4th March 2006

Bandai 1/55 Scale Variable Fighter
VF-1S Super Valkyrie

(2002 Reissue Version)

(Reviewed by Renato Rivera)


This toy is a reissue of the 1/55 scale VF-1S Super Valkyrie originally released by Takatoku Toys in 1982. It was released in this format on the 21st of August, 2002. The Super Valkyrie 1/55 toy has appeared in various incarnations over the years, in recoloured form as the Transformer “Jetfire”, and it was reissued once before by Bandai in 1990, albeit with some changes to the sculpt and stickers. The toy retails for ¥7,800, but it is currently out of production, although it can still be found at several retailers in Japan or online for less.

Dimensions and Weight:


The box design is in the same vein as that of the previous Bandai reissues, but of course it is longer in order to accommodate the FAST packs included. The outer box features a photograph of the FAST pack-equipped Battroid in a pose on the left side of the front while the right side has a window where the Valkyrie can be viewed. On the rear, the box features five photographs of the toy in various positions and various items of text: technical specifications of the Valkyrie and its attachments; two paragraphs explaining the Super Valkyrie’s development and features and two more paragraphs describing the story at the point of the show in which the Super Valkyrie makes its first appearance. The box size is actually the same size as that of previous 1/55 releases which have included FAST packs or GBP armour, and suchlike. The packaging consists of an outer box made of thin card, a tray made of thicker, slightly corrugated card, and a two-piece transparent plastic tray which encases the toy – packaged in Fighter mode with the tailfins folded down – on the right, and its attachments on the left. Like the 1990 reissue’s Styrofoam insert, there are ample spaces in the plastic tray for the spring-loaded landing gear to be in the “out” position. Underneath the plastic tray, there is a bag containing the instruction manual, a sticker sheet and the heatshield for Battroid mode.

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The toy comes with several accessories and attachments:

Instructions and Stickers:

The instructions are printed in black and white on both sides of a folded A4 sheet of paper. The illustrations are very simple and it is easy to follow even without Japanese language ability.

The sticker sheet contains the four shoulder stickers at the top, and the rest of the stickers – consisting mainly of more “warning” signs and UN Spacy insignias and markings – have instructions to “place them where you like”. The quality of the stickers is very high, with a smooth texture and once applied show no signs of peeling.

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This latest version of the Super Valkyrie restores the original Takatoku sculpt (ignoring the changes made to the 1990 edition such as the different head sculpt and the changes in the spring-loaded landing gear) and actually improves on the aesthetics of the original by featuring highly detailed tampo-printed designs such as “warning” and “danger” signs and the like. Even the FAST packs have been nicely detailed with “UN SPACY” markings and thruster detail. Paint application is very clean and is a welcome feature in a time of cheap, badly-painted PVC figures such as now. All in all, the level of detail is high.

The Takatoku plastic quality has been reproduced pretty much identically and is very high compared to toys designed today, including other more modern VF-1 Valkyrie toy representations. There are also many sections made of die-cast: the leg swing-bars, the shoulder hinges, the landing gear, the inside of the robot lower legs, etc.

However, since this is still a sculpt designed in the early eighties, there is the matter of accuracy to contend to. It must be stated that when compared to the designs of the VF-1 as presented in the lineart of the original Macross show, there are several notable differences which become obvious. For example, the landing gear is housed inside the nosecone of the 1/55, which would be impossible in “real life” and the lineart shows it further aft. Another difference is the unsightly die-cast swing bars which bring the legs into position for Battroid mode. Bear in mind that this Bandai line of 1/55s is a reissue line and these “flaws” in the design are part of the appeal of the toy for many nostalgic collectors. The VF-1 design is one which through the years has seen many a toy incarnation and depending on your preference there are more accurately detailed and complex Valkyrie toys out there which fully utilize 21st century toy design and engineering technology, yet go beyond the scope of this review.


I count ten points of articulation in Battroid mode (twelve including the wings), which in my opinion is a lot for a toy designed in the early eighties. The joints are mostly ratcheted, except in the elbow joints. However these joints will take a lot of usage before they wear out and become loose, as even original antique versions are tight and this version has been produced in the same way. The Valkyrie can be positioned in various poses but with its lack of outward hip articulation, it ends up being unbalanced for most of the dynamic poses it would otherwise pull off. Nevertheless, it is good for playing around with.


The 1/55 Valkyrie can transform into 3 modes, Fighter, Gerwalk and Battroid. Transformation is very simple from a user’s point of view, yet ingeniously intricate from a technical point of view. The ratchet joints are even and everything fits nice and tightly together. Anyone who has ever transformed a Valkyrie or Jetfire before knows exactly what to do here, so there are no new surprises. And of course, at the time of release the revolutionary concept was that the toy could transform perfectly even with the FAST packs attached. Attachment of the FAST packs is very simple and there should be no problems in frequent attaching and removal. However, the FAST pack pieces themselves are made of a thin plastic which could be considered delicate, in particular at the attachment points. While they are not under much heavy strain, care should be taken in attaching and removing the pieces, especially the arm armour. The attachment points could be snapped off after too many rough uses.

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As mentioned, the original Takatoku features of the toy have been preserved and they include:

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Since there have been so many 1/55 releases in the past twenty-four years, I cannot list every difference, but I will try to point out the main areas where things appear to have been redesigned or changed in some way.

The 1990 Super Valkyrie release came with much fewer stickers compared to the Takatoku versions and this new version. However, it did come with a clip-on heatshield which could be easily attached over the clear canopy in Battroid mode. This has been replaced with the “swappable” system of separate canopy and heatshield, which was introduced with the second release in the current 1/55 reissue line, the gray VF-1S Roy Focker type (the first release was the VF-1J Hikaru Ichijo type which came with a screwed-on canopy as standard and no heatshield, which explains why the plastic tray of the packaging has no space to hold it and so it comes inside the plastic bag inside the inner box).

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The 1990 version of the Super Valkyrie features a redesigned, sleeker head which looks more accurate to the anime (though still not a 100% likeness), which has been restored to the original Takatoku design for this version. However, the 1990 version featured long indentations along the wings not present in the original Takatokus, which have remained in this new release.

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Also, an interesting feature of the 1990 Super Valkyrie is addition of springs inside the die-cast swing bar which hold a plastic nub on the inside of either bar supposed to retract as the leg swings around and brushes past the fuselage. The new version does not have this: the nubs do not retract, but this does not mean that scratches on the fuselage can easily occur. Perhaps Bandai decided this was an unnecessary feature and left it out. I am not sure if the Takatokus have this as well.

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In Gerwalk mode, one thing I noticed with all of Bandai’s post-2001 reissues was that unlike the 1990 Super Valkyrie, the arms could only be positioned at an angle and could not be positioned perpendicular to the ground (viewed from the front). I realized that the plastic on the inner side of the shoulder joint is thicker and so the FLIR extrusion on the side of the air intakes would push the shoulders outwards where they would not do so on the 1990 version.

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The colour of the canopy on the 1990 reissue was transparent, whilst this version has it a translucent light-brown colour. Another thing is the colour of the FAST packs themselves. They seem to be a light gray/blue very close, if not identical, to that of the 1990 reissue. This is different to that of the original Takatoku which was a more “realistic” military kind of colour in its dark gray/green styling.

Lastly, a word about forearms. Many people have noticed in trying to attach arm armour from previous releases onto the new reissues that they are incompatible. This is true: Bandai has slightly redesigned the shape of the 1/55’s arms in their new reissue line and so the arm FAST packs included with this release are the only ones which will fit onto any of the new reissues released after 2001. Bear in mind that this only applies to the arm FAST pack armour and other accessories from vintage 1/55 releases do actually fit such as the GBP-1S Armour and Elintseeker Armour (so I hear, unlike the GBP I do not own one so I cannot say for sure).


Even today the FAST pack-equipped 1/55 is a sight to behold for both anime fans and toy collectors, and remains the benchmark for transformable toys even today. It is recommended for fans who grew up in the seventies and eighties and look back in wonder at what was possible back then. Other companies may have surpassed the 1/55 in terms of aesthetics, but the historical importance in its engineering – the fact that it took a fictional design and recreated it in the real world – cannot be forgotten. Thus, this newest release of the 1/55 revival line is a testament to Shoji Kawamori and Takatoku toys, who did the impossible and brought anime to life.

I would like to thank Graham Parkes and the rest of MacrossWorld for giving me the opportunity of doing this review. At the time of writing (March 2006), Bandai has placed their 1/55 reissue line on hiatus, but let us hope it is not cancelled, and that they finish reissuing the rest of the line, since the best is yet to come.