This kit has been controversial from the beginning and now that I’ve finished this kit, I figured I’d give my own viewpoint. I’ll try to be fair and balanced.
I built this kit without painting much. The parts I painted were –
– the tailfins
– the foot thrusters
– the gunpod
– some minor details here and there
– the black stripes on the arms, legs, and wings
I had to paint the black stripes because the Bandai decals were terrible and generally a pain to work with. Those areas are also heavily touched during construction. Decals can be easily scratched even with a clear coat on top. Paint is a bit tougher (esp the lacquer & enamels I use). Painting them was also much easier.
A couple of mods were made. The main one being the wheels for the landing gear. The wheels included with the kit were way too small for my liking. I thought about using the wheels from the Hasegawa kit but those are small too. I’ve always felt that Valks should have big meaty tires. So anyway, I cut off the wheel attachment point, drilled a hole, inserted a brass rod, and attached F/A-18 Hornet wheels from an aftermarket resin set. This does however mean that the landing gears no longer goes into the bays. But that’s okay since I don’t plan on swooshing this around like a toy or transforming it to any other mode.
Another mod was to the gunpod attachment. Since the model is staying in fighter mode, I cut the ugly gunpod holding strap and simply glued the gunpod to the attachment point.
The final mod was an attempt to fix the inward slant of the lower legs. Fellow MW member, Budokhan, seemed to have come up with a easy fix and I tried it out. It’s not perfect, but it’s a heck of lot better than it was originally.
In general, the buildup of this kit isn’t that hard. Most of the parts come together decently. There is however, one section that I had trouble with Despite following the instructions, I simply could not figure out a way to firmly attach the shoulder rotation point to the socket. After numerous tries, I gave up and gutted the whole shoulder linkage section. Which is just as well as I had no intention of ever taking it out of fighter mode anyways.
There’s probably a better way to put that shoulder section together but I really don’t care about transforming so I’m not going to bother.
In all honesty, it’s not a bad kit to build into fighter mode. Since I glued many of the moving parts, it’s all nice and tight. Another thing that is nice when it’s all put together is the heft of the model (at least in fighter mode). The quality of plastic Bandai uses and all the mechanisms for transforming gives this model some weight. It’s not important but it feels nice.
As for the general “look” I find it to be just fine (at least in fighter mode). It’s not my favorite fighter mode model (that belongs to the Wave 1/100) but it’s looks well enough like a VF-1. If I had to complain, I think the tailfins are a bit on the small side. I guess this is the compromise for battroid mode. In the future, I might replace them with Hasegawa fins or something.
That all said, I’m pretty happy with the end result. The mods I made help. Actually, I’m pretty chuffed with the Hornet wheels.
I took the pics with a phone camera so some things are not correctly in focus.