Manufacturer: Morr Models
Price: USD 104.95
The atmospheric booster was an optional attachment to send VF-1 Valkyries into space orbit. The booster is discarded once the Valkyrie reaches space. Advances in technology will eventually enable future variable fighters to reach orbit unassisted and render this equipment obselete.
I’ve had this kit for awhile now and have only gotten to previewing it now. I purchased this online from the Starship Modeler Store. It’s sculpted by John Moscato, who goes by the nick ‘Captain America’ in the Macrossworld Forums.
If the booster doesn’t look familiar to you, it’s because it appeared in the Macross TV series for less than 20 seconds onscreen. I vaguely remember the scene where a couple of these are launched into space. I don’t even remember if any of the protagonists were actually piloting them.
The kit comes in 39 pieces. It also comes with 2 small decal sheets and a letter-sized double-sided instruction sheet. First impression of the kit is that it is BIG. Parts are also in both white and tan resin for whatever reason.
The thruster bells are all one piece affairs with the smaller rockets all molded within them. You will need to attach the booster rings and the vanes separately. One very nice feature is the kit comes with 2 extra pieces of the rings and the vanes each. Just in case you screw up.
Casting details are not as crisp as those from the established resin companies (NeoGrade, SMS etc) but considering its source as a home-casted product, I’m perfectly fine with it. Nothing that some finesse, putty and sandpaper can’t fix. The rivets are abit too shallow for me so I might just fill them up with epoxy and rescribe.
The VF-1 kit will need to have some parts replaced with resin pieces. These are mainly the intake/leg section as they need to fold a specific way before they can be fitted on the booster.
I dry-fitted the intake to the Hasegawa part and the fit is very good even without clean-up.
The instruction sheet is very clearly done by a fellow named ‘Tyranus’. There’s also a handy guide on which parts you need to leave out on the Hasegawa VF-1. 2 things I noticed from perusing the instructions:
The decals look to be ALPS printed although the backing is thicker than what I’ve seen. The colors are also washed out, especially the red on the UN Spacy chevron. I’ll see if I can replace them.
By now you’ll realize that this is NOT a complete kit as you will need to add a Hasegawa VF-1 Valkyrie kit as the command vehicle. It also doesn’t come with a stand so you’ll need to figure out a way to display this. John Moscato actually has 2 additional options for this: the Launch Pylon and the humongous Launch Vehicle (which doesn’t come with the Launch Pylon). Some might not like this but I’m fine with it as it allows me the option to totally splurge or just get the booster and find another way to mount it by itself.
I’d like to end this preview by quoting Tyranus’ last sentence in the instructions:
The RGM-79L GM Light Armor was developed for hit-and-run raids and serves as a fast attack unit for the Federation Forces. It mounts the minimum amount of armor giving it better acceleration and maneuverability. Most notable about this variant is the lack of armor on the shoulders and ankles.
The GM Light Armor carries a beam gun that’s similar to the RX-78-2 Gundam. It is more powerful than the GM’s standard beam spray gun but holds less shots. Many former pilots turned mobile suit pilots favor the GM Light Armor due to its similarity with fighter aircraft.
The RGM-79L is part of the MSV line, which was an offshoot series of mobile suits designed by Kunio Okawara (the principal Mecha designer for Mobile Suit Gundam). MSVs are official mobile suit variants that help to expand the metaverse and to help sell more model kits. Curiously though, there never was any model kit for the RGM-79L in any scale. Until now.
I pre-ordered the kit so I paid slightly less than retail for it. When it arrived, it came in a plain black thick cardboard box. Nicely wrapped in bubble wrap were:
As mentioned above, the MG RX-78-2 Gundam ver. OYW kit is required as a base. The conversion changes the following from the kit:
It looks like this when completed:
I was very excited when Akohobby announced that they were developing this kit. After prototype pictures popped up, showing a conversion kit for the MG RX-78-2 Gundam ver. OYW (which IMO, is one of the best kits in the MG line), I decided I had to have one in my collection.
Molding for the resin parts are nice and flash free. The pour stubs are not located in any important areas and the parts themselves have nicely done panel lines to complement the existing OYW kit parts.
A very nice surprise is that the visor is molded with clear resin but the modeler has to figure out by themselves how to ‘glam’ that part up. Akohobby used their own ‘Aurora’ visor sticker for their sample kit. For whatever reason, Akohobby chose not to include a small sheet of visor sticker with this kit.
The metal parts are also very nicely casted and gives the whole kit a more polished look. Interestingly, the beam gun’s barrel is also a metal part and is superbly detailed.
The decals are nicely printed. Quality-wise, they are on par with Samuel Decal offerings. The markings come in various colors to suit various color schemes and there are 2 different unique unit markings provided.
While it’s certainly possible that Bandai will release their own version of the RGM-79L (with the RGM-79 v2.0 as a base), I have a feeling it will have a very old school look. Akohobby gave their RGM-79L a modern flavor without overly changing the basic look and design. The design is clearly not for everyone, but it will be a unique addition to anyone’s collection.
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.
Manufacturer: Moscato Hobby
First introduced in 2006, the MBR-04 series were the first combat-capable destroids. The Mk I Destroid, armed with rocket launchers and 2 arms, served as a basis for the variants. The Mk VI Tomahawk is the heaviest armed variant of the MBR-04 series. Deployed in 2007, there is no less than 7 different weapon systems on the Tomahawk.
The Destroid line quickly became obselete however when variable-technology was introduced. As such, Destroids became second-line units, assigned to garrison duties, riot control and more importantly, as mobile defensive weapons platforms for the SDF-1 Macross.
This is an extremely limited run resin model. I estimate there’s less than 100 in existence. How did I find it? The sculptor John Moscato hangs out in the Macross World forums and once in a while, he’ll do a limited run on his sculpts. I quickly jumped on the Tomahawk since it’s my favorite Destroid design. Old FASA Battletech players will also recognize the Tomahawk as the Warhammer, one of the most popular mech in that universe.
100 bucks isn’t cheap by any means, but receiving the kit I think it’s well worth it. A peek inside the box are: all the parts in 2 ziplock bags wrapped with a thin foam sheet and a decal sheet. No instructions here. It’s a garage kit so the instructions have to be downloaded from Moscato’s website.
I’m not really sure squeezing eveything into 2 ziplock bags is a good idea since there are some fine parts in the kit. In fact, those parts that are more fragile are put into a smaller ziplock bag which is itself put inside one of the 2 larger ones.
Anyhow, the parts are on the whole very nicely done. Rivet counters will love the intricate details Moscato did on the sculpt since the whole mecha has finely done rivets all over. I love the small details included: extra threads on the sides of the feet, fine engraved panel lines along some of the parts, removable missiles on the shoulder missile pack and even clear parts for the canopy!
Out of the box, the kit is meant to be a fixed pose model with brass rods working as pins but with some additional polycaps and joints from Kotobukiya, I’m sure some enterprising modeler can turn this into a fairly poseable kit. I plan to keep it fixed pose though. It also builds into a big bulky tank-looking mecha which is a very nice contrast to the more lithe and mobile Battroid Valkyrie.
One of the cooler options for the Tomahawk is the modeler is given the choice to pose the torso missile covers either open or closed. The missiles themselves are very nicely done and to be honest, it will be a shame to model the Tomahawk with the covers closed. I haven’t made up my mind either way yet.
This being a garage kit, I was expecting some problem areas. Most online reviews of this kit said that all the parts were excellent. I guess I’m just unlucky as one part in particular will require extensive repair. It has a very nasty gouge in it which will require quite a bit of putty to fill up. Besides that, I’ll need to add back the details the gouge managed to destroy. In addition, the end of the part was molded pretty badly so that needs some fixing too. One of the gun barrels was also slightly warped which should be easily fixed.
Oh well, it ain’t modeling if it ain’t challenging I guess.
The decal sheet is nicely done by what I think is from an ALPS printer. The markings are generic enough that I’m sure stuff from the spares box can be used on the Tomahawk should that be required.
All in all, I love this kit. It’s the only 1/72 kit of the subject in the market right now. I don’t really see Hasegawa ever doing any of the Destroids frankly. My Tomahawk can then happily stand next to my Hasegawa Valkyries and not look out of scale. It also helps that it looks proportion-wise, very good.[Update] A Carl J. Wampler has kindly emailed me about a mistake I’ve made. His email as follows:
Sir, I would like to point out in your Review of the John F. Moscoto Kit that you have made an Error in your review.
The Kit that you have reviewed is 1 of 2 versions that John had produced
The kit that you have reviewed was the Battle Damaged version of the Kit. I am Attaching Pictures of the Kit to show you why John did this, It had been Stated on Samari Monkey and on Macross world forums that both kits would be created. You received the 2nd run of the kits that John had created. So in Error to your Review, this is only the 2nd and Battle Damaged Production of the kit.
My bad then! I’m keeping my initial review as is though. But let the records show that the kit is perfectly fine.