1/60 VF-19 Custom Fire Valkyrie

After my VF-22S review, here’s a review of Yamato’s VF-19. At the time of writing this, I found out that Bandai’s VF Hi-Metal 1/100 VF-19 is getting a re-release. Damn it. If you were to do a comparison of retail prices, Yamato’s VF-19 goes for 22000 yen while Bandai’s 1/100 version retails at 7000 yen. That should give a better explanation of how I felt. But that’s the price to pay for making impulse purchases like this…

Apparently this one is one of Yamato’s more expensive releases, but from what I can tell, their prices have been skyrocketing with each subsequent new release.

Let’s see how well this one can stand up to my scrutiny. (hahaha)

Comparing against the VF-22S, this one comes in a smaller-sized box but weighs significantly more. Again, the outer box is thin cardboard while corrugated cardboard surrounds the plastic tray. Things are more densely packed this time round. You get the VF-19 itself, a launcher pod, a pilot figure, a cover part for Fighter/Gerwalk modes, an extra shield, an extra face, cover parts for Battroid mode and 2 attachment parts for use with Yamato’s display stand.

Here’s the dreaded sticker sheet and it’s a large one. The manual is printed on thick glossy paper.

Fighter mode

I noticed a fair bit of mold release grease on the toy when I took it out of the package. It’s molded in a glossy red with bright yellow accents. Some people call this a Valkyrie in McDonald’s colours and they are right.

And it weighs a lot! There is a lot of metal used on this toy and it feels really hefty. Again there are numerous unpainted panel lines but the actual separate bits of the plane provide real panel lines that show up much more clearly than the molded lines.

I like the forward-swept wings. They just seem more badass.

Front view.

Profile. Nice smooth, downward-pointing nose. Clear green parts adorn the sides of the nose. Again, the landing gear is die-cast with rolling wheels and rubber tyres. But there’s more – the front landing gear has an articulated tow bar, and the rear landing gears lock in position.

Back view. You can just see the die-cast nozzles which form the ankles in Battroid/Gerwalk modes inside the engines.

The canopy is completely clear. The figure of Basara is incredibly detailed with his glasses (and frame!) visible and him playing his guitar/controlling the mech in his civilian clothes. The lightning bolt art under the canopy is printed on.

The canopy lifts up and opens. The figure isn’t restrained so he may end up out of position when you jostle the seat during transformation.

Underside. The insides of the landing gear bays are painted white. The rear landing gear struts are Y-shaped – when you deploy them you bend them outwards so they are propped against the sides of the bays keeping them locked in place.

Underside with the landing gears stowed. There are copyright labels on the wing.

The VF-19 feels really solid in Fighter mode. The only loose parts are the front canards which are supposed to be detachable to avoid breakage according to the manual but they are very loose and fall out with gravity. The paint job is very sharp – check out the gold bits on the edge of the fuselage and the silver bits on the wing roots.

The launcher pod can be attached to the underside of the plane without any attachment parts but it points downwards. Or upwards in this picture. The pod is held in place by clipping the grip between the arms.

Gerwalk mode

Transformation is complicated but this one was easier to follow compared to the VF-22S. The first step involves unlocking the shoulders but they are incredibly tight. There are a lot of locking tabs and extending joints all over the toy. I read from Anymoon’s review that the locking tabs of the Gerwalk extending joints can be broken easily so you should pull on them carefully. According to the review, pointing the feet downwards also weakens the die-cast ankle joints. Since I’ve done it already I guess mine are loosened now.

Side view. It’s harder to balance because it is front-heavy and the feet cannot point downwards any further than this. The shield has also been swapped with the original to look more anime-accurate. Yamato provided 2 shields for this purpose.

Rear view.

Gerwalk mode with the launcher pod equipped. The arms are quite restricted as the elbows tend to bump into the wings. The wings are razor-thin so there is a risk of damaging their sharp edges. The wing roots are also under the arms so there is not much range of motion available.

The ankles can extend several steps and in these pictures they look a bit weird because I pulled them all the way out.

Battroid mode

Overall views. Yamato really pulled out all the stops in making this one look as accurate as possible. With the implausible transformation and magical proportion changing in the anime, this figure still manages to look bulky and fairly stubby with a big head in Battroid mode. I looked at pictures of Bandai’s 1/100 version and I can safely conclude that this Battroid mode one-ups Bandai’s offering in terms of appearance. The transformation never fails to amaze me. It’s almost impossible to see how the sleek Fighter mode can convert to the bulky big-headed Battroid mode with perfect transformation.

Once again for some people the ‘perfect transformation’ claim is debatable as there are several parts that are swapped between modes, but here they are all done for aesthetic purposes. There is a cover for the exposed neck area in Fighter and Gerwalk modes, cover pieces for the back of the thighs in Battroid mode and differently-shaped shields.

The Battroid mode face looks like a clown or a Valkyrie Ronald McDonald and for those who don’t like it there is a replacement face part with the mouth closed. The black cap is removed and the faceplates can then be swapped. The eyes are painted green, the forehead sensors are painted blue and the clown mouth is painted white. The head lasers have black painted areas while the white and yellow accents are printed on. Everything is very detailed.

Clear purple parts are used on the shoulders. In the anime they are supposed to be projectors. The yellow chest area is painted. The shoulders can also open to reveal a detailed set of speakers. Of course, they aren’t functional on the toy. The locking mechanism feels really solid here.

Here’s a look at the arm with the different shields equipped.

The back of the figure is detailed and the entire spine is die-cast. There are slots at the top for attaching the separately sold Sound Booster.

What’s really impressive would be the back of the figure in Battroid mode which has a hatch that reveals the cockpit. It really speaks volumes about how accurate the transformation is.

The legs manage to look fat but not as fat as depicted in the official line art.

The right thigh has the cover part removed compared to the left. The cover parts aren’t incredibly necessary but they do help the legs look better if you want to display the figure with its back facing outside.

The head does not have a ball joint so it cannot tilt, but still offers a wide range of motion. Due to the transformation it is also able to rotate all the way around. The head lasers which swing outwards in Battroid mode can also rotate. They are made of hard plastic and there are no spares so one should be careful when handling them.

The elbows are die-cast single joints and can bend just over 90 degrees. The wrists, hands and fingers are also articulated.

This cool kneeling pose is achieved by moving one of the hip joints downwards. There is no waist articulation on this figure as the entire torso is essentially a single block. The transformation mechanism allows the MG-style hip joints to greatly increase articulation range. There are buttons on both sides that lock the hips in position and they are adjusted by pressing the button and moving the die-cast hip joint like a crank until they lock in position. The die-cast knees and ankles can also extend multiple steps. The knees have ratchet joints.

Because of the transformation the hip joints consist of separate swivels with one for forward/backward motion and one for sideways motion. For this reason there are no removable intake covers for the tops of the thighs. The thighs can rotate outwards but not inwards. Sideways range is also compromised so the ankles at full extension actually have a wider range than the hips can provide. Besides the ball joints, the ankles have a swivel joint that functions when you extend them.

The launcher pod can convert between stowed and deployed modes. The inside of the barrel is painted black to look less fake. To convert between modes the front tip is pulled out, the stock is straightened and the handle is slid forward. The magazine is also removable but is otherwise useless and does not have any little speaker pods stored in them. So many features for a non-lethal weapon!

The side panels on both legs open to reveal a set of micro missiles. The hinge is die-cast and the missiles, mounted on metal joints, rotate to face forward.

Armed and ready for music, not war.

“Let’s go!”

I don’t have a stand but the figure is very stable and it’s actually balancing on one foot in this picture.

“Listen to my song!”

“♪ Totsugeki love heart! ♪”

This figure has a truckload of die-cast used in it! Here’s a list of the locations I found.

  • Shoulder supports
  • Elbow joints
  • The entire back of the figure in Battroid mode and all its connecting hinges
  • Arms and hinges inside the fuselage as part of the transformation mechanism
  • Hip joints
  • Knee joints
  • Ankles
  • Landing gear
  • Practically all axles/shafts are metal rods
  • Hinges for the panels on the sides of the legs and the mounting points for the missiles inside

The transformation is nearly perfect with the exception of the panels and shield for cosmetic purposes. There are many sharp edges especially around the razor-thin wings. The figure is rock solid in all modes, with locking tabs on almost all parts, but I am annoyed by the incredibly loose canards and the front crotch plate in Battroid mode as both parts have no locking mechanisms to keep them in place. Besides the supposedly fragile Gerwalk extending joint and wearing of the ankle joints, the panels around the head in Fighter/Gerwalk modes are troublesome as the shoulder supports lock them closed and they can only be opened to reveal the head when the arms are swung back. Otherwise the supports will cut into the panels and damage them if the panels are pried open by the head lifting out by accident during transformation.

You must have noticed my excessive level of praise for this figure. I was seriously blown away by the engineering on it as well as its superb quality (especially compared to my VF-22S). The transformation is magical and perfect in my opinion, it looks gorgeous in both Fighter and Battroid modes, articulation is decent for such a complex transforming figure and so much die-cast. While the stamp printing is minimal the paint job is nearly flawless. I was also impressed particularly by the use of several differently coloured clear parts. This is a toy that lives up to its lofty price tag. I wanted to rate this toy 6 stars but decided against it – it surely deserves the full 5 stars anyway.

★★★★★

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