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Non-affiliated, Non-lengthy, Non-articles about Transformers

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Macross One Year Project - Feb 2014

  


I lied. February contained even more Macross 1/55s coming through the post than January, but some were purchased in January so I guess it's still where I did the bulk of the spending. At the rate I was going through reissues, and the regularity with which I was seeing everything on my wants list on auction or offered privately, I realised that the only obstacle was going to be budget and continued spending. Vintage Elint Seekers, Super Ostriches, Armoured Valkyries, Super Valkyries and even Max and Miriya VF-1J vintages were popping up often, but it was around February that I started to realise that the pace of purchase was beginning to harm my finances so things got a lot quieter after February. In the meantime, here's what showed up... 


Takatoku vintage VF-1J Hikaru Ichijo

Missing styro bar, but otherwise complete and unused

VF-1J Battroid Valkyrie (Hikaru Ichijo) - Takatoku - VINTAGE
Auction - £69.63 (<- All prices include shipping + fees)
Purchased Jan 2014 - received Feb 11th 2014 (1 of 2)


Another vintage Hikaru 1/55 VF-1J to go with my Matsushiro UK "Space Fighter". I can't say I compared them closely enough to spot any minor moulding differences, but as far as condition goes this one is the winner, and of course the original Japanese Takatoku release, the first. Unused stickersheet and missiles, paperwork intact, all parts accounted for and the main figure in good condition, but still not as pristine and mint as any of the reissues. This, as hinted at last time, is very special. The first ever Macross Valkyrie toy released in this scale by Takatoku Toys and the ancestor of all that came after. Quite frankly, any transforming robot toy lover should own one of these on sheer principle.

A touch discoloured maybe?

No stripe at canopy base means vintage

A good way to spot discolouration on these original Valkyries is to look at the two lower leg halves in robot mode, because the outer half is plastic like a majority of the toy, but the inner half is painted die cast metal. If the two halves show a noticeable difference in colour or shade, then even the most unused of specimens like the above have succumbed to moisture, sunlight, ultraviolet, heat or curry powder, whatever mystical bollocks is responsible for RUINING MACROSS VALKS. I must admit that years of looking for pristine Diaclone and variant examples has created a very bad habit in me of glossing over toys with some ageing or wear evident when there's a slight possibility of nailing a perfect one. As it turns out though, these majestic Valkyries are just as enjoyable in hand, and awe-inspiring, even with the yellowing. I can live with it, and the better pricing makes it a win-win. 

Bandai VF-1J reissue - Miriya Jenius

Drop dead gorgeous, a complete stunner

VF-1J Valkyrie (Miriya Jenius) - Bandai - REISSUE
Auction - £74.40 (<- All prices include shipping + fees)
Purchased Jan 2014 - received Feb 11th 2014 (2 of 2)

Grey, white, grey, white-ish, grey, cream, grey, white, RED! Red. Imagine Jetfire all in red, but better. This utterly jaw-dropping colour scheme on the VF-1J 1/55 belongs to the wife of Maximilian Jenius, Miriya (or Milliya) who was originally of the Meltrandi. Vintage ones are really expensive, and even the reissue is one of the two most costly that Bandai produced in 2002 or thereabouts. Finally getting my hands on one for a price I could live with meant that since the Strike Valkyrie I started this game off with, nothing else has heightened my anticipation quite as much.

With heat shield attached

Astounding articulation for an early 80s design

Reissue means terrific build quality, great joints and hold, immaculate paint and tampographs, but most importantly, no discolouration. In addition you get an all new red Miriya heat shield which clips on in place of the removable jet canopy. I know for a fact I would never use a vintage Miriya VF-1J's stickers and decals to embellish the original toy, so it makes me so happy that the reissues have taken that decision out of my hands and covered the thing in tampos that make the toy really shine. I thought I'd be disappointed that the whole figure wasn't red as it is in jet mode, but the contrast of the grey shoulders and legs (almost an inverted colour scheme to Hikaru's 1J) probably resulted in a better looking figure. I love this one so much, next to the VF-1S Strike Valkyrie, I think it's my favourite. Absoloutely, positively needs to be seen in person to be fully appreciated.


VF-1A Super Valkyrie (Hikaru Ichijo) - Bandai - REISSUE
MW Forums - £54.00 
Purchased Feb 2014 - received Feb 24th 2014

The second of my two Origin Of Valkyrie 2008 Bandai reissues came from the Macross World forums through a private deal, and just one more piece of evidence that using enough avenues would make the mission manageable. This is one of the four 25th anniversary figures released by Bandai in 2008 as reissues, although like the other VF-1A Max blue-trim I got from this short run, this colour scheme has never been seen on a 1/55 before. Grey base for the jet, with red and black trim as a VF-1A, but more importantly, a full set of green armour. Again, another 'new' 1/55 Valkyrie.

First ever 1/55 VF-1A red trim with grey base...

...let alone with armour, which is a new colour too. 

This kind of thing is precisely what I feel reissues should be, of Macross and Transformers. Something heavily inspired and based on the original, but improved or different. I've said it before, but I love how nearly every aspect of the Macross reissues improve upon the originals, whereas with TFs it cannot always be said.

While I bought this VF-1A Super Valkyrie belonging (again) to Hikaru believing the item was unused, some of the sticker sheet labels had been applied and a missile was off the sprue. It had clearly been enjoyed and displayed, but the price was great and I was happy to see that despite the great tampos, a few stickersheet additions made the toy even more appealing. So many of the stickers are up to the collector to decide their location, but I still wish there was some kind of guide. No sticker map for the non-essential stickers is provided. Big ole red heatshield featuring skull & crossbones with this release. You know, at this point people who don't have the vested interest in the subtle differences will justifiably think I've bought over 10 toys virtually all the same. If any of you are as lucky as me to be able to put them side by side, believe me that thought will never cross your mind again.

Of course it helps that one of them is jump-out-of-the-crowd red, and the next one is whoa-wait-a-minute brown...

Takatoku vintage VF-1A Mass Production (Cannon fodder)

Marmite in a box

VF-1A Battroid Valkyrie - Takatoku - VINTAGE
Online sales post (Japan via Italy) - £99 
Purchased Feb 2014 - received Feb 26th 2014

The "Brown one" isn't everyone's favourite. As before though, seeing a pre-Jetfire (forgive me) in brown is like seeing a Diaclone version of Mirage in red, it's exotic, it's new and it's excitingly unfamiliar, so as you can guess I am now a wildly approving owner of the VF-1A in brown. The fact that it's vintage, completely unused, without a trace of discolouration and housed in that delicious sunset-coloured box make this a really great purchase. I love it, I think it's beautiful. 

Ensign Deadmeat

That grey, that brown, that orange...droooool

Maybe it's the closer-to-reality colour of the jet, or just how uniformly it's coloured with a standout orange cockpit and grey nose with minimal embellishment...or the fact that it's as far from Jetfire as possible within the mould parameters, as I said, I love it. It's about as solid as I would expect a 30 year old vintage unused piece to be, but I have actually handled older vintage unused Diaclone and they were more minty and tight than any of my vintage unused Macross are. I started out planning to get perfect reissues and taking anything vintage I could at a reasonable price, but getting those instruction sheets and decal sheets in such good condition which are different to each other, I now feel it's part of the discovery and education of the toy line itself. I would've hated not getting to see the brown shoulder decals intended for this figure. And with waterslide decals, owners would have had to cut out the required label from the sheet, decimating it in the process.

The reissue of this 'Cannon Fodder' VF-1A is the most available and seemingly unloved, but surprisingly difficult to get at the bargain prices I paid for the white Hikaru VF-1A. I still don't have one, and there's a brown VF-1A-sized gap in my reissue squadron I plan to fill...someday.

1984 Transformers G1 Matsushiro Jetfire - painted wing variant 

Transformers G1 Autobot Air Guardian Jetfire - Matsushiro - VINTAGE
Private (US) - £300 trade value 
Traded Feb 2014 - received Feb 26th 2014

Jetfire is what started this, what was entirely responsible for me ever caring about Macross. Jetfire and Jeremy, to give him his due. When I set out my wants list for this project, I never in my dreams imagined I would track down a specimen of such legendary quality. The painted-wing variant G1 Matsushiro Jetfire you see above was part of a Transformers trade I did with a US collector, it's totally unused and still taped in place, the whitest Jetfire I have ever seen in my life. And it terrifies me, surely I can only watch it degrade in the time it's with me?

Mesmerising

Matsushiro variant big stickersheet + extra small stickersheet included

Distinguishing features include a stripe on the canopy, a painted UN Spacy logo on the left wing where most Jetfires will have no evidence of that Macross heritage, smooth (not brickwork) area between vertical rear fins, but I can't be sure about the antenna. Nearly all the painted wing Matsu Jetfires I've seen and have heard about are smooth TF-like antenna versions. it's the sticker-wing variant that has the notched Macross-type VF-1S antennae. There are some that are the holy grail, painted wing and notched antennae, but I haven't gathered up the might to release this Jetfire from his styro to verify. It'll happen I'm sure.

The way my collection is now with what's been sold, this stands as one of the absolute diamonds and centrepieces of what I can still call my collection that is absolutely not available for sale. I'm completely f**king blown away every time I look at this thing. My whole Macross One Year Project is a tribute to Jetfire, an endeavour started in his honour, so I guess it makes sense that the muse, the inspiration for this undertaking be as jaw-dropping a specimen as could be imagined...and the fact that it is a Matsushiro Jetfire just makes my day, month, year and collecting career. You can laugh at this post when I finally sell this thing as I seem to do with everything else I love, but for now I mean and feel every word.

Initially I only wanted one Jetfire, preferably the "Macross one" to fit in with the actual Macross Valkyries due to the wing symbol, and I would have settled for loose with armour. Frighteningly though, I'm getting that feeling again. The feeling that whispers "One Jetfire is never enough". This is not helped by my discovering recently that certain Canadian Jetfires came with missiles, and that one of the Matsu-Bandai transitional variants is actually a combination of gorgeous features between the two main variants...

VF-1J Battroid Valkyrie (Hikaru Ichijo) - Takatoku - VINTAGE
VF-1J Space Fighter (Hikaru Ichijo) - Matsushiro UK - 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 REISSUE
VF-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 

All the best
Maz

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