After the little break from the Macross stuff, here’s a review of the last item in my Macross haul, the Sound Booster. First things first: it’s a ridiculously overpriced add-on, retailing at 9800 yen. That alone should be a hint that this add-on isn’t exactly worth paying so much for.
The box is as large as the VF-19’s but slightly thinner.
The packaging follows the same style as the other Valkyrie releases by Yamato, and there is a lot of empty space in it. You get the Sound Booster itself, a pair of attachment parts and a pilot figure.
There is no way to support the Sound Booster as it does not have any landing gear and I don’t have a compatible stand.
It’s a fairly detailed piece with painted and printed areas especially at the front of the booms/twin fuselages.
The camera/sensor uses clear green and red parts, with silver painted details underneath the clear green dome. The mounting pegs for attaching the Booster to the Valkyrie are folded down flush with the surface but there are extra sliding hatches which seem a bit superfluous. The antenna can retract completely into the body. It’s not made of soft plastic so one should be careful when handling it.
Here’s a closer look at the details on the booms.
The lights on the wing roots have clear parts on them, and the wing tips have painted lights as well. As expected after looking at the previous Valkyries earlier.
The underside is simple, with only some holes to accommodate the attachment parts. The tail winglets do not come off like the canards on the VF-19. You have to be careful when putting the toy on a surface and I usually leave it upside down with the antenna retracted to minimize the risk of breaking them.
The measly extras that come with the toy. You get another pilot figure this time of Basara singing in his concert attire. The gigantic red chunk of plastic is an attachment part used for mounting the Sound Booster onto the Valkyrie in Fighter mode, while the smaller piece is for use with Yamato’s display stand. I had trouble removing the stand attachment as there is no leverage to help you free the part – the clipping mechanism is too tight. I resorted to using a pair of pliers for leverage to remove the part and ended up damaging it from the sheer gripping force of the pliers required to free it even when a cloth was used.
The bigger plastic chunk is the main source of disappointment I had with this toy. With such an expensive price tag, it seems like the addition of this part was more like an afterthought. I was wondering if there was a better way to implement this, such as by using all the plain space available on the underside of the Booster since it had no landing gear underneath.
Here’s a comparison of the pilot figures that come with the Fire Valkyrie and the Sound Booster. They’re equally well-painted, though the figure of singing Basara has a smaller head and a less pale skin tone. Must be the stage makeup.
Attaching the Sound Booster in Fighter mode is done using that big chunk of plastic, folding the vertical stabilisers of the Valkyrie and clipping the attachment to the stabilisers. You have to flex the attachment a bit to get it to fit, and I am worried that the attachment part will scratch the glossy surface of the Valkyrie. Come to think of it, I think the Booster never docked with the Valkyrie in Fighter mode in the TV series…
The wingspan of the Sound Booster is slightly wider than the Valkyrie. They cannot be displayed together in Gerwalk mode.
And here’s the Fire Valkyrie in Battroid mode with the Sound Booster equipped. Transformation is fairly simple, with the connections of the booms to the body all in die-cast. You have to twist the booms a bit to get them to rotate past the die-cast locking pegs on the Booster’s central body to avoid scratching the sides of the booms. The winglets at the back of the booms are rotated 90 degrees. The mounting pegs are unfolded after you slide open the covering hatches – it seems like an unnecessary feature as the pegs could just sit flush to the surface without any doors to cover them. Despite all these extra gimmicks the pegs themselves don’t lock tightly when mounted to the back of the Valkyrie.
With the Booster deployed for some sound blasting. Here is where the toy begins to shine. With the covers opened there is a lot of overkill mechanical detail on the insides.
More intricate detail for the speakers and the insides of the covers are painted.
And more unnecessary features – the hinge for the covers on top have some fake hydraulic pistons that supposedly prop the covers up, but they can stay up fine without the help of the piston supports.
There are fake mounting hooks deployed on the underside that do not do anything other than to appear line art accurate. The booms simply rest on the shoulders of the Valkyrie.
Shown with the Launcher Pod equipped. Then again I also don’t think it used the launcher pod and the booster at the same time…
With the booster equipped the toy becomes slightly top-heavy. I didn’t put it in any particular pose since it’s job in the anime was just to fly around blasting music. The Valkyrie itself looks great, and this add-on certainly makes it even more impressive.
It’s like Yamato tried to make this as expensive as possible so they slapped on a bunch of useless gimmicks, then realised they wanted to have the booster dock in Fighter mode so they simply threw in that gigantic red chunk. You would have expected to get real working speakers at this price. On the bright side it makes for an impressive display and is much easier to acquire (at the point of writing this) compared to Bandai’s VF Hi-Metal version which had the booster (and other necessary extras) sold as separate exclusives. I think only hardcore Macross 7 fans would consider getting this. I think it will be wise to wait for this to get discounted before even considering whether to buy it.
I think the quality of these few posts is slightly lower because it kept on raining really heavily every afternoon when I was trying to take pictures.
Totally forgot to include this!