Phatslappy's Review of the Bandai 1/55 Scale VF-1J
For the most part, I think that Bandai did an excellent job of replicating the original Takatoku VF-1J. It looks almost exactly like the original, with some improvements that were possible because of new manufacturing processes, namely painting capabilities. In my opinion, it transforms every bit as good as the original, actually better because it's not 20 years old.
One of my greatest fears was that Bandai would use shoddy material or assemble the toy poorly such that it would be more like a Joon's valk than a Takatoku valk. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the plastic seems to have the same appearance and feel as the original Takatoku. It is smooth and shiny. On one shoulder piece of my Bandai reissue, however, there seems to be some strange dents that look reminiscent of fingerprints embedded within the plastic, and detracts from the overall quality of the toy. Even the joints click tightly just like the original. One other fear I had was that the landing gears would be made like the Bandai 1990 Super Valkyrie, not spring loaded and have gaping holes. This also was not the case. The landing gear opens exactly like the original Takatoku, and if you're not careful, you can still sting your finger when you try to open the landing gears. The last fear I had was that they would use the original molds, which would have decayed over time and caused swirls. This is not the case because I couldn't find any evidence of swirling on the plastic and because the arm shape of the reissue is steeper than the original. It clearly indicates that they retooled their casts or something. (I don't know the terminology so I don't even bother to pretend I know what it takes to do it.)
One of the big improvements that Bandai made to the reissue was to use detailed paint. This worked out really well, in my opinion, because the paint looks spectacular. One thing that I didn't notice until reading Graham's review is that the wing paint is painted on a recessed area, something that was indeed lacking from the original. This would also help to prevent some paint rubbing. One regret is that they didn't paint more. Instead Bandai provided stickers for the front shoulder triangle. The stickers that they provide for the front shoulder is quite dull and I think it should have been a deeper shade of red. Also, painting the backside of the shoulder piece would have been much desired because the screws make it difficult to apply the stickers there. They did, however, provide stickers for the lower air intake (by the hips) that was absent from the original. I wish they had also painted this on as well.
Bandai also had some major shortcomings in their reissue. Along with not painting more of the toy, there is that unsightly gap on the chest plate when in fighter mode. That really should have been uncovered in the prototype and initial manufacturing and should have been fixed. The tail fins are not very stable in fighter mode. I'm not exactly sure how it compares with other Takatoku valks or Bandai valks, but Jetfire's (a Bandai product) tail fins were always very strong and tight. The steeper slope on the arms prevents us from adding Super Valkyrie armor to it. I don't know how important that is because they never used it on the show, but to me, it still would have been nice to have that option. The different arm does actually fit the GBP-1S armor better than the original, but slight differences between the Takatoku and Bandai valks make it almost stressful (on the armor) to put the armor on the body. The last thing I didn't like pertains to the box. The box is designed pretty well in that the fighter fits in easily and is easily removable. But the sticker/instruction/catalog packet was taped to the box. During shipment, the bag ripped off part of the background picture. I wish they would have followed Takatoku or Yamato and either provided a place for the package or simply shoved it behind the tray.
Because of the changes that Bandai made in their reissue, for the most part because they retooled their casts, I think they could have done more. They could have made the head more accurate with the so-called "missing chin" and the vertical pipe that goes down the backside of the head. Also, they could have included a heat shield as they did make it for the DYRL valks. They could have also covered up the exposed screws which would not have changed the appearance by much, but would have improved the appearance greatly nonetheless. With as many changes as they made, I simply felt Bandai could have done more to separate itself from the original.
Differences Found Between the Takatoku VF-1J and the Bandai VF-1J
Introduction VF-1J Review Bandai/Yamato My Preferences