are some preview pictures of the upcoming Yamato 1/48 Transformable toy.
Note, the toy featured in this review is a pre-production sample. It is however, 99% identical to how the final version will be in that it uses exactly the same materials. The only things that will change between this pre-production sample and the production version are same areas of the paint work and perhaps some minor parts fitting.
Please also note that the sticker sheet, instruction manual and box were not available in time for this review, so there are no pictures of these items.
I can't stop thinking how beautiful this toy is. It mesmerizes me. To me, it looks just like the VF-1A in the fantastic opening animation to the PS /SS DYRL game, which in my opinion is the best animated rendition of a VF-1 ever.
Unlike many VF toys which only look good in one or two modes, this toy looks absolutely stunning in all three modes. In fact, it looks so good that I can't decide which mode to leave it in, so every few minutes it gets transformed. Damn it! I need two more, so I can look at all three modes at once.
I've owned a lot of mecha toys in my 33 years on this planet ranging from 1970's Popys, through various Takatokus, Gakens, Bandai's. You name it, DXs, Hi-Metal, SOCs, MSIA, FIXs, I've owned it, but this one toy eclipses all those others in terms of sheer brilliance of design and beauty.
The 1/48 As you all know dispenses with external hip bars or removable legs and uses a novel new method to achieve perfect transformation, without any parts removal.
Basically, the legs are connected to a swing-bar, which is permanently attached to the inside of the back plate at one end. The other end of the swing-bar, which connects to the hips, swings between and clips to either the inside of the chest plate in Fighter & Gerwalk modes, or fits inside the nose in Battroid mode. This swing bar is almost completely hidden from view in Fighter and Battroid modes, and only visible from the underside in Gerwalk modes.
Transformation is relatively smooth and easy, However, as the 1/48 has many more points of articulation, than say the 1/55, Transformation will take longer as obviously, the more points of articulation you have, the more time it takes to put everything into the correct position and place. The only slightly tricky parts being as follows: -
1. Turning the neck-piece and head, which is tricky due to
the limited space.
2. Folding the hands to place them inside the forearms. If you don't close them in exactly the right way, they can jam inside the forearms.
3. Opening the two folding nose hole covers requires a small pair of tweezers, it is impossible to open them by hand.
4. Opening the landing gear can be tough as the doors are a very tight fit. However, in my opinion is better than the doors being too loose! Transformation at the moment, takes me just slightly over 2 minutes, but I'm sure I can cut the time down to under two minutes with practice.
The toy has the following dimensions: -
Height in Battroid (not including laser height) = 10 1/4" / 26CM
Height in Battroid (including laser height) = 11 1/2" / 29.5CM
Length in Fighter = 12 3/4" / 31cm
Wingspan in fighter (wings fully open) =12 3/4" / 31cm
Weight = 12 1/4 OZ / 370g
The 1/48 VF-1A comes with the following accessories: -
1 x GU-11 gunpod with collapsible stock and grip.
1 x detachable gunpod shoulder strap (my sample did not have this though).
4 x AMM-1 triple missile clusters.
4 x UMM-7 Micro Missile Pods.
1 x Hikaru Ichijo DYRL pilot (non-articulated)
All the missiles plug into the under-wing hard points very firmly. In fact, there is an audible click as they lock into place. Actually as the fit is so tight I'm a little worried about whether either the hole in the wing on the plug on the missile pylon will wear after time with repeated removals, but I guess only time will tell.
Both the AMM-1 missiles and the UMM-7 Micro-Missile pod are unpainted on my sample. The AAM-1's and their pylon are constructed of white plastic and the three AMM-1 missiles are removable from the pylon.
The UMM-7 Micro-Missile pods follow the trend of Hasegawa in that they are substantially larger than would be expected. The pods and pylon are constructed of dark gray plastic, while the ends of the micro-missiles are molded in white plastic. The genius of Nishikawa-San shines through yet again, as the UMM-7 pods also double up as storage containers. The end-cap of the pods is removable revealing a hollow interior, which can be used to store either an AMM-1 triple cluster or the intake covers. If the AMM-1 missiles are removed from their pylon, all three miles plus the pylon plus 1 intake cover can fit into a single UMM-7 pod. I think this is a great idea as it greatly reduces the chance of losing any of the accessories.
The gunpod features a collapsible butt-stock and folding pistol grip, to allow it to sit flush against the belly in fighter mode. It also features a translucent red plastic targeting sensor .
All though it is still early days, I anticipate that the 1/48 should prove to be a very durable toy. There are a few areas where some care will need to be taken, such as the flaps and articulated hands, but that's all. However, remember that this is a toy aimed at adult collectors and is not designed for young children or those who like to throw their toys at walls!
The paint job on the 1/48 is overall very good. There are a few small areas of over-spray on some of the black lines on the legs, but these are hardly noticeable and any flaws with the paint work should be improved in tie or the release.
One thing that will make fans very happy is that the Skull Squadron emblem on the heat shield will be Tampo printed on the inside of the heat shield. Yes, I said on the inside. The heat shield is actually made of clear plastic, which is painted red. The emblem will be printed on before painting and then painted over, which should protect it from scratching.
The only part of the paint job I am really unhappy with o this sample is the Circle-Bar Verniers. On the 1/48, the Circle-bar Verniers are separate pieces of plastic which are glued in place. However, on the sample the paint job on these is terrible. It looks like they have been very badly hand-painted, by a blind 2 year old. I am sure that the painting of these will be improved on the production toy.
The 1/48 is packed full of cool features, many of which have never appeared on a VF-1 toy before. I'll attempt to list them all here, although I'm sure I'll forget some:
First ever VF-1 toy with fully detailed wrist covers.
First ever VF-1 toy with removable radome and articulated radar.
First ever VF-1 toy with removable engine intake covers
First ever VF-1 toy with hinged knee armor.
First ever VF-1 toy with collapsible backpack antenna for Gerwalk mode.
First ever VF-1 toy with opening airbrake on the chest.
First ever VF-1 toy with moving flaps.
First ever VF-1 toy with collapsible rear spine antenna to allow the backpack to sit flatter in Gerwalk and Battriod modes.
First ever VF-1 toy with built in non-removable heat shield.
First ever VF-1 toy to feature hinged cover panels for the side of the torso in Battroid mode.
First ever VF-1 toy to feature a detachable shoulder strap for the gunpod.
First ever VF-1 toy to feature perfect transformation without using either removable parts or external hip bars.
Above the knee rotation poit for better posability in Gerwalk and Battroid modes.
Detailed landing gear bays.
Metal landing gear with fully rotating rubber tires. And the landing gear does not collapse when the toy is trolled on a smooth surface in fighter mode, unlike the 1/60!).
Articulated hands, which flip inside the forearms
Opening hinged canopy.
Fully detailed cockpit.
Removable pilot figure.
Collapsing GU-11 gunpod, with 3-barrel detail at muzzle and translucent red plastic targeting sensor.
The pre-production sample 1/48 I received came in a plain white box. The box measures 5.5" x 14" x 14.5" and should be representative of the final box size. Inside, the toy was packed in fighter mode surrounded by the accessories in a clear plastic tray, which should be the same as will be used with the production toy.
I did not receive any stickers with this pre-production sample, so I have nothing to say here.
The 1/48 is incredibly well articulated and features high quality ratcheted joints for the feet, knees, elbows and the joint just below the intake.
This 1/48 pre-production sample still has a few minor problems which will hopefully be ironed out by the time the production version has it's release in November. The problems are namely: -
The heat shield which runs on tracks inside the chest plate detaches about
ever other transformation. This is not a real biggie as it only takes a
few seconds to clip it back in place, but it is annoying.
Likewise, the hinged clip that secures the back pack in Battroid mode occasionally tends to fall off during transformation.
The right wrist joint is too loose, meaning the hand tends to flop from left to right when holding the gunpod.
If I could only ever own one toy, this would be it and higher praise than that I cannot think of. Anyway, I don't want to waste any more words, I'll just let the pictures talk for themselves.
Oh, and before I forget special thanks go to the following people: -
The kind people at Yamato (yes, you know who you are), for having the
courage to follow through with a project that just a few years ago people
would have said was an impossible dream.
Nishikawa-San, for designing the best damn VF-1 toy period! It's only taken 20 years.............Now get working on that 1/1 scale VF-1!
Macross World forum member 'Vermillion One', for sending me the MPC VF-1J that was used in the comparison photos.
Go here to read the new supplementary review (dated Oct 13,2002) on the preproduction 1/48 sample.