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MACROSSWORLD REVIEW OF
YAMATO 1:60 SCALE DYRL HIKARU TYPE VF-1A
Part 1 of a 3 part series
A short note before we continue. The toy shown in these photos is not quite the final production version. However, as only about 1 week separates this toy from the final version, the differences between them are extremely minimal. The toy shown in these photos functions identically to the final version, uses exactly the same materials and is painted the same as the final version. The main difference between this toy and the final production toy is that Yamato decided to make a last minute change to decrease the gap between the chest plate and the main air intakes in fighter mode. In short what you see in these photos is 99 percent the same as the production toy you will be able to buy.
It's been a long time coming.
So is it worth the wait…………………………??????????
The Yamato 1/60 scale VF-1A Hikaru type from 'Macross Do You Remember Love' is an amazing toy. In my humble opinion it blows all other transforming VF-1 toys out of the water.
I must admit that when I first heard that Yamato was going to make a VF-1 toy more than a year ago I felt somewhat disappointed. I mean we already have our beloved classic 1/55 toys and HCMs. What was the point in another VF-1 toy? At that time I would much rather Yamato had made a VF-4 or VF-5000 or any other Valk besides the VF-1.
Soon after I had the chance to see early prototype pictures of the VF-1 and I started to change my mind. Then came my first chance to actually handle the toy and I was blown away. Since then I've been a firm supporter of Yamato's efforts to make a VF-1 toy and have been lucky enough to witness every step of the development and even offer some creative input.
If you are a Macross toy fan go out and buy this toy quick. Although Yamato is going to make a lot of them, I guarantee that they will sell out quick and this is one toy you do not want to miss…trust me on this.
Here are just some of the many great features this toy: -
1. It actually looks like it does in the anime.
2. It's got more articulation than any other transforming VF-1toy.
3. It transforms easily.
4. It has no ugly exposed hinges.
5. Nearly all the external screws are covered.
6. It should be plenty durable.
7. It's a nice handy size to play with, not too big and not too small.
8. It locks together solidly. No floppiness here!
9. It's got much more detail than the old Takatoku & BandaiVF-1 toys.
10. Most of the detail is actually engraved on or painted on unlike the old toys which used stickers for much of the detail.
11. It comes with lots of accessories.
12. It uses translucent plastic for the eye-piece, shoulder searchlights, rear landing gear lights and wing lights.
The Yamato VF-1A is a great toy to play with, In both fighter and battroid modes it is rock solid.
You can hold it anyway you want in fighter mode, zoom it around, pretend to dive bomb and strafe your cat or dog and no part of the toy will hang down loosely or flop around. This is due to the way the toy is designed to lock rock-solidly together. In fighter mode everything locks. The arms lock to the legs and to each other, the legs lock to both the chest and back plates and to the legs and the chest-plate locks to the nose.
In battroid mode the toy also has a very solid feel due to the 4-point system used to lock the torso together. Also, even though the legs are nearly all die-cast and thus quite heavy, the POM hip joints attach very firmly in the ABS nose sockets. Even picking up the toy and shaking it, the legs do not fall out.
The Gerwalk mode is probably the least secure of all the three modes as the legs are only attached at the intake section in Gerwalk mode. Still, they stay on well enough, just don't try any barrel rolls or loop-the-loops.
Also, all the accessories fit well and stay attached and the toy is just so damn poseable.
Personally, I love the 1/60 scale of this toy. I have always thought the classic 1/55 toys were a little big for play and the Bandai 1/72 HCMs a little small. As Goldilocks would say "this one's just the right size".
The Yamato VF-1A is made of four types of material as follows: -
ABS plastic is used for the chest-plate, back-plate, forward fuselage, nose, canopy, pilot seat, heatshield, air intakes, feet, landing gear doors, landing gear wheels, lower arms, shoulders, head, backpack, gunpod & missiles.
Die-cast is used for the lower legs, upper legs, T-bar (located on the inside of the chest-plate), inner surface of the back-plate, landing gear struts & the reverse thrusters located on the outside of the air intake/hip sections, (which serve as a locking catch for attachment of the legs in fighter and Gerwalk mode).
3. POM (Polyoxymethylene Acetal Copolymer), is a super tough plastic which is nearly as strong as steel and was chosen for it's long-lasting characteristics and high wear-restistance even when used in contact with metal parts. In the VF-1, POM is used for the for the shoulder hinges, hip joints, the hinges connecting the chest and back plates and the "L" locking lugs on the inside of the chest plate. To learn more about POM please visit:-
PVC is used for some of the hands, backpack radio antenna and upper arms,
The Yamato VF-1A Hikaru Type has the following measurements: -
· Length in fighter mode = 24cm
· Width in fighter mode (with wings fully spread) = 23.4cm
· Height in fighter mode = 7.5cm
· Height in battroid mode (to top of head) = 19.3cm
· Height in battroid mode (to top of head laser in full upright position) = 22cm
· Weight = 325g
The Yamato VF-1A has 23 points of articulation, which makes it the most articulated and poseable VF-1 toy to date.
The poseability of the Yamato VF-1 is due to a number of firsts that have never appeared in any other transforming VF-1 toy, these include: -
· Rotating nose/waste joint
· Shoulder ball joints
· Hip ball joints.
· Lower leg rotation point.
· Hinged ankle joints
The articulation of the Yamato VF-1 allows it to pull of a number of life-like poses that the older VF-1 toys cannot match.
Transformation of the Yamato VF-1 is relatively simple, at least much more so than the Macross Plus toys. However, there are a few more steps involved in transformation when compared with the classic 1/55 scale Valks, but these are easily mastered.
In one way though the Yamato VF-1 is a radical departure from what has gone before in that it has detachable legs which must be removed from the toy in fighter mode and reattached at a different location for battroid mode. Many die-hard fans of the classic 1/55 VF-1 are actually against having removable legs, but truthfully it is closer in design to how Shoji Kawamori envisioned the transformation of the VF-1 than the swing bars of the older toys. Also, the removable leg feature has the double advantage of allowing not only a cleaner more accurate-to-anime appearance, but also allows much greater poseability than is possible with swing bars.
Within the next week Macrossworld will be publishing a detailed photo guide on how to transform the Yamato VF-1.
One thing that I will say now is that when transforming the Yamato VF-1 it is absolutely essential that you follow the correct sequence for (a) removing and attaching the legs in fighter mode & (b) the sequence for locking the torso together for battroid mode. I cannot stress enough that it is critical you perform these two procedures in the correct sequence…..more later!
Each VF-1A comes with the following parts: -
· 4 x UMM-7 Micro-Missile Pods
· 4 x AMM-1 Triple Missile clusters
· 1 x GU-11 Gunpod
· 1 x standard right hand
· 1 x standard left hand
· 1 x optional right hand with extended trigger finger for holding gunpod grip
· 1 x optional open left hand for holding gunpod barrel
· 1 x ABS heat-shield
· 1 x ABS clear canopy
· 2 x removable arm covers for attachment of Gunpod in fighter mode
· 2 x radio antennas (one is a spare) for attachment to the backpack in Gerwalk mode
· 2 x nose plugs (one is a spare in case you lose one)
· 1 x sticker sheet
· 1 x instruction manual with photo-illustrated transformation sequence
The missiles supplied with the toy are quite detailed. All missiles attach easily using a cylindrical peg, which plugs into a matching hole on the underside of the wings.
The AMM-1 missiles come molded in white plastic and are unpainted.
The UMM-7 micro-missile pods are molded in black plastic with the missile heads and exhausts painted in white.
My one complaint with the missiles is that the attachment points on the wings are slightly too close together. The inner attachment point could really do with being moved inboard another 2mm so that the missiles do not look so close together. However I already know that this problem will be rectified on the later FAST pack versions.
The GU-11 gunpod is superbly detailed and is the first VF-1 gunpod toy to feature a siding rear cover (although the upcoming Toynami and Banpresto toys are said to have this feature). The Yamato GU-11 gunpod also has three silver painted barrels showing at the muzzle end another first for Yamato.
The GU-11 attaches to the fighter mode by pegs on the forearms which connect to a matching hole I the gunpod's pistol grip. To attach the gunpod you must first remove two "L" shape panels on the forearms to uncover the attachment cutouts. My only complaint with the way the gunpod attaches in fighter mode, is that it hangs down too low and nearly touches the ground.
The VF-1 comes with a total of four hands. When you remove the toy from it's box the two standard hands made of ABS are already attached. These two hands take the form of closed fists. The right fist has a hole in it into which the gunpod can be placed. Only these standard hands are small enough to be retracted into the forearms.
Included as accessories are an extra right and left hand. The right hand, which is made of PVC, is used for holding the gunpod and features an extended trigger finger which can be placed into the trigger guard of the gunpod. Unfortunately, this hand does not feature a thumb despite what I have stated previously on the forums. This hand cannot be retracted into the forearm as it is too large.
The spare left hand comes in the open palm position and can be used to pose the battroid so that the left hand is holding the barrel of the gunpod. This hand is also too large to be retracted into the wrist.
Unfortunately, no box was available in time for the photo shoot, but Ican describe it for you. The VF-1A comes in a card window box measuring 11.5" x 10.75" x 4". The toy is displayed in the box in fighter mode, and is displayed surrounded by the AMM-1 missiles, UMM-7 micro-missile pods and GU-11 gunpod.
The very stylish box is black in color and features photos of the VF-1A toy. Personally, I love the look and size of this box. I always found the Macross Plus toy boxes a little too large, but in this reviewer's humble opinion, the VF-1A box is just the right size.
Opening the box finds the toy supported in a clear plastic two-piece tray. This time no twist ties are used to secure the toy and once the clear tray top is removed, the toy can be easily lifted free.
Just a note, at this stage before you start playing with your toy please take some time and study the instruction manual, or even better visit the Macrossworld VF-1A transformation guide!
There is actually a funny story behind the decision not to use twist ties. One of the people in charge of the VF-1 project from Yamato's Japan office wanted to use twist ties. He felt that during shipping, the legs might become detached and it would not look good if a customer opened the box and found the toy with unattached legs. However, the majority of people at Yamato's HK office and also myself felt that twist ties were unnecessary as both the box design and the three point leg attachment method were secure enough to keep the legs attached during shipping and handling. Also, Yamato had recently received a lot of complaints about their over-zealous use of twist ties on the VF-19A. So during one of my visits to Yamato's HK office we decided to test if the legs would stay on. We took a sample VF-1A toy in a box and started throwing it around the office with increasingly longer and harder throws. At one point we did consider throwing it out of the 7th floor window, but that was considered a little extreme. Anyway, needless to say we were proven correct and the legs did stay attached.
· STICKER SHEET
The Yamato VF-1A comes with a single sticker sheet measuring 18.1cm x 9.6cm and features 41 different types of stickers. Unfortunately, for this review as many of the stickers are white and the backing paper is white they do not show up very well when I scanned them.
Luckily, the stickers are already die-cut so they can be immediately peeled off and placed of the toy without any troublesome cutting. Well, that’s not exactly true, I have found that a couple of the stickers especially the instrument panel do fit better if the excess clear border is carefully trimmed. Note a pair of sharp nail scissors works best for this.
The stickers are mostly UN Spacy signs, squadron numbers, pilot names and miscellaneous warning markings. It is fairly obvious that the Yamato sticker sheet is heavy based on that of the Hasegawa VF-1A plastic model kit.
Of note is that the sticker sheet also includes a sticker for the cockpit instrument panel. Although this instrument panel sticker is die-cut, it is the only sticker that is slightly oversize and needs to be trimmed slightly.
As the Yamato instruction manual does not feature a sticker placement guide, placement of the stickers is left up to the individual. However, if you are really stuck as to where to place the stickers, the instruction sheet for the Hasegawa VF-1A model is a handy point of reference.
· INSTRUCTION MANUAL
Unlike the Macross Plus Toys which come a double-sided fold-out instruction sheet featuring line-art of the transformation process (which many people found to be unclear and confusing), the Yamato VF-1A comes with a 13 page instruction booklet featuring a step-by-step transformation guide with black and white photos used to show the transformation. Unfortunately, the text in the instruction booklet is all in Japanese. Still this instruction manual is already a major improvement over the Macross Plus instruction sheets. Kudos to Yamato.
· PAINT JOB
Yamato have really outdone themselves on the paint job of the VF-1. In my opinion, he quality is absolutely outstanding and is far superior to the paint job of the Macross Plus toys.
One thing that highly impressed me is that all the black trim on the nose, wings, shoulders, tails and leg fins is painted on, unlike the older Macross toys which often used stickers for some of the black trim.
Also, all the circle-bar verniers and many other small details are also painted on. You cannot understand how wonderful this is to me. As much as I love the old VF-1 toys, one thing I could not stand about them was having to cut out all those stickers, especially the circle-bar stickers
For the Hikaru type VF-1A, Yamato chose to go for a matte finish for the painted die-cast parts rather than the gloss finish of the Macross Plus toys. In my opinion, the matte finish is more realistic looking and secondly may be less prone to chipping. While the matte finish looks great, it does have a downside, which I'll discuss in the next paragraph.
One thing you must be careful of is that the matte paint used on the legs can get dirty quite easily, so I recommend that make sure your hands are clean before you pick up the toy. However, even if you do manage to get the legs dirty, most dirt can be removed using a normal eraser.
· LANDING GEAR
The landing gear is the one part of the VF-1 that I am not very keen on. Firstly, both the front and rear landing gear struts are not very detailed. Secondly, they are difficult to open by hand. This is especially true of the front landing gear which can also be tricky to close as well as once folded down, it still requires a forward push to fit back in it's bay.
Also the wheels on the front landing gear do not rotate (they are not supposed to according to Yamato), but the wheels on the rear landing gear do rotate…..weird huh!
I predict that the Yamato will be a very durable and long-lasting toy. It certainly went through extensive testing by Yamato.
Some of you may be frightened by the use of plastic for some of the hinges and the hip joints, but as Yamato are using the super-tough POM plastic, which is nearly as tough as steel and has similar wear characteristics, this should not present a problem.
There is only one area you need to be careful with and this is the small hole located just to the rear of the cockpit that the chest-plate tab locks into in fighter mode to achieve the flush-fit between chest-plate and nose. If the toy is not transformed correctly, this plastic at the top of the hole may crack.
This is why when transforming from fighter to battroid mode it is very important that you must push down on the chest-plate to release tension while pulling the nose downward to pop out the chest-plate tab from it's hole. All this may sound unclear to you now, but it will be explained in detail in the upcoming VF-1 transformation guide. If you transform the toy correctly there will be no problem
Of course, remember that this is a toy designed for adult collectors, not children and while it will stand up to some abuse, reasonable care should still be taken. As long as you don't use excessive force when transforming it and remember to follow the transforming instructions to the letter then everything should be fine. Of course, if you do something silly like drop the toy several feet onto a hard surface or throw it against a wall, don't expect any sympathy from me.
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