Brand : Hasegawa 65718
Scale : 1/72
Media : Styrene
Markings : Kit
The VF-0 is a development variable fighter pressed into service during the Mayan conflict in 2008 (as depicted in the OAV Macross Zero). Introduced in 2004, it is a trial production and testbed using Overtechnology for future variable fighters like the VF-1 Valkyrie. Originally tasked with tests and research, production was ramped up and pressed into combat service in 2008 against the Anti-UN Alliance.
The VF-0D is a two-seat delta winged variant designed for enhanced attack and electronic warfare capabilities. The larger wings increased air combat maneuverability and a 20% greater payload compared to the A/S variant. 18 VF-0Ds would eventually be produced.
This build depicts a VF-0D in a custom color scheme adapted from the Israeli Air Force’s F-15I Ra’am.
Macross Compendium : VF-0 Phoenix
Hasegawa released a flurry of kits after Macross Zero premiered with this kit being released in 2004. As usual with Hasegawa, the parts are crisply molded with fine panel lines. Details are nice although some ejection pin marks appear in places that boggles the mind: eg. in between the rear facing vanes on the tail. There are also a number of sink marks on some of the parts.
Engine faces are provided both in the (somewhat shallow) intakes and the exhausts which is a nice touch. Another nice touch is the inclusion of pilot figures. Two pylons are provided but no weapons are included.
Markings are for two fighters: Shin Kudo’s blue and gray VF-0D and a generic gray VF-0D.
Because of the color scheme I had in mind, I treated this build like a typical aircraft kit, leaving only the stores, head and exhausts separate until final assembly.
The kit wasn’t designed to be built wheels up so some minor modifications were required. I also approached the display rod differently this time with the intent to make it unable to swivel from side to side and to be detachable. My solution is a bit clunky and required minor adjusting to finally work but hey, it works without resorting to me gluing the rod into the kit itself.
Both wings attached with a step when installed into the fuselage and after trying to fair one of them without much luck, I decided to live with the steps as the wings do fold away during transformation. Stores-wise, ever since I saw a picture of an F-15I carrying a Rafael Popeye I decided that my VF-0D would be armed the same way but armed with two of them instead. The missiles and the datalink pod comes from the Skunkmodels IDF Weapons Set. The missile rails are from the Trumpeter F-100F kit. For air defense, I added a pair of AIM-120 AMRAAMs and mounted them on a dual missile rail. The pylon comes from the kit, with the missiles and rails from the JASDF Hasegawa Weapons Set and the dual rail from the Hobbyboss F-105G kit.
Barring the fit of the main wings, the build was straightforward with even the stores not presenting the usual problems like my usual 1/72 scaled builds.
Colors & Markings
I had always planned for this kit to wear the French Mirage 2000D color scheme of gray and green but after deciding on the Rafael Popeye loadout, I realized that the IAF three-tone color scheme would work very well too.
The primary paints for the color scheme were Vallejo, AK Interactive and Mig AMMO acrylics over a base of gray primer. This no black base with white marbling coat is a different approach for me. To add some variance in the finish, I also sprayed a lightened (of about 70%) version of each color. Although subtle, I think the result looks good. The black base method, which usually results in drastic tonal shifts with the colors painted over it which this method avoids. This results in touch-ups being easier to color match. The demarcations were all done with blu tack and was thankfully quite straightforward.
The decals from the kit are generic enough that I could get away with simply using whatever I needed. Unfortunately, even though the decals hadn’t yellowed, some of them started to shatter when I put them on the kit. I sprayed gloss coat over the whole sheet which helped somewhat but some decals still tore and had to be carefully ‘re-assembled’. Not ideal.
Not much was done besides the overall panel wash with AK Abteilung Starship Filth wash and some spot streaks and fading. I also added some staining around the left side of the cockpit and the landing gear doors.
The stores thankfully attached without any issues unlike most of my builds. The final parts on/off were the canopy masking, the clear parts on the nose and painting the wingtip lights.
This build took a lot longer than needed simply because of procrastination but is a very striking entry into my Macross collection.
Number 1 of 2022