross F kits and reissues of original Imai and Arii kits. Waves is concentrating in 1/72 and 1/100 kits and Hasegawa focusing on Valkyries in both 1/72 and 1/48.
With Hasegawa releasing the recent 1/72 VF-11 kit I would bet that they might have a VF-17 in the future but it will probably be non transforming although Hasegawa as the talent to pull of a VF-17 PG type kit.
1/60 is the best scale since it is populated almost entirely by giant robots of varying levels of giantness :3
And also the WW2 diecast tanks by Del Prado.
That King Tiger is pretty great. I think I should get some more of them.
It's also an obscure model railroad scale from Germany, oddly enough.
I agree, 1/100 scale for anime subjects is just too small for most robots.
There were some 1/144th scale Votoms trading figures one time.
Teeny weeny scopey doggy
Cool you can have them boarding some vintage Pan Am airliner for vacation diorama!
Would they fit inside a C-5 Galaxy
Standing up? Depends if the official 3.8m height includes the antennae or not. If it does, you'd have a full foot of clearance. If not, you might have to fold down or remove the antennae to get it in under that 13' 6" clearance.
Well that's what down form is for :D
I think those generic transport planes in Votoms would parachute zak from Scopedogs while they were in down form.
Which is funny because they'd have the Scopedogs go to down form upon landing just to justify that position as some kind of shock absorber method.
Then I have to make another clarification. Yamato never ventured into model kit business. Like the others already said, that 1/60 VF-1 "model" is exactly the same with 1/60 toy but unassembled and unpainted. And that 1/2000 was delivered in pieces because the price will be too damn high if pre-assembled. They're limited because they're targeted for limited kind of customer. So they never "jumped their Macross products into the model kit bandwagon" like you said.
I wish Bandai will create PG-like Valkyrie models too. Those 1/72 Mac F models have no grades but their features are equal to Master Grades. Now this is another clarification, 1/60 doesn't instantly mean "PG-like". Many non-grade 1/60 gunpla have simplistic design despite their scale. For those VF-1 models, I wouldn't call them PG quality, but closer to MG. They lack inner frames, light up features, etc. Good scale for PG Valkyrie is 1/48 (if Bandai ever make them). Well that's what I'm thinking anyway.
The 1/2000 SDF-1 Macross was not a true toy but as Yamato put it, a replica of the prototype they showed off at trade shows. Sure it can do all the things a production toy could do but it was more akin to the resin prototypes we see of toys before the final production samples are ready for public display.