Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Review: Macross Frontier Fighter Display Figures

When it comes to Macross merchandise, there really aren't too many options for the discerning fans. We usually have only three options: a cheap, flimsy toy; a fragile model kit; or a very, very expensive Chokogin or Yamato figure. The recent success of Macross Frontier, however, has changed things around a bit. We've got a lot more variety to choose from, the the various merchandise available to choose from is of a much higher quality than what we had a few years ago.

Banpresto's Macross Fighter Display series is one such addition. These small display figures are simple plastic models, pre-painted, with no moving parts and only minor self-assembly required.
Moderately sized and priced, these display figures should be hard to pass up on for fans of the VF-25's fighter design. (Though it should be noted that Banpresto has also released miniature display figures, encompassing both the VF-25's Battroid and Gerwalk transformations).

For my part, I purchased three separate figures: the vanilla VF-25, or Alto Saotome's unit; the VF-25R, recon VF-25, or Luca's unit; and Ozma Lee's wickid-gray VF-25. I was very impressed with what I got. Packaged simply, each figure comes with a single accessory (a weapon) and a nice, glossy black plastic display stand that can be angled up or down. Luca's teal VF-25, unfortunately, did not come with a gatling pod, though it's possible this was a production error.

The molding for each figure is flawless. Compared the the 1/100 model kits and the VF-100s line of figure, nearly every detail of the Fighter mode is transposed onto the plastic perfectly. The only (minor) complaint I might have with the molding would be that the interior of the foot--the "engines" of the craft--are a bit lacking in detail. But, honestly, that's grasping. The model is very well crafted, with multiple very small panel lines carved into the plastic.

For those very small elements of the Fighter too small to craft into the plastic mold itself, paint is used instead. The painting of all three figures is impeccable. The level of minute detail is simply impressive--on everything, from the soft gray of the embedded head's antennae to the barrels at the end of the Gatling pods, I've no cause for complaint. The canopy of each fighter is particularly nice: metallic paint helps the canopy stand out from the rest of the figure, highlighting the fact that it would be transparent at a larger scale. Each fighter fits snugly onto its stand, making these perfect display figures.  

The biggest flaw with these figures lies with the display stands bundled inside the box. While two of the three stands I had worked perfectly, one of them quickly became very loose--so much so that if I were to set a fighter on it, it would quickly tilt directly down. The stands are very simply built, so there's no way to manually tweak the tightness of the hinge: once it gets loose, there's no fixing it. All in all, it's a rather insignificant blemish on an otherwise well-made figure.

If you're looking for a display figure of a VF-25 fighter, this is most-definitely the figure to get. While the 1/100 scale kits may offer more detail, they are also very, very fragile and require a great deal of work to get looking nice, and the VF-100s series are, while far more durable than the 1/100 kits, still very fragile--and their proportions are just a bit off. Banpresto's Fighter Display Collection offers a suprising level of quality for the price, and most Macross fans would be remiss not to have at least one of these fine figures in his or her collection.

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