VF-31J Siegfried Hayate Immelmann Use
Review by VF5SS
The relatively fast arrival of Macross Delta meant that some aspects of the show were repurposed or revamped from earlier entries in the series. Much of this can be seen in the show's main Valkyrie, the VF-31 Siegfried, although in true Macross fashion, things didn't quite go as planned but ended up the better for it. According to interviews in the series Blu-Ray booklets, the design was originally supposed to be much closer to the YF-30 Chronos, to ease the process of translating the design into a physical product. However, Shoji Kawamori tweaked and refined the VF-31 so much that it became practically a whole new Valkyrie. To meet this challenge, Bandai's Macross team danced to win with the resulting DX Chogokin VF-31 Siegfried stepping up to a new level of excellence.
Please check out my video review!
Macross Delta launched with protagonist, Hayate Immelmann's Siegfried as the show's leading airplane. His blue-trimmed version of Delta Platoon's eye-catching livery resembles many real-life aerobatics teams (such as the Russian Knights), and is expertly rendered on the DX Chogokin. The toy is about a foot long in fighter mode and has a satisfying amount of heft due the use of diecast parts in many of the Siegfried's transformation joints.
Being able to finally hold a VF-31 in my hands allowed me to get a better handle on this bird's beautiful profile. Everything about it is very angular which is a noticeable contrast to its curvier predecessors (like the VF-25). There's an especially neat trick where the lines of the tail fins flow right into the forward-swept wings when viewed at the right angle, which makes the design an aeronautical delight.
In addition, the toy's overall design is deliberately meant to look like the letter "w" to make the fighter a worthy defender of the Super Dimension Venuses, Walküre!
From 29 to 31, the Siegfried shows the evolving nature of Macross Valkyries and their toys.
As an aside, the VF-31 appears to be the first Valkyrie to break the "VFs with forward-swept wings must have a '9' in their designation" rule. However, the standard VF-31 Kairos has a more typical delta wing shape so I guess Kawamori managed to adhere to his own eccentricities by making the Siegfried a variant.
The craft's numerous tampographed decals are especially crisp on Siegfried's matte finish frame.
And like with many modern mecha, the craft's name is printed all over its body so nobody forgets what kind of airplane it is.
Riding in this Valkyrie are Delta's main hero and heroine: Hayate Immelmann and Freyja Wion. Like with previous DX Chogokin VFs, the rear seat is hidden under a removable cover piece. Also, check out how the toy achieves VF-31's distinctive golden hued canopy with sparkly clear paint.
Together, the two make for a nice 1:60 scale couple. Although, Hayate's insistence on going helmet-less results in a weird faceless mini-figure.
And true to the show, each VF-31 is equipped with a bank of (non-removable) multi-drones on the top of each engine block. Bandai managed to pack both a hinge and a sliding panel into this tight space in order recreate this gimmick. The mechanism works quite smoothly, although you may need good fingernails to pop the cover up the first time.
As a little bonus, Bandai also included a pair of in-scale multi-drones (both wings deployed and folded up). While this is a cool bit of model-like detail, these things are both really tiny and basically useless without some kind of display stand. I mean, I could understand having a clear effect trail to show the drone launching from the Valkyrie, but without such amenities they are destined to be left in the box.
One especially cool thing about the Siegfriend is how the main landing gear is actually hidden in the Battroid mode's knee pads. A sliding joint coupled with a swiveling diecast wheel (with rubberized tires) allows this part to perform its dual function with ease.
Now if there's one thing Bandai refuses to change about their DX Chogokin Valkyries, it's the design of the included display stand. They couldn't even be bothered to include a custom base with the Chaos company logo and went with the generic launch hatch design from their DX VF-171 toys. I will give them some credit for at least changing the actual adapter piece to clear plastic so the display ends up looking a tiny bit less ugly.
Fortunately, my trusty Flight Pose stand is always ready to give my VFs some proper flight time.
And this gorgeous bird definitely deserves to be in the sky.
The Siegfried is an especially sleek Valkyrie in fighter mode, with its integrated gun pod blending effortlessly into the underside.
Also, the VF-31's wings can mount weapons included with other Bandai Macross toys. Howeverm that means owning a set of VF-171 armor packs, since that is the only DX Chogokin Valkyrie to date to be given any kind of underwing stores.
Converting the VF-31 from fighter to Gerwalk mode follows the usual Valkyrie transformation pattern with a few new twists.
Most notably, the forearms emerge from within the jet's wing roots in this curious flattened out configuration.
A few clever folds turns the chunks of airplane into the expected robot limb. By default, the VF-31 is equipped with articulated hands that divide the mechanical digits into a ball-jointed thumb, a movable pointer, and a three-finger chunk. The latter of which can actually curl up all the way to the palm thanks to a pair of hinges.
And if you don't want to use the articulated hands, Bandai included a whopping six(!) pairs of fixed-pose hands so the Siegfried can punch, salute, hold its, knife, hold its gun pod, or hold its gun pod at a slightly different angle! However, none of these solid PVC manipulators can be used in fighter mode so you'll have to switch back to the articulated ones when its time to convert the VF-31 back into an airplane.
Not that the VF-31 really needs a handheld weapon in Gerwalk mode as the weapons pod unfurls into an awesome multi-function turret. On one side is the Siegfried's beam gun pod, and on the other is the multi-drone charger.
Both sides can pivot up and down independently of the main swivel joint, which makes the whole turret a very fun gimmick to mess around with. The drone charger features four movable transmitter panels and a detailed slide-out midsection.
From the rear, this DX Chogokin Valkyries displays a lot of neat little bits of engineering that make for an excellent Gerwalk mode. For example, the weapon pod snaps into a pair small plastic clip to keep it aligned with the main body when it is not in use. Also, the legs feature swivel joints at both the knee and just behind the intake/thigh of the Siegfried for an exceptional A-stance. And what I really like about the VF-31 as a figure, is how the design did away with all those sharp points and edges around ends of the limbs. So now there is little danger of permanently damaging the toy just by moving a leg the wrong way.
Another clear plastic stand adapter lets the VF-31 Gerwalk assume the classic "flying backwards while shooting" pose. Getting the Siegfried's arm-mounted gun tonfas in the mix makes for a full-frontal anti-missile barrage.
Converting the Siegfried into Battroid mode reveals the extent of which Bandai has stepped up their Macross toy game. And while their previous DX Chogokins have been fine figures in their own right, the VF-31 is the first to feature a complete set of built-in mechanisms for keeping the upper body tightly locked together. Starting off, a set of gray brackets hidden within the black-color body struts connect to the blue hinged LERX with a satisfying "click."
Getting the head and neck in place on previous Bandai Valkyries was often a trying affair, but the VF-31 manages to fix things with some rather novel engineering. On this toy, the Siegfried's whole head assembly rests in front of a separate articulated neck cover.
The cover piece then unfurls on its own hinge...
So it can flip around and feed through a U-shaped hole in the Siegfried's robotic collar piece. This mechanism achieves two things: it lets the head assembly room to hinge upward to the top of the fuselage for Battroid mode, and provides means for pushing the toy's head up out of its cavity without the need for a long fingernail or a small tool.
The toy's instructions include a multicolored diagram that shows where all these pieces need to be for either fighter/Gerwalk mode or Battroid mode. While this looks complicated, the process is actually quite intuitive as the neck piece and head assembly are essentially swapping places for the toy's various modes.
To finish off the torso, a pair of hinged blocks on either side of the cockpit area, flip down down to allow the plane's rear fuselage fold down and complete the Battroid's upper body. Once in place, the rear fuselage snaps in firmly just behind the cockpit block with the previously mentioned hinged parts providing some extra pegs for keeping things together, with the result being a robot torso that stays in one piece.
In full on Battroid mode, the Siegfried is easily the most sturdy and stable of Bandai's Valkyrie toys. All of the aforementioned engineering tricks means whole figure will stay locked together, even if you pick it up by the torso and shake it.
Even the VF-31's sizable backpack cannot make the figure fall backwards thanks to a pair of honest-to-goodness ratcheting hip joints in this figure.
Pulling the VF-31's diecast hip bars out allows the legs to rotate to nearly any position needed for dynamic poses. And once you've settled on some new dance moves for Hayate, pushing the upper legs back in locks them at the desired rotation for a very stable display.
A rotating waist joint allows the Siegfried more flexibility in its poses than the average Valkyrie. The only thing to be aware of with this point of articulation is making sure the nosecone doesn't bump the groin. Although, due to how the figure transforms, the nose can wiggle enough to the left or right to prevent parts rubbing.
For melee combat, the VF-31 is equipped with dual pinpoint barrier enhanced assault knives (pinpoint barrier not included). Each blade folds in half to store under the corresponding arm shield.
And speaking of shields, I wish the figure came with some clear energy barriers like in show. Not even the upcoming Super Pack set includes effect parts. I mean, there are already places right on the arms where they could plug in and it'd look cool!
The Siegfried's articulated hands do a decent job of holding a knife, but strangely lack a palm tab like on previous Bandai Valkyrie toys. I generally end up using the specific fixed-pose hands though.
Still, Hayate and his VF-31 are more than ready to deal with friendly pilots turned hostile by the Hate Plague.
Never bring just a knife to a knife and gun tonfa fight.
That said, handling Meltrans seems to be a bit of a blind spot for him. Hayate just can't seem to read their moves when it's time to tango.
And like in Gerwalk mode, the Siegfried's plethora of integrated
When it's time for more traditional Battroid fights, the beam gun pod unplugs from a small movable platform on the back of the weapon pod.
Once removed, the firearm in the usual Valkyrie gun pod manner. It actually undergoes its own little transformation as the stock extends, the upper casing rises, up, the fore-grip slides forward to expose the trigger, and the whole handle assembly hinges open.
If this toy has one major failing, it's that the articulated hands seem unable to properly hold the gun pod, forcing you to grab one of the fixed-posed hands. Although, I feel like this really only an issue to kanzen henkei purists who demand every essential part of the Valkyrie remain attached at all times.
Putting that one flaw aside, the DX Chogokin VF-31 has that modern high-end toy swagger that the previous Bandai figures get so very close to but never quite achieved.
Sadly, the display stand starts to buckle when the Siegfried in Battroid mode. The toy's heavy legs mean extreme moves may cause the clear adapter piece to fall off the armature. It's a shame, since this is one Valkyrie toy where crazy poses should be doable.
The VF-31's predecessor, the YF-30, is a good example of this phenomenon. While the latter managed to one-up the -25/27/29 design by featuring a redesigned torso transformation with flip-out locking prongs, the hefty backpack assembly was still left with only gravity keeping it in place. Also, the Siegfried's weapon pod can be positioned out of the way on the Battroid's back, unlike the Chronos's "always out" configuration.
Overall, Hayate's VF-31J Siegfried is a strong and satisfying first entry for the upcoming parade of Macross Delta DX Chogokins. And don't get me wrong, I like my DX Frontier Valkyries (past the original VF-25 toys of course), but the Siegfried manages to address all the weakness of those toys and even ones like the VF-171 and VF-19 Advanced) to stick the landing with power, poise, and grace. With the Siegfried, it seems like both Shoji Kawamori and Bandai's engineering team on the same page at all times and really committed to rectifying the mistakes of the previous toys. And the fact that they really nailed things with the more "conventional" Valkyrie design of the Siegfried gives me faith that the far more radical Sv-262 Draken III will be an equally solid DX Chogokin.
Until next time, Hayate wants everyone to keep clicking on any pop-up adds for Walküre to support our fighting idols in the war against bad vibes and angry mobs.
|Posted 17 January, 2017 - 21:45 by VF5SS|