Bandai 1/250 Macross Fighter Collection Series 1
Familiar classics mix with rare gems in awesome miniature set...
Bandai's 1/250 Macross Fighter Collection Series 1 is IN-STOCK and ready to order at HobbyLinkJapan.com.
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The Macross franchise, started way back in 1982 with the seminal Super Dimension Fortress Macross, has seen more than a dozen sequels and related media on TV, film, and video games. All of them feature at least one version of the iconic Valkyrie (or Veritech in the U.S.), which again began in the original Macross with the VF-1 series based on the real life F-14 Tomcat.
One of the really cool things about the series was that it took a standard mecha and made tons of variant versions with different colors and stylings to set them apart. This, of course, led to a vast array of toys and other collectibles. Not all of them always make it into the collectible lines, and so you’re much more likely to find some of the rarer ones in small "gashapon" toys and the like than the huge transforming toys. Bandai has long been doing both, creating some of the most well known Macross toys in the world. Recently the toy giant unveiled a multi-series lineup of amazing miniature Valkyries all in fighter modes called the 1/250 Macross Fighter Collection! Today we’ll be taking a look at a box of the first series.
Similar in many ways to the 1/144 Chara-Works Valkyries from a few years ago, Bandai’s Fighters come packaged in individual blind boxes which are then collected in larger sets. Series 1 is available in packs of twelve. With a total of seventeen (sixteen shown and one secret) Fighters in the mix you aren’t going to get the full set in one box, but you’ll end up with most of them!
Only available in Japan (or via fine importers like HobbyLink Japan), Series 1 is packaged in a nice display box. With a white background, its graphics and images really pop. The top panel has the series title and a breakdown of the contents (in Japanese) next to a very cool image of several of the Valkyries in a mashed up flight scene. Across the bottom are images of six of this series’ Valkyries along with their respective shows. The front of the box has a picture of the entire set and a checklist, along with insert shots of the toys’ detail and flight stands. The other sides break down the contents by television series. Break open the outer box and you’ll see an enticing sea of individual containers. These little boxes are decorated with the same artwork as the larger box.
Inside each identical blind box you’ll find the same similar setup: a three-part plastic sleeve containing the fighter, its base, and the parts needed to put together the flight stand. Each fighter’s display stand is identical in parts: a flat black rectangle with a four part adjustable holder. The four parts (vertical post, horizontal bar, and two arms) come attached to a sprue tree, but thankfully they are made from a very stiff plastic and pop off the tree easily.
Assembly takes mere seconds. The only difference between the display bases is the bottom left-hand corner where the fighter’s name, its pilot (where applicable), show/film of origin, and other statistical information appears. That text is printed in white and looks great, perfectly readable and providing excellent background info! Also in each box is a narrow slip of paper with the name of its accompanying fighter and images of the others.
As I noted earlier, the selection of mecha in this set is amazing. Spanning no fewer than six sources, the sixteen (+1) fighters stretch from the very origin of the Macross story as told in the prequel Macross Zero to the far future of Macross Frontier. The bulk of the set comes from the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross and later sequel Macross 7 with five fighters each. However, one of the latter series is a repaint of the VF-1, which is the base model for all five Macross fighters. The rest of the Macross 7 fighters are various forms of the VF-19. Macross Frontier provides two versions of the VF-25, and Macross Zero three variations on the VF-0.
Finally, and notably, is the VF-2SS from Macross II, a very rare and very cool mecha indeed! In my box of twelve I found the VF-0A Phoenix, VF-0B Phoenix, Basara Nekki’s VF-19 Custom, Emerald Force Production VF-19F Excalibur, Patrol VF-19P Excalibur, Emerald Force Commander VF-19S Excalibur, Hayao Kakizaki’s VF-1A Valkyrie, Maximilian Jenius’ VF-1A Valkyrie, Milia Fallyna’s VF-1J Valkyrie, Mayor Milia’s VF-1J Valkyrie, Michael Blanc’s VF-25G Messiah, and Silvie Gena’s VF-2SS. I’m missing a couple more VF-1s, a VF-25, and the very cool VF-0D, not to mention the “secret” fighter.
Each tiny Macross fighter is a work of art, with a truly excellent sculpt and good paint job. Clearly the sculptors referenced the line art, and the miniscule details that really differentiate all of the mecha are there to enjoy.
The VF-1As have one tiny head laser each, while the Js have two, etc. And where two fighters share the exact same sculpt, you’ll definitely find paint applications that set them apart. For example, you’ll never confuse the VF-1As of Maximilian and Hayao with their different leg colors, nor the VF-1Js of Milia Fallyna in Macross and her later mecha in Macross 7 with varying trim colors against her iconic crimson. Even the logos (usually on the wings) are crisp and dynamic.
Some of the plastic used on these fighters is a little soft so you might see slight bending here and there, but you’re far less likely to encounter breakage. Some fighters will arrive only partly assembled, but putting the rest of the pieces together is very easy; it’s always obvious where everything goes and the parts fit snugly. And when you put together the stands you’ll find that even though each display stand is identical with regards to parts, the “arms” are moveable on the horizontal bar to better accommodate each fighter or your preferred manner of display. The fighters based on the VF-1 and VF-0 (except the VF-0D) models also have “swinging” wings for even more flexibility in showing off your fighters.
Macross fans will absolutely love these tiny fighters, and they are incredibly collectible with blind boxes and the fact that you can’t finish the entire set with just one case. The Fighter Collections are only available in Japan, but HobbyLinkJapan.com offers this twelve pack for about $62, averaging only a little over $5 apiece! Frankly, I think the VF-2SS, VF-25s, and VF-0s are worth twice that, and a lot of the other ones are great too. While you’re there check out the Fighter Collections #2 and #3; unfortunately they’re both currently backordered but hopefully they’ll be back soon.
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Sample Courtesy of HobbyLink Japan