Once properly painted, washed and weathered, the out of the box cockpit looks good.
Fit in general is good. The instructions don’t call for it but I added some fishing weights in the nose just in case.
The tip of the tail broke off during construction.
This was fixed with plastic plates.
As usual, some prepping is required for the intakes. The tip of the inlet cones were painted black then masked off as per the instructions. The rest was painted steel.
The intakes fit well and as expected, not much of the inside can be seen since they are so narrow.
So the details are great and the ailerons, flaps and rudder are kitted separately. However, there are injection pin marks all over them. Oof… ball dropped Hasegawa!
They are very close to the rivets too. Sigh…
Work begins using acrylic putty which can be wiped off with water.
Yep. There are many ejector pin marks including some on the main landing gear.
After a few rounds I’m ready to move on.
The wings were assembled and I decided to have the flaps slightly lowered. I’ve seen them both up and down on the tarmac but figured lowered looks more interesting.
The wingtip tanks are also over-engineered with each made up of 9 parts. The L4 and L5 fins didn’t fit properly but worse were the round disks part U5. These needed to fit before the 2 halves came together so I cemented them to 1 of the halves first. What’s not mentioned in the instructions is that these disks have an orientation for them to fit flushed.
I botched some of them so I simply sanded everything down smooth. The markings I’ll be using comes with decals for these disks so no problem with the lack of details.
I decided to close the speed brakes. These fit well though the gap on 1 side is bigger than expected. These were quickly filled with acrylic putty.
The stabilator is in 1 piece and there’s a hole on the bottom that I can’t find a use for. This was filled and sanded down. There’s also a big ejector pin mark here which was filled.
And of course, I dropped the kit and of course it landed nose down.
I fixed the best I could with sanding sticks. Looks OK but we’ll see.
I punched out a small round disk of G-Option Aurora Film for the HUD projector and chipped, washed and highlighted the cockpit.
The 3 part canopy was given a dip of Future, then masked off. Curiously, there’s no open canopy option so I cemented them in place.
Since they can pretty much snapfit into place, I’m leaving the main wings off until final assembly. In any case, once the minor gaps are addressed, it’s time for painting!
It’s actually quite strange that Bandai still hasn’t issued any of the Federation mobile suits in the MSV line but have done so for the much newer Origin MSV. Oh well, if I knew what’s going on, I’d be the product line manager for Bandai. In any case, I sought to modify the Origin MSV GM Cannon Space Assault Type into the original bog standard GM Cannon from MSV.
The kit is a P-Bandai limited release so it comes with a monochrome boxart. Besides the simplified instructions, everything is as it should be: sharply molded parts that snapfit without any issues.
To replicate the original GM Cannon’s legs, I took the legs from the GM Thunderbolt kit. Thankfully they attach without modifications.
I like the overall look but the thighs look ‘off’: too bulky. It also had canvas covered leg joints. I decided to see if I can modify the Space Type’s thighs to fit the GM Thunderbolt lower legs.
I began by keeping the knee sections on the Space Type’s lower legs, then experimented with plastic rod and plates for gribbling.
The ability to bend at the knees is retained but the assembly doesn’t snapfit into the lower legs. Nothing that cement 1.0 won’t fix.
Playing around with other sized rods, I managed to replicate some pistons. I also added a tab with plastic sheet on the bottom.
It now slots into the er… slot I made inside the lower leg. The inside of the lower legs were blanked off using plastic plate.
The pistons aren’t obvious once the leg is assembled but ‘I know it’s there’.
The side of the knee looked empty so I added minus molds from Kotobukiya for more detail.
I think the new leg looks better. Now I just have to replicate it for the other leg.
Part 1 – Construction | Part 2 – Construction
Trying to get my building routine going again, I decided to tackle a 1/48 kit next. This will be an F-104J flown by the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force dressed in ‘Aggressor’ markings in the 1970s.
I got this kit used from an online seller and it came with a set of aftermarket resin wheel bays from CMK. I decided to not use them though.
Some parts also came assembled and painted. Quite nicely done I might add.
I completed the ejection seat and cockpit which have nicely molded raised details.
Hasegawa has a reputation of making extra effort in designing kits operated by the JASDF and it shows here.
The details are sublime with very nicely done rivets.
A dryfit shows that overall fitting is good.
There’s a bit of a messy fit between the back of the main wheel bay and fuselage but it’s minor. The landing gear fits into the fuselage without cement using polycaps. Nice.
Check out the fit of the wingroot!
Time to finish this thing. First an overall gloss coat to prep for decals.
The AirDOC decals are printed by Cartograph and look very good. However, all the aircraft numbers and codes are individually printed and need to be added 1 at a time.
I decided to use the slime lights from the Hasegawa sheet instead. I’ll save the AirDOC ones for a better-made build.
64-1047 had a striking shark mouth painted onto its nose during its deployment. It took a healthy dose of Mark Softer to get the shark mouth to conform and luckily it was quite robust and didn’t tear.
The AirDOC sheet isn’t clear with the placement of the marking since it shows only 1 side of the subject so I had to guesstimate. I skipped some of the less obvious stencils and then it’s another gloss coat before weathering begins.
The panel wash is the usual Mig AMMO Deep Brown Panel Wash.
It smells compared to the usual oil paint I use but it’s pre-mixed so is more convenient.
After about an hour of drying, it was time to wipe off the excess panel wash. I’ve read that facial sponge works so I gave that a go.
It does clean better but the one I used started to break off in clumps when damp with turpentine. It also works when dry although some force is needed to get rid of the dried oil wash.
Then I added filters to be bring down the overall contrast. I used medium gray, red and blue oil paints for this using the oil paint dot method.
With a damp paintbrush I worked front to back on the wings and tailfin and top to the bottom on the rest.
The result is subtle, but the contrast between the main colors and the marble coats are reduced and because I added red in random places, those areas look slightly warmer. Those areas in blue become slightly cooler in tone.
Fading is next. I used white oil paint for this. I dotted random spots all over the kit.
Again working with a damped brush, I slowly blended the oil paint with short strokes. There are now subtle fading in the paint surfaces.
For the exhaust area I added a filter with deep brown and black oil paints. I made sure to do it in an up to down strokes.
I then faded some panels with white and then used thinned black oil and randomly splotched the exhaust areas.
I did not do fading on the bottom since I figure it won’t be as exposed to the Sun. But photos show the bottom gets stained towards the back so I splotched the area with thinned deep brown oil paint. I worked in stages to build up the stains by waiting for each layer to dry first.
After another day of drying, I gave everything a flat coat and can finally put everything together. The horizontal stabs fiction fit with no problem. The nose gear and door fit quite nicely but the main gear doors only butt join to the bays which requires some careful cementing. The inside door struts are too long and were cut to the correct length.
And of course, disaster struck. A drop of cement dripped onto the finishing. So out with the buffing pad then a quick spray of gunship gray.
Once the gear was secure I added the stores starting from inside out: belly tank, pylons, ECM pod then wing tanks.
The masking tape on the clear parts was then removed carefully. I did OK with the masking with only minor touch-ups required. There’s a step between the back of the pilot’s canopy and the middle frame which I have to live with. It was the best all round fit I could manage. There’s also dust behind the camera windows. I tried blowing them with a rocket blower with no luck. Any masking tape residue was cleaned off with a cotton bud soaked with airbrush cleaner. I also brushed Future on some of them to bring back some of the shine.
Last on were the wingtip lights that I handpainted and shined up with Future and the pitot tube. I can finally call this unexpectedly challenging build done.
Next up is (what I hope to be) a more relaxing build than the Fujimi RF-4C. This is another powered suit from Maschinen Krieger. This time, it’s a recon version of the standard SAFS.
Fit as usual is so-so with fairly obvious gaps. I went with the 2-armed option instead of a laser for the left arm.
Unlike the older SF3D/Ma.K Nitto kits, the PC joints are stiff and allows the kit to keep a fixed pose. I decided to go for a more dynamic running pose.
The kit can be broken down into subassmeblies for easier preparation.
To attach to the base, I need to insert a rod through the left foot. To make the rod more secure, I added a 0.5mm plastic plate inside the foot so there are more layers for the rod to go through.
The PC joints are as usual a material that doesn’t take paint well or easily trimmed so they need to be replaced with epoxy putty.
I haven’t found anything to replace the hoses but since they are so thin I will deal with them using weathering and washes instead.
I use a local 2-part epoxy putty called ‘Epoclay’ which is used for sculpting figures by hobbyists. Instead of replacing the PC joints I just wrap epoxy putty around them.
The joint folds were added by randomly pressing the flat end of a Tamiya stirrer into the still soft epoxy putty. Once dried, I’m left with a fixed posed kit.
THe newly wrapped partds fit back into the sockets with some trimming. Checking it with the base, I’m not sure if I want to add a bit of incline to the pose of the Rapoon. Doing so will give a clearer view of the front but I think it might look a bit unnatural.
For detailing, I added hoses from the back of the feet to the lower legs. The wires are from soldering wire and I added housings on the lower legs using Wave U-vernier option parts.
I also added details to the shoulder sensor (?) pod using Kotobukiya MSG option parts.
And I’m more or less done. Next is to fix the gaps (which there are quite obvious ones) and I can start painting.
Pt. 1 – Construction | Pt. 2 – Painting & Finishing