Nothing new lately as I’ve been bogged down by the F-14 project: landing gear breaking, kit falling onto the table nose first and endless seamlines and gaps to fix. To distract me a bit, I’ve been plugging slowly on the Hasegawa 1/72 VF-1A kit on the side, and I’ve made some progress:
What I really like about the Hasegawa Macross kits is that they are pretty much made up of sub-assemblies, so the work is more systematic than a typical aircraft kit.
Media: Injection Plastic
The RX-77-2 Guncannon is the 2nd mobile suit (following the RX-75 Guntank) designed under the Earth Federation’s ‘Project V’ during the One Year War. The Guncannon is the first Federation suit that took on a humanoid look. Like its ‘Project V’ mates, it also uses the Core Block System with the FF-X7 Core Fighter.
With its twin 240mm shoulder mounted cannons, the Guncannon serves as a mid-range support mobile suit for the RX-78-2. Like the RX-78-2, it is also capable of firing a beam rifle. It however, lacks a melee weapon with only 2 head mounted machine guns for close support purposes. The RX-77-2 would also be the only mobile suit from the project to see limited mass production throughout the War.
This version of the Guncannon is part of Bandai’s new HGUC Revive subline, where they upgrade the original HG version of previously released kits. The original HGUC Guncannon kicked off the HGUC line way back in 1999. The Revive Guncannon has been improved in all aspects compared to the original: parts breakdown that minimizes seamlines, improved poseability and much better proportions. The only things missing in this new boxing are the pair of spray missiles that replace the shoulder cannons.
Once snapfitted, it’s a no brainer to basically consign the original HGUC to the â€˜never to be built’ pile. The only thing going for the HGUC is the price and the spray missiles. Otherwise, the Revive version blows the original out of the water. With 15 years of improved engineering, this kit is basically seamline-free with the most prominent being the one that runs the side of the head and (as always) the beam rifle. The poseability is also much improved with the Revive being able to be posed in very dynamic poses. However, as per modern Bandai kits, the kit requires a lot of sanding to get rid of sprue marks. One minor mistake I made was installing the visor. Once on, it wouldn’t come off. So I ended up masking it off before painting.
This kit looks excellent out of the box and so I finished it with no mods nor additional detailing. I used the following colors for the kit:
I decided to go with the original color scheme with some changes. First, I added digital camo to break up the monotony of the solid red main color. I also decided make it more asymmetrical by only adding the camo on the right side. This was done first by spraying a darker shade of red (Insignia Red with one drop of Insignia Blue). Then I spent an evening randomly adding 1mm masking tape in a perpendicular pattern. I then sprayed the primer over the darker red before spraying Insignia Red as the main color. Unfortunately, it wasn’t perfect but I decided it was good enough to live with it and move on.
The other change was replacing the white color for the head with Vallejo Model Air Light Grey. The round mold on the pelvis and the chest vents were also changed from yellow to this color. They ended up being only very slightly lighter in color than the Dark Gull Grey I used for all the joints, hands, feet, backpack and cannons.
Some of the smaller parts or those that are a challenge to mask were simply handpainted. After that I coated the parts with Future and left to dry a few days to prepare for decals. I believe that ’09’ would depict this as Hayato Kobayashi’s machine from the One Year War. For me, when it comes to gunpla, less is usually more so nothing overboard with the decals. The markings were from some spare Bandai Decals and an ALPS printed sheet I got from Hobby Kulture in Singapore. I remember Bandai Decals to be quite good but the ones I have are quite old which is probably why they were very fragile. After a day of curing and a wipedown with a wet cloth, I handbrushed Future over the decals to seal them in.
Panel lining was next with Vallejo Model Wash Dark Grey. When it comes to panel lining for mecha, I’m still quite sloppy so they aren’t uniform and as solid as I would like. I chalk it up to learning experience and cleaned up as much as I can with a Windex soaked cotton bud.
The kit was then finished with a flat coat of Vallejo Polyurethane Satin Varnish. I only made a quick pass over the parts which left them semi-gloss. I liked how they looked so I left as is.
And that’s it! Normally it’s pretty much standard practise that gunpla is painted with enamel or lacquer paints as they dry stronger (they won’t chip off with posing of the kit) and tend to give the impression of a deeper and richer color. I completed this kit with nothing but acrylics though, even down to the primer and flat coats. Looks alright to me. 🙂
Media: Injection Plastic
The Vought F-8E Crusader was a single-engined, carrier-based air superiority jet aircraft which replaced the Vought F7U Cutlass in the US Navy and Marine Corps fleets. Known for its distinctive variable-incidence wing which pivoted by 7° out of the fuselage on takeoff and landing, it served principally in the Vietnam War and was the last American-designed fighter with guns (4 x 20mm Colt Mk.12s) as the primarily weapon. Due to this, it earned the title of ‘The Last of the Gunfighters’. 1,219 would eventually be built serving with the US Navy, US Marine Corps, Philippine Air Force and the Aeronavale (French Naval Aviation).
Despite the moniker however, F-8s only achieved 4 victories with their cannon out of the official 19. The rest were accomplished with the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile as the cannons had a tendency to jam during high-speed maneuvers. The F-8 would serve for 2 decades and would be retired by the US Navy in 1976 with the reconnaissance variant serving on for another 11 years. The last F-8 in service would retire from the Aeronavale in 2000.
On 12 June 1966, VF-211 ‘Fighting Checkmates’ squadron CO Harold ‘Hal’ Marr would claim the first air-to-air victory for the F-8 over the skies of Vietnam. Flying Nickel 103 on Combat Air Patrol northwest of Haiphong, Marr and his wingman engaged 4 Mig-17s and he would get his first victory with an AIM-9D Sidewinder. He would proceed to get an unofficial 2nd ‘kill’ using his guns in the same engagement. The model depicted here carries the markings of this particular F-8E.
More info on Wikipedia.
‘Nickel 103’ info from Wolfpak Decals.
My first memory of the F-8 is the aircraft piloted by the main character of the anime/manga Area 88. I didn’t know much about the series but it was about combat aircraft so I was automatically sold. The Academy release of the F-8E is currently the best (as of 2015) and most modern in the market.
This is another shelf queen from 2012 that I’m finishing OOB. The build was straightforward without much fitting problems besides the size of some of the parts. As per usual with modern subjects, there are a lot of small parts that need to be attached to the kit and they can be quite fragile. The only part that proved more challenging is the fit of the main wing. It’s made up of a top and bottom half which requires some sanding down to fit together. I didn’t do this properly so there is a step at the bottom of each wing. The other issue is the canopy which fit fine only if I left out the back section on the inside. There’s also no option to leave the canopy open. The surface is very detailed with fine rivets everywhere. Sure, they make for very nice details but are a pain to sand around. I managed to obliterate a lot of them. I didn’t bother redoing the rivets as I value my sanity and eyesight.
I originally wanted to use the VF-111 markings included in the box but after seeing Wolfpak Decals’ offering of the historic VF-211 F-8 I decided to switch. The VF-111 had an interesting sharkmouth on the intake but the tail looked boring.
Some things to mention about Wolfpak Decals: The historical research on each subject on their sheet is simply amazing. Each subject is fully described with type history, specific subject history, mods required on kits and weapons data (if any). However, they only provide the main markings for the aircraft. The markings are not numbered, there are no stencils at all and the placement sheets aren’t very clear so there were some eyeball 1.0 guesstimates needed.
I used the following paints for this kit:
Some notes for my reference for future projects:
All in all, I’m very satisfied with this build. It was quite pain-free and the kit is surprisingly big, sleek, fine detailed and with the colorful markings, looks very good on display.
The next project is a new kit instead of finishing a shelf queen. My friend said that this kit was quite straightforward compared to the Hasegawa. Let’s see shall we?
First impressions are good so far. The panel lines aren’t as fine as Hasegawa’s but aren’t as deep as the Revell’s. Shape looks alright too. Best of all, unlike Hasegawa, Hobbyboss went the route of remolding whole pieces for the various F-14 versions instead of changing a small panel here and there which should make for less fiddly fitting.
Anyway first up is a quick wash with soap as the kit is covered with a coat of mold release. I then assembled the ejection seats. It wasn’t surprising that there are no molded-on seat belts but disappointingly, the very prominent ejection handles on the headrests are missing. In addition, the back cushion also looks off but I’m not too concerned with it.
I decided to do something about the missing ejection handles. I remember reading about a simple method of scratchbuilding the handles by using some wire and a custom jig from Andy Mullen’s site (since offline). The custom jig is made of 2 straight sections cut from a straightened paperclip that were hammered into a wooden base. Then it’s a simple matter of threading a brass rod (mine is a Wave Option System C-Line 0.5mm) through the jig and adjusting to taste with pliers. The handles look slightly oversized to my eye but barring finding a thinner wire, I think I’ll go with these. After some more adjustments, they should look fine behind a coat of paint and under the canopy.
This was actually a 2nd attempt at it. I initially used nails for the jig and craft wire for the ejection handles but the result looked more appropriate for a 1/48 scale seat (the silver handles in the below pic).
Since this is an F-14B, the gun vents are the correct NACA version. Also of note here is that the nose gear doors are molded on! Excellent for those who want to model this kit with the gear down, but pretty much a non-starter for folks who want to build this in-flight. The ECM blister on the gear door is also correct for the F-14B.
Most impressive is Hobbyboss molded the reinforcement plate surrounding the co-pilot’s step which is a feature on the F-14B.
The wings are designed to swing in and out which I don’t care much for since I prefer how the F-14 looks with wings swept anyway. I think I’ll need to figure out a way to modify the wings so that I can attach after painting though.
I then decided to do a quick dry fit to see how well the kit comes together: so far so good! More importantly, looks a lot like an F-14 Tomcat to me!
In the 1990s, the F-14 was adapted to drop bombs and the starboard weapons pylon was modified to have a LANTIRN pod mounted for precision strike. The kit includes the LANTIRN-specific vertical pylon but doesn’t come with the LANTIRN pod itself and the attachment rail for the pod. I got a LANTIRN pod and pylon from the Hasegawa Weapons Set VII. The Hasegawa pylon fits about 5mm longer than the shoulder pylon but I don’t think it’s a deal breaker.
Hobbyboss also includes some nicely done LAU-138 BOL missile rails which is accurate for the F-14 in the 1990s onwards.
Another detail that Hobbyboss missed are the bomb racks on the underbelly missile palettes. I also got these from the Hasegawa Weapons Set VI. I’m going ahead with only the 2 forward ones mounted with 2 GBU-12s, which is one of the more common configurations for the F-14B in the 2000s.
Hobbyboss has molded identical looking fuel tanks which have center aligned pylons. The pylons are supposed to be offset to one side. It’s a hassle to try to correct and since they aren’t obvious when mounted, I left them as is.
So most of the major components have been dealt with, next comes proper assembly.