Brand: Hasegawa CW15
Crusher Joe is a series of science fiction novels and anime by Haruka Takachiho released from 1977 to 2016. It tells the story of Joe, who leads a team of ‘Crushers’ from the Crusher Council. The Council is a group of individuals who take on assignments ranging from transportation to terraforming and everything in between.
The Fighter 1 is a small VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) type fighter carried on Team Joe’s spaceship, the Minerva. The fighter has a blue body scheme, emblazoned with a number ‘1’ on its nose and a ‘J’ on its sides. It boasts high manoeuvrability in both atmospheric and space environments, but in terms of firepower, it is not heavily armed.
Info from Wikipedia and the instruction sheet
Notes: Shoji Kawamori and Kazutaka Miyatake are credited as mechanical designers for the Crusher Joe anime. They are of course, also involved with the Macross franchise.
Way back in the 1980s, I got my hands on the Nitto 1/144 kit of the Fighter 1 even though I didn’t know what Crusher Joe was about. I was simply attracted to the design of the spacecraft. So color me surprised when Hasegawa announced a newly tooled release for the beginning of 2019! I saw this kit when I was on holiday in Tokyo in March 2019 so I HAD to get it. Opening the box I found:
- Full snapfit construction
- Japanese and English(!) instructions
- Colored color callouts
- Colored molding for the major parts
- Option for wheels up or down
- Clear purple or clear canopy options
- Pre-cut canopy masks for both canopies
- Seated Joe and standing Talos figures
- Deployed or neutral speed brakes
- Deployed or covered belly gun turrets
- Clear flight stand
Having never built a snapfit kit from Hasegawa, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The connection tabs are larger than usual likely due to the snapfit construction. The parts are very nicely molded although the panel lines are not as fine as their usual aircraft kits. The various open/close options are provided as separate parts so there’s no need for cutting. Nice.
All in all, a very positive impression.
Since everything is snapfit, let’s see how well it snaps together shall we? All in all, it’s quite positive. The majority of the parts fit well with some problems fitting the MLG doors and getting a gapless fit when the upper and lower fuselages are put together. I ended up cementing the fuselages together and pressing them together to get a better fit. The eight vertical tailfins also required some elbow grease to fit right.
The quality of the snapfit is not Bandai level, but it’s definitely better than the kits from Wave. However, one good thing about having a looser tolerance compared to Bandai is that it’s much easier to separate the parts out for painting. The tighter tolerances for Bandai kits usually means you end up snapping off connector tabs.
The included 3-part mask fits the canopy very precisely. However, when it was time to paint, the corners had already peeled off. I replaced them with masking tape instead.
Colors & Markings
I decided to go for a clean finish this time but it turned out to be more difficult than expected. Mistakes like:
- I had to repaint some of the white areas due to overspray. Some of these areas now appear whiter than the others
- The paint guide called for a custom blue color but I went with Vallejo Game Air Magic Blue hence the blue on the decal is a different shade
- The engines also called for custom colors but I decided to go my own way. This time though I had a lot of problems with the Vallejo Metal Colors. The paint either won’t come out of the airbrush or would flood the surface. The result is a very uneven finish on the engines.
For this build I tried tinting the steel color of the speed brakes with a few drops of transparent blue. I think it turned out well so it’s something to test further. The decals thankfully went on without a problem
I also broke one of the antenna on the wings off while painting. I had to scratchbuilt a replacement with plastic rod. I’ve always maintained that clean finishes are harder to pull off given that there’s really less wiggle room for mistakes and this build bears that out.
Since I was going for a clean look all I did was a panel wash of dark blue gray using a mix of blue black and white oil paints. I made sure only the panel lines for the oil paint with the rest being carefully cleaned off so they don’t become a filter for the finish.
Last on were snapfitting the landing gear and painting the wingtip lights and I’m done. This one was definitely a nostalgia-filled trip (including the less than stellar paintjob like its 1980s brother).
> Construction & Finishing
Number 03 of 2020