Yamato GN-U Dou Macross VF-1A Max + Display Stand
Macross ace's first Valkyrie gets super-articulated...
The GN-U Dou VF-1A Max + Display Stand is IN-STOCK and ready to order at HobbyLinkJapan.com.
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About two years ago the mecha giant Yamato debuted its new line of super-articulated action figures called GN-U DOU. With affordable “giant” robots from various franchises in a small scale, these figures are based on an internal frame system providing lots of articulation with unique character-specific parts layered on the outside. Yamato set out to address very specific fan concerns including providing the articulation along with faithful and screen accurate sculpting based on familiar line art. The experiment was clearly a success. Dozens of releases later, the GN-U Dou line is a proven entity in the mecha figure world. One of its best sub-lines is of course the everlasting Macross, and today we’ll be taking a look at one of the best of the best, the VF-1A Max + Display Stand!
The early 1980s Japanese series Super Dimension Fortress Macross (or just “Macross”) is known to the entire world both as a benchmark in the evolution of anime, and for being part of the Americanized Robotech series. While the story may focus on Hikaru Ichijyo and his ascension in the UN Spacy forces, not to mention a classic space opera love triangle, he is by no means the best pilot. That honor goes to his friend and ally Maximilian Jenius (also known to Americans as Maximillian Sterling). A young recruit, Max immediately excels in the VF-1A, racking up an impressive number of kills and even gaining notoriety among the enemy who fear his blue-accented Valkyrie on the field of battle. Max’s standard VF-1A in Battroid mode is number 017 in the GN-U Dou line.
Unlike some other lines of Japanese action figures, Yamato’s GN-U Dou VF-1 figures come packaged on pretty basic bubble and card formats. While it may not be the most unique thing ever, it’s sturdy and tough and really shows off the figure. The VF-1 sub-line consists of four figures that all share the exact same package; all that’s different is a sticker on the front of the bubble. Way out in front is the figure and all of its accessories, with the display stand behind it. The card has plenty of classic iconography with the Macross and UN Spacy logos. Now, the back of the card is pretty cool. It shows all four VF-1 figures (Yamato later added a Fokker VF-1S in the #20 spot) in cool poses, with close-up photos of some specific features.
At about 5 ¼ inches tall, the Max VF-1A is a little smaller than Toynami’s 1/100 scale VF-1s. It pretty perfectly captures the Valkyrie’s look from the animation, and since it does not transform Yamato didn’t have to worry about the usual issues like cramming in all the parts for other modes, etc. Proportions are very “animated,” which is perfect for a small scale figure like this.
The GN-U Dou inner frame is really only visible at the joints and the basic upper limbs, but otherwise all of the external body parts are pure Valkyrie. The sculpt on those parts is top notch, and any Macross fan will see the original line art elements. The legs especially are long and well-proportioned for action and cool poses, while the torso and head design bring it all together.
Like all good representations of Max’s mecha, this VF-1A is mostly blue and white, all in the appropriate areas of course. Black is used for highlighting and outlines, with white lettering on the blue lower legs. Additional colors show up with grays at the joints, feet, and hips, and orange and green running lights. The VF-1A’s sensor “face” is a cool metallic green, and red highlights mark the shoulders, wingtips, and UN Spacy wing symbol. All of the paint applications are super crisp and look perfect.
All of the GN-U Dou figures have the same inner frame body that provides them with tremendous articulation. There’s a ball-jointed neck, ball-jointed shoulders, biceps, double-jointed elbows, ball-jointed wrists, ball-jointed torso, ball-jointed hips, thighs, double-jointed knees (wrapped around heavy kneecaps), and poseable feet.
Being a VF-1A, Max’s Valkyrie also has a single poseable head laser, and the back-mounted wings swing up and down. Out of the package Max comes equipped with closed fists that can be traded out for any of the other six alternatives. They break down to four pairs of hands, which can further be described as cartoon/technological versions of closed fists and gun-wielding hands. The cartoon versions are big and puffy, while the more tech versions are blocky and mechanical. Either set holds the included gunpod perfectly!
Max’s VF-1A is a very cool figure packing tons of articulation and poseability into a small body. In that respect it’s comparable to the Revoltech Valkyries, but I must say that I prefer these smooth and unobtrusive joints to the ratcheting and protruding of the latter. Mount the Valkyrie on its included flying stand and you’ve got a figure with great display potential! The GN-U Dou series isn’t available in most American stores so find it at quality importers like HobbyLinkJapan.com.
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Sample Courtesy of HobbyLink Japan