Thursday, December 19, 2013

I have always been fascinated more with the MACROSS mecha franchise[1] since day one. As a kid, I remembered seeing plastic model kits at Katy Toys at Ampang Park and even buying a tiny Bandai which I ended up badly painting! And all these without even watching a single episode[2].

It wasn't until I was a medical student that I finally watched [3] and on VHS, which reaffirmed my interest in the franchise. Unfortunately, this was short-lived as it was next to impossible in getting the subsequent series in the franchise, until the era of *ahem* muat turun when I was able to watch and .

As I had began an interest in making plastic model plane kits as of late[4], I was keen in obtaining a model of Isamu Dyson's Valkyrie from MACROSS Plus, but this is somewhat difficult as the franchise is pretty much 20 years old now. Then, as alluded in , I got myself the VF-25F piloted by Alto Saotome, the protagonist of MACROSS Frontier. After like 3 weeks, the kit was completed late September.

The fact that a BANDAI kit is to be built without any glue just amazes me with how accurate the plastic parts were designed/engineered for them to be fastened together with some degree of accuracy. The fit was pretty accurate that I can't remember having to file any of the pieces. The parts are already coloured which means you can get away by not painting the kit at all. Before returning to the UK after the Raya break, I managed to buy a book from Kino showcasing fully painted Valkyrie kits from the MACROSS Frontier franchise. Being the lazy git I am, I went for the middle ground - paint the important bits and leave the white plastic bits as they were.

The fascinating thing about this Bandai kit was the attention to detail and the amount of pieces, which probably was probably more than a hundred pieces, some of which were pretty small. The build started with the VF-25 s nose cone and I wondered what these small pieces were for, especially when they ended being inside the cone. If you've built a typical jet kit, you'd know that the model is pretty much hollow, save for a plasticine ballast in the cone that you add yourself to keep all landing gears touching the display base. The difference with the Bandai VF-25 kit, though, is that it is transformable as the real thing - from a typical fighter mode to an intermediate Gerwalk mode (think a jet with legs) and finally to the Battroid mode (full on anthropomorphic robot). Hence, the reason for the complicated articulated pieces. Decals were not applied (apart from the ones on the swing wings) until the VF-25 was completely put together.

Initially, I wanted to apply the traditional decals that you get with conventional Airfix/Tamiya models but they were a right faff, and even after setting it with MicroSol, it didn't stick. Luckily for me, the Bandai kit's decals came in two sheets, the other was a typical sticker-type decal. I first thought they were gonna be crap but they were the exact shape/size as the traditional decals. Good for me, then.

One criticism of the VF-25 kit (or any transformable mecha kit) is the ill-fitting nature of the pieces that are transformable. The movable plates on the body of the VF-25 have gaps. These can be glued and filled with putty, but only if you decide not to transform the kit any time in the future. Weathering was applied using a pre-mixed water-based solution sold at the local model shop. Not bad lah.

In its fighter mode, I didn't bother with the landing gear. As for the Gerwalk mode, it was standing all fine the night before I took this shot.

But that's fine, because I am keeping it in the Battroid mode! It was a right bastard to move the parts to the Battroid mode and I had to do it like twice. So, while the VF-25 was transformable, this can only be done with due care. No way would this survive in the hands of a child - you are better off buying the kid a ready-made transformable Transformers character from Hasbro!

[1]As compared to the more prolific Gundam series.

[2]Japanese mecha anime was downright rare on Malaysian telly in the 1970 s.

[3]A film based on the MACROSS TV anime series.

[4]Well, kinda. I am on a, ummhiatus.
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