Hasegawa 1/72 F-15 Starscream

December 17, 2017 at 13:29 | Posted in 1/72 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:
After completing Bandai’s VF-25s model kit, I felt the need to build more Macross kits. But I don’t want to go through the agony of transforming kits, so I bought several 1/72 Macross kits from Hasegawa. But before going straight into those kits, I thought I’d practice on a cheap, 1/72 scale aircraft. So I bought a 1/72 scale F-15J Eagle kit by Hasegawa with a C7 label on it, so it may be an old kit.
After googling for possible color schemes to paint it in, I decided to go for the Starscream theme. I’m not talking about Michael Bay’s version, but the original cartoon Starscream. Since this was my first ‘proper’ aircraft kit, I did some research by looking at various build videos on Youtube.

Materials & methods:
The bulk of my plamodelling experience comes from Gunpla, so it’s inevitable that a lot of comparisons will be made with Bandai’s brand of plastic. First thing that I noticed when I opened the box and checked the parts is the presence of leftover plastic trimmings on some parts. You just don’t see this kind of thing in Gunpla kits anymore.

The second thing I noticed was that the panel lines are raised. Perhaps it’s easier to explain with kanji. Typical panel lines (Gunpla etc) are like this:  凹 (grooves within the plastic).
But this kit is like this: 凸 (raised parts). Assembly was simple enough, but the pilot seat and cuockpit interior had to be painted first. After that the two halves of the main body were glued together. Speaking of glue, it is not optional for this build, it is mandatory.

Third thing I noticed during assembly was that the parts didn’t fit so well. So I used a lot of basic putty to fill the gaps between parts. As I was sanding off the leftover putty, I realized that I sanded off quite a lot of the panel lines. Not wanting to spend too much time on this project, I shrugged it off and moved on.
The landing gears were designed to always be extended, but I wanted to have them retracted. So I filled the landing gear bays with epoxy putty and then attached the covers, like so:

The rest of the process went like this:
1. Mask the cockpit interior & pilot seat with masking tape.
2. Spray with white primer. Why white? Simply because I wanted to finish that particular can I had.
3. Attempted to do preshading. Airbrushed german gray along the panel lines. As you can see below, my hands are not particularly steady.

4. Spray first layer: Mr Color Gray FS36118.
5. Cut out camo pattern. I don’t have a masking tape huge enough to cover the large surface. So first I drew the camo patterns on a piece of paper, cut them out, then attached them to the F-15 with some blu-tac.
6. Spray second layer: Mr Color Gray FS36320.
7. After removing the camo pattern papers, I felt that the two colors were too contrasty, as you can see below:

8. To make the patterns less obvious, I sprayed the whole thing with several layers of Mr Color Gray FS36320.
9. Once I was satisfied with the base color, it’s time to paint other parts. And that means a lot of masking.
The blue color on the nose & rear stabilizers (Mr Color cobalt blue + flat white), as well as the red jet intakes (Mr Color Red + Orange yellow) were simple enough.
The white & red stripes on the wings and rear stabilizers were slightly more tricky but the patterns were relatively simple so it wasn’t too difficult.
The underside (where the jet engines are) were painted with Mr Color burnt iron, while the jet nozzles were painted with steel.
The inside of the cockpit canopy was sprayed with Mr Color clear orange.
The missiles were painted as recommended in the manual, and I decided to add some smart bombs from an add-on kit (also by Hasegawa).
10. Panel lining was limited to some parts only.
11. I used up the majority of the waterslide decals that came with the kit. To complete the Starcream theme, I needed some Decepticon logos. I hoped to find some Decepticon waterslide decals but alas, only stickers seemed to be available. I trimmed off the edge of the stickers as much as possible before attaching them on the wings and in front of the cockpit.
12. Final layer of flat topcoat was applied.

Results:
Since I made the decision to remove the landing gears, I needed a stand to hold it in place. So I bought the Macross Display Stand, which comes in a pair.

And here’s some photos with the VF-25s:

Discussion:

This project is quite a different experience from my typical Gunpla builds. The same techniques are employed, but the main bulk of the work that went into this F-15 Starscream was fixing the gaps/seamlines and painting+masking.
I’m not particularly impressed with this Hasegawa F-15J kit for reasons discussed in the methods section. But I guess you get what you pay for. For a few extra dollars, you can get a better F-15 kit by Hasegawa or other makers.
The Decepticon stickers look too shiny and stand out too much, making it look very toy-like. But for this build I’m not too bothered about it.
Overall it was a good learning experience for me. Hopefully the Hasegawa Macross kits I bought won’t give me too much trouble.

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