My brother and I had this die-cast Macross VF-1 Valkyrie toy when we grew up. It was based on a cartoon that neither of us have ever watched until we got much older, but we knew just what to do with it: bending the joints of the toy you can quickly turn from a fighter jet into a robot, and half-way in between there is a fighter jet with arms and legs. Why is such a design useful or physically possible? Not important.

I remember holding it with both hands, the weight was too much for me and made it slightly difficult transform between the 3 modes. But somehow we managed years of enjoyment, memories of which I carry to this day. When I realized that I could import a VF-0A toy (from the cartoon Macross Zero), I struggled a little and took the plunge.

When it finally made its way to my door I couldn't wait to open the box. There it was, in fighter jet mode suspended in typical nice, Japanese packaging, surrounded by an array of missile and armor attachments. So much detail: the cockpit opens up so that you can place the pilot. Landing gears. Retractable tailhook for landing on an aircraft carrier. Amazing.

Then it took me 30 minutes to transform it.

The new toys are all made out of plastic, as it turns out. This allows more detail everywhere, but the solid metal feeling disappeared. Without any instructions I had a difficult time figuring out how to play with it. I was afraid that I'll end up breaking this fragile toy. Little aids that could help open up covers aren't there, probably for aesthetic reasons to maintain a clean body line. Then it dawned on me why people collect these things. They aren't made to be played by children anymore and I am just a little sad.