Jigabachi AV

August 30, 2020 at 20:05 | Posted in 1/72 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:
The Jigabachi AV is an attack helicopter that featured in episode 4 of Ghost in the Shell 2nd Gig. This is a 1/72 scale kit made by Kotobukiya. The helicopter itself is made of up of grey plastic and includes a stand. As a bonus, it also comes with three Tachikomas on blue plastic runners. Incidentally, Jigabachi is also the Japanese name for a type of wasp, pictured below:

You can probably see where I’m going with this…

Materials & methods:
The construction is fairly simple, but I found that the pegs fit too tightly to their respective holes. I cut the pegs a little bit so the parts are easier to disassemble after snap-fitting. There’s also quite a bit of seam lines to fix. In the anime, the Jigabachi has slightly bent wings, like so:

But the kit has perfectly straight wings. So I cut the wings using my modelling saw; not all the way through, just enough to bend it like this:

I glued 0.5mm metal rod in the gap where I cut the wings for some stability. That’s the only mod I did for this build.

I primed all parts with grey surfacer, and then applied pre-shading lines using Mr Color Ueno Black. The main body was airbrushed with a mixture of Midnight Blue & orange-yellow, and the orange stripe was a mix of orange-yellow and red. The rocket pod and missiles were painted with olive drab, and the gatling with gunmetal.
After painting I added decals and panel-lining. I wanted to give it a non-uniform finish, so I sprayed the flat topcoat on certain parts, and semi-gloss topcoat on others.

As for the Tachikomas, I thought it would be more interesting if I gave them different colors. So I decided on blue, red, and yellow. All were primed with black surfacer, then airbrushed with Tamiya gloss aluminium (from spray can).
After masking some small parts, I painted them with clear blue, Gaianotes Premium Pearl Red, and orange-yellow, respectively. The eyeballs were painted with gloss white. On the yellow Tachikoma, I added some black stripe decals on the legs.

Results:

Here’s a size comparison with the VF-31, also at 1/72 scale:

And finally, the Tachikomas:

All three can fit on my palm, with some room to spare:

Discussion:
It’s a nice to build something different once in a while. This is my first helicopter model kit, and these are my overall thoughts:
Positives:
Comes with a stand & three Tachikomas.
Parts separation is good; masking is not that needed, except maybe for the Tachikomas.
Surface details are acceptable, maybe not on the same level as military models.

Negatives:
I don’t really fancy the head/cockpit. It has a face only a mother can love.
Connections of the pegs and joints are rather stiff.
The Jigabachi is monochrome grey plastic, the Tachikomas are monochrome blue plastic. So painting is definitely needed to make it look presentable.
Seam lines galore.

Despite the many negatives, I quite enjoyed this build. It’s not recommended for snap-fitters, but it’s worth to get if you’re willing to put some effort in it. I especially like the three tiny Tachikomas.

Hasegawa VF-31 Berkut

August 17, 2020 at 18:21 | Posted in 1/72 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:
For my first kit from the Macross Delta series, I decided on the VF-31J Siegfried, used by the main character in that anime. Like all Hasegawa Macross kits, this one is non-transforming, fighter mode only.
Since the VF-31J is a forward swept wing aircraft, my plan for this kit is simple: paint it black. More specifically, the Su-47 black color scheme. Here’s a reference photo:

Materials & methods:
Like all aircraft models, the first place to start was the cockpit. Again I opted for the single-seat configuration. After painting the cockpit and some intake vents, the two halves of the aircraft fuselage were glued together. I decided to cover up some panel lines and diamond-shaped panels on the nosecone using basic putty.
This Hasegawa kit comes in all white plastic. The Su-47 is mostly black, with a white nosecone, and some white stripes on the canards and vertical stabilizers. For those parts, I first airbrushed white paint, then applied masking tape after the paint has dried.
With the cockpit and appropriate parts masked, I sprayed the whole thing with Gaianotes black surfacer. Since this is going to be all black, I decided make it a bit more interesting by applying the black-basing or marbling technique.
This involves airbrushing random squigly lines over a black base coat, followed by light coats of the primary color. This simulates weathering effects on the aircraft surface.
So after my base coat of black surfacer has dried, I used my 0.2mm nozzle airbrush to draw random squigly lines over the model. I used Mr Color Light Gull Gray that’s been thinned more than usual, and low air pressure (~0.05 MPa). The result looks something like this:


It looks quite ugly at this stage. So the next step was the primary color, in this case Mr Color German Gray. To further emphasize the panels, I added some post shading lines using Midnight Blue.
For the rear thrusters/feet, I used different combinations of metallic paint that I have available: Gaianotes Gunmetal, Mr Color Burnt Iron, Mr Color Steel, Mr Metal Color Dark Iron. I added clear orange and clear blue to some parts to simulate heated metal. The inside of the cockpit canopy was given a light coat of clear blue.
I used actual Su-47 decals bought from the Hasegawa booth in one of the many hobby shows I attended. Finally I airbrushed everything (except metallic & clear parts) with Gaianotes Ex-Flat clear.

Results:

Closeup shots:

Discussion:
This is my first attempt at weathering using the black-basing or marbling technique, and the effects were not so obvious. It could be that the primary paint coat (German gray) was too heavy, thus concealing the underlying marbling pattern. Maybe the flat topcoat layer also made the effect less prominent.
The landing gears were a temporary fixture, put in place by some blu-tac. After taking some photos with them on, I removed them and permanently glued the landing gear bay covers.
I quite like the concept of applying real-life fighter aircraft color schemes on Macross kits, so I might repeat it for future projects. Not too sure about repeating the black-basing technique, though.

Hasegawa 1/72 VF-25G Messiah

October 2, 2019 at 21:48 | Posted in 1/72 scale | Leave a comment
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Introduction:
This is only my third aircraft model kit and my second Macross kit. This time it’s the VF-25G Messiah by Hasegawa. Unlike my previous Bandai VF-25s, this Hasegawa kit is an aircraft model, meaning it doesn’t transform into Batroid or Gerwalk modes.

The VF-25G is the blue colored Messiah in the Macross Frontier anime, but the whole point of this build is to custom paint it. I wanted to recreate the Ripsnorters color scheme from the VF-25 Variable Fighter Master File book:

Materials & methods:
Like most military plamo, all plastic parts are in the same color; in this case a purplish-blue hue. Unlike most Gunpla kits, some sort of planning is required to sort out the order in which to paint the various parts.
First thing to do was assemble and paint the inner part of the cockpit, including the seats and pilot. There’s an option to make it a two-seater, with Ranka Lee at the back. I opted for the single seater version.
I also decided against attaching the landing gears and instead opted to cover the landing gear bay. The kit comes with some accessories for the wings: 2 pairs of speakers, or 3×3 pairs of missiles. I chose neither and left the wing empty.
Metallic parts (thrusters, intake vents) were painted in gunmetal or burnt iron, and then masked (if necessary).
Then everything was assembled according to the manual. There’s a lot of panel lines on the model, so I made them slightly deeper by scraping them with the tip of a pin. This is to make the panel line washes more visible.
After masking the cockpit, the whole thing was primed with Mr. Surfacer 1000 sprayed from an airbrush. Then I painted some preshading lines using black paint.
The order of painting went like this:
1. Paint the nose cone in white. Mask.
2. Paint the underside with Light Gull Grey. Mask.
3. Paint the top surface with Gaianotes Blue Grey.
4. For the black & white stripes, I first airbrushed white paint over the intended surfaces. Then I laid out 2mm strips of masking tape, followed by a spray of black paint.
Other parts were painted as follows:

  • Weapon: German gray
  • Tail rudder: Black
  • Feet: Gray FS36118
  • Cockpit canopy: Smoke gray
  • Wing strobe lights: Silver, then clear red/blue enamel
  • Clear parts near the cockpit: Clear red

After painting is complete, the next steps went like this: gloss topcoat -> decals -> gloss topcoat -> panel lining -> final flat topcoat.

Results:

Some closeup shots:

And finally some photos with the Bandai VF-25s:

And a rare scene of Messiahs docking in the wild

Discussion:
It’s a nice change of pace to build an aircraft model once in a while. Most of the effort spent on this kit involved painting and masking, but it was worth it.
The overall experience was less harrowing than my previous VF-25s Bandai kit, since there’s no transformation gimmick to worry about. There still some room for improvement in my detailing skills, but overall I’m pretty happy with the final output.

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