The first build of 2024 is Japan’s indigenous F-16 variant, the F-2 Viper Zero. Hasegawa usually makes some extra effort with Japanese subjects, let’s see how this one builds up.
First impressions are mixed. This mold is from 1998 but it’s barely more detailed than the F-16 that’s from the 1980s. A plus is that I’m used to building the Hasegawa F-16 by now so this is very familiar territory.
Since I can’t leave it well enough alone, I dressed up the ejection seat with plastic card and masking tape. I referenced a resin aftermarket seat for the details.
Now the cockpit definitely looks much busier.
And after some careful decaling and painting I think it look quite OK.
The old Hasegawa decals reared their ugly heads with their tendency to shatter when wet. This kit provides two sets of console decals though because there’s an option to build the twin-seater F-2B. I sprayed a thick layer of lacquer gloss coat on the spare set and it helped to keep the decals together. They were still fragile but they didn’t shatter on their backing.
As mentioned, the detail levels are similar to the F-16 kit but there are more injection pin marks. These were filled with plastic card that I punched out. Sanding them smooth took some work due to how narrow the spaces are in some spots.
As with the F-16, details are sparse in the wheel bay. But just like that kit, I decided to attach the main landing gear upfront to get an easier and stronger fit. I just have to be more careful about it going forward.
The intake section comes as five parts with the inlet being a short plug (again, just like their F-16 kit). The two main halves of the intake is butt-jointed so I added two small pieces of plastic card to act as alignment guides.
Due to how it’s designed, the back end of the intake assembly narrows which leaves some smapp gaps around how it joins the fuselage. I added an expansion rod for a better fit.
As I’m modeling an anniversary special marking F-2A, I will be leaving out all the weapons. Unfortunately this means all the pylons will look bare as they are designed to have weapons attached to them. I chiseled out a ‘through’ on each of the pylons and added some details with plastic card. It’s not 100% accurate but I think the look is much improved now.
This particular F-2A also had the underwing pylons mounted. As you can see, these have pins for attaching to the stores.
I did the same modifications as the wingtip pylons and used trimmed triangle plastic rod to replicate the sway braces.
Again it’s not accurate but it looks better now than the default.
Like more modern offerings, Hasegawa offers the single or twin seat configuration as forward halves to join to the back half of the top fuselage. Also a more modern and welcome feature is attaching the horizontal stabilizers via polycaps. This part has always been a bugbear for my whenever I dealt with the F-16 kit.
Putting the two halves together I noticed a substantial gap where the cockpit bulkheads meet up. I decided to leave this as is after considering that the ejection seat would block most of this gap. Note that I attached the canopy raising brace as an added detail (the instruction says to leave it off if the canopy is closed) as I felt the area is too bare.
Fitting overall has been good although I did use clips to hold the wings in place and at the proper angle while the cement cures.
Again, like the F-16, Hasegawa chose to mold part of the exhaust on the fuselage (for which I still don’t understand why). The nozzle itself fits positively but is oddly molded in the closed position. I believe the nozzle is usually only in the this position when the engine is on or in the air.
The canopy has a seamline running down the middle which needs to be removed. This was done with scraping of the raised line and sanding with progressively finer sponges and then dipping into XXX. This is the first time I’m trying this product. It’s quite a bit thicker than Future Polish but dried nicely into a glossy shine.
I have a tendency to forget this step but I did a dryfit of the canopy this time. Thankfully I did this time because the canopy brace got in the way of the canopy closing! I had to trim down both the brace and the inside of the canopy where there is a slot for the brace to attach to. This had to be done very carefully as clear parts are more brittle than the others.
I decided to replace the HUD with clear acetate from a battery blister pack and adding aurora film onto it to replicate the prismatic look of the HUD glass. The HUD mounts were triangles cut out from 0.18mm plastic card. The result looks much better.
The canopy took some finessing to fit properly which makes me think that it’s really meant to the posed open. While I was doing this I managed to break off one of the AOA probes on the side of the nose
I also added all the small extras on the it like the various RWR blisters and antennas. In the process of futzing around with the fit of the intake, I managed to sand off the small antenna dome just aft of the nose gear wheel well. I replaced it with a round mold part from Kotobukiya.
My planned build will be a single color so painting should be straightforward.
Pt.1 – Construction | Pt. 2 – Painting & Finishing