While waiting for the gloss coat to cure, I decided to tackle the exhaust. After a base of black and painting the inside white, the outside is painted with Vallejo Model Color Pale Burnt Metal.
I then masked off the exhaust petals with both 1mm masking tape and liquid mask. Yes each individual petal. The edge was masked off with vinyl masking tape.
Using Vallejo Metal Color Jet Exhaust, 20 minutes of masking and 20 seconds of painting later…
The small square shaped edges were then handpainted with the same color. After a gloss coat and a wash this should look nice enough.
I wanted to model the F-16 with the WW tailcode so the only option I have is the kit decal. These are quite thick but went on OK. It took a while for them to react to Mark Softer though. The tail marking also seem to be slightly oversized.
For a modern aircraft, the F-16 has relatively few stencils and I went ahead and added about 95% of them.
The top of the tailfin needed to be painted to match the fin flash.
So I handpainted Game Color Fiery Red and Model Color Deep Yellow over a base of white.
I decided to attach the intake lights at this point and once everything has cured and given a quick wipe down, I sprayed another coat of gloss to seal everything in. By this point, it had dawned on to me that the Mecha Color Medium Grey I used looks to be darker that what FS36270 should be. Unfortunately it’s too late to go back to fix it now.
The fuel tanks and weapons were also decaled and I think the stencils definitely add some ‘pop’ to the missiles and pods.
I went with using Raw Umber oil paint for the panel line wash.
The effect is subtle. I think next time I’ll need it to be closer to a black color.
I dotted white oil paint on the light gray color to try to lighten it a bit.
Once dried, I blended it with a damp paint brush.
I noticed in pictures that the area in front of the exhaust on the bottom tends to be dirtier than usual so I added some patchy filtering using raw umber here.
The landing gear are then attached. For 1/72 I think the details look great. Certainly more detailed than Hasegawa.
I then attached the rail, the ALQ-184 and the Sniper pod. The rail requires some shimming although I think it’s because I messed up the plate below it during construction.
I then attached all the pylons under the wings.
Working from inside to outside I attached the fuel tank, AGM-88 and AIM-9 using Gator Glue on the port wing. I worked slowly giving each store to cure a bit before attaching the next one.
With the same sequence, I attached the fuel tank, CBU-105 and AIM-9 for the starboard wing. I attached the wingtip AIM-120s only after all the other stores have been given some time to set.
I then removed the masking tape over the canopy. I notice that besides the belts, the details I added on the seat can’t really be seen. Hah!
I then attached the pitot tube and the nose antenna last. These were handpainted once in place. I also added a drop of Future onto the intake navigation lights to give them a shine.
It took a while with final assembly but I’m done!
I’ve always wanted to build the F-14 that appeared in the Macross Zero OAV. Based on some research it looks like this particular boxing of the 1988 molds has all the necessary parts to depict an almost 100% replica of the F-14A+ Kai. The Tomcat that appears in the anime is officially designated F-14A+ Kai and is basically an F-14D that has an F-14A cockpit. It’s armed with 2x AIM-9 Sidewinders and 6x AIM-120 AMRAAMs and flew without external tanks during it’s appearance in episode 1.
Hasegawa did release an official F-14A+ Kai kit of their own. But that kit is based on the 1977 molds so it’s simplified and has raised panel lines. Hasegawa also didn’t bother with the details of the F-14A+ Kai as it builds into a bog standard F-14A. I never did manage to get my hands on the Hasegawa Macross Zero F-14 but after I managed to track down an aftermarket set of 1/72 decals off eBay, I decided it was time to build my own more accurate version.
I try to build my Macross kits wheels up so the first thing I tried is to cram 2 pilots into the kit. The pilots come from the Hasegawa US Pilot/Ground Crew Set. I’ll need to modify the pilots to be more ‘accurate’.
I used both epoxy putty and 0.25mm plastic plate to upgrade the helmet. The oversized pauldrons are also replicated with plastic plate.
After some sanding and shaping, I think my mods look OK. They should look fine once painted and under the canopy.
After re-checking references, I realized I got the shape of the pauldrons wrong so I went back to fix them. I also cut the pilot’s lower legs off so it’s be easier to fit the cramped cockpit.
I trimmed the pauldrons, res-primed then re-checked the figure. Good to go!
On a whim, I decided to test-fit the pilots into the cockpit. The RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) fits OK but the pilot didn’t fit correctly: in fact, the instrument coaming touches the pilot. It looks like Hasegawa got the dimensions wrong here and it’s both disappointing and surprising.
So I took it as a challenge and try to open up some space. Looking at the front cockpit, the back panel is very thick.
I replaced this panel with 0.25mm plastic plate.
The coaming requires thinning on the inside before it fit properly.
In the RIO’s cockpit, there’s a big gap between its coaming and the instrument panel. I added plastic plate to cover this up.
The kit includes both GRU-7 and NACES ejection seats. The F-14A+ Kai uses the GRU-7 ejection seat but compared to the NACES, it takes up more space which amplifies the limited space inside the front cockpit.
With the NACES seat, it’s better now but the pilot still seats too low: his view is blocked by the coaming.
I cut off the molded straps and the canopy breakers then added the GRU-7 ejection handles on the NACES seat. At this point, I’m very happy that this F-14 is a fictional variant.
added plastic plates on the seat to raise the pilot. I also sanded the bottom of the coaming to slightly lower its height.
The coaming looks too big and bulky for 1/72 scale.
To make it look more to scale, I thinned the edge of the coaming.
Another test-fit and I think it looks much better now.
I also thinned the pilot’s back slightly so he sits closer to the seat.
It’s a lot of work just to cram 2 pilots into the cockpit but at least it worked out.
After fixing the few gaps, it’s time to put some color on this kit!
First, the stealth coat with Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black.
Then a marble coating with Tamiya XF-12 IJN Gray.
The instruction sheet made a mistake in calling out 3 gray tones for the camouflage. By 2010, this jet only has 2 gray tones: FS36118 and FS36270. I went with Mig AMMO Medium Gunship Grey for FS36118. The nose is actually uncolored and change color naturally so any shade of medium gray would have worked and be ‘accurate’. I went with Model Air Aggressor Grey.
I then masked off the nose and the darker gray for the lighter gray color. It’s usually SOP to paint the lighter colors first then go progressively darker. I did it the other way around this time as it will be easier.
For FS36270, I went with Vallejo Mecha Color Medium Grey which after researching matches the FS color.
The bottom is one solid shade of medium gray.
Using the XF-12 as a marble coat gives off a subtler effect than using a pure white color. I also cut the colors with Vallejo Glaze Medium that reduced their opacity.
The weapons were given a base coat of XF-1 Flat Black. I decided to paint the bands instead of relying on decals so I sprayed XF-2 Flat White for them.
I handpainted the bands with Game Color Bloody Red, Model Color Deep Yellow and German Cam Med Brown then masked these off with 0.7mm masking tape and 0.4mm tape for the red band on the AGM-88’s rear section.
The CBU-105s were painted Model Air USA Olive Drab (FS34079) for the body and Mecha Color Medium Grey for the tails. The AIM-120 and AIM-9Xs were painted Mig AMMO Light Compass Ghost Grey (FS36375). Other details lile the fins and seeker heads were handpainted. While it looks white in photos, the AGM-88 is actually a very light shade of FS36622. I thought my bottle of AK Camouflage Grey was too ‘gray’ so I replaced it with Model Air Insignia White instead.
The stores, rails, pylons and ALQ-184 were all the same color as the bottom of the F-16: FS36270 ie. Vallejo Mecha Color Medium Grey. The Sniper pod however is Mig AMMO Medium Gunship Grey (FS36118). Not pictured is the Model Air Insignia White I handpainted the HTS pod’s tip with.
With a deep breath, primary painting is done. Time to finish this thing!
Disappointingly, Tamiya left some visible ejector pin marks on the gear doors which need to be addressed.
Tamiya calls for some blue and silver colored parts inside the gearbay. Not sure how accurate this is.
The main undercarriage is designed to be installed from the beginning. While troublesome, the upside is a stronger fit.
The wings fit without problems. Tamiya also added leading edge tabs so it’s easier to keep them straight.
The exhaust nozzle is connected to a housing where some prepainting was required. This was masked off then attached to the kit.
The stabilizers are interchangeable on the F-16 and are identical. Even though it s simple pin and hole connection, Tamiya somehow engineered the pin to ‘click’ in place. While still requiring cement, at least they don’t flop around like on the Hasegawa kit.
There are some panel lines and vents that need filling on the kit. I’m quite sure these are present for the older F-16 blocks.
There is a very fine mold line running down the center of the canopy. I couldn’t unsee it so I went ahead to remove it.
I carefully scraped it off and then used progressively finer sandpaper to get rid of the mold line.
Once cleaned up it was dipped into a vat of Future to shine everything back up.
The nose and tailfin were then cemented into place.
I attached the intake rail for the Sniper pod and the HTS pod at this point figuring that they will be much harder to attach once everything is painted. I also masked off the nose gear bay.
For the main gear bay, I first masked off the walls then backfilled with some wet tissue. These will expand and fit (somewhat) snugly into the spaces in the bay once they dry. The main landing gear were masked off with a ‘Washi tape’ that I bought to try out. These seem to be less tacky than Tamiya masking tape. But I’ll have to test them out more.
Gap fixing is next and then I can start painting.
Next on the factory floor is this Tamiya kit which looks to be as shake and bake as it will ever get. This is the 2nd release where Tamiya added the pylons, underwing stores, armaments and targeting pods.
Checking the parts, I realized that by adding 1 component, I can model the F-16CM, an upgraded version of the venerable F-16CJ. Before that though, as usual, I have to assemble the cockpit first, which is quite nicely done. The kit comes with decals for the belts but I decided to make my own with 0.7mm masking tape.
Once painted, the seat doesn’t look bad at all.
But me being me, I decided to add some details using stretched sprue, plastic plates and rod. The green tank on the side of the seat is particularly prominent in pictures.
Looks better now IMO.
Then the seat was given a wash with Citadel Nuln Oil Gloss to give it some depth.
Once cured, I did some simple highlighting with a silver pencil. The cockpit looks sufficiently busy once painted, washed and weathered.
I’m not quite sure how visible it will be under the closed canopy though. Hah!
Like its 1/48 brother, Tamiya designed the intake trunking as 2 part top and bottom halves. The difference though is this one is not full length. The problem with designing it this way is of course the seamlines on the inside of both sides of the trunking.
I did the best I could to remove the seamlines till about 1/3 into the intake.
The whole intake is made up of 4 parts: the trunking, 2 side halves and a section up top.
These need to be prepainted but come together without much problems.
Again like its 1/48 brother, this kit also oddly leaves a small section on the back of the fuselage blank for an insert. I still can’t figure out why.
The fit is good but still, why have it an insert in the first place?
I’m modeling a CCIP (Common Configuration Implementation Program) upgraded Block 50 F-16CJ which the USAF would unofficially redesignate as the F-16CM. The most prominent part of this upgrade are the AIFF ‘bird slicers’ in front of the canopy and a 2nd mounting point for a targeting pod on the intake. These are all included in the kit.
The CCIP update also added the ability to carry the BRU-57 smart bomb rack. With this bomb rack, the F-16CM can consequently carry the CBU-105 WCMD (Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser), the precision guided version of the CBU-97 cluster bomb and precision guided bombs like the GBU-38 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition). However, the Tamiya kit doesn’t include these racks and munitions so I bought a resin aftermarket set of BRU-57s from Reskit.
Details are very nice and the casting is very sharp. It even includes very tiny parts made from photo-etch. Since these are so intricate and small I decided to keep my sanity and just go with installing the sway braces to the rack.
I decided to arm my CM with a pair of CBU-105 cluster bombs. The cluster bomb I have comes from a boxing of the Hasegawa F-15E Strike Eagle. These look to be CBU-100 Rockeyes and requires modifications to look like the CBU-105.
So I cut off the nose and sanded the remaining tip into a rounded bevel. I then added a small length of rounded rod on the tip. Based on the dimensions, my result is about 1mm shorter and 0.5mm narrower scale-wise than a true CBU-105. Close enough for me.
The resin BRU-57 rack is to be butt-jointed onto the kit pylon so I added a tab on the rack so it can slot into the hole inside the pylon. The fit will be more secure this way.
Not too shabby for an evening’s work. I’ll need to clean up the CBU-105s as pictures show that their bodies are quite smooth all round but I’m done tinkering with this.
Along with the AGM-88 HARM, the F-16 will have 2x AIM-120 AMRAAMs, 2x AIM-9X Sidewinders, 2x drop tanks, a centerline mounted ALQ-184 ECM pod, an AN/ASQ-21 HARM targeting system pod on the right intake mount and an AN/AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pod on the left intake mount. Definitely a heavily armed Viper.
Who knew a ‘shake and bake’ kit will require a multi-page build log? 😀