The F/A-18 Hornet has been in service with the US Navy and US Marines for more than 2 decades. Through the years, its capabilities have been refined and upgraded to meet with new mission requirements.
Most of these upgrades are software-related and internal changes. However, once in awhile, modifications involve external changes. One of these is the integration of AIFF antennae. These involve adding 5 blades (commonly called ‘bird slicers’) on the nose, between the canopy and the gun. Late Block Hornets were all duly modified.
The 1/48 Hasegawa F/A-18 Hornet is touted as the best Hornet kit in the market and has been since it has been released. However, out of the box, it renders an early production Hornet. One would have to scratchbuild the AFF antenna. MAW Decals has come along however, to offer a resin version.
Now instead of simply molding 5 small blade antennas on a pour stub, MAW Decals has decided to offer the whole Hornet nose! So you basically swap out the kit nose and plonk in this new one.
A late Block Hornet doesn’t just involve the IFF antennae on the nose though. So MAW Decals includes the following along with the nose:
A small instruction sheet is also included with the locations of the various items. There is also a small decal sheet with what looks to be like wire mesh patterns to put all over the kit. Not being too familiar with Hornets, I’m not too sure what these actually are. But with the attention to detail MAW Decals has done, I’m pretty sure these are accurate!
The resin parts are a white color and the panel lines on the nose itself are very fine. I would have liked for the panel lines to be deeper but it’s a personal preference and an easy matter to remedy anyway. The resin stub itself is at the end of the nose you attach to the kit fuselage so it’s convenient. No fear of losing any details.
One of the UHF antennae and IFF antennae on the nose came bent. This will require some fixing with hot water. MAW Decals packed all the parts in a small ziplock bag and doesn’t secure the pieces in any way so I guess some bent parts is inevitable.
All in all though, this all-in-one package is a welcome addition to my collection. Sure the changes this set does aren’t hard to DIY, but it’s quite convenient. Plus, I’m always glad to support cottage industry items.
The RGM-79SC GM Sniper Custom was developed for the ace pilots of the Federation. Performance and capability was upgraded from the standard GM to the levels of the RX-78-2 Gundam operating out of the White Base during the One Year War.
Generator output was increased for the added load the long-range beam sniper rifle produced. The beam saber was repositioned to the forearm for close combat. Additional racks were added for optional weapons and to increase the mobility, the GM Sniper Custom was upgraded with a mass of additional thrusters and verniers. Less than 50 Sniper Customs were built. Each was specifically tailored for its pilot so no two were configured the same way.
Akohobby is back again with one of their excellent plastic injection conversions. This time around, they have decided to tackle another GM variant, this time the RGM-79SC GM Sniper Custom. Like their previous Powered GM conversion, you will need a base kit to apply this kit on. The GM Sniper Custom requires Bandai’s RX-78-2 Gundam ver. One Year War (OYW) as a base.
Inside the plain brown box are 2 sprues of dark grey injection plastic and a simple A5-sized instruction sheet. The whole set is made up of 44 parts and converts the following portions of the Gundam OYW:
The Gundam OYW is actually filled with panel details which the Akohobby replicates on their product. So once installed, they won’t look out of place compared to the original parts.
One minor complaint is the lack of clear parts for the head visor. Akohobby molds this as a solid piece like the other parts. The shape itself though, seems to be quite similar to the MG GM kit but I’m not sure if it’s possible to use the part from that kit to replace this one. But it also means you’ll throw away one kit just for the clear part.
The instruction sheet is simple enough with large diagrams showing where each part goes. The sheet also indicates the parts that are included in the base kit by shading them in dark grey. Parts in white are from the conversion kit itself. Nicely done on the part of Akohobby.
Fit seems to be OK as the kit is engineered to be snap fit like the base kit. I must add though that I had some fitting problems with my previous Powered GM build. However, a fellow modeler didn’t which meant either 1) my construction sucks or 2) my Powered GM kit was part of a 2nd or later production batch, which deteriorated the mold somehow. Anyway, I’m sure this GM Sniper Custom set is part of the 1st batch of production run so hopefully, there won’t be any fitting problems.
Using the Gundam OYW as a base means the completed GM Sniper Custom should be just as poseable which should make for an exciting build. Plus, it’s ver affordable! What more can you ask for?
The RX-77-3 Guncannn Heavyarms is a heavily modified RX-77-2 Guncannon developed as an outgrowth of the RGC-80 GM Cannon design. The Guncannon Heavyarms is designed as a stand-alone combat unit, unlike the GM Cannon.
Basically a retooled Guncannon, the Heavyarms featured better armor, improved 240mm cannons and a grenade rack. By UC 0085, this successful variant would see limited mass production.
B-Club is a subsidiary of Bandai which produces resin kits of generally more obscure subjects from the Gundam universe. Being resin, the products are also considerably more expensive than the injection offerings from Bandai.
It’s also not everyday that they actually reissue old kits since resin tends to do lots of nasty things to the molds. So I was pleasantly surprised they announced the re-issuing of the conversion kit for the Guncannon Heavyarms. Now this subject doesnt get more obscure. For one thing it’s from the Gundam MSV series, which was originally a subline of the original series. When the Heavyarms did get animated it was in some throwaway scenes in Gundam Zeta. The recast for this set has also been long out of production.
Me being a fanatic of the Federation Mass Production Mobile Suits, well… I just had to get it! And so I did, from Hobbylink Japan. This was to be, only my third ever original resin kit. Anyhow, on with the preview!
The kit came in a box about half the size of a small HGUC model kit box but it’s packed the brim with parts. The resin parts themselves came in a sprue-like tree made also of resin. This is the standard B-Club practice. The resin is a dark greyish color which is quite different from what I see in recasts. The molding is very crisp which made me wonder if they actually produced new molds for this one.
The boxart shows the completed kit. Instructions are black and white without actually showing how the completed kit looks like. It’s also all in Japanese but it’s easy enough to figure out from the larger than average-sized drawings.
An interesting addition is a set of polycaps so the kit can be fully poseable. I’m not really sure if the polycaps can hold the kit in any pose since the completed kit is almost ALL resin which should make it quite heavy.
One minor quibble is the lack of any markings. B-Club doesn’t even include a set of stickers. I don’t use stickers on my gunpla but still, this is an expensive item, surely they could have made an effort to include some sort of markings.
Oh, did I mention it needs an HGUC Guncannon to use as a base for this conversion? The sheer amount of parts in this set does make me wonder how much of the injection kit will be used though. The instruction sheet doesn’t give any indication on that front.
Now lately, the trend has been that sometimes (but not all the time) B-Club would release a resin kit, then Bandai would release the same thing in injection kit form. At maybe 25% of the price of the resin kit. This kit, however, should be safe. But of course, never say never.
I’m very glad I have this in my collection. Sure it’s a very obscure subject, but I think it’s a very nice design evolution of the Guncannon.
The Northrop F-5E Tiger II is one of the most widely used light supersonic fighter aircraft in the world. First introduced in the 1960s, there are currently hundreds still being fielded by numerous air forces. The Tiger II is an improved second-generation of the F-5 Tiger and is used by American Cold War allies. The U.S armed forces had no need for a frontline light fighter but it operated the Tiger II as part of training and aggressor aircraft in limited quantities.
Many F-5s continue to serve as frontline aircraft into the 190s and 2000s and have undergone a wide variety of upgrade programs to keep pace wit the changing combat environment.
Wolfpack Design is a relatively new Korean aftermarket company specializing in resin detail sets for the aircraft genre. However, in a short period of time, they have released a lot of detail sets covering NATO-based aircraft, including the Tiger II.
Now the Tiger II kit itself is a pretty old kit. There have only been 2 manufacturers (that I know of) who has done the Tiger II; ESCI and Monogram (both defunct). Releases since the originals came out in the 1970s have always been one of these two molds, with the Monogram being the better of the two. Being a kit of its time, it has raised panel lines and pretty simple breakdown of parts. But it did build into a decent enough Tiger II as the shape was quite accurate.
The Wolfpack Design F-5E Tiger II Update set does exactly what it says, it provides the parts necessary to update the venerable kit into on of the current versions of Tiger II that are still operational in the world’s air forces including Brazil, Chile, Singapore and the ones operated by the USAF, USN and USMC (a full list of current Tiger II operators can be found here).
The set itself is simple enough. In the sturdy black box is just 10 parts with a full color A5-sized instruction sheet. Parts included are:
Combinations of these 10 parts will allow me to build almost every modern derivative of the Tiger II. The parts are molded in a light grey resin and are casted very nicely with absolutely no bubbles that I can see. Resin pour tabs to be removed are all easily cut away and I foresee little trouble in fitting this set to the Monogram kit. Wolfpack Design specifically states that this set is for the Monogram Tiger II. I don’t have the ESCI molding so I’m not sure whether this set will fit.
The instructions are very clear and concise and the best part, it tells you which parts you will need to use for each operator’s Tiger II as not all countries modified their Tigers the same way. Nice.
Unless you’re willing to do some scratchbuilding, I think this set is a must for any Tiger II fan!
The mass production capacity of the Federation basically churned out hundreds of GMs in a few short months and these were quickly introduced to the fronts, thus ensuring the Federation’s victory in the One Year War.
This is my first kit done only with spraypaint. Some mods done to improve the proportions, including lengthening the arms and the legs. The end result is a very tall (about half a head taller than the standard kit) and lithe-looking kit. List of mods include: Visor on head and slight reshaping of whole head
Very mild weathering was done. And not done very well I must say. The panel lining’s very roughly done. Need to find a better way of doing it actually. No drybrushing at all. I wanted to get it out of the way before it started to bog me down hehe.