Review of the Bandai 1/55 Scale VF-1J
been 11 years since Bandai last released a 1/55 VF-1 toy, but
finally Bandai gets back into the transforming Valkyrie game
with their re-issue of the Takatoku VF-1J.
VF-1J is a near total copy of Takatou's original 1/55 VF-1J
toy, with some improvements and changes. Most noticeably of
course is the use of painted-on or printed-on detail rather
than the stickers used on the old toy. This in my opinion is
a welcome change and adds a great deal to the appearance of
Bandai have not made improvements in other areas and like the
original toys, there is a lot of bare unpainted metal on the
re-issue VF-1J including the hip bars, the front and rear landing
gear and landing gear doors and the hinges that connect the
chest-plate to the back-plate.
know that this is supposed to be a re-issue of the original
toy and having exposed silver metal parts was popular on Japanese
toys in the 70's and early 80's, but this is the 21st century
now, and I really think the toy would look so much better is
the silver metal parts had been painted grey to match the rest
of the toy.
I do think that the plastic Bandai have used looks cheaper and
of lower quality than on the original toys.
the positive side, the VF-1J is a very sturdy toy and should
give may years of trouble free play. On the negative side, the
VF-1J features very limited articulation and inaccurate sculpting
of the head and plane nose.
interesting point I noticed is that Bandai have re-used the
wings from the 1990 VF-1S Super Valkyrie. How can I tell? Well,
because the stripes on the wings of the 1990 VF-1S were recessed
slightly below the level of the rest of the wing as compared
to the older 1/55 toys were the stripes were painted directly
on the surface of the wing.
I have supplied enough pictures of the box, I'm not going
to waste words describing it. As you can see, the VF-1J comes
displayed in fighter mode in an all new window box. I like
the design of this new box, with the grey metal type art and
large UN Spacy symbol giving the box a no-nonsense military
type look. Inside the box the toy is held in place by a two-piece
clear plastic tray. Thankfully no twist ties are used to secure
toy comes with the following accessories: -
spru of missiles (for the gunpod)
gunpod holder for the forearm.
double sided instruction sheet.
sheet of die-cut stickers.
no, unfortunately the VF-1J does not come with a Heat shield.........Grrrrr!
Come on Bandai, what were you thinking?
fit of the VF-1J is generally very good, except for a large
gap between the chest-plate and back-plate in fighter mode.
This gap was present on all the toys I have examined. It
is very disappointing that Bandai's engineers did not solve
this problem before the toy was released.
all 1/55 toys, the arms and legs do not lock together in fighter
mode, which means that when you pick the toy up the legs tend
to hang down slightly under their own weight.
1/55 toys were designed nearly 20 years ago. Compared with today,
where consumers demand toys that are completely faithful to
the anime appearance, 20 years ago accuracy of appearance was
not a great concern for Japanese toy manufacturers and this
shows in the inaccuracy of the 1/55 sculpt.
20 years ago, the 1/55 toys were more accurate than many contemporary
toys of that era, they are poor sculpts by today's standard.
What do I mean? Well, lets look at the toy and examine a few
areas where the 1/55 VF-1J is poorly sculpted.
looking at the VF-1J head, it is completely missing it's
chin! What's up with that!? My new name for Bandai's VF-1J
is The 'Chinless Wonder'.
shape of the plane nose is all wrong. From the side it is
too short and too angular, especially along the bottom.
viewed from the top, the plane nose is too wide.
FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) blisters on the nose (that's
the nose lasers to you Robotechies) are far too large and
also the wrong shape.
LERX (Leading Edge Root Extensions) (the bits between the
main and sub-air intakes) are far too thick.
1/55 toys feature fairly limited articulation. To me it seems
like the toy was designed to have only the minimum amount of
articulation necessary to transform the toy and little more.
would have been nice if Bandai could have improved the articulation,
but no they chose to remain faithful to the original design
of the toy. This means that unfortunately, the wrists still
do not rotate, the legs cannot spread and the hands are simple
non-articulated lumps of plastic. Also, the feet still cannot
thrust vector in fighter mode.
is smooth and simple and can easily be accomplished in under
1 minute. Um........what more can I say!
landing gear is bare unpainted silver metal as are the landing
gear doors. Even the wheels are bare metal. While this is faithful
to the original Takatoku, it looks plain ugly in my opinion.
rear landing gear is also very short and the front landing gear
is at an angle when in the down position, which is incorrect.
The front landing gear strut should go straight vertically down.
gunpod is also faithful to the original Takatoku design, which
means it does not telescope, and what's worse there is no way
to attach it to the toy in fighter mode.
comparing the Bandai 1/55 to the Yamato 1/60 is sort of like
comparing apples and oranges (and has already been done before
by me), I though I'd quickly go over it again.
of detail: The Yamato has far more detail = 1 point to Yamato.
of Transformation: With it's design aimed more at children,
the 1/55 is the easiest VF-1 toy to transform. Although
it must be said that the transformation of the Yamato is
also deceptively simple, although slightly more time consuming.
= 1 point to Bandai.
With it's statue like poses, due to the limited hip articulation,
the Bandai is the clear loser here = 1 point to Yamato.
of sculpt: The Bandai is a very inaccurate sculpt with poorly
sculpted head (no chin), nose (too fat & wrong shape),
cockpit (wrong shape) FLIR sensors (too big & wrong
shape). The Yamato is overall a far more accurate sculpt
(the VF-1A head is especially accurate) = 1 point
The Yamato comes with two types of missiles, a detachable
heatshield and multiple hands. The Bandai has none of these
= 1 point to Yamato.
= The Bandai probably has the slight edge here, as 1/55
have shown they can last 20 years. the Yamato is relatively
unproven although it seems pretty tough = 1 point to Bandai.
The Yamato's gunpod telescopes and attaches in fighter mode.
The Bandai's gunpod cannot telescope and cannot attach in
fighter mode. = 1 point to Yamato.
gear. The Bandai's landing gear is bare metal, lacks detail
and the rear landing gear is too short. The Yamato's landing
gear is also not that detailed, but at least it is painted!
= 1 point to Yamato.
The Bandai is fairly blocky and does not really look like
it would fly in fighter mode. The Yamato is about as close
to perfect proportioning as is possible, except for the
slightly small head. = 1 point to Yamato.
= The Bandai has a slightly better paint finish (just) than
Yamato = 1 point Bandai.
of the 10 areas above, Bandai gets 3 points in total for
durability, ease of transformation and finish. The Yamato
gets 7 points for it's superior detail, articulation and accessories
VF-1J is supposed to sell for ¥6,800, but due to the relatively
small number produced it is selling higher in many places. Even
though the toy has only been released for around one week, I've
already seen shops selling it for nearly ¥10,000!
I only plan to buy one of each Bandai (compared to 4 to 6 of
each Yamato) as the poor sculpt and limited articulation of
the Bandai really turns me off. Now if only Bandai had re-sculpted
the head, plane nose, cockpit and gunpod. Added articulated
hands and wrists and modified the hip joints like Fulcy has
done for a spread legged pose, then I would consider buying