With the decision to commit to buying every 1/55 reissue and vintage Macross Valkyrie made, I spent a great deal of my Christmas break looking at auctions, forums and sales pages. I was aware that Macross prices had tanked compared to the days where VF-1S Strikes could go for hundreds upon hundreds of dollars. It seemed as good a time as any to finally scratch that itch. And by good time, I mean the worst possible thing I could do to my finances and collection focus. But unless anyone in the room can point out to me where good decisions and toy collecting ever intersected, here's December 2013's project progress.
|Bandai vintage VF-1S Strike Valkyrie|
VF-1S Strike Valkyrie (Hikaru Ichijo) - Bandai - VINTAGE
Auction - £130.44 (<- All prices include shipping + fees)
Purchased Dec 2013 - received Jan 13th 2014 (1 of 2)
You're looking at my first Macross project purchase. While I'd admired this toy from a distance for years, and having seen it as the probably the most direct pre-Jetfire toy of the Macross line, I'm still in a state of disbelief concerning the fact that I actually own one. Boxed and unused no less! My massive familiarity with Takara/Hasbro Transformers and pre-TF products actually worked against me here as my first vintage Macross purchase left me a little disappointed.
|Posability is not a new concept in robot toys|
|Smooth antennae on a Macross Valkyrie|
Was I disappointed in the toy itself? Not in the slightest, I mean look at it. The only thing that could possible make a Jetfire better is that Strike cannon. THAT Strike cannon. The grey armour, pointy nose cone, brilliant white and cool notched Macross antennae make this one of the delights of the vintage robot collecting universe. Except mine wasn't brilliant white, and its antennae were smooth like a Bandai Transformers Jetfire.
|Gerwalk mode with THAT Strike cannon|
|Every mode is a "whoa" moment|
I also wasn't prepared for the different feel of Macross packaging, it was almost leathery when compared to the cardboard Transformers and Diaclone packaging finish. It was also bloody huge. The stickersheet was also not perforated in any way and looked to be a colour photocopy of the real thing. So was it a reproduction? Did someone swap the antennae with a Jetfire as they are notoriously fragile on Macross Valks? Is that why I was the only one who bid on it at what seemed a complete 20,000 Yen steal?
|Even stripped bare, it's immense. Look at that canopy colour|
No, the truth was I was just inexperienced and ignorant. Macross packaging just happens to be spectacularly beautiful and 'feels' great, the stickers are actually waterslide decals, not stickers, and the smooth antennae could actually be a late-production running change variant. The toy is unused, the paperwork is unused, why the heck would someone swap out the antennae? I've since seen at least one more in the same condition with smooth antennae. The proof will come when I put the antennae next to a Jetfire set as they should be a different colour. The price, though, I still feel was a steal. There is some discolouration here and there but it only really popped under my light tent photography. In-hand it's just perfect for me.
Even as I write this, I can't believe I own a vintage VF-1S 1/55 Strike Valkyrie. A legendary and breathtaking toy. It's not a rare toy by any means in this condition, it was always just costly (and some sellers keep re-listing their specimens at prices nobody will pay any more), but hold one in your hands and you'll understand. However, even though it was my first purchase, it wasn't the first to arrive. The quality of this vintage bird was good, but there was inherent looseness. The quality of the first Macross project toy I received was off the scale.
|Bandai VF-1S reissue - Roy Focker|
VF-1S Valkyrie (Roy Focker) - Bandai - REISSUE
TFW Forum - £53.47 (<- All prices include shipping + fees)
Purchased Dec 2013 - received Dec 31st 2013
So the 2001/2002 reissue VF-1S Roy Focker Valkyrie was the very first toy to arrive. The quality was solid as a rock, the painted and tampographed details are remarkably beautiful and entirely essential. Yes, unused Valkyries look virginal and pristine, but with some of the details added, they come alive and look as they were meant to look. It's not all tampographed though, you get stickers to add if you want, and they aren't waterslide.
|Not neutered for safety|
This is the first time that a 1/55 Takatoku/Bandai Macross Valkyrie has been released and assigned to Roy Focker. The vintage VF-1S toys were all Hikaru Ichijo as he was the real star and hero of the series and movie, taking over from his mentor, Roy. Also, the yellow trim on this VF-1S is a bright neon yellow where the vintage was a more orangey-yellow. Transformers collectors may be surprised to see how much appeal this figure has despite not coming with armour, when in actuality the armour only came in with the vintage VF-1S Super Valkyrie (hence the "Super") giftset. Another lovely feature of this toy is that the jet is actually grey in colour, not the white I thought all Macross Valkyries were.
|With proper jet canopy|
|Those beautiful tampos|
These Valkyries lacking the armour sets show a Transformers collector like me how significant that gun clip accessory really is. The storage options using the clip and gun are quite nice and I've tried to be as imaginative as possible with my subsequent photography for other reissues later in this article series. The gun is also seriously powerful, and the missiles are small. The result is predictable. Finally, while the vintage Strike Valkyrie at the start of this post has a removable canopy which can be replaced with the squadron leader's Skull Leader insignia by unscrewing the canopy, on this reissue it's a simple clip/un-clip interface. Beautiful. Receiving this item on the last day of 2013, and being so impressed by it gave my project complete justification.
|Bandai VF-1A Super Valkyrie reissue - Max Jenius|
VF-1A Super Valkyrie (Max Jenius) - Bandai - REISSUE
Auction - £54.47 (<- All prices include shipping + fees)
Purchased Dec 2013 - received Jan 13th 2014 (2 of 2)
Fifty four pounds. For this behemoth of a toy. Show me Transformers items that provide the same value for money and I'll show you a man holding up fingers on just one hand. This is an immensely special release, or at least it is to me for completely un-Macross reasons. For a start, no vintage 1/55 Macross Valkyrie released by Takatoku and later Bandai had the blue trim, until this release. As Transformers collectors have noticed, you get "Jetfires with yellow trim, grey Jetfires, all blue Jetfires, brown Jetfire, all-red Jetfire, orange Jetfire etc". I realise how horrifically sacrilegious that sounds to Macross fans, but do try to see it from an uneducated TF perspective.
I didn't even know there was a second wave of reissue Macross 1/55 Valkyries by Bandai, but there was! The "Origin Of Valkyrie" series contained four releases commemorating 25 year anniversary of the start of Macross, and two of them were 'new', as in never released as toys. A VF-1A 1/55 in grey is a new thing, a VF-1A with Super armour is a new thing, GREEN armour is a new thing, a VF-1A with blue trim is a new thing, ANY 1/55 with blue trim is a new thing. This is a completely new thing! With Macross, blue tends to be associated with superstar pilot Maximilian Jenius, but his original Valkyrie was an all blue VF-1J which was pretty spectacular. So, it's important to emphasise that this is the first original Takatoku-based Valkyrie with blue trim, not in all blue.
|Definitely not Jetfire|
The VF-1A head is hard for some to make friends with from a Transformers perspective, but if you consider these from a piloted mecha perspective, it does make sense and I think it has a robotic charm to it. This toy was the first perfectly new and mint Valkyrie toy I would ever own with armour and I couldn't wait to mess with it. Sure enough, quality is superb and the armour doesn't feel as though it will snap or stress on attachment or detachment. Heck, my wife dropped it off my desk and the armour was spread all over the floor, and she managed to reassemble it, snap on the armour and display it again. I was impressed. This figure has firing missiles, a removable blue Skull squadron canopy (seen in boxed pic above) and even more beautiful tampographs than the VF-1S reissue above. None of the details in the picture above are collector-applied, all are factory.
|Green armour vs grey, new Skull logo vs vintage|
The green armour is lovely too, a beautiful shade that when combined with the grey skin of the Valkyrie, truly pops. The tampographed Skull logo is also more detailed than the vintage Skull logo you can see on the VF-1S Strike Valkyrie's fast pack. The VF-1S Roy Focker reissue we looked at earlier also has the updated Skull logo. I'm not saying the logo is new for these reissues, but it's new for the 1/55 "Chunky Monkeys". Seriously, for everything you get in this package, a brand new colour scheme and armour with perfect minty-ness and gorgeous tampographs, the price was incredible. To have this AND the Strike Valkyrie arrive in the same parcel from Japan was tremendous. Unforgettable.
So here's where I was after December 2013 purchases:
VF-1J Battroid Valkyrie (Hikaru Ichijo) - Takatoku - VINTAGE
VF-1S Battroid Valkyrie (Hikaru Ichijo) - Takatoku - VINTAGE
VF-1J Battroid Valkyrie (Max Jenius) - Takatoku - VINTAGE
VF-1J Battroid Valkyrie (Miriya Jenius) - Takatoku - VINTAGE
VF-1A Battroid Valkyrie (Mass prod.) - Takatoku - VINTAGE
VF-1S Super Valkyrie (Hikaru Ichijo) - Takatoku - VINTAGE
VF-1S Armored Valkyrie (Hikaru Ichijo) - Takatoku - VINTAGE
GBP-1S Armor - Takatoku - VINTAGE
VF-1S Strike Valkyrie (Hikaru Ichijo) - Bandai - VINTAGE
VF-1A Valkyrie (Hikaru Ichijo) - Bandai - VINTAGE
VE-1 Elint Seeker - Bandai - VINTAGE
VT-1 Super Ostrich - Bandai - VINTAGE
VF-1S Super Valkyrie (Hikaru Ichijo) - Bandai - 1990s REISSUE
VF-1S Battroid Valkyrie (Roy Focker) - Bandai - 2000s REISSUE
VF-1J Battroid Valkyrie (Hikaru Ichijo) - Bandai - 2000s REISSUE
VF-1J Battroid Valkyrie (Max Jenius) - Bandai - 2000s REISSUE
VF-1J Battroid Valkyrie (Miriya Jenius) - Bandai - 2000s REISSUE
VF-1A Battroid Valkyrie (Max Jenius) - Bandai - 2000s REISSUE
VF-1A Battroid Valkyrie (Mass prod.) - Bandai - 2000s REISSUEVF-1S Super Valkyrie (Hikaru Ichijo) - Bandai - 2000s REISSUE
VF-1J Battroid Valkyrie (Hikaru Ichijo) - Bandai - Origin of Valkyrie REISSUE
VF-1S Battroid Valkyrie (Roy Focker) - Bandai - Origin of Valkyrie REISSUE
VF-1A Super Valkyrie (Max Jenius) - Bandai - Origin of Valkyrie REISSUE
VF-1A Super Valkyrie (Hikaru Ichijo) - Bandai - Origin of Valkyrie REISSUE
Hergoss VF-1S Bootleg (Skyfire colours)
Joon's VF-1J Bootleg (Skyfire colours)
Joon's VF-1J Bootleg (Green)
Transformers G1 Jetfire - Matsushiro
|December 2013 Macross OYP purchases|
All the best