Like all of their Macross series kits, Hasegawa engineered the kit to be done up in pretty straightforward subassemblies. I decided to do them up as much as possible before the painting process.
As usual, we begin with the cockpit. It’s quite sparse but should be OK with the pilot figure in it.
Next up, the (really) big fuselage. The engineering for this kit is abit odd. The top is fine. But the bottom is designed like a shell, with all the details in stage 1 (see below) being covered CFTs (stage 2) and integrated weapon pods (stage 3).
After the fuselage is done, I notice a huge gap at the back of it which is odd. I think what becomes the bottom plate here is the shield when the VF-22S is in Battroid mode.
I decided not to follow the instructions where you have to assemble the front section separately. I figure the fit would be better if I cemented the upper portion of the front section to the fuselage first, then fit the bottom portion. If there are any gaps or misalignment, at least it would appear at the bottom of the kit, easier to ignore. 😛
Crap. It’s been almost 3 months since I did anything else to this build. Today, I finally got around fixing the demarcation lines. And boy did I have a ‘great’ time doing it.
First I used blutack to mask all over the kit. And ended up not doing anything to it for 3 weekends. And what happened? For some reason the blutack left some sort of residue that of course, couldn’t be rubbed off. So I ended up having to spray everything all over again.
So what I did was for each color, I’d slowly blutack and spray to fix the soft camouflage pattern. Took awhile. Over 3 weekends in fact. But I… am… done! In the process however, I lost the shade of green I originally used, so I ended up respraying all the green again. I also quickly masked off the grey parts and sprayed that on too. The left stablizer also fell off but that’s a small easy fix. So all the major parts (except for the parts that need to be white) are… done! BOO YEAH!
Here’s a before and after look at the camo:
Up next will be the rest of the detail parts. Won’t be long now. Won’t be long…
Another 3 months has gone by and we have moved to our own place. Ongoing house matters put this on the backburner. Now it’s back on the worktable.
Gear has now been painted and ready for assembly. Unlike some modelers, I don’t even try to mask the wheels before painting the tires. I just freehand everything. Carefully. Aircraft kits tend to have a lot of itty-bitty parts so this might take awhile even after everything has been put together.
I… am… edging… closer… to… finishing!
Typically for me, something bad happens to my builds about 70% into the project. I’d then have to spend some time and elbow grease to fix the problem(s). I thought it won’t happen for this one, seeing as how I was 90% into the build. But Mr. Murphy must have known and well… disaster has struck.
In my zeal to quickly finish this thing, I decided to use spray paint to finish the inside of the air intake. And in my zeal to get it over quickly, the spraypaint ended up being too thick. Sigh… so now the air intake looks like something exploded in it and messed up the lip.
After looking at it for 15 minutes, I realized there’s only 2 things that can be done:
Of course, I also realized I should have keep them separate in the first place. But I’m an idiot.
Both aren’t easy solutions, but I’m leaning towards the latter. Which still bugs me either way. More delay! Pah!
Back to the Viper! Now it’s time for all the itty-bitty details. First up are the weapons. Aggressor aircraft are usually armed with one inert AIM-9 Sidewinder and an ACMI (Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation) pod. I got these from Hasegawa’s Aircraft Weapons Sets C and D respectively. The inert (blue) bands are not included so I had to mask off and paint the bands.
Inert rounds and ACMI pods come in a variety of colors actually. Red, blue, white and various shades of grey. I went with grey as it’s the color shown in my reference photos.
Spent the last two evenings doing the decals. These are aftermarket from Two Bobs.
I must say these are very nice compared to Hasegawa ones. They are very thin and handle Mark Softer very well. There is tissue residue around the decals which I hope won’t cause silvering. I’ll have to wipe down the kit with a damp lint-free cloth when I’ve given it some time for the decals to dry.
After this is weathering!
All decals on! And I must say there is some silvering of the decals. So I did another round of gloss coat. Looks quite OK now. Minute silvering in some angles but it’s much much better now.
And this was when I realized the instructions on Two Bob’s decal sheet was wrong! The checkerboard pattern is not supposed to be on the tip of the tailfin as depicted on the instructions. It’s supposed to be slightly below. Sigh… that’s what I get for not looking at enough reference photos. Too late to fix it now.
Anyway, before commencing with weathering, I glued on the landing gear. Which isn’t how I normally do things. Normally I’d weather everything before putting them all together but I couldn’t resist. Let’s hope I won’t regret doing it this way.
I did leave out the weapons, the pitot tube and some of the smaller antennae blades till after weathering though.
The details in the gear wells are actually quite bare compared to the real thing, but it should look much better after a wash.
I use artist oil diluted with turpentine for my wash. Took me a lot longer than I used to. Probably rusty. I ended up making the wash too thick so I had to spend some time removing excess oil paint. I’ve also forgotten how badly turpentine smelled. Lots of ventilation required!
The wash makes the panel lines pop out which isn’t realistic by any means (friendships have been broken over this sort of thing). However, I chalk it up to artistic license as I find it gives the whole kit a more 3D-look.
I added the final touches to the kit. This includes the remaining antennae blades and the weapons. The ACMI pod and Sidewinder are mounted with CA glue.
Another small detail that Hasegawa left out of their mold is the AOA (Angle Of Attack) vanes. These are very small needle-like protrusions on each side of the nose. Based on a suggestion by good friend Gerald, I cut out the tips off safety pins to simulate the probes. Then I drilled holes onto the radome and CA glued the tips into place. These are then painted the same grey as the radome.
There’s also the matter of the static dischargers on the tailfin, wings and stabilizers. I tried fishing line but it’s so thin the CA glue had nothing to stick on. I’m considering brass rod, stretched sprue or copper wire. Who knows, something else might popup.
I’m planning to enter this kit to the 7th Jakarta Miniature Model & Expo held by Peter & Partner, a local model shop so right now I’m debating if I should add a simple base for it. Something along the lines of this. First though, I better make sure I finish this before 6 December (last day of registration).
I say. This project has been ongoing (mostly off) for almost 3 years! Who would have thunk. Time sure flies. Anyhow, before I get bitched to death by my friends who know about this project, I decided I really have to finish this one. So anyhow, I still don’t have a proper workdesk, but I lugged my compressor to the porch and started spraying on the steps. And here’s what I got so far after an hour.
There’s still some mistakes here and there but I thought, what the heck. I have to finish this quickly or it’ll forever in my Projects list.
I must say it’s quite fun to finally be able to airbrush again. I was very rusty though. Just look at the left wing which was where I started. The preshade’s very roughly done. Normally my preshades are quite roughly done, but this one is really quite bad heh. By the time I got to the right wing though, I was starting to get the hang of controlling my double action airbrush again. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will hold. Then can slap on the camouflage colors!
Painting commences. The camouflage I am going to do is the ‘Flogger’ scheme, which tries to replicate the MiG-23/27 Flogger color scheme as flown by ex-Eastern-Bloc Air Forces. Markings will be from TwoBobs’ 48-001 ‘Fighting Fulcrum’ sheet. The sheet includes a camouflage guide which I use to trace the camo pattern onto the kit with a soft pencil.
Strangely though, some of the camouflage do not match up when put onto the kit so I did some guesstimation and compromised some here and there to get the final guides done.
The weather turned out to be good. It was dry and sunny out. So on with the lightest color first. And that would be light brown. I decided to use Buff straight from the bottle. After about an hour or so of spraying, the rain clouds started gathering, which in turn turned up the humidity, which in turn cauased water to seep into my airbrush, which in turn caused it to spray water onto my kit instead of paint. Damn. Had to stop after only magaing to finishing up the bottom. Oh well.
After I was done, I compared the resulting color I got with a reference picture I got from Airliners.net. The Buff turned out to be too yellowish. Gotta figure out a way to fix it in the next session.
While I know that colors of the real aircraft differs in each photo, I think mine differs way too much to be excused heh.
Painting continues. Today I originally planned to repaint the light brown. But then after the sun, I noticed that… hey… the color’s not that bad! Sure it lacks a bit of the reddish tone that the reference pic had, but at least it doesn’t look too yellow under the sun. So I decided to leave it as is since after my planned oil wash, the light brown will tone down considerably.
So on to the second color: dark brown. This is also straight from the bottle Vallejo Model Color ‘Red Brown’. While it turned out to be lighter than what I wanted, again the planned oil wash will tone down the shade.
The demarcation lines are all done freehand. Badly I might add. I really need to remaster my airbrush. As it is, the lines are really soft. More suitable for 1/35 scale. Reference photos show relatively tight demarkation lines. Not solid, just a bit soft. Grrr… looks like I will have to take out my stash of bluetack and do the demarkation lines that way.
Anyway, hopefully I can add the final camouflage color tomorrow.
Well it rained the next day so I had to defer the 3rd color till this weekend. And this one was quickly finished up.
I must say the green is now much easier to put on than the two previous colors. I’ll chalk it up to being more used to airbrushing again I guess.
Based on the reference photo, my demarcation lines are too soft. To be honest, I don’t have that much confidence I can make them sharper by freehand. So after I have allowed some time for the paint to cure (mostly likely a week heh), I’ll take out my bluetack and proceed to do guides so I can respray the lines.
It’s been a while heh. I always get bogged down in the sanding process but anyhow, finding some spare ball joints in my GM Quel resin kit spurred me to fix the one glaring problem with this project: the broken neck.
The original fix (August 30 entry) I did worked somewhat. The head would fit OK but it can’t tilt nor turn. With the ball joint, it would get back its mobility. For the head, I used a chisel to carefully and slowly scrape of plastic to make space for the female part of the ball joint. Then a healthy amount of super glue is used to fix it in place. Then I drilled a hole in the torso to fit the male part of the ball joint. It’s also fixed into place by super glue.
It has been raining almost everyday so the environment wasn’t condusive for painting. But it’s almost done! Except of course, more things to fix. Sigh. The pic on the right are some of them that require a final fixing before I can proceed. Bring on the sandpaper!
I try to build my kits with ease of painting in mind. So the more the parts that can be taken apart and painted separately the better. But alas, this being a HG kit, this is not possible so I have to settle with at least some masking, which is what I did below with the leg actuator parts.
This being the holiday period, I hope I have enough time to fix all of the problems and at least be ready for decaling by the new year. Heh. Wish…
I am finally onto the decal stages for this one. Although there are still some parts to fix, I decided to decal the ones that are all set.
I don’t really like to add too many decals to my kits. For one thing, it’s distracting to the overall lines of the kit, and for another, I’m a lazy bum who doesn’t like to deal with too many of them.
Because access to Gunze gloss coat is hard here, I decided to popby Ace Hardware to see whether there was an alternative. I found Krylon Preserve it! which was used for paper and photographs. Checking out the label, it says it would work for plastics so what the heck, I decided to try it.
And it actually works better than Gunze gloss! It’s cheaper too by the can! It dries into a very smooth and slippery glossy sheen which I couldn’t achieve with the Gunze-branded one. Nice.
I cut up the leg joints up so the lower leg can twist independently from the thighs. I find it gives the GM a better look. The cutting is quite rough so I’ll probably need to do some fixing to make the break in the joint less obvious.
To allow the legs to be pushed further back for a wider leg pose, I added 1mm to the butt plate (for lack of a better word). I then cut a length of paper clip to replace the male part I cut away. I then extended the forearms by 1mm each. 1.5mm makes them look too long. I prefer my mecha looking with longer legs, helps to make them look slimmer.
I tried extending the neck 1mm and dammit, I lost the PC nub for the head. Since I didn’t have my spares with me at the moment, I fashioned a new nub with epoxy putty. Then it’s a matter of sanding down till the head fits. 😛 The head itself I added a hood above the visor. This idea is blatantly stolen from Erix93 heh. I also carved out some of the bottom of the head to give it a nicer shape. The original looks like a helmet to be honest. Lastly, the visor was dipped in Future Floor Polish for a supershine. Can’t really see the effect from the photo though, but rest assured, it’s shiny.
More work done to fix the proportions. The epoxy putty ball to replace the lost PC was carved so the head can fit on it. The visor in the head is now masked to facilitate primer and paint. One last mod is thickeing the top of the shoulders by 1mm. So the shoulders won’t look ‘droopy’.
And I’m now more or less done. Below are before and after pics of the kit. The open palm is from the Cold District GM. The design is different from the GM’s so I’m sure whether I’ll use it the end. For now it’ll have to do.
All that’s left is adding some panel lines to detail up the kit a bit. Then it’s the tedious task of sanding and priming, sanding and priming…