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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Bandai 1/72 VF-25s Messiah

August 16, 2017 at 21:11 | Posted in 1/72 scale, Model kits | Leave a comment
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Introduction:

Remember that post about my first Macross kit? Yeah, neither did I. That was until I found some old, dusty cluster of plastic somewhere within my apartment. Carbon dating of the dust layers revealed that it was from 8 years ago. This meant that this artifact is no other than my first Macross kit, the 1/72 scale VF-25s Messiah by Bandai.

Somehow it was stuck halfway through snap-fitting; half was already assembled, while the rest were still on their runners. To further motivate myself to complete this kit, I bought this book from Amazon with some nice photos of VF-25 Messiahs. I found an image that inspired this build:

vf25_hon1

The color scheme looks challenging, but I decided to give it a go.

Materials & methods:

I cleaned off the layers of dust from the plastic and continued from where I left off. After snap fitting, I separated the parts into internal (joints & moving parts) and external parts (wings etc). I had no intention of modding or customizing this kit because I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into. So for this build I just focused on painting. Prior to that, all parts were sprayed with grey surfacer. I used a combination of spray cans and airbrush for painting.

  • Internal parts: Mr Color Dark Gray (2) spray can
  • Feet: Mr Color 28 (steel) for externals; Gaianotes Starbright Duralumin for internals
  • Landing gear: Mr Color Light Gray spray can. Wheels were handpainted with black enamel
  • Pilot: Tamiya Olive drab spray can. Helmet was handpainted with white enamel
  • Canopy: Mr Color black for the canopy rim(?); clear yellow for the transparent part
  • Aircraft underbelly: Mr Color Light Gull Gray spray can
  • Aircraft surface base layer: Mr Color 307 (Gray FS36320)
  • Aircraft camo layer: Mr Color 305 (Gray FS36118)
  • Gun: Mr Color German Grey (exterior); Gunmetal spray can (interior)

The tricky part was painting the camo patterns. First I sprayed Light Gull Gray on parts that are underneath the aircraft, including wings. Next comes the base color (Mr Color 307); I carefully drew the boundaries using my airbrush and then proceeded to fill in the remaining areas. For the darker colored camo patterns (Mr Color 305) I directly drew the camo patterns using my airbrush instead of using any masking techniques.

For panel lining I used black enamel. Then comes the decals. Instead of using the supplied water slide markings, I decided to use my own catalog of aircraft decals accumulated from various hobby shows. To go with the camo pattern I painted, the decals I picked mimicked contemporary aircrafts; in this case US Navy aircrafts. To get a sense of where to position these decals, I referred again to this book.

vf25_hon2

To finish it off I sprayed a layer of flat topcoat. When I say finish, it’s not really finished yet. The final step is the actual assembly process. This was actually the most harrowing part of this build. According to the manual, you’re supposed to build it into Fighter mode first, and then later you can transform it into Gerwalk and Battroid modes.

As I was assembling, I noticed some joints were tight; maybe due to the layers of primer and paints. Inevitably I broke some of those joints because I pushed too hard. I performed a quick fix using superglue. Miraculously I managed to assemble the Fighter mode after several hours of trying to make the parts fit. After that stressful episode, I made the decision to keep it in fighter mode. Any attempts to transform it into Gerwalk or Battroid mode would risk catastrophic failure.

Results:

Discussion:

After 8 long years, I finally finished this kit. In a way, it was fortunate that I put it on hold. Because within that 8 years, I bought myself an airbrush. Without it, I wouldn’t have pulled off this paintjob. Which I think looks quite alright. The waterslide decals I used were getting kind of old, and were very prone to tearing.

The kit itself feels about as complex as a Master Grade kit, but not as sturdy. This is certainly not a toy that you’d play around with. It’s a shame that I can’t (and won’t) transform it into Batroid or Gerwalk modes, but at least it looks really sexy in fighter mode.

Overall, it was a long, rough ride but I managed to see it through. I think I’ll buy a couple more Macross kits, but probably not anymore transformable kits like this one. Hasegawa seems to have quite a selection of fighter mode Macross kits. Hopefully they won’t take 8 years to finish…

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