I finished 8 kits in 2019.
That’s less than 2018 and again falling short of my target of 12. I actually had the 9th kit on the finishing stages but a last minute disaster means I’ll only be able to finish it in 2020.
My favorite build of 2019 was definitely the VF-1S Super Strike Valkyrie because I’m a sucker for heavily armed mecha and I think the result is very striking (heh).
The most trouble-free build was definitely the A-36 Apache. Even the usually problematic sharkmouth decal went on without a hitch.
For 2020 I’ve decided to be less ambitious and target 10 completed kits.
OK, some stats about my site:
- I made 55 posts totaling 25,232 words. So I’m writing more but at a smaller frequency than in 2019. Quality over quantity? Heh.
- 2019 saw 22,725 views from 9,983 visitors. That’s an improvement of 8% and 9% over 2018.
- The most viewed 2019 work is the Italeri 1/72 Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-37B Ferret E. This is a big surprise for me but I guess my visitors like more esoteric subjects.
- The most viewed post is Scale model shopping in Akihabara, Tokyo. Modelers are shopaholics too!
- The most viewed WIP post was WIP : AFV Club 1/48 F-5E Tiger II Pt. 1 – Construction. An old post from 2017.
Curiously, there were visitors to the Shelf Queens page which really only lists my shelf of shame. 😀
Overall I get less interest from my non-Macross mecha kits compared to my aircraft builds. I think it might be because I share more of my aircraft builds in Facebook Groups than the other subjects.
So what’s in store for 2020? More of the same I think, with hopefully just as detailed WIPs that I’ve started doing in 2019. They take some effort to do since they can break the building momentum but I like seeing WIPs of people’s builds so it’s my way to ‘pay it back’.
Finished, not perfect. Finished, not perfect. Onwards to 10 builds for 2020.
Markings: Kit + Custom
The SAFS MK.III Rapoon is a reconnaissance variant of the SAFS MK.III Raptor deployed by the mercenary forces.
Yep. That’s all I know. There’s a general lack of translated information about Ma.K stuff 🙂
This kit was released in 2017. I believe it’s the first time the Rapoon has been issued in injection form. Like all Wave injection kits, the plastic is rather soft although the details are quite sharp. Other details I note:
- The kit comes in 140 or so dark red parts including 2 clear parts
- The joints and the hoses are made from polycap material so there is (limited) poseability
- There is an open cockpit option with 2 types of pilot heads
- The left arm can be a laser or a normal manipulator
- The nose sensor assembly is in a fixed position
- Assembly guide is a booklet type
- The decal sheet offers multiple options as usual and is nicely printed
All in all, the usual Wave Ma.K product. Based on experience, the fit will be so-so and the limbs will be slightly loose even with the use of polycaps.
The kit is advertised as snapfit. As per usual with Wave kits though, cement helps greatly: do not expect Bandai levels of engineering here. It’s also advertised as poseable and comes with polycaps for the joints but these are not stiff like what you get from Bandai. The range of poseability is very limited and loosen quite quickly.
The joint covers are also made from polycap material which do not paint well so in the end I decided on a pose, cemented everything in place, then replaced the joint covers with ones made from epoxy putty.
Colors & Markings
Since the Rapoon is a ground unit I went with ground-based camo. I picked a random green and gray color in my collection and free hand sprayed the colors. I then lost my momentum and left it aside for a few months in that painted state.
After finally deciding to get off my butt and finish this thing, I added the decals then I went ahead with the sponge chipping. Doing this from the beginning will make paint chips look older once other weathering steps are done. I did the panel wash with diluted raw umber oil paint.
Once dried I went ahead to filter with blue and yellow then faded with white oil paint. Smudges and streaks were also added using Starship Filth oil paint from Mig AMMO. The feet were weathered using a light brown color (Dusty Earth from Mig AMMO).
Once pinned to the base, I did final weathering with a pigment mixture on the legs and the base to tie everything together.
And I’m done. What should have been my fifth finished kit is now my last one of the year.
Number 8 of 2019
Time to finish this kit. Seamlines aren’t hidden and need to be addressed.
The areas in shadow were pre-painted in black before assembly.
Black base as usual to begin.
Marble coating with white. Nothing too precise though.
I went with a ground-oriented color scheme with red pauldrons.
The joint covers were handpainted in medium gray.
To replicate older chips, I added chipping at this stage with a sponge.
Decals on after a coat of gloss. These are a mix of the kit markings and a ‘noseart’ girl decal from a Modelkasten sheet.
The panel lines were then given a wash of diluted raw umber oil paint.
Next up is fading and adding streaks using Mig AMMO oil brushers.
I first faded the surface with white. I randomly dotted the surface and using a damp flat paintbrush blended the white into the surface.
I did the same with yellow and blue. This helps to reduce the contrast between the decals and the main kit. It also adds variations to the finish.
Starship Filth was used for smudges and streaks.
I decided to go for more fading on the feet with Dusty Earth.
This also adds a dust looking tint on the legs. More work will need to be done after pinning the kit to the base.
The base is similar to what I’ve done for my Gustav build but I added cork to the base so it’s easier to pin the Rapoon. I added a bit of an incline so it looks like the Rapoon is running upwards.
Besides adding a pin on the sole I also attached the leg to the cork using hot glue.
For the ground surface I used Vallejo Thick Mud – Light Brown.
I then pressed Woodland Scenics pebbles and sand in random spots.
Once dry I painted everything AK Interactive Black Grey, Model Color German Camo Medium Brown, then AK Interactive Dust.
I then added Citadel washes with their odd names but they are basically, red brown, dark brown and black.
I then randomly drybrushed with Game Color Bonewhite and AK Interactive Dust.
I mixed the 2 shades of grass tufts I have and added with PVA glue in random spots.
Then it was time to dust the feet with a 4 shade concoction.
I dusted both the feet and the base itself so the colors will match closer.
And I’m done! As usual, it took longer than usual due to inertia on my part.
This is actually my 4th go at the ‘new’ mold Hasegawa F-14 kit. The less said about the first 3 disasters the better. Anyway I hope to break the cycle with this one. The kit includes all the parts for the various iterations of the F-14 through its 30 years of service so I’ll be basing the configuration of the F-14A+ Kai on what I can see on the screencaps. Here we go…
My copy of the kit has old-ish decals so I decided to go with the PE control panels instead.
These are just a tiny bit too wide and the recesses for the boarding steps on the left fuselage get in the way of the control panels from fitting flush.
I added some plastic plates to raise the angle of the control panels so they clear the recesses.
The boarding steps required a bit of sanding to fit flush. The NACA-style gun vents are… not great.
After carefully trimming the flash, sprue marks and thinning the parts, I managed to get them to fit OK. The corners on both NACA door parts aren’t sharp though so will need to be addressed.
I used plastic plates as guides so the 2 parts align properly.
Like almost all my Macross kits, I will be building this kit gear up. I decided to ‘close’ each of the gear doors before putting both fuselage halves together.
Again, plastic plates are used on the inside to use as alignment guides.
A dryfit shows a gap in between the doors. Something to fix later.
A lot of plate work for alignment.
I dryfit the nose section to the fuselage and like all 3 of my previous failures, there is a small gap right where the 2 parts join. I used to simply slap on a lot of putty and sand everything away. I’ll see if there’s another way to fix this.
I attached the wing glove vanes closed. These will need to be blanked off after both halves of the fuselage come together.
Before the 2 halves can fit together though, parts of the molded on main gear well need to be trimmed off.
The kit comes with the F-14A/B wing glove ECM fairings molded on. These need to be trimmed off.
The screencap shows however that the other fairing is present on both sides so these were attached.
The top and bottom speed brakes were trimmed and fitted into the aft fuselage.
Once fitted together I added the beaver tail. The F-14A+ Kai uses the modern version with the ECM bump and fuel dump pipe.
I decided to drill out the the fuel dump pipe. The hole is wider in real life but I’m afraid my limited dexterity won’t be able to pull it off.
This is proving to be a long build. Yay.
Brand: Tamiya 60788
The Lockheed Martin (originally General Dynamics) F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter. It currently serves in no less than 25 nations, with over 4,400 aircraft built. Commonly known as the ‘Viper’, it features innovations including a frameless, bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control while under high g-forces, and reclined seat to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot. It is also the first fighter to be built to sustain 9-g turns.
The F-16CM is the USAF’s designation for its fleet of Block 40/42 F-16CG/DG and 50/52 F-16CJ/DJs that have gone through the Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP). The program seeks o standardize all the avionics and hardware configuration to simplify training and maintenance. With CCIP, the CM (DM for the two-seaters) can now carry the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod, employ GPS-guided weapons, the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), employ the AIM-9X Sidewinder and radar upgrades.
The build depicts 92-3884, an F-16CM Block 50P in 35th FW Wing Commander color markings from the 13th Fighter Squadron ‘Panthers’ in 2010. The squadron is part of the 35th Fighter Wing, 5th Air Force, flying out of Misawa Air Base, Japan. The 13th FS F-16s carry the ‘WW’ tailcode, which refers to the ‘Wild Weasel’ Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) mission the squadron specializes in. With the transition from the F-16CJ/DJ to the F-16CM/DM, there is now the additional Destruction of Enemy Air Defences (DEAD) capability. 92-884 wears the more colorful markings of the 5th Air Force commander.
In 2014, Tamiya release an all-new tooling of the F-16CJ. Curiously though, it came without the ’things under the wings’, not even the ubiquitous fuel tanks and pylons. Then in 2015, they released the same exact kit but with ‘full weapons’. This is a popular kit of a popular subject and there are tons of previews already online so I’ll just add some observations:
- It’s a proper Tamiya kit so as expected, details and molding are very nice
- With parts swapping, you can build a pre or post CCIP Block 50 F-16C
- Kit is missing the JHCMS sensor inside the canopy but that’s a very minor detail
- A nicely molded pilot is included but it lacks the JHCMS helmet
- The canopy is clear instead of tinted which is accurate to the modern F-16s
- Like its 1/48 brother, there are 2 panels on the rear fuselage that are molded separately. I still have no idea why this was done
- Weapons include: 2x AIM-120 AMRAAM, 2x AGM-88 HARM, 2x AIM-9X Sidewinder, 2x AIM-9L Sidewinder, 2x HTS pod (left and right mounted versions), ALQ-184 ECM pod, Sniper Targeting pod (in clear plastic)
- 3 fuel tanks are included (2x wing and 1x centerline)
- Various minor ejector pin marks on the landing gear doors and missiles
- Markings are included for 3 F-16s and all the stores. The color call outs are wrong though as at least 2 of the F-16s depicted have switched to the simpler 2-tone gray camouflage
- Option for an open canopy
- The intake is detailed for 1/72 but overly engineered because of it with quite a few seamlines to deal with
- A very nicely done information sheet about the F-16 is included
Whlle the breakdown of parts indicate that other F-16 versions would be forthcoming, Tamiya hasn’t done so as of this writing (2019). In any case, this is a superb kit.
It’s a Tamiya kit. Nuff said.
Out of the box, there are parts to replicate the SEAD/DEAD capable F-16CM although it lacks the smart bombs to be ‘accurate’. I added a BRU-57 dual resin bomb rack from Reskit for this.
Construction was painless for the most part. Some problem areas for me:
- The intake assembly is over-engineered and required a bit of planning to get right. In the end though, I didn’t manage to do a flawless job with it. But so long as you don’t stare into the intake, it’s fine.
- While it makes for a stronger fit, I don’t like assembling the landing gear from the beginning. It’s just asking for trouble really.
- Compared to the rest of the kit, the ejection seat is simplified but I think it’s because Tamiya really wants me to stick the pilot on it.
- There’s a hole on the starboard fuselage that needed to be opened so I can stick a small vent into it. It’s small and quite a handful to attach properly though because I also needed to putty over some panel lines around the area.
These aren’t major issues with this build. In fact, I’d take this kinds of problems any day (looking at my Hasegawa F-14 kit grimly).
Colors & Markings
As mentioned above, the color call outs are wrong. The 2 CCIP F-16s (with the ‘bird slicers’ in front of the canopy) should be in 2-tone gray instead of 3-tones. Tamiya still only lists their own colors on the instructions but the F-16 doesn’t require any special colors so it’s quite straightforward to find the colors from other brands.
I went for a more subtle marbling coat using gray instead of white and I think it suits a 1/72 subject better. The results still look quite patchy though so it’s something to look at in later builds.
For the panel wash I went back to using diluted raw umber oil paint as I didn’t want to deal with Mig AMMO Panel Wash’s smell. After cleaning the panel wash, I think I prefer the deeper brown of my bottle of Mig AMMO Deep Brown Panel Wash. Let’s see how I can replicate that same shade with odorless oil paint. I did some random dot filtering using white oil paints to add more variations to the finish. I also used the white oil paint to try to lighten the lighter gray tone on the nose.
Once cured and given a flat coat, it was time to add the things under the wings. First the landing gear (which was detailed but finicky), then the sensor pods, then the pylons and lastly the wing stores. Each was given some time to cure before the next one was attached either with cement of Gator Glue.
Last on as usual were the antennas (only 1 thankfully) and the pitot tube.
So this build has been slow but it’s just due to the many parts of this kit. It fits great and I really like the details especially compared to the much older Hasegawa F-16. If only all the kits in the stash are like this one.