I found a semi-built VF-1S Strike Valkyrie in my stash and decided I to finish it.
Turns out I’ve made quite a bit of progress with this one. But:
Around this time I chanced upon a configuration of the Strike Valkyrie that mounted 2 Super FAST packs under its wings. This variant comes from the Variable Fighter Master FIle ‘SDF-1 Macross VF-1 Squadrons’ book by SB Media and was referred to as the VF-1 S-FAST pack / Config ver. 1.1 w.
I decided to go crazy and mount 2 Strike and 2 Super packs on a VF-1 ie. a VF-1S Super Strike Valkyrie! This configuration however requires another Strike Valkyrie kit. So out one came from my stash.
I’m pretty much building one kit out of 2 boxes. It’s a waste but hey: plastic only.
So I quickly started with the parts I needed to replace from the first kit. First is the main fuselage. To hide the swing wing mechanism I covered the slots with Evergreen grated plate. I also cemented the swing-wing mechanism in place.
I made a simple mod on the inlet on the back (which is now facing the front when the FAST packs are mounted) with plastic plate. This hides the injection pin marks inside the part.
I couldn’t come up with an easy way to paint these after assembly so the exhausts had to be painted up and installed upfront.
Unlike more modern releases there is no wheels up option so the gear doors need to be modified to fit closed.
Thankfully, the main 2-part doors fitted well. The 3rd part, the one with the indent needed to be modified to fit. The base where the door attaches to when the landing gear is down needed to be removed totally before the gear door can slide in. I also had to cut the corner of the door to get a better fit.
With the gear doors closed, there’s now a gap between the 2 sections of the leg/engines so I added a small plastic plate to cover the gap.
The pilot is from the Hasegawa Macross weapon set. With such a crazy configuration the pilot HAS to be Milia Jenius right? The missiles and pylons will also come from this.
The pilot figure is actually male but I think once under the canopy it should be able to pass for a female. I think only hardcore Macross fans will recognize Milia’s helmet color anyway. 🙂
I added 0.2mm plastic plate spacers on the prongs at the back of the cockpit section for a better fit into the fuselage.
The head is mostly unseen except for the head laser barrels so these were drilled out.
Oof… it took quite a while to fix the gaps.
It was prime, fill, sand, buff, prime, fill, sand, buff over and over to finally get to the painting stage. I don’t think I did a banged-up job but it’ll have to do.
For the color scheme, I played around with the line-art and came up with the following. It’s not exactly a Soviet color scheme but I think it’ll be striking. It looks like a masking nightmare so I hope I can pull it off.
Colors begin with the usual black base.
Next a marble coat with white. I’m not sure how much of the marble coat will be visible once the camouflage is on so I made sure to add Glaze Medium to all the colors to make them less opaque.
The bottom and part of the top are one single color so these get tackled first with Mig AMMO Light Grey. With a color so light minor problems like scratches and spatters readily show up. These will be dealt with later.
For the digital camouflage, I decided to go from the dark to light colors so first on is Model Air Dark Panzer Grey which is really a very dark grey to the point of almost being black.
Then out with the masking tape to do the digital camouflage. Unfortunately I can’t see the immediate results until all 3 colors are painted on. So fingers crossed. 😀
Next is the dark blue using Game Air Sombre Grey.
Then more masking and the last color is Lifecolor Non Specular Blue Grey.
So how were the results? It turned out OK with no as much paint leak as expected. I think there needs to be less gray and more black though.
So I went back and added more camouflage. I think it looks better now. Not ideal but I’m moving on.
The stuff under the plane were also prepped and everything was gloss coated together. I lost one of my main wheels sp I modified the ones from the VF-0C kit to fit. They are the same height but different thickness. Luckily this is a fictional aircraft ey?
I kept the markings simple. The kit decals have degraded too much so I used markings from the Eagle Strike EP72092 ‘Sukhoi Su-27 641st Guards Fighter Aviation’ sheet. The stencils come from the Trumpeter Su-30MKK Flanker G kit. I also added a WWII-era Russian propaganda (??) marking on the starboard tail fin. This came from an Academy Il-2 Sturmovik kit.
Once wiped down and glossed the kit goes through the usual panel wash with Mig AMMO Deep Brown Wash.
While wiping off the panel wash, I managed to wipe off the paint on the peaks of sections on the bottom. /Face palm.
To blend the camouflage colors together, I did the oil paint dot filter method with white, dark gray, blue and yellow.
Once blended together, the contrast in the camouflage was reduced.
I then attached the (for lack of a better word) vanes in the exhaust area. Neither of their pegs fit into the their corresponding holes so I ended up cutting them off and butt joining with cement. I also sprayed some exhaust stains.
Next are the landing gear. The main gear doors are supposed to fit flush but they can’t due to the oleo on the landing gear. They also cannot be posed fully open because they would clear the bottom of the wheels. So I went with slightly opened instead. Since I couldn’t practically attach them without marring more of the painted surface, I left out the much smaller doors on the side. I took the opportunity to also patch up the paintwork that were stripped and re-weathered the areas.
I then handpainted the sensor bumps on the wingtips and fuselage before giving everything a flat coat. I then added the clear nose piece. I managed to lose the original so this is a replacement cut from a blister pack. Cockpit masking is as usual last off. All done!
Once all the paint has cured, I gave the whole kit a once over with gloss coat.
For the scheme I’m doing, there are yellow wing bands which cut across the dive brakes. The decals for these don’t account for the openings on the dive brakes so to make my life easier, I decided to mask and spray the bands.
The decals for the bands are 1cm in width but the instructions show they are narrower. I decided to follow the instructions. These were a custom mix of yellow with some orange mixed in. These were sprayed over a base of some white marble coat which helps with opacity.
The decals are quite robust and went on quite easily and reacted well to Mark Softer. While looking at the marking callouts I noticed that a small part of the tailfin is supposed to be white color. This was quickly masked off and sprayed.
As usual with WWII subjects, there are a general lack of stencils. Not that I’m complaining.
The shark mouth decal took a fair bit of adjusting. I really should have cut it into 2 and re-align them.
I did the best I can with the placement and fixed the gaps with paint. However, if you looked closely, there are 2 wrinkles on the decal that I couldn’t get rid off.
Shark mouths are always cool.
Once the decals have cured and wiped down with a wet cloth, they were given a gloss coat. Next I added chipping using silver, olive drab and medium gray paint. These were added with a sponge.
I chipped random spots all over the fuselage simulating wear and tear. Heavier chipping was done for the leading edges of the wings and where I assume there’s more foot traffic.
While I used a silver color for the topside chips, I went with a black color for the bottom which shows up more on the gray. As you can see, 1 of the nose gun barrels have broken off. As usual, there’s always some sort of last minute disasters to fix.
Next is panel washing with Mig AMMO Dark Brown Wash. This fills the panel lines which add ‘depth’ and ‘weight’ to the kit. It’s subtle on the olive drab side.
It’s more obvious on the gray side.
To tone down the contrast I filtered with white, dark gray and dark brown oil paints. The filters also toned down the chipping I did.
The filters were done in the direction of air flow so it’s front to back on the wings and up and down on the fuselage.
I added more brown filters behind the main gear.
The wheel well were given a simple wash to pop the details.
To show that there are ‘new’ and ‘old’ chips I went back in and added more. Tamiya Weathering Masters was used for the soot on the gun barrels and exhaust stains. The exhaust stains were enhanced with some light spraying of Model Air Dark Panzer Grey.
The masking tape is finally removed from the canopy and… it’s OK. There are some dust spots inside the canopy that I’ll have to live with. I’m quite happy how visible the scratchbuilt harnesses are.
The bombs are finally attached. I also weathered them and figuring that operationally no one will really bother with being neat with an expendable weapon, I handpainted the yellow rings that indicated that the bombs were ‘live’.
Then the antennas are attached and the wing lights were painted. I decided skip the aerials this time and I’m finally done!
Next up is what I initially hoped was a quick build. The MiG-37 is a fictional Soviet stealth aircraft designed by the Testors Model Company as the Eastern Bloc counterpart to their F-19 Ghostrider kit. My copy is a Italeri re-boxed kit.
Work begins with the cockpit which is very sparse and simplified although surprisingly, all the consoles have molded detail instead of decals. There’s even molded on harness details on the ejection seat.
I replaced the molded harness with 1mm tape instead.
The cockpit area itself is very bare.
So I spruced it up with bits of plastic plate. The kit comes with a clear part for the HUD but there’s no HUD mount so I made one up with plastic plate also.
Looks OK after a coat of paint, which is in the usual weird green color Soviet aircraft cockpits tend to be in.
After giving everything a thin wash of black, I added the HUD. Instead of the kit HUD though I made a thinner one from a battery blister pack.
The other parts came together quite quickly after that.
And then I sprayed white color to check for seamlines.
Yikes! The gaps that are revealed are quite bad, especially the wingroots at the bottom which look more like canals.
Elbow grease and time will be needed to get this to look decent which means this won’t be a quick build after all. Ah well… I should have known better.
Before painting can begin, The canopy needs to be prepped. As mentioned previously, once both halves are put together, not much can really be seen in the cockpit. And since the canopy can only be installed closed, even less will be seen.
Canopy masking was with Aizu 1.5mm and 1mm masking tape for the outlines. Prop plane canopies are always ‘fun’ with all the frames. This kit is particularly more ‘fun’ as some of the framelines are soft so there’s a bit more eyeballing involved. As is usual, once outlined, I backfilled everything with Mr. Masking Sol R. The liquid mask will also help to hold the masking tape in place better. Once dry, I gave everything a spray of interior green.
The fit is quite good with only minor adjustments required for the frame above the rear windows and the middle canopy requiring some pressure to better conform over the cockpit opening.
Once done, I’m now ready for seam line fixing.
Time for painting once the gaps have all been settled. First is a base coat of black.
Next is a marble coat with white.
First on is the bottom color. The instructions call for FS 36173 Flat Dark Gray. I went with the closest shade of gray I have: AK Interactive RAF Ocean Gray which is FS 36187. Besides thinning the paint down, I added a few drops of Vallejo Glaze Medium which turned the paint slightly translucent. I also added a few drops of Vallejo Airbrush Flow Improver to slow down the drying.
With the (already) thinned paint cut further with Glaze Medium, I’m able to allow the marbling coat to show through quite easily. The result is very blotchy but once the finishing gets going, they won’t look as stark.
Once cured, I masked off the gray sections with a combination of masking tape and rolled up blutack for the demarcation lines.
Then it’s Model Air US Olive Drab thinned and glazed just like the previous color.
The patchiness is more subtle on the olive drab. I think I’ll have to go back and have another go at the gray areas.
Once the main body is done, the other parts were also painted.
With the cleaning and patching up of the camouflage done, decals and finishing are next.