As a fan of the real life F-22 design, I naturally became a fan of the YF-21 in Macross Plus and the VF-22S in Macross 7. The VF-22S only made its appearance towards the end of Macross 7, and were piloted by the Jenius duo. For those who are unaware, Maximilian Jenius and Miria Fallyna Jenius were 2 of the 3 returning characters from the original SDF Macross. Max was the captain of Battle 7 and his wife was the Mayor of City 7. While the YF-21 and Max’s VF-22S were undoubtedly badass and had more screen time compared to Miria’s ride, hers was on sale for half price, so I paid first and asked questions later.
The question I asked myself was to the effect of “what the hell did I just do?”
That’s because I ended up buying 1 more Valkyrie and a Sound Booster (that alone cost as much as this thing).
I guess I was a little let down to see so much empty space inside the huge package. The outer box was made of thin cardboard, and to make things worse the Fire Valkyrie had a smaller box and weighed a fair bit more. The only support in the package was provided by the corrugated cardboard tray surrounding the plastic tray. Besides the VF-22S itself the package came with a pair of mounts for attaching a Fold Booster, a pair of attachments for use with Yamato’s display stand in Fighter and Battroid modes, a pilot figure and a pair of gun pods. I would have preferred if a spare antenna was provided as it is made of hard plastic and sticks out in all modes.
There was also an instruction manual, a survey and a sticker sheet. Wait… sticker sheet? There are the UN Spacy logos printed already so why couldn’t Yamato use stamp printing for all the markings? Anyway, I won’t be using them.
So at 1/60 scale this thing is pretty large. And right after I took it out from the package I was greeted with a sagging wing tip and a cracked thigh, both of which I fixed with some super glue. The plane is molded in a nice matte salmon red as Miria’s personal colours.
Top view. There are a lot of panel lines but they aren’t painted. At the back of the fuselage area are the front mounting points for the Fold Booster attachment parts which are covered by removable panels.
Front view. Most of the parts are molded in red so the white areas (with the exception of the antenna) are painted. There is a fair number of clear yellow parts used on the plane.
Profile. Gotta love how sleek it looks. The landing gear is die-cast with rolling wheels and rubber tyres. Wow!
Rear. You can see the feet stick out the back but it isn’t a big issue in my opinion.
Underside. The hole in the centre of the belly plate allows the display stand attachment to stick out.
Underside with the landing gear stowed. Deploying the landing gear is as simple as prying the various flaps open and unfolding them. The problem is the rear landing gears do not have any locking mechanism to keep them open, so pushing the plane backwards will cause the gears to collapse. On the other hand the front landing gear has some tension that locks it in both stowed and deployed modes.
As I don’t have a stand that can hold this thing up I used those glass cubes which I finally went to buy.
The figure of Miria in her pilot suit is nicely painted and the canopy can be opened.
The turbine details are painted. You can see paint specks as the intake covers which deploy in Battroid mode are attached and it’s painted surface rubbing on painted surface.
The stamp printed UN Spacy logo, and clear parts for the lights. The paint job is actually quite sharp.
The thrust vector nozzles are movable.
Ah – I forgot to take pictures of the VF-22S in high speed mode. You just have to fold the vertical stabilisers and bend the wing tips down.
Check out those splayed legs.
The transformation mechanism on this thing is so complex I spent well over an hour converting modes on my first try. Instructions are in Japanese only but there are photos of the toy in every step to guide you along. Knowing how to read Japanese helps you to figure out the transformation more quickly.
It’s capable of posing aggressively in the splayed legs and nose pointing downwards pose. I’m having it hold the gun pod; unfortunately the gun pods cannot be stored inside the plane in any way. It’s a pity but I can understand why as it is simply not possible to do so physically.
Again, I don’t have a stand that can hold this up so you’ll have to make do with static Gerwalk poses on the ground. While the splayed legs look great, the swivel joints at the thigh don’t have any tension so the legs tend to sag into the splayed look.
Overall views. I must say the Battroid mode is fairly good-looking – you can see the influence of the Zentradi Queadlunn-Rau battle suit on the design. With the constraints of the Fighter mode and a transformation that could rival Getter 1’s in terms of physical impossibility, Yamato definitely did a good job trying to replicate the line art. That is not to say it’s perfect – the back is huge and heavy, it has chicken legs and there is no heat shield on the canopy. Still, I’m impressed by how well all this was pulled off.
Bust up. Clear parts are used for the visor. The transformation mechanism around this area is quite fun – there is some Automorph-style movement when you fold down the cowl and the cockpit area automagically lifts and slides downwards. The intake covers on the shoulders are attached in this mode so those who are super pedantic/anal will contend with the “perfect transformation” claim.
The pilot seat can actually rotate in Battroid mode so Miria can face forward. However there is no way to restrain the figure so it usually falls forward with the helmet pressing against the canopy.
Arms. The wrist mounted guns deploy in Battroid mode by retracting the lower arms up into the elbows.
Chicken legs. Some of the screw holes are covered – I’m not sure why the others are exposed.
Being a transformable figure, articulation is definitely compromised. The head is not on a ball joint, and with the cowl around it it can only rotate side to side a little.
The arms can rotate all the way around but can’t be raised high. They can rotate just above the elbow. The elbow is a single joint which can extend due to the transformation. Extending the arms hides the wrist-mounted guns and the elbows can then bend 90 degrees. The wrists have joints also due to the transformation. The thumb, index finger and last 3 fingers have their own swivel joints. Ratchet joints are used on the shoulders and elbows. Unsurprisingly there are no shoulder swivels.
It’s hard to tell in this picture but there is some slight waist rotation hidden behind the fighter mode nose. As you can tell from the design, forward range of the hip joints which are die-cast is pretty wide.
But due to the really long lower legs, you can’t get it to kneel properly. The ankles don’t have much sideways range also. Ratchet joints are used for the knees and ankles. The knees bend up to 90 degrees. You can also bend them forward due to the Gerwalk transformation. While the knees are single joints, in Gerwalk mode you get the equivalent of double-jointed knees as there is another forward-bending extension mechanism above the knees.
The gun pods cannot be stowed on the plane but Yamato still made them convertible.
Dual wielding. There is a peg on the hands to hold the guns and the fingers keep them fairly snug.
Here’s a rough size comparison with a 1/100 RX-78-2 Gundam as I don’t have a good 1/60 scale mech. My guess is it would be around the same size as a late-UC mech (F91, V/V2 etc.) in the same scale.
Action. Due to the top-heavy nature of the figure, I’m sure it will look better when displayed in flying poses where it’s chicken legs need not bear the entire weight of the figure.
Posing the wrist mounted guns looks a little awkward with the vertical stabilizers getting in the way.
While the use of die-cast metal isn’t a gimmick like Bandai’s Chogokin lines, there is still a fair bit of it in the figure. It is used for joints and structural support, and I’ve listed the locations I found below.
- Landing gear struts
- Shoulder peg joints
- Supporting structures in the body for the transformation
- Hips/hip joints
- Ball jointed mounts on the thighs for the underbelly plates in Battroid mode
- Axles for swiveling areas such as the wing tips and forward-bending knee joints for example
Some of the joints in the limbs can be tightened by adjusting the screws holding the parts. However, during my repairs I found that several screw threads in other areas of the figure have already stripped so one should take caution when adjusting screw tension and avoid excessive tightening.
With the perfect transformation feature, there are still some caveats. Mentioned earlier are the intake covers. There are also numerous show-related inaccuracies such as the lack of a heat shield for the canopy and the gun pods which cannot be stored in the plane. In the anime, the plane is also able to deploy missiles and payloads from the underbelly.
The transformation process is also quite challenging especially for the legs which have to be crammed tightly into the underside in fighter mode. I did not collapse the Gerwalk knee joint on one leg fully and I could not get the underbelly panels to lock in place as the legs were not properly stowed. When correctly done, the knees and front of the ankles which are painted gray rub against each other so there could be some chipped paint issues around the area.
This is a fairly good transforming figure with articulation being more like an added bonus. I really like the Fighter mode but I would have expected a little more given the price range, such as better build quality, more stamp printed markings instead of providing a sticker sheet or painted panel lines. Still, this is probably the only iteration of the VF-22S currently that is transformable and poseable despite its limitations in accuracy. Besides, it’s from the definitive long-standing 1/60 line which Bandai has also joined for its Macross Frontier Valkyrie figures. I would have rated this 4 stars because I paid half price for it, but I had to be fair and lower it because such an expensive-tier toy certainly deserved better quality.