Wave 1/100 VF-1 Battroid

October 26, 2019 at 16:12 | Posted in Other scales | 1 Comment
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Introduction:
This is a non-transforming VF-1 Battroid kit by Wave. It says [Multiplex] on the box, which means that you can choose to build either one of these variants: VF-1A, J, or S. Apparently Wave previously made separate kits of those three variants. The only differences between them are the head and color scheme, shown below:


Wave also makes a non-transforming 1/100 VF-1 Fighter mode kit. There’s no VF-1 Gerwalk mode kit, but you can build one by combining parts from the Fighter and Battroid kits. For this build, I went for the VF-1J variant, the one with the white & red stripe color scheme.

Materials & methods:
This kit is made up of white plastic, with a few grey and clear parts. As alluded to earlier, you can build three types of heads corresponding to the different variants.
Also included in the kit is a sheet of waterslide decals with markings for each variant.
As I was snap-fitting, I was a bit surprised to see some parts were undergated, because they’re usually associated with metallic coated kits.
There were several parts with obvious seam lines, namely the forearms, thighs, knee joints, and the gun. Speaking of which, the gun grip and the trigger hand is molded in one piece of white plastic.

Because of the way the kit was designed, the knee and thighs were required a bit more planning. It went something like this:
Fix seam lines on the knee joints -> paint knee joints -> mask knee joints -> attach to thighs -> fix seam lines on the thighs.
The rest of the parts were less problematic. All parts were sprayed with grey surfacer, and then preshading lines were added using german gray. Colors used were as follows:
Feet, knees, intake vents: Gaianotes gunmetal
White parts: White + a bit of orange yellow
Gun: Mr Color FS36118
Red parts: Red + a bit of orange yellow
Black parts: Gaianotes pure black
I decided against using the included waterslide decals for the red and black parts and instead went for the painting & masking route. There were some parts that needed to be directly paint brushed, like the aforementioned gun grip, and some details at the wing tips. Once painting was done, I applied panel lines using grey enamel, applied decals, and finished with flat topcoat.

Results:

The range of motion is quite limited: only 90 degrees for the elbows and knees. But the leg can bend forwards a little bit, which can look slightly awkward.

The gun comes with a strap made of soft rubber-like material. There is a stand included, but no base to attach it to. Also comes with two open palms.

Due to the limited range of movement, there’s not many poses I can make.

In terms of size, it’s about the same with a typical HG 1/144 scale Gunpla.

Discussion:
My overall impression of this 1/100 VF-1 Battroid kit is that it’s akin to a HG kit from 10 years ago. The poses you can make are kind of limited, plenty of obvious seam lines, and painting is definitely required.
In other words, a lot of effort is needed to make it look good. Although articulation is not that great, I think the proportions are better than the fully transforming kits, like Bandai’s 1/72 VF-1. So at the very least it looks good just in a standing pose.
In summary, this kit consumed a lot more effort than I initially anticipated, and the overall quality is lagging behind Hasegawa & Bandai’s offerings. With a price around 3,000 yen, it’s also a bit pricey. The only thing that it’s got going are the nice level of surface details and good body proportions. Not recommended for beginners.

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.

Bandai 1/72 VF-25s Messiah

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