Macross Frontier: Bandai VF-25F Messiah Alto Custom Renewal Version 1/60

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Alto Saotome's VF-25F Custom is back in 1/60 form and better than ever

This is the VF-25F variant flown by Alto. It has a simple and classy red and black paint scheme and visor like head mold. The other VF-25 variants differ in head mold, paint scheme, and specialized equipment load (like radome on the RVF-25).

It's been 25 years since Macross originally aired and now the series has been refreshed for the new generation with Macross Frontier. The new series keeps to the original's receipe with a number of hints to the original series such as similar Macross captains, a love triangle, and singing. The main variable space fighter/mecha flown by the main characters, the VF-25 Messiah, also holds a number of similarities as the VF-1 from the original Macross such as the move back to a variable wing design.

Bandai originally released the four variants of the VF-25 (VF-25F, VF-25S, VF-25G, RVF-25) in 2008. Collectors, used to the high quality model-like Macross toys from Yamato, had numerous complaints with Bandai's VF-25 such as soft PVC used on antennas, battroid heads that barely came over the chest piece on the VF-25S, chunky looking, and general dissatisfaction with the amount of differences between the toy and the anime CG.

After much positive fanfare with Bandai's YF-29 Durandal, which shares a lot of design elements to the VF-25F, Bandai has gone back and redesigned the VF-25 and released again!

Front of box:

Side of box:

Left and Right Sides of box:

Amazing poses that are really achievable on this renewal version.

Back of Box:

This points out some of the changes Bandai did with the renewal version without bashing their first attempt.

VF-25F Renewal version to VF-25F version 1 box:

It's bigger because there's more inside.

Included Stand:

This is how it should've been done in the beginning - a painted base.  I just wished it came with super parts as well or instead.

Inside the box:

Just like the original, VF-25F comes in styrofoam too.

Alto in Armor Plus EX gear:

Now you can reproduce the last episode from the original Macross Frontier TV show where Alto remotely controls his VF-25F

Alto in pilot suit:

Unlike the original, Alto is removed from the cockpit.


It's longer, uses shiny paint, and a little more scary looking.


The inside hands are now in shiny bluish grey paint. They're not really needed like the first release.  A notch in the hand helps the gun stay in place.

Back of hands:

The red is shiny now.

Fighter front:

Fighter Left:

The landing gears are now nice and long with the rear wheels now accurately facing outward rather than inward.

Fighter right:

The paint is scrapped at the nose right out of the box.

Fighter back:

The ventral fins now properly angle outward rather than downward in the initial version

Fighter top:

Fighter bottom:


The nozzles are now shiny painted and better internal detailing.

Comparison front (old vs. new):

The canopy is now longer to accommodate a second passenger in the back.

Nose Comparison (old vs. new):

The small blue shapes on the top of the nose are clear on the new version and only painted on the old version.  Just like the original, the canopy does open.

Comparison top (new vs. old):

SMS 007 is now painted on the engine top but that isn't seen in the anime.  The v2 lacks the peg holes beside the head piece that's found on the v1 so the v1 super missile packs won't snap into place.

Comparison wings opened (new vs. old):

The wings open up at a higher angle.

Comparison bottom:

Although it's difficult to see, the gap between the arms is larger in the renewal version so that the gun's handle can slip in between and fit the gun's grove into the arm's tabs to hold the gun in place without needing a separate piece like v1.

Transformation VF-25F v.2 compared to VF-25F v.1 opened up:

The inside of v. 2 is darker grey.  The neck piece has been totally re-done.  I still think it's as fussy staying up in battroid mode as before.  They should really add a tab to lock it in place.  For the shield connector at the top of the photo, it's been redesigned in v2 so it no longer relies on that slider that always pushed in when you pushed the shield in place.

Better arm piece:

VF-25F v.2 arm connector is diecast metal connected to the frame while the VF-25F uses a mix of diecast and plastic swivels making it prone to breaking the plastic connector that's connected to the frame.

Transformation comparison:

Very similar transformation between v2 and v1

Fan intakes:

The inside fans are not as detailed as ones found on Yamato's VF-1.  Be careful not to lose those intake covers.

VF-25F v2 compared to VF-25F v1 Hand:

The VF-25F v2 includes movable thumb, index finger, and the other 3 fingers while the v1 is fixed pose.

Closed gun v2 on top and v1 on bottom comparison:

More accurate colored gun in the renewal version.  The new gun also has a grove on the handle that fits a notch on the hand so the gun holds better.

Opened gun comparison:

The gun now has a peg on the lower piece to keep it more stable when opened.

Gerwalk Left:

This pose is so much easier to with renewal version with the better hinged legs.

Gerwalk back:

Remember to pull out the legs at the knee area so when you open them up at an angle the bottom and top plastics don't rub against each other.

Gerwalk comparison (v1 vs. v2):

The old version 1 is requires the legs to be detached from the frame to spread apart making it much less stable. The new version 2 is much better with an additional swivel at the knee area.  Be careful with the swivel because rotating the left outward will cause the inside white left pieces to rub against each other at the knees.

The latch:

Gun latch system for gerwalk:

Now you don't need a separate, easily misplaced connector part for connecting the gun in gerwalk mode. 

Gerwalk with gun:

Gerwalk front:

Gerwalk right:

Gerwalk left:

Neck piece:

The neck piece has been totally redone so it stays up in battroid version better than the old version.  The head also connected closer to the front of the head compared to the v1 version.

neck extension:

The new double hinge pushes the head further out of the chest area.

New shield (v2 on top, v1 on the bottom):

Just like the VF-27, the VF-25 renewal features a collapsible shield so it now sits flush on the battroid's arm.

New latch system:

That's one of the few diecast parts.

New latch system in action:

Comparison of latch system (v1 vs. v2):

The new latch is much more secure compared to the old small plastic white peg.

Battroid front:

Battroid left:

Battroid right:

Battroid back:

Battroid top:

Comparison front (v1 vs. v2):

The leg now sits lower to the pelvic area allowing better free leg movement where the older version would have the jet intakes hit the body area.  The new neck piece positions the head a lot higher out of the chest area.  The new shoulder design brings in the arm closer to the body like the anime.  The chest piece on the v2 is a little narrower than the v1 so the v1 super chest piece won't properly hold onto the v1 chest.  The crouch piece on the v2 is a different size to the v1 so the super part won't fit there as well.

Comparison left (v1 vs v2):

The crouch piece in the v2 now sits properly forward leaving the legs swung back to sit perfect lined up to the head while the v1 has its legs sitting much too forward of the rest of the battroid's upper body.

Comparison right (v1 vs v2):

I forgot to extend the feet of the v1 but the v1's feet extend a lot longer than the v2 feet.  But the longer feet isn't anime accurate anyways.  Although the magazines show the v2 better covers the cockpit, I found it to have a similar problem - I don't mind.

Comparison back (v1 vs v2):

The back is higher up in the v2 and lower on the v1 - exposing more of the arms and back of the robot in the v1.

Comparison with other VF (Yamato VF-1S, Bandai VF-25F Renewal, Bandai VF-27 breea):

VF-25F Renewal inherits some improvements from the VF-27 like the shield, neck piece, and swivel knees.

Head mold:

The visor is now a lighter green and antenna made up harder plastic can be spread open - making it more anime accurate. Moreover, the head mold is much more narrow at the bottom.

Warped plastic out of the box:

Paint chips out of the box:

The VF-25F Renewal has been hailed in forums as a dramatic improvement to the previous attempt. To tell you the truth, so much has stayed the same that if you didn't care too much about the first edition being a little inaccurate to the anime you can just skip this by because it's just so similar. But if you're one to be the stickler to anime accuracy then go drop that first edition and run for this version.  If you don't have either version, then get the renewal version - don't even consider picking up the cheaper v1.  This version uses a totally new mold for almost every single piece of the toy.  If you have them standing beside each other, the renewal version looks much better in battroid, has higher quality connectors, and much closer to the anime CG - it looks as good as the VF-25 1/72 model released a few years ago.  The pearly gross original version looks like just another toy.

The plastic used on the Renewal version is whiter than v1 but suffers from the same paint chipping issues as the first version.  The quality control on the figure is lower .

The renewal version just blows the older version out of the water.  I definitely recommend picking up the VF-25F. It's a fantastic toy and a beautiful display piece. It's upsetting to run into some quality control issues but I'm still looking forward to picking up the other VF-25 variants.

Eric Toy Score: 4.5 out of 5

Publisher: Bandai
Year: 2011
Price: 14000 JPY


superrrrrrr perfect

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