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December 11, 2008

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Bandai's 1/72 VF-25F Messiah Valkyrie (Alto Custom) ~ In-box preview

Macross Frontier is an anime science fiction space drama that recently finished airing in Japan (last episode aired on September 25, 2008). It is the story of three young adults and the events that occur around them as a space colony fleet, trying to find a habitable planet near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, faces a crisis of alien origin.

The new show celebrates the 25th anniversary of the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross TV series (1982 - 1983), and is chronologically subsequent to Macross 7 (1994 - 1996). This series introduces Earth's latest main variable fighter, the VF-25 Messiah.

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Box Art

 

The VF-25 Messiah is a single-seater, twin-engine variable fighter capable of both space and atmospheric flight, developed onboard the space colonization fleet Macross Frontier around 2059.

In fighter mode, it's main weapon is a gatling gun gun pod, mounted underneath, between the fighter's two intakes. In addition to the external gun pod, built-in weapons include beam weaponry, head-mounted lasers and a large knife (for use in Gerwalk or Battroid modes) that can be enforced by the fighter's own pin-point barrier system.

External equipment like FAST Packs can be added on to improve craft capabilities, and unlike previous variable fighters, the FAST Packs do not need to be ejected before transformation into Gerwalk or Battroid.

The deployed variants of the VF-25 that appear in the anime are:


* VF-25F: Baseline model. Can be equipped with either a Super pack or an Armored pack.
* VF-25G: Sniper variant, with different head design. Gatling gun replaced with a sniper rifle-like weapon. Harpoon system present for latching onto suitable surfaces. Can be equipped with a Super pack.
* VF-25S: Commander variant, with upgraded systems across the board. Can be equipped with an Armored pack.
* RVF-25: Electronic warfare variant, with such systems found onboard including a rotating radome. Head design also differs from standard. This fighter can be used to control Ghost drone fighters. Can be equipped with a Super pack.

 

What You Get

Parts

More parts

Even more parts

Instructions - front

Instructions - middle

Instructions - color guide

Instructions - assembly

Decals & stickers

 

This snap-fit model depicts the VF-25F Messiah Valkyrie that Alto Saotome uses in the anime, thus the "Alto Custom" name. Molded in color, it shows all its intricate mechanical parts, cockpit, and panel lines reproduced in sharp detail.

Bandai was definitely thinking about both newbie and pro modelers by including stickers AND water-slide decals with this kit. The quality of the parts and its fit is typical Bandai, and should make for a smooth build.

The model is fully transformable between its Fighter, Gerwalk, and Battroid modes, via the use of metal shafts in the wings and nose. Its signature gunpod can slide open, and its knife can be stored in its shield. Also includes a unpainted "Alto" pilot figure for the cockpit, and a base attachment that can be used in conjuction with Bandai Action Bases (sold separately) for an in-flight pose.

As usual, glue and paint will go a long way to increase the look of the finished model.   I can't wait for the other VF-24 variants to be released, specially the AWACS type.

 

Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Bandai
What you get: 250 styrene parts, 5 small metal rods, instructions, stickers and decal sheets
Price: 4,500 (about $47.76) plus overseas shipping, available from HLJ.com
Molding Quality: typical of Bandai models, no flash with crisp detail and excellent parts fit
Detail: 9 out of 10
Accuracy: looks almost dead-on to the anime version
Pros: excellent parts fit & detail, water-slide decals, transformable
Cons: price, available only (so far) from overseas hobby stores

Final comments: Excellent kit from this awesome series. Gets 9-out-of-10 in my book.  Highly recommended.


 

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This page was last updated 12/11/2008