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[BANDAI] VF-25S Messiah 1/72

May 20, 2011

“You greenhorn… then you better stay close enough to smell my ass!”

Ozama Lee, Macross Frontier

My goodness, I have never spent such a long period of time piecing together something before. I mean, seriously. I spent a total of two years, including on-off periods of building and not-building, before the VF-25S was finally completed. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, but within those two years there certainly was a lot going on; enough to split my attention. And once I broke the schedule to build the VF-25S it took a long time to get back into it.

VF-25,Macross frontier,messiah,VF-25S,battroid,variable fighter,mecha,shoji kawamori,gun,shield,knife,valkyrie

Welcome to the SMS Armory; non-gold card members can get a trial period for our Standard Set of Destruction...

Armaments:

– Mauler RÖV-127C coaxial 12.7mm beam guns (head-mounted) x4

– Howard GU-17A 58mm 5-barreled gatling gun pod x1

– Standard Shield (anti-projectile) x1

– Remington ES-25A high-speed machinegun x2 (head-mounted)

– Mauler RÖV-25 25mm beam machinegun (hip mounted) x2

– AK/VF-M9 Assault Knife x1

– Pin-point Barrier System (Not Included)

– Wing Hardpoints for Munitions/Equipment x6 (Not Included)

Summary: From the Macross continuity, the VF-25S is a high-performance commander’s variant of the VF-25 series of Variable Fighters with each of its systems enhanced and tuned for higher performance than its counterparts; maneuverability, sensor range, close-quarters speed, everything. Its armaments are not much different from the production models, with an extra pair of Mauler anti-air beam guns on each gun mount for increased firepower and interception accuracy. Its main advantage is in its overall performance;  coupled with Ozama Lee’s skills, the VF-25S becomes a powerful unit capable of fighting against Vajra both large and small, and even the highly advanced VF-27 series of fighters.

VF-25S,messiah,valkyrie,variable fighter,shoji kawamori,battroid,solo wing pixy,ace combat zero,mecha,Macross frontier

Where's Waldo - I mean, Ozama?

i bought the 1/72 VF-25S two years ago at AFA 2008; I started putting it together at about 2009 and it took me till early 2011 to finally get it together. Having finished the Savior and OverFlag back-to-back, I told myself that I’ll leave things alone for a while… then came the Altairion and after that, the 00 hype. Considering that the VF-25S is considerably more complicated than any of the Gundam its I had so far, the on-off style of building it was pretty much guaranteed to drag out the process even longer.

Not to mention Robot Spirits is an irresistable lure. Decent kits that you can play with without building? Bandai’s devious plot is a good one…

Anyways, the VF-25S is a pretty decent kit, with good accuracy to the anime design and retains nearly full transformation capabilities. Bandai was kind enough to provide two sheets, one for decals and one for stickers. I didn’t put either. The stickers are going to peel off in a year’s time and I can’t do decals for nuts.

Eh-hrm… anyways, the VF-25S is pretty accurate in terms of looks, but don’t expect anything groundbreaking in terms of poses. In fact, it’s pretty stiff compared to other kits; if you’re expecting something out of the Macross Frontier TV series, then you’re better off getting the Robot Spirits or DX Chogokin line.

VF-25S,mecha,shoji kawamori,valkyrie,variable fighter,messiah,mauler,lasers,Macross frontier,battroid

*insert Medic+Sentry or Engineer joke here*

Let’s start with the VF’s Battroid Mode, their main use being to engage in infantry action against enemy forces of like size.

The VF-25S is what I’ll call an example of too-many parts. It’s good and all that Bandai is sticking to accuracy in this kit as much as they can (short of providing coloring services) but as an example, the VF-25S’ head is a good example of what I’m talking about. The pieces on its chin and the head beam guns are at best fragile; touch the area too hard by accident and be prepared to spend a while piecing everything back together again. It applies less to the rest of the model kit, thankfully; it’s just alot of bits and pieces that might cause some grief while you try to fiddle with its transformation.

VF-25S,mecha,shoji kawamori,valkyrie,variable fighter,messiah,pilot,cockpit,Macross frontier,battroid

Don't we have auto-calibration technology as far back as Macross Zero...?

The entire transformation sequence of Macross units are a bit complicated to explain, mainly because the mechanism that puts the legs where they are supposed to be usually hangs on some fragile part. In the Messiah’s case, there is much flipping and stuff to be done when it transforms, and the VF-25S’ process is considerably more complicated than the VF-0’s; an in-series proof of technological advancements in the Macrossverse. When in Battroid mode, the cockpit flips backwards. If the cockpit system in Macross Zero is any indication, the pilot’s seat will usually turn so that the pilot will face the right direction or orientation…

… Or not. Macross Zero was the only Macross series that actually showed us what goes on in the cockpits while the plane grew arms and legs. Japan sure loves to put their things in the extra materials and all.

detail,inner workings,mechanical,leg,messiah,valkyrie,variable fighter,shoji kawamori,mecha,Macross frontier,battroid

Doktor, about the metal support you put in months ago... it seems to have rusted...

If there’s one thing that’s new to the Macross VF kits from Bandai, it’s the inner workings. The entire kit can be considered some sort of half-Master Grade; there’s no entire skeleton frame, but the details on sections that can be seen via transforming are well detailed for what it’s worth.

mecha,valkyrie,variable fighter,shoji kawamori,VF-25S,shield,messiah,macross frontier,battroid

Where's the "beam shield" button on this thing?!

In terms of upper body mobility the VF-25S’ selling point is in its arms. It’s decent enough for poses, but don’t expect anything groundbreaking. The closed-hand parts are a bit too loose for its weapons, so be careful with the assault knife and gun pod. It’s hard to get decent poses with those.

As well, it’s a VF, so don’t expect it to turn its body sideways or enjoy any hip mobility; meaning that leg poses are quite limited in number and style.. The joints that keep the leg to the model kit are quite tight as well, so bend carefully.

Macross frontier,knife,shield,mecha,shoji kawamori,VF-25S,messiah,valkyrie,variable fighter,battroid

Pineapple salad, anyone?

The arm joints have a bit of trouble; before you assemble them, remember to check if you’re doing it right; I spent the better part of an hour trying to get it out and incurred some damage in the process. And be careful when transforming the VF! Don’t twist too hard now, or something might break.

The shield has a slot where it’s clearly the space for the knife, but the knife doesn’t fit inside. Even if there’s a way to fit the knife in, I’m not in the know of it.

gunpod,shield,Macross frontier,shoji kawamori,valkyrie,variable fighter,messiah,VF-25S,battroid

YACK DECULTURE!

Not alot of cool poses there since my stand has gotten loose, but the VF-25S is still capable of a good action pose or two. Like I’ve mentioned before, the arm joints are hard to position properly, affecting the hands’ positions; and the closed-fist hand pieces are loose. I understand Bandai’s preference for one-size-fit-all hand pieces, but it fits neither the gun nor knife!

VF-25S,messiah,Macross frontier,mecha,valkyrie,variable fighter,wings,flight pack,lol,battroid

I hope there's no copyright infringement here...

An interesting alternative in flight pack design.

Or maybe not. We all saw how well that turned out in Gundam SEED and SEED Destiny.

gerwalk,gunpod,mecha,VF-25S,messiah,valkyrie,variable fighter,shoji kawamori,Macross frontier,ace combat zero

F**K YOU HARMONY GOLD!!!!!

Perhaps one of the greatest icons of Macross VF design is the GERWALK mode, standing for Ground Effective Reinforcement of Winged Armament with Locomotive Knee Joint. An in-between mode for the VF’s Battroid and Fighter modes, GERWALK lets the unit engage in VTOL actions, allows less confident pilots perform canyon flights, land in hostile territory with little to no support and infrastructure, and the mode acts as a way for VFs to fulfill the role of gunships or low-flying attack craft (tl;dr helicopters). It’s a highly interesting form of the VF’s entire structure; unlike most of the two-mode transformations in mecha media, the GERWALK mode can fulfill the roles of either fighter or Battroid mode to a certain extent, but with its own specialization that makes GERWALK  indispensible. Likewise the Fighter and Battroid modes are in their own way special that they have their own niche corners.

gerwalk,gunpod,mecha,Macross frontier,VF-25S,valkyrie,variable fighter,shoji kawamori,shield

Not even MY copyrights are mine!

One of the interesting points of GERWALK is that according to some, the form was an accident. While Shoji Kawamori and the people working on the Super Dimensional Fortress Macross series wanted a mecha that was similar in design to the Zentradi battlepods the viewer would later see in the series, their sponsors wanted something more mainstream-ish. So they changed the design to a two-mode fighter/mecha, and by chance Kawamori saw that the legs of the prototype VF toy that their sponsors were intent on selling were not locked in place and positioned in a manner that reminded him of the show’s initial mecha design. This reminded him of the initial mecha designs (which they named GA-WALK at that time). Kawamori managed to incorporate it into the VF series of fighters as GERWALK, and today the mode stands as a hallmark of the Macross franchise.

Part of the success of the VF’s triple mode was probably how well they blended into each other; especially GERWALK, which was basically a half-transformation. Even until today, not many singular mecha feature three-mode transformations in their basic frames.

mecha,gunpod,gerwalk,VF-25S,shoji kawamori,knife,shield,messiah,valkyrie,variable fighter,lol,Macross frontier

Has anyone every tried melee with this... mode?!

Not really worthy for fist-fighting.

In GERWALK you can expect the VF-25S kit to do everything that you can think of that is related to GERWALK, but of course, the kit isn’t really note-worthy of being sturdy both in balance and the kit itself. Put it on a stand if you can and make sure to keep the stand in a safe place.

fighter mode,valkyrie,variable fighter,VF-25S,messiah,shoji kawamori,ace combat zero,solo wing pixy,mecha,landing gear,Macross frontier

♫ HIGH~WAY TO~ THE~ DANGERZONE~! ♫

The last mode of the VF-25S is the Fighter mode, often the identifying trait of VFs. I don’t really know what the VF-25 series is based on, but if I had to hazard a guess, it would be the same as the VF-1, itself based off the F-14 Tomcat?

There really isn’t anything bad to speak about the Fighter mode, except that the full-transformation capability of this kit means that having all the kit components to align properly might pose a bit of a problem. The head is a particular section that I find trouble with; it’s a right pain to fit it in, and as you can see from the picture, it doesn’t go all the way in even after all that. The good side is that most of the kit is pretty okay with no major problems throughout.

gunpod,engine,VF-25S,messiah,valkyrie,variable fighter,shoji kawamori,mecha,fighter mode,landing gear,loose,Macross frontier

COMMANDR POSTR, THISR ISR BLAVO READER REQUESTINGR TAKEOFFR.

Mounting the VF-25S onto a stand in Fighter mode requires a different peg than the one used for Battroid and GERWALK. It’s not shown here, but this particular bit will also help to hold the gunpod in place; without it; it’s just sliding the weapon into place in-between the arms of the VF and hope that they’re tight enough to hold.

The shield goes over the hands; I’m not sure whether I’ve made and error somewhere, but mine doesn’t fit perfectly even with the joined-palms hand bit they gave us to use while in fighter mode.

VF-25S,messiah,shoji kawamori,variable fighter,valkyrie,landing gear,engine,fighter mode,Macross frontier

*creak*

Other than that, there really isn’t much to say about the Fighter mode. There are no arms and legs, so anything that’s movable can’t really deviate much from the plane’s basic shape.

The Verdict:

The VF-25S is probably a really good kit for display, I can’t deny that. It’s a bit lacking in flexibility but not to the extent that it would negatively affect anything much if you’re using a stand (of course, if you want to do some split-legs or something you’ll need to modify the kit in order to do that). The only real complaint I have with it is just the hand units; they’re incredibly loose, and given the nature of the gunpod and knife the VF-25S can’t really hold its own weapons well.

Its arm and leg joints are tight as well; this is a good thing in transformable model kits, but it’s a bit of trouble to pose the thing if you’ve put it in another position beforehand. The kit doesn’t really have much balance either; its feet are stuck in the position and direction its legs are facing. Don’t expect Mobile Suit levels of stability here; that is, if you’re just opting to put it standing alone. This kit is one that goes much better with a good, strong stand.

And perhaps… no, make that a requirement of godly decal/mod/coloring skills on the builder’s part. Which I of course do not have and ended up settling for simple references.

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3 comments

  1. Interestingly enough, I wonder if anyone has tried to kit bash a VF into the RA3 Jet Tengu.


  2. None that I have seen yet, but if anyone did, they’ll be using a VF-1 kit + a World War 2 model plane instead.

    C’mon, internets! Is there no one ballsy enough to take up my challenge (because I can’t do it myself)?

    XD


  3. The VF-25S is actually based on the Sukhoi SU-35



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