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Jarrod's Exhaustive Bandai VF-25F Review and Gallery


Jarrod
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So, I’ll start out by saying that I’ve been anxiously looking forward to this kit from the moment it was announced, and Bandai did not disappoint!

I’ve been snapping Gundam (and the like) kits together for about 15 years now, and more seriously building (fully painting, panel line wash, clearcoat, etc) plastic and some resin kits for the last 6 or so years. So I’m quite used to Bandai’s kits.

I was kinda afraid Bandai might cheap out and not put as much effort/engineering into a Macross kit as they do with their Gundam stuff. That fear was quickly put to rest as soon as I opened the box, saw the runners and flipped through the instruction booklet. The VF-25 was every bit as complex and well engineered as Bandai’s newest Master Grade kits! Anyway, onto my review:

The Parts:

The VF-25’s box contains an impressive 13 runners of parts, all molded (save some small details) in their appropriate colors. Clear parts are included for the canopy, sensor thingies on the nose, and the Battroids visor. None of which are supposed to straight clear….Of noticeable absence is the familiar runner of Polycaps, good riddance I say! Also included are 5 metal rods, a small sheet of Bandai’s infamous foil stickers (for some missing details/paint), and two sheets of markings, one waterslide decals, and one clear backed stickers.

Assembly:

For those familiar with say a MG Gundam of the last few years, the VF-25 is very much on par with that. For those not familiar, it is all snap assembly, with near perfect fit between parts. Each main assembly (arms, nose legs) features an inner frame/section that contains the workings/transformation parts enclosed within the white outer parts of the Valkyrie itself. The parts are designed so that most seam lines are hidden or disguised as panel lines. Much like a lot the new MG kits, there is a heavy emphasis on ABS joints, in fact that’s all there is in this kit, not a single polycap is included. (I, for one, am a strong supporter of the ABS joint system. In my experience, polycaps get way looser, way faster. ABS does have a habit of loosening as well, but I’ve found a tiny drop of super glue does wonders for this.) The metal rods are used for joint pins for the rear tailwings, the main wing assemblies, and for the center fuselage rotation joint.

On my particular kit the joints that rotate the shoulders into Battroid position were quite tight, and I filed the hole a little wider. I also found that the nosecone and the elbow joint pieces did not stay together very well and needed to be glued together. I also glued (after painted) together the lower arm halves and outer shoulder halves for a bit more solidity. Besides those small issues it was a very straightforward and satisfying build.

Paint:

I generally do not paint my white (what can I say, Bandai makes a solid looking white plastic!), but I always paint every other color. I painted the mechanical details(inner frame, hands, etc) in a custom mixed metallic grey, the gunpod in a custom metallic purple-grey, and the feet in a custom dark metallic brown (sensing a pattern here?). The black is plain black and the small red head piece and wing details are a custom orange-red mix. The visor is clear green as is the gunpod sensor. The canopy and nose sensors are actually tinted blue, but it seemed to dry much clearer that it sprayed on, oh well. I opted to paint the wing lights instead of using the rather poor, dull decals. Now I’m ashamed to admit it….but I actually used the foil stickers for the white on the crotch piece. I’d originally painted it white…twice, but when neither shade of white was anywhere near the shade of the kit I begrudgingly put the sticker on…and it really wasn’t too bad!

Markings:

I used the decals almost entirely. They fit great, and with a little help from Micro-Sol, formed to the parts perfectly. The decals adhered wonderfully, and were neither too thick nor too thin, great decals all around. I highly recommend trimming all the clear film off the stripes to achieve a better fit, and don’t waste your time with decals if you’re not going to used Micro-Sol or a similar product, it makes all the difference. I did use a few of the stickers tho. After I applied the grey wing decals at the wrong angle(oops) I then had to use the stickers, plus I just went ahead and used the black wing stickers too just to make sure they didn’t scratch off when folded. I also used the white stickers on the tailfin leading edge for color consistency. After the decals were dry I used Testors Model Master Semigloss as a protective clearcoat, as the decals WILL scratch and tear without one. Finally I used an oil wash for the panel lines.

The finished kit:

Fighter Mode:

Very close to the lineart, and just a great looking jet all around. It’s not entirely stable however. The fuselage and arms hold together great, the legs hold firm, but don’t peg to anything, relying on just the strength of their joints to hold them in position. The main wings unfortunately just sit there. I can turn mine upside down with everything in place, but a little shake and the wings fold up. A peg or stopper of some kind would have been great. So, fighter mode looks great, and the fit is good, but has some stability issues. Oh, and that “stand” is a useless, totally unnecessary waste of plastic.

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With my custom 1/72 Hasegawa VF-1

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Transformation to Gerwalk:

Pretty simple VF-1 style transformation. You’ve got to swap the hands, and add in the shield attachment piece tho. The legs have a cool hidden lock for the extending ankle part to ensure that the feet remain fully extended. Also in another clever bit of engineering, you can fully bend the knee forward until you extend the upper joint.

Gerwalk Mode:

I’ve never really been a huge fan of any Gerwalk modes, but this one does look pretty good. However, it feels a bit flimsy thanks to the center of the fuselage being partially disengaged. Not really much else to say…this is probably the only time I’ll have it in this mode.

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Alto's first "flight"

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Transformation to Battroid:

Whoa. The VF-25 has the complexity of the SV-51’s torso, crammed into a smaller, tighter package. Getting the hips into the right position means rotating the legs about a full 180 degrees. Oh and make sure you fold the rest of the torso into the right position first, or the hips will be in the way. Getting the neck piece into the right spot can be a tricky, and I always have a bit of trouble getting the chest slipped over the nosecone, it’s a very tight fit. Now make sure you put that nose gear door back on that just popped off:)

Battroid mode:

The beauty of this kit, IMO. Proportions are near dead on, even directly compared to official lineart/screenshots I have a hard time finding many compromises. Poseability in the arms is fantastic, with double joints elbows, universal shoulders, and a bicep swivel. Legs are pretty decent, with double jointed knees, very good side to side and front to back foot movement, but with limited hip range. Like most VF’s the intakes just bump into too much to have a great range of movement. Head is on a ball joint, plus the neck tilts forward and back. And there a waist joint! It doesn’t have much range, but the waist can rotate side to side.

The Battroid mode is definitely the most solid of all modes too, the chest sits close and tight, and the hips peg securely to the abdomen, and the backplate folds and stays down very well.

All in all, the Battroid mode is about as perfect as I could want, solid, poseable, and looks great!

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Again, with my 1/72 Hase VF-1

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Final thoughts: If you like the VF-25, get this kit! It’s everything I’ve come to love from Bandai modern kits. The kit goes together easily, and is designed to look great straight out of the box, (or even better with some paint and panel lines). The stickers are great for novices, while the decals are great for the more skilled builders.

Despite some small stability issues, the VF-25 looks fantastic in all modes thanks to engineering that, IMO, easily rivals that of Yamato’s latest offerings. This kit is the reason I’ve wanted Bandai to do a new Macross kit for years.

Thanks for reading.

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Thanks Jarrod for going to all the trouble!!! Awesome review and photos (great build too)! I'm sure you're adding to the sales and hysteria of the kit (when available :lol: ). - MT

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For the Model Master semi-gloss clear----do you mean their enamel one in the spray can, or the acrylic one in the bottle (and then airbrushed)?

And what'd you use to tint the canopy--yours is the best I've seen.

Oh yeah, I airbrush on the acrylic stuff. I used Model Master Clear Gloss acrylic (the last little bit I had) with a bit of some Tamiya clear blue and a bit of Model Master Purple Pearl.

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Outstanding build and review. very detailed shots that seem to show the model in a good light. One thing I do have to comment on, and I know others have as well. The 3/4 shot from the front right with the model on its landing gear illustrates just how ridiculously over sized the nose gear is. The main strut, when compared to the size of the pilot in the same shot, looks as though it is taller than a human, and is of a large enough diameter to allow two humans to fit inside comfortably.... That is way overscaled for a single seater.

-Adam

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Outstanding build and review. very detailed shots that seem to show the model in a good light. One thing I do have to comment on, and I know others have as well. The 3/4 shot from the front right with the model on its landing gear illustrates just how ridiculously over sized the nose gear is. The main strut, when compared to the size of the pilot in the same shot, looks as though it is taller than a human, and is of a large enough diameter to allow two humans to fit inside comfortably.... That is way overscaled for a single seater.

-Adam

Yep, not only is the gear way too big, Alto's way too small too. He's almost 1/100 scale small...I meant to mention that somewhere in the review.

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Jarrod, That is a beautiful build. The light clear blue on the canopy is more realistic compared to the last one that I saw.

Thanks also for posting your custom Hasegawa. I am ashamed to admit that I had forgotten :angry: and was glad to have the reminder. B))

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Jarrod,

Looking at your build, I am really really humbled...it seems easier to build gunpla out of the box than this kit, had to do a lot of painting, and the decals or stickers look overwhelming too. A closer look at your shield, it seems you didn't use the decals, but actually just washed over the "macross big screws"? Did you apply the decals/stickers during assembly as the instructions seem to indicate or after you finised the build?

Was too impatient to wait for the 1/60 DX toy, but really am terribly inexperienced builder. Thanks for showing us what the kit can turn out to be!

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Very nice kit and an excellent review! Thanks so much for posting that!

Yeah, for budget reasons I think I'll be going with the kit rather than the Chogokin. Amazing as this looks, I don't think I'll be feeling too disappointed by that.

Amazing work, Bandai.

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awesome work Jarrod! i like how you did the panel lines, and decals placement are very good too. photography is one of the best i've seen, and the poses gave a very dynamic feel to the model :) especially this shot, kickass!

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and i've only seen it now, but your custom VF-1 Perfect Transformation just amazed me :D

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how much the new plane looks like a fairy.

Perhaps the angel-like wings folded to its back is the source of the "Messiah" designation. Either that or its a nod to the Little White Dragon song...

"Is a very Messiah!" :lol:

Edited by AcroRay
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Thanks for the review, Jarrod! Now, I've got to get $60, so I can get it upon its re-release. Grr... Money... The comparison between the VF-1 and the 25 just shows how small the Valkyrie was. Now, we've actually got variable fighters that can say they're the size of a fighter jet! Anyway, I've only ever half-finished a Bandai model, ever, but I saw the instructions online, and quickly discovered that some Zoids models are harder to build. This is a definite buy, if you like Macross Frontier, the VF-25, or Bandai. I wish I had one, now. This has gone up my wishlist, even past the Chogokins. Once again, great review!

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Fantastic work Jarrod!!

I was at first really against this kit, but all the images I've seen lately (including yours) really changed my mind into this "must-have" kit now!

A question about the decals...

In one of the pictures it shows the new SMS logo applied to the black tailfin, but it seems like the decals don't have enough opacity to read properly against the black background - is this the actual case, or is it just a bad photo?

Also some shots show on the main wings that the grey stripe actually reads through the SMS logo, is the decals that thin that it has no opacity, or is there a white decal underlay (like on the Hasegawa kits) or isn't the stripes cut out at the areas where the SMS logo is supposed to be?

Thanks again for posting... you did a amazing job on your kit. Do you think there would be any opportunity to place rare-earth magnets inside to help lock it up in the aircraft mode?

Wm

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Do you think there would be any opportunity to place rare-earth magnets inside to help lock it up in the aircraft mode?

Wm

That's brilliant! Would love to see this work.

Real impressive work from the both of you - Jarrod and Wm. Will be looking to you guys on this board for tips once my kits arrive.

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Fantastic work Jarrod!!

I was at first really against this kit, but all the images I've seen lately (including yours) really changed my mind into this "must-have" kit now!

A question about the decals...

In one of the pictures it shows the new SMS logo applied to the black tailfin, but it seems like the decals don't have enough opacity to read properly against the black background - is this the actual case, or is it just a bad photo?

Also some shots show on the main wings that the grey stripe actually reads through the SMS logo, is the decals that thin that it has no opacity, or is there a white decal underlay (like on the Hasegawa kits) or isn't the stripes cut out at the areas where the SMS logo is supposed to be?

Thanks again for posting... you did a amazing job on your kit. Do you think there would be any opportunity to place rare-earth magnets inside to help lock it up in the aircraft mode?

Wm

Yeah, they orange is definitely not as opaque as I'd like...not bad mind you, just not perfect. It definitly looks better in person tho. And no, on white underlay like Hasegawa unfortunatley. And again, no, the grey stripe does not have a cut out for the SMS logo.

As for magnets, I dunno...I don't think theres enough room in the wing glove without some serious modification. Or at least not in in the right place. I think added a simple tab and slot would be easier...and I might still go and do tha myself at some point.

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  • 3 weeks later...

6 small thrusters mounted just ahead of the shield. Visible being used in Ep 1 right after Alto saves Ranka from getting sucked into space. The kit has them molded as little more than "tiny raised circles well separated from each other" but they should be larger and closer together. They're actually visible in that pic:

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Jarrod---can you give some approximate ratios for what you mixed up to tint the canopy? I've tried various things tonight, and nothing is working at all. Red and blue food coloring in Future mixes to brown, red and blue tamiya clear mixes to brown. Food color and Tamiya colored clears must be "impure" as they're making brown/grey. I can get clear blue fine, or pink----but mixing the red and blue just makes it turn dark grey-brown almost instantly. Your mix seems to be the only one that'll work, so I'm going to have to try it.

For the MM clear gloss---you mean the "white that dries clear" stuff? How can you tell what color you're going to end up with when mixing it with purple and blue? And how much did you add? Not being "water clear" really messes up trying to eyeball 'clear purple'. I don't have any at the moment, but I can probably get some tomorrow. (I'd prefer to work with Tamiya clear gloss but I'd have to order out, and I've already spent way more than I planned on paints for this kit)

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Eh...I can't remember the ratio, just mixed until I liked it. I started with the clear, added a bit of blue, brushed a bit onto a peice of the clear plastic sprue, added some purple, tested again, added some more purple, tested again, etc until I got a color I liked.

And yes, its hard to tell in the bottle what the clear would look like which is why I used the clear plastic sprue as a tester.

Jarrod

Jarrod---can you give some approximate ratios for what you mixed up to tint the canopy? I've tried various things tonight, and nothing is working at all. Red and blue food coloring in Future mixes to brown, red and blue tamiya clear mixes to brown. Food color and Tamiya colored clears must be "impure" as they're making brown/grey. I can get clear blue fine, or pink----but mixing the red and blue just makes it turn dark grey-brown almost instantly. Your mix seems to be the only one that'll work, so I'm going to have to try it.

For the MM clear gloss---you mean the "white that dries clear" stuff? How can you tell what color you're going to end up with when mixing it with purple and blue? And how much did you add? Not being "water clear" really messes up trying to eyeball 'clear purple'. I don't have any at the moment, but I can probably get some tomorrow. (I'd prefer to work with Tamiya clear gloss but I'd have to order out, and I've already spent way more than I planned on paints for this kit)

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