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Durability of a transformable 1/72


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Actually, the old Imai 1/72 transformable VF-1 model kits from 1982-83 were the first transforming 1/72 scale Macross model kits.

But anyway, so far the newer Macross Delta 1/72 scale VF-31 model kits from Bandai seem to be holding up well. I only have experience with the VF-31J, but it's certainly an improvement over the Bandai 1/72 scale VF-25 Macross Frontier kits in terms of how well it locks together.

My only complaint with the 1/72 VF-31J model kit is that the head laser is very fragile and snaps easily when handling the kit.

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Since these are DIY projects, durability is necessarily a case-by-case thing. For my part:

- I wouldn't consider any Bandai VF "durable" to the same degree as, say, DX/Yamcadia toys. Toyish as they might be, they're still model kits, and a tumble will likely knock many many pieces out of place or off completely.

- Joint stiffness isn't a problem overall, save for issues raised below.

- The Frontier kits hold together well enough in Battroid/Gerwalk mode, but Fighter mode is a chore, and the legs are prone to drooping because nothing slots them into the wings, putting all the weight on the hip joint. The Armored Pack fixes this issue by integrating a peg/slot mechanism, but also adds more weight to the extremities in Battroid/Gerwalk mode. This caused the shoulders/hips to sag, making the kit unposable on a display stand.

- The VF-1s are a fragile mess.

- The Delta kits are better than the Frontier kits overall, owing in part to simpler transformation mechanics. They have enough pegs/slots to hold things together. Their Super Packs aren't as obtrusive as the Frontier ones, either. While I had problems with both the VF-31 and the SV-262, the joints themselves serve their purpose just fine across their entire ranges of motion.

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The VF-1S was terrible.

The Frontier valks were solid.

But for me, as soon as I get them painted, they no longer transform or fit very well.

Need to avoid paint and top-coat touching the joints in any way shape or form.

Since I'm not a pro modeler, I assume it is partly my fault.

But I have also read from pros that they do not transform much after painting them either, and that they aim at one form to keep the valk in.

So for my purposes, a transforming valk is always going to need to be a toy, not a model.

Edited by arbit
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I'm sorry, but I can't really testify as to their durability. I have built 3 of the VF25 1/72, but I viewed them as models, not figures. Therefore, after I built and posed them, I have left them on the shelf on display and have not transformed them again.

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I totally agree on everyone's post here. And at the end of the day, don't treat transformable kits as a replacement for a toy that you can transform it all the time. ^_^ 

 

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If you want something that you can play with and handle lots of transformations, get the DX toy.

These model kits take a lot of time to make look really good and will be pretty fragile by comparison. They're models, after all.

In the time spent building one of these, you could just go to work and earn the money to buy the more expensive DX. ;)

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With the exception of the VF-1, yes, the transformable Macross bandai kits did get better with each new production. I built all kits with the exception of super/armored/tornado parts in the frontier line...

(Please skip to "to sum it up" if you want to save time)...

Each kit having its own flaws of course:

- Interlocking mechanism lacking for the VF-25 in fighter mode (though still satisfactorily solid), articulation of legs a little disappointing in Gerwalk, making A-stances difficult (I never tried the super or armoured parts)

- Back-heaviness of the VF-27, same issue for Gerwalk, but interlocking tabs present, making fighter mode solid

- Big flaws for the VF-1, impossible to make it stand in Battroid mode, the hip joints were mis-designed (under-designed) IMHO, and Gerwalk is OK yet flimsy. Not recommended at all as a starter.

- No big flaw for the VF-31's and SV-262's until you add the super parts in gerwalk, I would just say one articulation is lacking at the knee level.

All Macross Bandai kits are OK or better with the exception of the VF-1. Poseability in battroid and gerwalk did improve through time with the exception of the VF-1. I'll recommend the SV-262 totally if you like the design. It can stand on one leg in Gerwalk and Battroid. Rock-solid in fighter mode. It can also withstand the weight of the little Drakens in Gerwalk mode, but to a limited extent. The two other modes have zero problems. I would still recommend the VF-25 due to its cheapness. That is, unless you are willing to spend a lot on your hobbies.

It all boils down to whether you like to build things with your own hands, and understand every mechanism and articulation and the kit/toy's design, or just want to play. Personally I would not spend 100's of dollars on DX's (which do have their flaws and break due to stress at joints, as can be seen from the forums, and do require some additional paint to look perfect). It also feels better to tinker with an object and tweak it (which I like to do) if it did not cost you too much to acquire. And I'd rather spend my cash on building projects, travel, tourism and R&D stuff than on something that just sits on my shelf. 

Building each bandai model took me around 8 hours by the way, minus the decals. I'd add 2 hours if I went with the sticker option. + 1hr of panel-lining (DX kits are not panel-lined from what I know). Ultimately I'll go with the decals + paint for the delta line, as the stickers don't like the transformations and manipulations. If you've done some Gundam Bandai plamo kits before, well the Macross kits are flimsier. Yet the gunpla's don't usually transform. I'd say that if you enjoy building gunpla's, you'll enjoy building the delta kits (at least) enormously. I did enjoy building the Macross plamo's A LOT. That's personal of course.

I did play with the VF-31 and sv-262 quiiiiite a LOT already, and dis-assembled and re-assembled some parts, and nothing broke yet. So the durability of the delta kits seems OK. Regarding the frontier kits, I remember a shoulder articulation breaking off on the VF-27 (but the DX's were prone to articulation breakage as well) and having to replace the groin locking tab with a magnet on the VF-25. I sold them because I had to move overseas for a couple of years, so I can't say anything about their durability in the long term! One last word of caution: pay attention to solvents with the bandai kits, as the plastic will crack in the stressed areas if you use solvents on them. And a tiny dab of crazy glue will be needed on some articulations of the VF-31 in order to make it able to keep some poses (elbow, wrist, wing folding joints, hip ball joint).

To sum it up (focusing on your questions):

- durability of bandai Macross kits < durability of bandai Gundam kits, but building fun is the same if you like building articulated, glue-less model kits;

- they (bandai Macross kits) did improve through time;

- frontier kits < delta kits in terms of durability, as can be speculated from simplicity of design (simpler => more durable);

- frontier kits still a good option 10 years later (I don't know for super/armored/tornado parts);

- avoid (2013) vf-1 kit entirely except if you have university degrees in mechanical engineering/design and want to put them to use;

- interlocking tabs in all kits except for VF-25 (though still OK overall) and not enough of them in VF-1 (to be avoided again);

Thanks for reading!

 

Edited by Skypoet
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I've built three of the VF-25 kits, and one VF-31.

First of all, general issues with all the kits:

1. The stickers suck. If you don't get them on exactly where you want them and you have to peel them off and try again, they're not going to stay put. 

2. The water slide decals suck *worse*. They're thick, hard and fragile, and they're dithered rather than solid color. Invest in a bottle of Mr Mark Softner, you will need it.

3. The landing gear sucks. The legs are too thick, the wheels are too small, they're molded very simplistically and they're molded in *dark gray*, rather than the white they're supposed to be in. They're just generally ugly.

4. No matter whether you're using the stickers or the decals, you need to apply a fair amount of them during assembly, so choose first, before starting construction.

For the VF-25 kits in particular:

1. The shoulder construction is really really fragile, and will most likely be the first thing to break unfixably, as the worst pieces are ABS and can't be glued back together once they break. Transforming the kit too many times *will* cause some of the ABS parts to wear out, as it involves rotating a styrene peg in a thin ABS cuff for 180 degrees every time you transform the kit. Stick to a mode, and if it's on where the arms are out, stick to a pose. 

2. The fully collapsed leg is strong enough to hold up on its own in fighter mode. But only the plain VF-25 uses the fully collapsed thigh, the others bend the leg down and then back up again which causes the joint to not support the leg's weight. Not a big deal on the Tornado or Armored, as they have tabs for the legs, but the Super VF-25 lacks the tabs. The only way of displaying the Super VF-25 in fighter mode is on its landing gear.

3. Both the Armored and Tornado packs are really solid in any mode, but *heavy*. Especially the Armored. Don't expect them to do well in Gerwalk, where none of the joints in the entire kit are completely locked, and thus not subject to gravity-induced movement.

For the VF-31:

1. None of the parts so far look anywhere near as fragile as the VF-25 bits, and the parts lock together really really well in fighter mode, however...

2. I have as yet been unable to fully transform my VF-31, and I'm unwilling to push it further due to getting stress marks on one of the big ABS pieces in the core of the fighter. Also, bits pop off really easily during transformation - not just wings and fins, but the chest plate is also often not there due to going on vacation to visit the Carpet Monster.

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While I had Ozma's fighter from Macross Delta, I didn't have too many issues with it. Where my issues came in were the 1/72 VF-1 series by BOTH Imai and Bandai-

 

Imai:

- Backpack/tail-fin joint ungainly and very fragile. Pack would not stay up

- Bicep swivel had a knack for getting stuck ( even with proper trimming, sanding and gluing) and then snap off

- "Blades"/ fighter leg retainers holding chestplate to front body tended to snap where posts went into chestplate

- Instructions actually show a polycap being put in the wrong way into the battroid nose/ cockpit, causing all sorts of headaches

- Ugly joints for the backpack and the ailerons/ tailfins

- Having to swap out nosecones

- Plastic piece keeping landing gear straight when deployed had a nasty habit of breaking when least expected

- Clip on Battroid nose/ cockpit tended to break, making keeping the robot upright almost impossible

- Metal hinges on valkyrie at shoulders a headache to install w/o breaking a plastic piece (had to trim those several times)

- "Slide-hinges" for arms VERY fragile and will break just by thinking about them while on a drive across town on a summer's day.

- Head-lasers snap just by looking at them wrong.

- Canopy is made of saran-wrap for all I can tell and will break if your cat sneezes.

- Nose landing gear doors all too easy to glue shut by mistake or snap while trying to open

- Proportions are weird (with those shoulders, anyone for "mech football"?)

BanDai:

- The plastic is the worst quality in the known history of mankind: it will snap and crumble just on principle, it's THAT brittle

- Hinges for tail-fins, landing gear doors and whatnot VERY fiddly and will fall apart or break without notice

- Pieces can break even if minimal force is used during construction

- Cannot hold poses very well

- Crucial joint pieces way too thin and will eventually snap, no matter how loose the joint is

- Arms and legs do not stay in place very well (if at all)

- Odd transform: kneecaps did not go up on other versions like they do on this model

- Proportions seem a bit off between parts

- Head- lasers are prone to falling off without notice, one-by-one

- Hands are not very well designed: the fingers tend to fall out of the hands a lot of the time

- Gunpod handle prone to breaking

- Swing-cams and plates holding legs to fighter are not very strong and the grey plastic will give out sooner or later

- Hands tend to get stuck inside forearm during transform, even when left open and flat

- Joints overall are way too weak

- Overall, Valkyrie looks way too skinny and slight

 

 

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4 hours ago, SebastianP said:

I've built three of the VF-25 kits, and one VF-31.

First of all, general issues with all the kits:

1. The stickers suck. If you don't get them on exactly where you want them and you have to peel them off and try again, they're not going to stay put. 

2. The water slide decals suck *worse*. They're thick, hard and fragile, and they're dithered rather than solid color. Invest in a bottle of Mr Mark Softner, you will need it.

3. The landing gear sucks. The legs are too thick, the wheels are too small, they're molded very simplistically and they're molded in *dark gray*, rather than the white they're supposed to be in. They're just generally ugly.

4. No matter whether you're using the stickers or the decals, you need to apply a fair amount of them during assembly, so choose first, before starting construction.

 

Thanks for the advice regarding the decals. I might go back to my earlier plan consisting in airbrushing the big parts of the paint schemes to avoid using the big decals or big stickers. I did invest in a bottle of micro-sol and a bottle micro-set and reverse-tweezers by the way. Maybe I'll give them a try on the VF-1 and corresponding super parts first since this guy is more or less a "lost cause" - even though I manage to find some interesting life-hacks that make him rise and shine and may, in the longer term, save humankind.

I agree own the landing gear. They are ugly and the wheels are too small. Is there any way to suggest Bandai to make them look better and have them die-cast like those of the VF-1 a third of a century ago in a galaxy far, far away, in the Imai kit?

Regarding point 4, I'll dis-assemble the parts that have to be painted/decaled/stickered/pampered/TLC'd... is that a good idea, or am I going to die in horrible suffering?

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3 hours ago, pengbuzz said:

Imai:

- Instructions actually show a polycap being put in the wrong way into the battroid nose/ cockpit, causing all sorts of headaches

- "Slide-hinges" for arms VERY fragile and will break just by thinking about them while on a drive across town on a summer's day.

- Head-lasers snap just by looking at them wrong.

- Canopy is made of saran-wrap for all I can tell and will break if your cat sneezes.

Ah the Humanity!

Sure the old transformable VF-1 had its weirdness and issues (though at least, in spite of his chunkiness, he was always kind to me and a great companion of my prepubescent years) and the recent VF-1 is a true nightmare. Over-designed, most likely never or insufficiently beta-tested prior to release, made of brittle plastic. Still, I'm managing to get something out of it. It looks great with the super parts on and everything holds pretty well (including the back-thrusters/micro-missile tank... after modifying the ABS "nubs" that hold them to the backpack with a dollar store hobby pen knife!)...

Peace everyone. Om shanti shanti shanti.

Edited by Skypoet
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