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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Seeking Elint ... ...

for the pass few years have finally come to an end yesterday. Yamato finally answered my prayer for an improved version (at least in my opinion) of the VE-1 Elint Seeker. This is another 1/60 scale from Yamato which is a very nice size in terms of storage and display.

This could most probably be my final piece for Macross under the line of Yamato as all the collectible Valkyries that I like in the series have been released.

Let's start with the review on this piece then.

Packaging - 4/5
This is another standard 1/60 packaging with the standard box art similar to Low Vis which was reviewed previously. I gave this an additional 2 points for
1. The valk is in flight mode and this makes it look much aggressive
2. More features being shown at the back of the box

However, it would have scored a full 5 if there is a flap like the Super Ostrich.



The interior is also the standard Yamato plastic tray that houses everything neatly in place. There are two trays for the VE-1 due to the fast pack and Elint equipment.

Tray 1 - the valk

Tray 2 - Fast Pack and Elint Radar Dome

Yamato has put in considerable effort into protecting its product with plastic sheets at areas where there is a possibility of damage due to abrasion.

The wings are nicely wrapped

Tip of the wings has addition plastic sheets for further protection

The Toy - 5/5
This has got to be the best and I mean the BEST valks from Yamato in my possession. Although it is not as powerful as the rest in terms of firepower. In fact, it's not even armed but it's the kind of equipment it carries that makes it smart looking.

The basic valk without its fast pack and Elint equipment on is stylish with a light shade of grey and its yellow nose cone. There is a lot of pre-painted labels on the valk as well. Although slapping on the stickers would make it look even better.

Cockpit seats 2, a pilot and a signaller

Topside of the valk

A point of caution here to all is to be VERY careful when fitting the parts onto the plane. Everything is made of solid plastic and the little spokes sticking out can be very brittle.

Elint mode

Side view with the fast pack

Top side

The colour combination is again very nicely coordinated which makes the VE-1 an eye candy.

As of all fast pack, the covers can be removed to review the engines and mechanisms in it. This is a detail that I appreciate and best displayed in Fighter mode with the landing gears deployed.

Gerwalk mode of VE-1 looks great with all the parts on and like all Yamato valks, CG is no issue.

However, do take care with displaying and make sure it will not topple over as the spokes from Elint equipment may just snap off upon impact.

Finally the Battleroid mode which initially was not my favourite due to the odd looking head. However, it does look slightly better than the VT-1 Super Ostrich.

It does not look so odd after all with all the sophisticated equipment around it and thus, I credited it more with more shots.

The pictures below are some of the details that Yamato has included which makes this a wonder piece of collectible

The details here are the prepainted labels (above) and the little catch (bottom) that holds the tail fin in place.

Overall - 4/5
This valk is not exactly the main cast of mechs in the Macross series but it is one of those that is not common like the VF-1. Yamato has really intended this piece for collectors with the materials chosen and the kind of the details included. In fact, it is stated on the box that this item is for age 15 and above and so, it has actually edged itself out of the toy category.

The reason why it is 1 point shy of a full score is a display stand would have been a great addition in the packaging. I think I'm spoilt by Bandai's packaging standards.

A must get for all Macross fans and it will not be around in the shops long enough for you to think about it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Low Vis ... ...

is what Ris Low should have done to avoid all the unnecessary attention just like Yamato's 1/60 VF-1S. This is the Low Vis (low visibility) color edition of Roy Focker's VF-1S from "Do You Remember Love" (DYRL)

Here is a little review of the product.
Packaging 2/5
Well, I may have been spoilt by the classic packaging where there is a front flap which opens to offer a sneak peek of what's inside. Even the Super Ostrich released previously had that.

The artwork on the packaging is plain and simple. It sort of follows the design of VF-0A from Macross Zero. Yamato is most probably keeping to a standard form of artwork based on the scale of the toy.

The back of the packaging is the standard display what the three modes are and some specs on the plane.

The sides of the box are even more boring. However, who really bothers what is on the box. What is in the box is more important. So, let's yank the inside out!

Inside the box - Storage Tray
Standard Yamato packaging.

Standard issues are 
Missiles pods
Anti Ground Missiles
Gun Pod
Pilot - Roy Focker

Additional stuff beginning with 1/60 scale
Display Stand adapters; one for fighter and gerwalk mode and 1 for battleroid mode
2 DYRL hands; one to hold the gun and one open hand
1 adapter to hold the nose of the plane (something like this) courtesy of CollectionDX

On the underside are the instructional manual (which season macross collectors can skip referring) and sticker sheets which I do not recommend applying. They do not stay put unless you apply some coating and keep the toy away from dust.

The Toy - 5/5
Yamato is still tops when it comes to making a really good valkyrie from Macross.  They thrive in areas where Bandai fails. That is the Gerwalk mode. Bandai failed miserably the last time I tried to display the VF-25 in Gerwalk mode and the sentiments are shared by many.

A perfectly display gerwalk mode which in my opinion is the trademark of a Macross Valkyrie.

Another shot of the same pose with the exposure of the camera @ -1.

Here we have Roy on the open hand and the valk is without the display stand.

The full Gerwalk. A number of poses are possible with the generous amount of articulation provided in the leg and feet area.

A shot to see through the cockpit.

Battleroid mode and on the stand. The DYRL hands sure comes in handy to display this properly.

The VF-1 series has the feature of 'clipping' the gunpod on the arm when not in use.

The standard scrawny hands are not too bad themselves when it comes to holding the weapon and for photoshoot.

Love the fact that some of the markings on the toy are pre-painted. The toy generally is smaller than the 1/48 scale but better quality as mentioned in the last review for the Super Ostrich

It is also much lighter than VF-25 from Bandai as it contains much lesser metal content.

Overall Review
This piece is a winner, especially when it's labelled Low Vis which Yamato once had VF-1A Low Vis which is much sort after even until today. So, get it while you can and before you have to pay a premium price for it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The next level ... ...

of toy collecting as I mentioned before is modification which I have been doing lately. However, this is the biggest project yet. 

In the picture below is a Bandai's GQ (Gundam Quality) Blast Impulse like the predecessor, Metal Material Model (MMM) from Gundam Seed Destiny which was aired in 2004.  It is around the scale of 1/100, however, the joints are all metal, which explains the name of this product. 

I left this displaying in a shelf and over the years, the plastic turned yellow and so I decided to do a little modification to give it a make over.

Poor Blast Impulse, looking discoloured and sad. Noticed some parts are still white? Those are actually painted and so it did not turn yellow. Well, this piece was $80 and thus, explained the inferior material used.

Some WIP pictures, tools needed
1. 2B pencil
2. Pilot Twin Marker
3. Gundam Marker
4. Screw driver
5. A glass of water

A closer shot of what was done. Shield and head completed and working on the upper torso. 

Upper torso done and working on the hips and legs next. The only part I did not paint is the Core Splendor (the plane). 

The completed product. I'm calling this Commando Blast Impulse, suitable for jungle warfare. Decided to paint over the white parts as well as it did not go well with the camouflage scheme.

A close up and you can see that the paint was not applied very professionally. Well, considering I've spent about 7 hours on this, I'm quite pleased with myself.

Back view. Almost every exposed part is painted and I did try to manage the colour combination if it is obvious to anyone.

Oops, I did not paint the back of the shield because I do not think that it is necessary. Looks like I am getting the hang of doing this level of modification and perhaps will invest in better or more sophisticated equipment like an airbrush to really do this properly.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Strike before Bandai ... ...

pull a fast one on us collectors just like what Yamato is doing. That is coming out of a Weathered version of VF-25F. Actually, my intention is just to panel line it but the Gundam Marker I used when wiped off with a cotton bud gives a weathering effect.

In Batteroid mode and the camera does not do justice to my effort. Only the panel lining can be seen.

A full body shot to compensate the one I took some months ago which I did not extend the feet.

Another shot to 'show off' my panel lining work. It's now that I realised that I have the flash on and so the weathering is wash off when the flash is activated.

Ok, just one more standing shot before transforming it back to Fighter mode.

I had forgotten about the shield! It's missing from all the above shot except this one. Took a few hits on it.

Still, without the flash off, the weathering is still not so evident. Maybe, the Gundam Markers are not as good as pencil which I used for Roy's VF-1S.

Now, the weathering is really evident when compared to the picture taken in the earlier post when I first opened it.

Just having a little fun with a nose art.

This shot made me realised this is not as anime accurate as I thought it to be!! Notice it only when I was flipping through the Macross Archive Magazine. The difference is at the exhaust area (the legs). The 1/72 model kit is more accurate where the SMS 007 wordings can be seen in Fighter mode.

While the SMS 007 wordings is obviously missing in the 1/60 DX version. Missing here means it is hidden as the legs here can't be adjusted any further unlike the 1/72 modet kit.

Well, it was still fun panel lining the VF-25F. Will do it for the rest of the Messiahs, provided time permits.