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How difficult is it to build a Bandai 1/72?

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I accidentally ordered a Bandai VF-25F Messiah Valkyrie Alto Custom Pro-Shop Special kit, when I had meant to order a DX Chogokin (not where I ordered mine, just one of the few examples I can find on the web):

http://unicorn-toys.com/macross/3073-1-72-vf-25f-messiah-valkyrie-alto-custom-pro-shop-ver-limited.html

I've never built one of these before. According to that, "comes with a snap-fit assembly, matching colored pieces, accessories and fully pictured contruction manual. you don't need paint or glue." Is that true? Looks like the instructions are all in Japanese... how hard are they to follow for an English speaker such as myself? What sort of time commitment are we talking for a total build time? Also, I assume that I'd have to pick a mode, and build to that (i.e. it's not dynamically transformable after the build is complete)?

Thanks in advance for any info.

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My answer would be to say, 'it depends', primarily on your experience level as a plastic modeler. The Bandai VF-25s and VF-27s are rather complex despite their 'press' together nature. They really work better as glue together kits, but then you need to be careful what you're cementing, as the kits are fully transformable to the three main modes. And there will be seams, and other flaws that can detract from a non painted and non waterslide decaled version, if you do go the press together, no paint, and sticker over decal route. And the instructions do not help much, unless you are familiar with Bandai's symbology and methodology. If you're not, you can easily do something wrong.

While transformable after build, it does require care during the build, and they will always be delicate. This was for the non pro shop version of these kits, by the way.. I have never see a pro shop in person, but they seem very similar to the standard ones, with the clear parts and internal details (more complications). I have been building plastic models for over 30 years, and still found these kits on the challenging end of the spectrum. I've had VF-25s, a Brera VF-27, and a super pack set. My assessment is that unless you're a pretty experienced modeler, they will be a challenge if you want a good, clean, functional build.

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The VF-25 and VF-27 were easy and the VF-1 was somewhat harder. The skill requirement is lower than for standard modelbuilding even if the Bandai Macross-Gunpla are more complex. They are designed so that the parts come together easily. If you really want a challenging gunpla experience, try a bootleg!...

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Having literally just finished snapping together an RVF-25 kit (with Super parts to be built later this week), I can tell you right now that you must, first and foremost, think of them as model kits, not toys like the DXes. And as models, they're... well, they leave a lot to be desired. They're magnificent feats of engineering - fairly easy to build, snap-together model kits that can fully and freely transform from Fighter to Gerwalk to Battroid mode - but it doesn't hold together particularly well in either fighter or Gerwalk modes. The fighter mode in particular has a lot of prominent gaps and such that mar the look of it. (The fighter-only Hasegawa kit obviously lacks these flaws.) The Battroid looks nice and articulates perfectly well, though. It takes too many parts and too much time to achieve it, but it's the only option out there for VF-25 battroid model kits, so there you are. I plan to build mine in its battroid mode (and maybe lower the parts count while I'm at it), and maybe buy a Hasegawa RVF for fighter mode display, expensive as that kit may be.

Other members have said that the Armored Pack sets mitigate the gap issues and include locking mechanisms to make everything look more cohesive, but those kits are rare, and anyway I'm not sure if the effort is worth it. You'd still have to slog through building an entire VF-25 kit on its own, so... yeah.

As for how they compare to the DXes, I asked that question too and it seems to me that the general feeling is that it falls somewhere between the 1.0 and Renewal releases in terms of posability/gimmicks/etc. You will have to treat it with a bit more care, of course, owing to the more fragile construction. It doesn't come with integrated landing gear; they put it in the "parts former" category. It also doesn't have an articulated canopy. And obviously, it's unpainted/undecaled/untampoed.

Anything else of note so far? I don't know. It'll definitely need more TLC than a DX, but building it is hardly out of the realm of possibility. Bandai has done a lot over the years to make their kits as novice-friendly as possible. Some kits, like this one, come with more and smaller parts than others, but otherwise it's just as easy to build the former as the latter.

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I love these kits! I have built the VF-25F, Armored VF-25S, RVF-25, and am now in the process of building the VF-25G. As stated above, they are very complex, and difficulty depends on your experience at building transformable plastic kits. One little piece of advice I will give: there are stages where decals must be applied before further construction. Look over your instructions carefully!

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I just realized I didn't answer your specific questions.

1) Yes, they are snap fit and (generally) color accurate, come with gunpod and knife, and you don't require glue at all. Paint maybe for the small details, but that itself isn't necessary.

2) Bandai generally has very good pictorial instructions. I had trouble at some parts, but overall the instructions are clear.

3) Mine took about a day's worth of commitment to snap together. Expect to take a few more days for decaling/painting.

4) No, the model can freely switch between all three modes after completion.

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If that's the kit you bought, you're getting the clear version, so you will have to paint it if you want it to look like the animation.

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These kits may have poseability issues. For example, you'll have a hard time getting an aggressive stance in gerwalk. At best you'll get a B+ stance (while stressing the joints, which is not really good), unless you do some tweaking of their mechanisms AKA joint improvement... I yet have to try doing that! The 1/72 VF1 can barely stand in Battroid mode, I hope I'll work something out - someone tried replacing the hip bar with a wooden skewer and achieved reasonable results. I am very happy with the VF1 kit in spite of all the negative reviews. The original joints will tend to break after a while and a few transformations, but you can order replacements of some sprues from Bandai with a form which is included in the kit (this will require using a character recognition + translation software unless you know some Japanese or know someone who can help you out (one of my colleagues could actually). I also find out that the VF-1 looks a lot less toy-ish than the Yamato and Arcadia kits. And bear in mind that they are 2, 3 or 5 times cheaper than the toys! Here's a picture of my yet unpainted, un-decaled VF-1 (if I can join them - OK it worked out). This VF-1 has been in that pose for a few days and did not fall, however it took me a few minutes to make it stand steadily!

20160517 134824

20160517 134954

20160517 134804

Edited by Skypoet

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The biggest thing missing from Bandai's model kits in terms of being able to pose them, is that they don't include the standard thigh/knee gerwalk joint twist, so you can't spread the legs naturally for an aggressive stance, and any spread you do get is likely to be stressing other parts of the legs.

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If you have the pro-modeler VF-25F and you've never built a VF-25 Kit before, I would shelve the kit and buy a standard release first.

Reason being, the pro-modeler is molded in clear plastic and clear plastic in general is much more brittle and less forgiving than polystyrene.

Even the clean-up of each piece is stressful as clear plastic doesn't cooperate so well with clippers and knives. Sanding also requires multiple grades in order to remove nubs and blend and buff them into the clear plastic.

Also, the decals are VERY unforgiving. You will need to coat parts of the interior ABS with a gloss clearcoat otherwise the decals will just wrinkle and slide right off.

As for the regular VF-25 Release, it's way easier due to how forgiving regular polystyrene is. You still need to be SUPER careful though, because the joints and moving parts are all thin and fragile ABS and once ABS breaks it's really a pain for most people to make a clean and stable fix.

Here are some examples of the regular VF-25's I built for fun like almost 8-9 years ago. Again they are nice looking models but not toys.

post-25-0-52007900-1375114644_thumb.jpg
post-25-0-01795600-1355653449_thumb.jpg

Also, if you happen to want some standard VF-25 Ktis, the armored Version or even the Limited Edition YF-25's, I have some for sale still Here

Edited by Duymon

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Thanks for all the tips and advice everyone, I really appreciate it! Since it's been a long time since I've built model kits (and have a young kid that absorbs a lot of my free time these days), I'll put the VF-25F kit up for sale here, and stick with the DX Chogokins for now.

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Why not just add it to the pile? In about 8 years, your kid'll be old enough to say "Dad, can I build this cool Valkyrie? It's been on the shelf since I was little, you're not ever going to build it."

"How bout we build it together?"

BONDING MOMENT

;)

(Had this with my dad, anticipating it with my son, probably would've had it with daughter by now - if I was still a sahd)

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Thanks for all the tips and advice everyone, I really appreciate it! Since it's been a long time since I've built model kits (and have a young kid that absorbs a lot of my free time these days), I'll put the VF-25F kit up for sale here, and stick with the DX Chogokins for now.

All you need is 8 hours of spare time, and nail scissors if you are not a perfectionist and just want to make a good-looking VF-25!

So in this case just keep the VF-25 for yourself! It will be an immensely pleasurable time in your life!

If you are a perfectionist, you will need 2 or 3 times more time than if you were building a "normal" 1/72 jet aircraft! And your experience may be frustrating.

And then, sell it! :-)

Why not just add it to the pile? In about 8 years, your kid'll be old enough to say "Dad, can I build this cool Valkyrie? It's been on the shelf since I was little, you're not ever going to build it."

"How bout we build it together?"

BONDING MOMENT

;)

(Had this with my dad, anticipating it with my son, probably would've had it with daughter by now - if I was still a sahd)

AMEN to that! One more reason to keep this kit!

I have a pile of boxes of unbuilt RC planes at home, maybe I'll be a dad when I'll start actually making them!

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The Bandai VF-25 and the VF-1 are about the easiest kits to build, with no modeling skills needed whatsoever.

I never built a Hasegawa because I understand it takes a lot of knowledge and skill and paint.

The VF-25 is by far superior to the VF-1. It holds together nicely and is pretty sturdy. Just gotta be careful during transformation to treat it like a model, not a toy. A While the VF-1 is a floppy mess in all modes, with easily broken tabs,

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The VF-27 was the best of the 3 kits (not taking into account all variants) Bandai made for the Macross franchise. Looking good in all modes, and with locking tabs for fighter modes. The VF-1 does have a sufficient amount of locking "tabs" to make the fighter mode hold securely. The Battroid mode is not functional ;-) ... and the hands provided can't hold the gun :-) Some engineering work required. But hey, it's still better than making the VF-1 from scratch on one's own!

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I accidentally ordered a Bandai VF-25F Messiah Valkyrie Alto Custom Pro-Shop Special kit, when I had meant to order a DX Chogokin (not where I ordered mine, just one of the few examples I can find on the web):

http://unicorn-toys.com/macross/3073-1-72-vf-25f-messiah-valkyrie-alto-custom-pro-shop-ver-limited.html

I've never built one of these before. According to that, "comes with a snap-fit assembly, matching colored pieces, accessories and fully pictured contruction manual. you don't need paint or glue." Is that true? Looks like the instructions are all in Japanese... how hard are they to follow for an English speaker such as myself? What sort of time commitment are we talking for a total build time? Also, I assume that I'd have to pick a mode, and build to that (i.e. it's not dynamically transformable after the build is complete)?

Thanks in advance for any info.

Building it is pretty easy. Painting is not required, especially in this case since it's a clear kit and paint would ruin its uniqueness (unless you're painting the inner frame). You can paint the regular ones if you want, but either you're really good and make it look much better, or you're not very good and it'll look worse than unpainted. Decalling or stickering the kit and making whichever option you chose *stay on the model* is where the real difficulty is, since Bandai's decals are pretty poor, and their stickers not much better.

Also, any version except the Super VF-25 can be made to hold together in fighter mode pretty well, and they all look excellent in battroid mode. Gerwalk is problematic, but I don't like that anyway so it doesn't affect me much. Super VF-25s have no locking tabs to hold the legs in place in Fighter mode, which means the legs want to drop down under their own weight. There are three solutions: 1 is to glue the legs in place, 2 is to leave the kit standing on its landing gear, which works fine; and 3 is to keep it in Battroid mode. I went with the second option.

Finally, *MODEL KITS, NOT TOYS!*. These things are fragile, and will not only get loose in the joints if you play with them too much, you can outright break them from transforming them too many times. My Super VF-25 is stuck in fighter mode because I broke one of the ABS parts in on of its shoulders. Due to the nature of the part and the material, it's completely unfixable. Be really careful with them.

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Building it is pretty easy. Painting is not required, especially in this case since it's a clear kit and paint would ruin its uniqueness (unless you're painting the inner frame). You can paint the regular ones if you want, but either you're really good and make it look much better, or you're not very good and it'll look worse than unpainted. Decalling or stickering the kit and making whichever option you chose *stay on the model* is where the real difficulty is, since Bandai's decals are pretty poor, and their stickers not much better.

...

Finally, *MODEL KITS, NOT TOYS!*. These things are fragile, and will not only get loose in the joints if you play with them too much, you can outright break them from transforming them too many times. My Super VF-25 is stuck in fighter mode because I broke one of the ABS parts in on of its shoulders. Due to the nature of the part and the material, it's completely unfixable. Be really careful with them.

Thanks for the candor. Seeing the first pics of the SV-262 and VF-31 models did get me excited about the possibility getting only kits of those versus the DX versions, but the reality is that I do play with my toys. I also hand them to the little ones, so they need to stand up to some level of regular usage.

Related question, are the Hasegawa fighter-ony kits any more "durable"? I.e. how many times can you swoosh them around before they start to come apart?

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Related question, are the Hasegawa fighter-ony kits any more "durable"? I.e. how many times can you swoosh them around before they start to come apart?

Infinite, as long as you don't let go and have them swoosh on their own.

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...

Finally, *MODEL KITS, NOT TOYS!*. These things are fragile, and will not only get loose in the joints if you play with them too much, you can outright break them from transforming them too many times. My Super VF-25 is stuck in fighter mode because I broke one of the ABS parts in on of its shoulders. Due to the nature of the part and the material, it's completely unfixable. Be really careful with them.

I had the same thing happen with the shoulder on my VF-27 (green, non-commander version). The locking tabs are great, because without attempting to fix the broken part (= reattaching the arm), it still solidly holds together in Fighter. :lol:

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Thanks for the candor. Seeing the first pics of the SV-262 and VF-31 models did get me excited about the possibility getting only kits of those versus the DX versions, but the reality is that I do play with my toys. I also hand them to the little ones, so they need to stand up to some level of regular usage.

Related question, are the Hasegawa fighter-ony kits any more "durable"? I.e. how many times can you swoosh them around before they start to come apart?

The thing about durability is that it's kind of apples vs oranges.

Bandai kits are full of joints, and the reason they don't hold fighter mode very well is that they *have* all those joints, and they tend to bend under a little pressure, but they *generally* don't break. If a Bandai kit part breaks, you're kind of SOL, because many of the parts that *are* prone to breaking are made from plastic that normal glue doesn't work on, and superglue is too fragile for them.

Hasegawa fighter kits have no joints whatsoever, and won't bend at the slightest pressure - they won't budge at all, until they quit entirely and the part breaks. Unless the part is very thin, or glued on improperly (with paint on the mating surfaces, most commonly), this does tend to take a substantial amount of force though. If a part breaks off on a Hasegawa though, you glue it back on the model with as little cement as you can and paint the seam over.

Also note that while Bandai kits can swap the landing gear doors between opened and closed versions, Hasegawa kits you pick one or the other and you're stuck with it. Same with canopies. And building the kits with the landing gear doors closed is usually not the easy option, as the parts need to be modified and backing needs to be supplied to prevent the landing gear doors from collapsing into the gear wells.

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Related question, are the Hasegawa fighter-ony kits any more "durable"? I.e. how many times can you swoosh them around before they start to come apart?

Depends. as long as you're not recreating Isamu's VF-11 crash you'll be fine :D

I'm building a few of mine mounted on sticks specifically for "Zooming about the room". at least a VF-0,an SV-51 and a VF-1 for the macross stuff, and I'll have to do some Migs and NATO fighters too

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Also note that while Bandai kits can swap the landing gear doors between opened and closed versions, Hasegawa kits you pick one or the other and you're stuck with it. Same with canopies. And building the kits with the landing gear doors closed is usually not the easy option, as the parts need to be modified and backing needs to be supplied to prevent the landing gear doors from collapsing into the gear wells.

If you're willing to scratch-build there are things others have done to make working [positionable] canopies with the Hasegawa kits

and the VF-25 series from Hasegawa give you the optional doors to make modeling them closed easier, which is a welcome touch as I do most of my Aircraft/sci-fi-fighter models gear-up.

Edited by slide

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Having built Bandai Gundam kits including transformable Master Grades I understand that transforming kits are a little fragile. I'm getting a Bandai 1/72 scale YF-25 Prophecy and I'm still deciding on painted or OOB. What are some recommended paint brands and type I should go with if I do a painted build? General advice for dealing with seam lines on a VF/YF-25?

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Having built Bandai Gundam kits including transformable Master Grades I understand that transforming kits are a little fragile. I'm getting a Bandai 1/72 scale YF-25 Prophecy and I'm still deciding on painted or OOB. What are some recommended paint brands and type I should go with if I do a painted build? General advice for dealing with seam lines on a VF/YF-25?

Last question first: There are no seamlines worth mentioning on the Bandai VF-25 kits, don't worry about them.

Paint? Enamels if you're hand painting. Buy a bottle of naphta for thinning, and a bottle of dish soap to clean your brushes in between colors.

Acrylics if you're airbrushing. Buy a bottle of 96% denatured ethanol for cleaning the airbrush, and for thinning certain (nowhere near all) brands of paint.

I can't really recommend brands, since I'm stuck without a lot of options myself. Humbrol and Testors make excellent enamel paints, with the latter having glass bottles with screw caps that are just superb. Problem is, my local source went bust.

Vallejo, Tamiya and Gunze make good acrylics, but I can only get Vallejo and Gunze once a year, when the local hobby show is on and everyone in northern europe who can pack a van full of kits and accessories shows up to sell them.

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After trying Mr Color lacquers, I gave up enamels. One coat, no brush lines, super-fast dry. :rolleyes:

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Another thing to note (just saw this myself): You need two mounting brackets in order to mount the gunpod beneath the fighter mode. Additionally, if you happen to get the RVF anytime in the future, you can't mount the gunpod at all, as it'll bump into the RVF's unique lower tail fin. (The Hasegawa kit rectifies this by simply moving the gunpod farther forward on the fuselage.)

Does anyone know if the RVF was ever seen with its gunpod? I only ever seem to remember it in fighter mode with Ghosts doing most of its "fighting."

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I had switched to lacquer paints for air brushing. Enamel paints are too thick and messy. Model master has started switching slowly over to a lacquer system, but I haven't tried them out yet. If they release more colors I will have to try them out in my airbrush and if they're good I would have a much easier time getting those than mr color.

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The thing about durability is that it's kind of apples vs oranges.

Bandai kits are full of joints, and the reason they don't hold fighter mode very well is that they *have* all those joints, and they tend to bend under a little pressure, but they *generally* don't break. If a Bandai kit part breaks, you're kind of SOL, because many of the parts that *are* prone to breaking are made from plastic that normal glue doesn't work on, and superglue is too fragile for them.

Hasegawa fighter kits have no joints whatsoever, and won't bend at the slightest pressure - they won't budge at all, until they quit entirely and the part breaks. Unless the part is very thin, or glued on improperly (with paint on the mating surfaces, most commonly), this does tend to take a substantial amount of force though. If a part breaks off on a Hasegawa though, you glue it back on the model with as little cement as you can and paint the seam over.

Also note that while Bandai kits can swap the landing gear doors between opened and closed versions, Hasegawa kits you pick one or the other and you're stuck with it. Same with canopies. And building the kits with the landing gear doors closed is usually not the easy option, as the parts need to be modified and backing needs to be supplied to prevent the landing gear doors from collapsing into the gear wells.

I've had success with Devcon plastic welder: I'm using that on my Imai/Bandai kitbash and it holds the abs and other parts quite well. You may want to try it if you can find it. Stateside, it's at Ace Hardware. Overseas and outside the US; not so sure.

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Does anyone know if the RVF was ever seen with its gunpod? I only ever seem to remember it in fighter mode with Ghosts doing most of its "fighting."

yes, it's evident when Luca get's "swallowed" by the Vajra-BB.

Alto uses it to try to shoot their way out, then Brera blows it out of the RVF's hand. Luca's RVF-25 is usually shot from above to emphasize the Radar/Sensor suite, but it rocks the gunpod for self-defense as standard.

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If you're running into 'unglueable' plastic, it's probably ABS as opposed to normal styrene. Sometimes parts of, or entire kits can be made of ABS. Regular plastic cements won't work on these, but Tamiya Extra Thin (green cap) will.

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13413947_595547600628034_1781227167_n.jp

Well instead of the YF-25 I picked up the VF-25S Super Messiah Ozma Custom. Can I get some general advice since this is my first Macross kit. Especially the dos and don'ts in regards to using anything in the way of plastic cement?

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Well instead of the YF-25 I picked up the VF-25S Super Messiah Ozma Custom. Can I get some general advice since this is my first Macross kit. Especially the dos and don'ts in regards to using anything in the way of plastic cement?

It's a Bandai kit, right? Their MF VFs are all snap-together. You really don't have to worry about glue.

Now, despite them being labelled as transformable, it's recommended that you pick the mode that you want to display it in, and build it in that mode.

Transform it as little as possible. MANY of the joints are extremely stiff, and prone to breakage. Or the flip side - become progressively more floppy.

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13413947_595547600628034_1781227167_n.jp

Well instead of the YF-25 I picked up the VF-25S Super Messiah Ozma Custom. Can I get some general advice since this is my first Macross kit. Especially the dos and don'ts in regards to using anything in the way of plastic cement?

Your image isn't showing up, but if that's a Bandai kit, forget the cement, you won't need it unless you break something; and most of the things that are prone to breakage on the kit, cement won't work on anyway.

Don't use the water decals unless you're planning on painting it, because the decals don't adhere well to bare plastic - better yet, find some aftermarket decals even if you do, because the Bandai decals are horrible in general, being thick and very fragile.

Also, the Super Parts have issues - notably, they don't have locking tabs to keep the legs in place in fighter mode, and the weight of the boosters on the wings makes it not hold up worth a damn in Gerwalk mode. This kit is best built either as a parked fighter (standing on its landing gear) or in Battroid mode,

For the Bandai kits in general, be very careful with the shoulders, they're kind of fragile and the parts that break easiest are ABS, which means plastic cement doesn't work.

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