Arii 1/100 Super Valkyrie VF-1S

KIT #: 22
PRICE: $15.00 MSRP. Now OOP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Bill Michaels

HISTORY

 The subject of this kit is from the Japanese Anime movie “Macross: Do you Remember Love”.  Apparently, this was a film based on the Macross TV series.   The movie was released in the USA under two titles- an edited 90 minute version called “Clash of the Bionoids”, and a full length version titled “Super Space Fortress Macross”.   Here’s a summary of the movie’s plot: 

 A.D. 2009 - The human race is in the middle of a three-way war with a race of giant humanoid aliens called the Zentraedi (male) and Meltrandi (female). After executing a space fold that sent it and part of South Atalia Island to the edge of the Solar System, the space fortress Macross is on its way back to Earth. During a small skirmish with Zentraedi forces, young pilot Hikaru Ichijo rescues idol singer Lynn Minmay and their relationship develops as they're stranded somewhere within the ship. But shortly after returning to Macross City, Minmay is captured by the Zentraedi, and Hikaru and female officer Misa Hayase end up back on Earth - only to view the aftermath of the destruction of their civilization. Only a song discovered eons ago - along with Minmay's voice - can determine the outcome of the war.

 Source:  Anime News Network-- http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=366

 I’ve never seen any of the Macross series, and neither had my 16 year old son, who is a bit of an Anime fan.  (He has heard of the Macross series of video games, though, based on the same worlds.)    So, I have no idea what or how the “Super Valkyrie VF-1S” fits into the plot of the movie.  Based on other anime films, I assume this was one of those powered fighting suits, driven by a human operator. (Called “Mobile Suits” in the Gundam anime series.)   The kit claims to be 1/100 scale, so the “pilot” would fit in a space about the size of the unit’s head.

 This kit is marked as being part of the 15th anniversary of Macross.

THE KIT

The kit is molded in two colors- white and a dark green.  There are two large white sprues, and two dark green sprues.  A pair of small white sprues, with the head parts, and a small decal sheet completes the kit.   

Based on the packaging, it looks like there are several kits in the Macross series-- apparently different types of fighting suits.  I suspect that some of the sprues are used in more than one kit, while others are unique to a certain kit.   By changing the dark green sprues, for example, you will completely change out the weapons fit on the unit, while still using the basic white limb and torso parts.   I’m sure the reason the head parts are on a separate sprue is that  they are likely unique to each kit.

 Construction of the model is pretty straightforward.  The kit is designed so that each portion of the unit is moveable, such as the shoulder, elbow, and wrist on the arms.  The major parts (arms, legs, head) plug into vinyl caps in the torso, so they are moveable, and can be removed if needed for detail painting.

CONSTRUCTION

Construction starts with the torso and head, with front and back parts, and a couple of detail parts.   Fit here is the typical of the rest of the kit— all of the limbs and weapons units are made up of left and right sides.  The parts generally fit well enough that there would be no fit issues for a younger modeler.  However, a more experienced modeler will see that every sub-assembly leaves seams that need to be cleaned up- many of which will require putty to fill the gaps and small sink marks.   I spent a lot of time filling and sanding everything.

 The basic assembly process is just repeated multiple times.  Typically, a left and right half are assembled, trapping a vinyl collar at the joint.  Then another piece is added, with pins that pass through the vinyl collar.  This allows the joint to move, and to stay where ever the limb is set.  After each limb is assembled, there were generally multiple seams to fill and sand.

 The instructions are printed in Japanese, with a couple of English captions to convey some key information.  The instructions are a small 4- page booklet, some of which are printed in color.   The sprue diagram is a color photo, which shows how to paint some of the parts while they are still on the sprue, and it also shows where the decals go. 

 After I built the model, I discovered I had some extra parts left over.  Checking through the instructions, I realized that the lower leg parts are molded in both green and white-  probably for different versions of the kit.  Just be sure to follow the instructions- make sure that the part you’re using matches the drawing in both shape and part number.

COLORS & MARKINGS

 The photos of the kit show the basic figure in white, with metallic gray details and weapons pods.  However, the box top art showed the figure in a light gray, a scheme I liked better.  So, I painted the entire figure using Acrylic Model Master Camouflage gray, which is a pale light gray.  I then painted the details a using various shade of dark gray, scale black, and black. 

 I then put a coat of future on the model, and then applied the many small decals.  The kit includes a medium-sized sheet of markings—mostly stencils and other little markings.  The instructions really let you down here.  I would say that there is no placement information at all for about 75% of the decals.   So, the builder gets to just place them where ever you think they’ll look good. 

 One the plus side, the decals went down well.  Most of the decals are so small that I just brushed on a little dab of future, and then placed the decal on it.   Once all the decals were on, the model had a suitable busy look.  I then followed up with a coat of satin clear, to tone down the gloss of the future.

 I had some fun weathering the model.  First, I weathered the nozzles of what looked like propulsion rockets with some silver, rust, and soot colors to give the parts that “burned jet exhaust” look.   I then added a few black sooty scorch marks on the body, to simulate some blaster-hit-on-armor type of scarring. 

CONCLUSIONS

Recommended, especially to younger fans of anime.  These anime kits generally are fairly simple to assemble, with a relatively low number of parts.  They are designed to be easy to assemble, and with moveable limbs and weapons pods, have some play value as well.  Many of the kits are molded in two colors, to minimize the need for painting.

 I had gotten this kit in a show raffle, and decided to give it a try as a change of pace.  To be honest, this is not something I would have purchased.  But, since I had one, I decided it would be fun to build something out of the ordinary.    The fall contest season is coming up, and I’ve never built anything to enter a Science Fiction or Space category before.   I’m pleased with how the kit came out— though it was a bit more work than I had expected. 

 Each kit in the Macross series comes with a bonus- one of eight different figures that represent the 6 main characters.   Minmay is apparently the star- three of the eight figures in the set are her in different outfits/poses.  My kit came with a Minmay figure- a one-piece figure about 3 inches tall.  I found the facial features to be really lacking- there is very poor definition in that part of the figure- enough so that I never considered doing anything with the figure.   (So, I’ve got a spare Minmay if someone out there is desperately trying to complete a collection….!)

REFERENCES

 

There’s nothing in the instructions (in English, at least) that gives any background on the Macross series or this unit in particular.  A quick web search, however, did turn up some information.   Here’s the one I used for the info about the movie:

Website:  Anime News Network

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=366

Bill Michaels

October 2005

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