Completed : Hasegawa 1/72 Stonewell Bellcom VF-1G Valkyrie

Gallery

Build Report

Kit Info
Manufacturer: Hasegawa
Scale: 1/72
Media: Injection Plastic

The Mecha
The VF-1G ‘Wild Weasel’ is a modification of UN Spacy’s VT-1 Super Ostrich for the expressed purpose of Suppresion of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) missions. Armed with the latest AGM-88 Mk.IV HARMs (High-speed Anti Radiation Missiles) and ALQ-188 jamming and receiver pod, the VF-1G is tasked with the hunting down and destruction of enemy controlled radar sites. Standard missions involve two or more flights of ‘Wild Weasels’ clearing enemy defenses before the actual strike package of Strike Valkyries enter the airspace.

NOTE: This is my own addition to the Macross universe. It’s non-canon. But I’m sticking with it.

The Kit
Hasegawa delighted fans worldwide in 1999 when they announced that they will be releasing model kits based on the Macross license. The VT-1 is the trainer Valkyrie that was featured in Macross: Do You Remember Love, a 2 hour movie that recounts the events of the TV series. While the original VT-1 is meant to be in orange and unarmed, I decided to come up with my own camouflage scheme and make the VT-1 a combat version of the two-seater Valkyrie. So, the idea of doing it up as a ‘Wild Weasel’ platform came up.

Construction
Construction was pretty straightforward although there were some problematic steps. Some of quibbles that came up:

Engines
The engines had to be painted first before inserting it in between the two halves of the legs. Not painting them first would have required major modifications. I also ended up gluing the two halves of the engines together. They were supposed to be able to open and close but when assembled, they just seem to be… half opened! I ended up masking the engines and then constructed the legs around them. Because of this, I made a pretty bad mistake which I didn’t realize until I was 90% done with the kit. I won’t tell you what the mistake was though (^_^).

Intakes
The VT-1 called for covered intakes which make construction considerably more complicated. The covers did not extend all the way to the edge, and there was a step just behind them, which meant that there were small gaps on the left and right of the covers to be painted with the fuselage color. If i did it over again, I’d have painted the covers, masked, then assembled the section. As it was, I assembled, painted THEN masked. Needless to say, lots of unnecessary swearing followed.

The way construction was done, it seemed like it I was building both an aircraft AND a robot, which, in a strange way, I was. Because of this, quite a bit of pre-assembly study of the instructions was required. This was also done as I have the philosophy of not painting what can’t be seen.

There was an option to have the sensor head retracted but I concluded that since my Wild Weasel unit there would have sensors installed in the head, I decided to install the head in the deployed position. Besides, it looks nicer that way.

The kit didn’t come with any weapons so I modified some F-15 pylons and got the HARMs from the Hasegawa weapons set. Since it’s a Wild Weasel I HAD to have HARMs for my kit! To secure the HARMs properly, I drilled holes on both the missile and pylons and inserted brass rods.

I also added a Heads Up Display (again, from a spare F-15 kit) on my Valkyrie to enhance the bare cockpit. Parts fit were finicky in some areas, which had to be puttied up but all in all, construction was relatively painless.

To top it off, I added an ALQ pod (again from the Hasegawa set) and slung it on what would be the right arm of the Valkyrie. This replaces the gunpod which was not included anyway in the VT-1 kit.

Finishing
I decided to go for the Hill camouflage scheme that the USAF’s F-16 currently sports. This is also the color scheme that the last dedicated Wild Weasel (the F-4G) sported before it was retired. A custom mix of Gunze Sangyo paints was provided by Achtung Japan Hobby. The design of the scheme is exactly the same as the default VT-1 scheme, only the colors are different. As usual, I did preshading with black all over the kit and then proceeded with the two greys. Painting was very straightforward, with the help of careful masking, of course. Then a wash of black oil paint gave it a nice subtle weathering effect.

The canopy had a seam running down the middle of it (as per Hasegawa’s standard practice), so I sanded it down, polished and coated the canopy with Future to give it a supershine.

Another Hasegawa tradition is the thick decals. This one is no different. Nothing that a healthy dose of Mark Softer couldn’t handle though. I also added a small noseart of a girl on the left fuselage Macross logo. This came from a ALPS printed sheet designed by Starship Modeler. It is very detailed considering its size. However, it is very translucent, so the effect wasn’t as striking as I could have wanted.

A final coat of semi gloss sealed up the whole thing and I must say, considering how fast I built this thing, it turned out pretty OK.

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