Time to thin my SF3D/Ma.K stash! This is a PKA Gustav from Nitto when Maschinen Krieger was still known as SF3D. It has since been superseded by a snapfit release from Wave. While this is definitely showing its age with its 1980s engineering and fit, it’s a multimedia kit: it includes brass rods, wires, springs and brass mesh to detail the kit up. But it’s so old school it can’t even hold it’s one accesory, the Panzerfaust. 😛
Unlike the Wave kits, this one doesn’t come with the pain in the ass rubber joints. They are instead solid pieces like Gunpla without the fabric-looking covers. The limbs are attached via polycaps but aren’t really poseable: the arms swing and you can bend them slighly. I decided to make the covers with epoxy putty with the folds molded using the flat end of a Tamiya paint stirrer. Since I had some spare epoxy putty left, I also added cushions to the seat and headrest.
Due to how it’s designed, I have to build up the full interior before closing everything together. The majority would be in shadow but the pilot will need some decent painting done as I was planning to leave the visor open. Interestingly, the pilot has access to a PDW in the form of a small sub-machinegun inside the suit. It’s molded with the magazine separate and they are attached to a plate which fits to the back of the suit. Once the pilot is attached this whole piece can’t be seen.
As for the pilot, it took me 4 attempts before I managed what is seen here. It’s definitely not great, but it’ll have to do. I’ll just make sure people see it from 3 feet away.
The legs flop around even with the polycaps and are really only holding a walking pose due to the careful bending of the brass rods that are inside the springs. The instruction indicates that the clear piece on the chest can be wired for an LED (not included) but I replaced this with a Kotobukiya round mold. The original included copper wire running under the chest piece was replaced with easier to bend lead wire. I also added 2 round molds on the chest as small added details.
This kit has some very obvious seamlines which will need fixing and once that’s done, I’m ready to paint.
Painting begins with my usual black base using Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black.
I’m trying a different marble coat this time with patches of various colors. I wanted to see these would have effect on the main colors.
The primary color for the Y-wing is thinned Game Color Dead White. The nice thing about priming in black is the spots that aren’t hit by the main color simply become shadows.
I’ve always remembered the Y-wing chevrons to be orange (in reality they are a faded yellow) so I’m going ahead with this color instead. Out come the masking tape. It took a while to get the tape to conform around the many gribbles on the nacelles.
The color scheme I’m going for is Game Color Fiery Orange and AMMO Medium Gunship Grey on the nose and nacelles. The result has an unexpected 1970s vibe to it. 😀
Weathering is next. The Astromech was handpainted and attached then everything was given a gloss coat. First up is panel washing with Raw Umber oil paint.
It was a bit hard to be precise about it on the gribble so I basically ended up with a filter on some of the areas.
Before proceeding with chipping, I added some red and blue filters to random spots. These are quite subtle and my camera couldn’t quite ‘see’ them. Not enough dynamic range I guess. They look OK in person though.
Anyway next was sponge chipping. I still find it a challenge to make the chipping totally random but this stage is quite fun. 😀
Some close-up shots of the chipping. I made it heavier on the port side since the pilot enters and exits the Y-wing from this side so there would be more scuff marks.
To add more subtle variation, I handpainted lightened orange and gray to the main colors.
I added more chipping to the landing skid since these would impact the ground and get scuffed. I also added soot stains to the proton torpedo launchers using Tamiya Weathering Master. Not quite sure what these weapons use for propulsion but hey… the stains add to the overall look.
And I’m more or less done. I’ll let the kit marinate overnight and see if it requires more chipping tomorrow. Then the canopy’s clear insert will go on last.
Time for a more stress-free build in the shape of this Star Wars kit from the folks at Fine Molds. As usual with anything that looks like an aircraft, the cockpit is built first. It’s on the simple side but once the pilot is in place, most the things here can’t be seen.
With some paint, wash and highlights, the cockpit looks quite good.
The pilot is decently detailed and I gave it my own color scheme instead of the usual orange jumpsuit.
The pilot leans somewhat back in the cockpit due to the low roofline.
The kit comes with an elaborate base so I decided to mount the kit my own way. There’s a circular shape on the bottom which I drilled out and inserted a piece of rod that’s wider than the one which will attach to the base. I hope this section will add some friction to the mounting rod and reduce the spinning that might occur.
The Y-wing is a huge starfighter.
4 curved plates and a round dome make up each nacelle. Where each plate connects the support pylon will cover the seamline.
Details are great. I’ll just take it at face value that Fine Molds got all the gribbles right. I think the newer Bandai kit will have sharper details but this one’s no slouch at all.
I’ve heard good things about Fine Molds and these seem to hold up: the kit fits very well for the most part even though there are ejection pin marks on the support pylons and the bottom of the landing skids that require filler.
Anyway, due to how well the kit fits, construction is done in no time at all.
Painting’s next. I’ll be going with a custom scheme instead of the usual Gold Squadron colors.
On to the finishing stage! First up are the decals after a gloss coat. The decals are designed by Canuck Models and printed by Cartograph. While generally printed nicely, the red bands that go around the bottom fuselage were slightly out of register. Pity.
These went on beautifully and are really easy to use although I think slightly oversized when I compared to references. As usual with aggressor aircraft, markings are limited with a general lack of stencils. Not that I’m complaining.
Kinetic’s markings callout was vague in some parts (black line pointing into a black area…. really, Kinetic?) So I ended up referring to reference photos instead. Based on these photos, Kinetic also missed out on some markings on the bottom. I wasn’t able to figure out where marking B15 went on so I left it off.
Once cured and given another gloss coat, I began the weathering process with raw umber oil wash for the panel lines.
Unfortunately, the wash brought up a molding mistake on the port wing: there’s ONE missing rivet. Yeesh. Now I can’t unsee it but I decided to move on.
Photo references show that these aircraft are maintained very well so I went with a cleaner finish.
There are minor wear and exhaust streaks on the bottom of the stabilizers and fuselage.
After a day of curing, I flat coated and gave the kit another half day to cure. For final assembly. I installed the pylons, sway braces, fuel tanks, gear doors, wheels, wingtip lights, various pitot tubes and antennas that line the Alpha Jet. These were attached with either CA or PVA glue. Predictably, all of these parts required minor trimming and adjustments to fit and the sway braces in particular didn’t fit right. The fuel tanks don’t hang right to my eye.
The ejection seats are finally installed and these fit quite securely without cement.
Just some final painting of the various antennas, pitot tubes, canopy actuators and wingtip lights and I can finally call this done!
Painting begins as is usual now with a base color of Tamiya XF-1 Black thinned with lacquer thinner.
Reference photos show that the Top Aces Alpha Jets are maintained very well with very smooth paint jobs. I decided to take some artistic license by adding some subtle variation to the colors for visual interest. So I added marble coating with Mig AMMO Medium Gunship Grey and Model Air Light Grey. This should create a subtler effect than my usual white marble coat. BTW don’t mind the photo, I realized too late I didn’t take a photo of the kit with just the marble coat.
The Top Aces Alpha Jet is painted in a very nice 3 tone livery of white, light gray and light blue. First up I sprayed the white. The instructions call for Gloss White (FS27874) which I replaced with Model Air Insignia White.
After a day of curing, it was time for the light blue color. Masking was done with rolled blutack and backfilled with Tamiya tape.
I used Mig AMMO Dark Grey Blue in place of the called for FSXXXXX and sprayed quite tightly against the blutack as references show that the demarcations are quite solid. While they have different FS codes, the blue looks good when compared to many photos I found online.
Then it’s more masking to prep for the gray color.
The gray is Model Color Medium Sea Grey.
As usual for me, once all the masking tape and blutack have been removed, there are various spots that require fixing and finetuning. This stage usually takes a bit of time due to the multiple colors involved. I also found more seamlines and had to fix those. One particularly obvious one is on the nose.
Kinetic missed out 2 notable things with the livery. The first is they have the pattern wrong in the bottom aft of the fuselage and the tailfin which I have to redo.
The other is that the the splitter plates and the leading edges of the intake lips, wings, stabilizers, tailfin and pylons are black. Kinetic only got the deatils of the splitter plates and intake lips color right. Anyway, after fixing all the various livery problems, it was time for more masking.
These sections are painted Model Air Dark Panzer Grey.
The canopy frames were painted Mig AMMO Gunship Grey as per reference photos. Kinetic’s instructions shows the frames are a different color from the rest of the camo but they don’t specify which color it is.
The pylons and fuel tanks are primarily Model Color Medium Sea Grey with the leading edges Model Air Dark Panzer Grey. Gear doors and wheels were also finally prepped.
And could it be that I’m almost done?! Decals and finishing are next!