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Toys: VF Hi-Metal VF-1J

Posted on : 06-07-2010 | By : | In : Toys/Kits

Hardware: , , ,

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Courtesy of our good friends at HobbyLink Japan, we’ve been sent a toy from the original Macross TV series to review. Specifically, the VF Hi-Metal VF-1J in Hikaru Ichijyo’s colours. In addition, to give the toy some context, we’ve also linked some anime and gameplay footage of it in action in Macross Ultimate Frontier at the end of the review.

There are few variable fighter designs in Macross that are quite as iconic as Hikaru’s VF-1J. With the simple white colours and red highlights, the design is instantly recognisable not only in terms of the series that birthed it but also the character that pilots it. Unsurprisingly, this VF-1J has been featured in multiple games over the years from some of the earlier Alpha iterations of Super Robot Wars to more recently in Artdink’s Macross PSP games.

This particular toy is very interesting on several counts though. From it helping to re-boot the old Hi-Metal Macross toyline from the 80’s to the curious hand parts that are available, though more of that later. Compared to the recent Fire Valkyrie toy that was released not that long ago, the VF-1J sports far less parts swapping in terms of the transformation. Except for the cockpit canopy and hands it is pretty much “good to go” out of the box.

Bandai have also been making more of a shift towards smaller more cost effective toys in the past year or so and this is very much a culmination of that in terms of the engineering. Despite the “Hi-Metal” moniker though, there are pretty sparse amounts of diecast in the toy with it only really being used for important joints as well as the transformations “backbone” if you will.

Due to the transformation aspect of this toy, we will be covering the three distinct modes separately; that of fighter, GERWALK and battroid.

Toy: VF Hi-Metal VF-1J
Price: 5500 yen
Size/Weight: 29.0 x 20.1 x 6.7 cm / 400g

The fighter mode is very clean in terms of the sculpt and the toy comes with two wing types as well; one for affixing the missile parts and another for just plain display. You can even swap out the jet intakes and landing gear. Unfortunately, the GU-11 Gun Pod doesn’t affix underneath the fighter like with the Yamato toys and instead needs an additional part to hold it in place (and then only with one of the Tamashii stands, sold separately). Unlike the Fire Valkyrie though, you can open the cockpit but this is meant for the transformation as the battroid “cover” is a parts swap.

Like with the other recent Bandai Macross toys, GERWALK can be a bit tricky to pose but much of that is down how they’ve handled the feet in this toy. Specifically, the forward facing “toe” is actually on a polycap joint of sorts. In theory this means you can pivot the foot for better posturing but it causes issues when you use GERWALK, as it doesn’t support the mode quite as well as it would have otherwise. Once posed though the mode is striking in its accuracy. Again, you get the feeling that this would look more dynamic with the Tamashii stand.

As a toy it’s very much meant to be played with and the price point is also very competitive. If you’ve always wanted one of the larger Yamato toys, or even any of the classic 80′s toys, but lacked the funds then this will more than easily satiate that desire. It’s clear that Bandai want to take the Macross throne away from Yamato and, whilst they’re not there yet, they aren’t far off. It will be interesting to see what more variable fighters Bandai decide to make after this and we’re partially hoping they may even try the much maligned VF-4.

Overall then, this is a fitting tribute to one of the most recognisable mecha in anime history. It’s also sad to think that Hikaru’s voice actor Arihiro Hase, who tragically committed suicide in 1996, is no longer with us. That fact alone makes this design really quite poignant in terms of its significance.

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Comments (2)

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Out of all the VF-1 toys I’ve seen, from the gargantuan Yamato renditions, to the 2 Revoltech versions (Poseable & Transformable), to the old 1/100 & 1/72 scale models, to SkyFire itself, this current rendition – VF Metal VF-1J Ichijo is the closest to the the numerous blueprints and paintings that depict the VF as a realistic transformable fighter jet-robot-VTOL. Even if I was a fan of the BattleTech Wasp or Phoenix Hawk, I’d go crazy over this toy!

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