Left in the Dust: Uncovering the Secret of the Stampede Valkyrie

Macross fans of a certain age and disposition will likely remember the Stampede Valkyrie, a one-off design that first really popped up in fan discourse when it appeared in the Shoji Kawamori Macross Design Works book1. Heavily laden with weaponry, the Stampede Valkyrie looked more VF-11 than VF-1 and perhaps even more Gundam than Macross, but its distinctive shape and design drew from the Strike and Super Valkyries of the original series that featured a bulkiness not really seen in sequels like Macross Plus or Macross 7.

The design itself stems from that era in the early ‘90s when Shoji Kawamori had decoupled himself from Macross animation projects after Flash Back 2012 but still occasionally worked on new designs. The Stampede’s earliest iteration was named the “Genocide Valkyrie,” taking its name from a Studio Nue show pitch that provided some of the earliest foundations for what would become known as Macross. These early sketches dated from May of 1990 and seemed to be a set of armor attached to the original VF-1, a la the GBP, rather than an all-new design. By the time the Stampede Valkyrie was finalized in late 1992, it looked more like its own design and seemed to have more in common with the VF-11 of Macross Plus and Macross 7, owing to it being a bit of a not-so-missing link between the original VF-1 and that later variable fighter. In the interim Kawamori had also done mechanical design work for Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory [1991] and perhaps that influenced the direction of the design, a bit.

Late 1992 to early 1993 was the same era when Kawamori was designing the VF-X3 Star Crusader, a heavily armored variable fighter that had the head of the “cannon fodder” VF-1A on a newer style body. The VF-X3 appeared in the PC-98 game Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Remember Me [1993] alongside a new Destroid designed by original Destroid designed Kazutaka Miyatake. Like the Stampede, in retrospect, the VF-X3 seemed to be an evolutionary step towards the VF-11 and lead to Kawamori’s work on a design in June of 1993 that the Macross Shoji Kawamori Designer’s Note2 refers to as simply “Prototype VF” that incorporated much of the design elements of the VF-11.

An early iteration of what would become the Stampede Valkyrie, circa May 1990. Source: Shoji Kawamori Macross Design Works.

This period of eclectic variable fighter design didn’t end there, because, in March and April of 1993, Kawamori was designing the VF-1SOL Scramble Valkyrie, an upgraded VF-1 design that appeared in the Super Famicom game Scramble Valkyrie (often romanized as ‘Scrambled Valkyrie’ even if the katakana doesn’t quite back that up). Released in late 1993, Scramble Valkyrie was a side-scrolling shooter that featured this new design, which retained the same basic form and transformation of the VF-1 while changing the shape of many of its components. Like the variable fighters already mentioned, it’s a design that incorporates numerous elements later seen in the VF-11.

This dive into obscure variable fighter designs of the early ‘90s raises an obvious question: If the VF-X3 was for Remember Me, and the VF-1SOL was for Scramble Valkyrie, what was the Genocide/Stampede Valkyrie designed for? Prior to the release of Macross Shoji Kawamori Designer’s Note that was a bit of a mystery, but tucked into one of its many pages is the following passage:

Genocide Valkyrie, the predecessor of Stampede Valkyrie, was the name of the original toy project, which was planned as a product following Takatoku Toys’ ‘1/55 VF-1 Valkyrie’ which recorded an unprecedented blockbuster.

On its own this description doesn’t make a lot of sense; Takatoku Toys had been out of business for years prior to 1990 and in fact, Bandai had taken over ownership of the molds for the 1/55 VF-1 toy and released their own versions to coincide with the 1984 film Macross Do You Remember? A few pages later, however, this statement is cleared up with some production photos of a classic 1/55 VF-1 toy outfitted with optional armor parts based on the Genocide Valkyrie. It seems that it was intended as a new design that could be used as the basis for a new iteration of the classic 1/55 VF-1. The pictures are, unfortunately quite tiny and it’s not entirely clear if this new design simply used the Genocide parts as clip-on armor (like the earlier Super and Strike toys) or incorporated all-new parts that replaced the original 1/55 tooling. The former seems most likely and fits with earlier Bandai 1/55 toy releases like the Elintseeker and Super Ostrich from Do You Remember Love?

Photos of the Genocide Valkyrie prototype toy. Source: Macross Shoji Kawamori Design’s Note.

Bandai had re-released the Super Valkyrie in an all-new box in 1990 and it stands to reason that they must have had an eye towards re-releasing more old designs or selling new ones, hence the Genocide Valkyrie. Unfortunately, the Super Valkyrie was the only re-release we’d get until the early 2000s of the classic toy.

The Genocide (and later Stampede) Valkyries remain an obscure footnote in the history of Macross’ variable fighters. That hasn’t stopped people from creating fan art based on the design and a handful of fan-created customs3 that have popped up over the years. But as for official products? Well, don’t hold your breath.


  1. Published in 2001, this book offered a look at the extensive design processes Kawamori went through while designing variable fighters for Macross and included a number of designs barely seen in official works as well as some the interstitial designs Kawamori created that were just Macross-adjacent.
  2. A massive tome of reference material and design sketches by Kawamori that weighs in at a ridiculous 624 pages. Translated into English (and Zentraedi) and released in 2020, this book is a must-have for Macross fans.
  3. See the following threads on Macross World: 1/60 Stampede Valkyrie and 1/48 Stampede Valkyrie from Macross World.