Bandai 1/100 VF-25G Messiah Valkyries
Blast off into the next generation of Macross transformers...
Both Bandai 1/100 VF-25G Messiah Valkyries are IN-STOCK now at HobbyLinkJapan.com.
The VF-25G Messiah Valkyrie Michael Custom can be found HERE and the VF-25F Messiah Valkyrie Alto Custom can be found HERE.
Since the very beginning of Macross, the coolest toys have been transforming Valkyries. Their pedigree goes back nearly as far to the VF-1 greats of Takatoku and Bandai and continues to this very day with Valkyries coming out of many Japanese and American companies. As toy technology has increased, so has the flexibility with which companies can crank out awesome figures in various scales. While the most famous Valkyries are the 1/55 scale behemoths, there has long been a trend toward smaller mecha too, most notably in the 1/100 scale.
The latest and greatest line of transforming toys from Bandai focus on the latest Macross Frontier series, bringing to life its state of the art VF-25 Valkyries in the 1/100 scale, fittingly called the “VF100s.” From that series we’ll be taking a look at two of the coolest Valkyries, the VF-25F Messiah Alto Custom and the VF-25G Messiah Michael Custom!
Set in the year 2059, Macross Frontier is a direct descendent of the original Macross series and follows the journey of the 25th New Macross-class colony ship. Naturally the fleet is protected by a crack team of pilots in their variable fighters, most notably the VF-25 Messiah. The main character of the series is Alto Saotome, a student and rookie pilot who rises through the ranks. While he utilizes various mecha throughout the show, he’s most known for his white VF-25F. A rival of Alto’s and an expert pilot, Mikhail “Michael” Blanc specializes in the sniper version of the Messiah, piloting a blue VF-25G model.
The VF100 series Valkyries come packaged in really nice display-worthy boxes. Each one is color coded to its individual mecha (red for Alto’s and blue for Michael’s). The front panel, which is actually an opening flap, has a window revealing the Valkyrie in Battroid mode surrounded by photos of it in its other modes. Lift up that front flap to see a bigger window along with tons of text and more photos. Several of these are repeated on the back of the box, where there are also stills from the show and a huge block of text (Japanese). Finally, the top panel of each box is a sort of checklist for the series with highlighted blocks denoting the individual mecha’s source, type, and special equipment.
One of the most debated issues when it comes to Valkyrie toys is the balance between ease of transformation and screen accuracy. In general, the easier the transformation the less accurate, as is evidenced most beautifully in the old style Bandai 1/55 toys. They’re sturdy and easy to transform, but those leg bars! On the opposite end of the spectrum are the VF100s. Clearly the number one concern with these toys was accuracy and in that area Bandai truly succeeded in capturing the look and feel of the VF-25s. They may be small, but they have incredibly detailed sculpts and intricate workings so they can be posed just like their onscreen counterparts.
The VF-25s come out of the box in Battroid mode, and this one has the most options. At about 6 inches tall, they’re thin and flexible with great articulation. Colors are bright and crisp on Alto’s primarily white, and suitably darker but no less perfectly applied on Michael’s unit. The two share the same sculpt except for the head units; Alto’s F model has a visored look with two head lasers while Michael’s G has a cyclopean eye and one laser.
The Valkyries are also sturdier than they might appear, so don’t hesitate to pose them in any fighting stances you can think of. Of course, all fighting mecha need to be armed, and Bandai has you covered. Alto’s Messiah comes with a forearm shield, Battroid mode specific gun pod, and a mecha-sized knife, along with a total of four sets of hands. Michael’s VF-25G has the same poseability as Alto’s, but a major upgrade in firepower. The hands, shield, and knife are the same but where Alto has a standard gun pod Michael has a huge sniper rifle that can be displayed in either open or closed configurations!
If you’re looking to display your VF-25s in Battroid mode, the VF100s are perfect for you. If you prefer transforming your toys or the other modes, then you’re in for some work. Remember what I was saying about the balance between ease of transformation and screen accuracy? Well, to look this good these Valkyries were saddled with quite a challenging transformation. In fact, they’re not so much “transformers” as they are what have come to be known as “partsformers.”
Instead of merely reconfiguring the Battroids, you practically disassemble them by popping apart a multitude of ball joints. Then you put them back together again, swapping out various pieces and making sure everything fits just right. The end result is either the Gerwalk (plane with arms and legs) or Fighter mode. While the Gerwalk mode (pictured on the box) is cool and can utilize all of the Battroid mode’s equipment, I was most eager to transform the VF100s into Fighter mode!
A descendant of the F-14 Tomcat-inspired VF-1 Valkyrie, the VF-25 Fighter mode has a similar basic layout with twin-engines and variable-geometry wings. But the sleek Messiah makes the original Valkyrie look dated and clunky in comparison! The long lines of the fuselage are sleek and streamlined, with twin air intakes, spines, and tail fins. You can still find elements of the Battroid in the Fighter like the top-mounted head lasers and the feet for thrusters.
And while the color scheme of each Valkyrie is a bit mish mashed in the other modes, in Fighter mode the stripes and piping are smooth and unbroken. The overall main color (white or blue) looks fantastic when set off by the other colors. The instructions will first have you put together your Fighter mode all buttoned up, but there are swappable parts for deployed landing gear, and each Messiah can mount its gun pod ventrally. Finally, Michael’s Valkyrie has optional wings with mounted “Fold Speaker” pods.
The VF100s are truly remarkable transforming Valkyries, and quite a bit more affordable than their larger counterparts (also made by Bandai). Fans of Macross Frontier will love these guys, as will all collectors of Macross Valkyries across the generations. You’re definitely going to want to pick a mode and stick with it though as transforming them is a bit of a hassle, but it’s worth it when you’ve got them posed to perfection! Both Alto and Michael’s Valkyries come with bonus parts for displaying them on Bandai’s Tamashii Stage Display Stands, making them even more versatile. Alto’s VF-25F Messiah Valkyrie is available HERE and Michael’s VF-25G HERE.
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Samples Courtesy of HobbyLink Japan