In 2008, Taiga Heavy Industries was commissioned by the Ministry of Defense to begin developing the ASF-X. By 2016, there were 4 prototypes built for testing: two each CTOL and STOVL variants. Unique to the Shinden II were the forward swept wings and two-tiered thrust vectoring engines.
The ASF-X Shinden II is a next-generation fighter aircraft, combining a striking airframe design with the latest aviation technologies. As a result of Japan’s unique geography, it was designed to undertake aircraft interception and air-to-ship attack duties.
Info from instruction sheet and Acepedia
This kit is part of Hasegawa’s Creator Works line which showcases mecha from various Japanese properties. The AF-X Shinden II is from Ace Combat: Assault Horizons, an arcade flight simulator published by Namco Bandai. The Shinden II was designed by Shoji Kawamori, who designed the mecha from Macross. How can I resist? 🙂
When the box arrived, I was surprised how big it was: easily twice the size of a typical Hasegawa Macross kit. The aircraft itself was also big. I was expecting it to be on-par with an F-16 Viper. Instead it’s about as long as a 1/48 A-4 Skyhawk.
As is typical of Hasegawa, they stuffed the main sprues into one bag although this time, the fuselage and the canopy parts are in their own separate bags. While I usually don’t mind this as much as most modelers, one part did end up breaking off from the tree while in the bag. Less chance of that happening if each sprue tree were in a separate bag.
Also as usual, all parts are very nicely molded with very fine details all round. One nice feature is the fuselage is molded in upper and bottom halves so fitting should be much easier than the typical multi-part affairs Hasegawa likes so much (they do it to use one mold for various variants) which tends to fiddly fits. No full engine trunking but that’s never a deal breaker for me. 99% of people who actually see my stuff don’t peek into the intakes.
Landing gear is included but the kit also includes a stand in clear plastic so the aircraft can be displayed in flight. It also includes a pilot. Nice. The canopy is provided in clear plastic although in most pictures, the Shinden II should have a tinted canopy (much like the F-16 and F-22 Raptor).
Hasegawa gives the options to model the Shinden II in normal or SVTOL mode. The description of the modes from Acepedia:
The ASF-X’s airframe is capable of changing its shape and the direction the rudders and wingtips face as the flight speed changes. Furthermore, it is outfitted with a unique tandem twin-engine design, with the lower engine (located further inside the aircraft) being capable of pivoting to provide VTOL capabilities.
Surprising for Hasegawa, they have included weapons! 6 AIM-120 AMRAAMs or 6 rocket pods to arm the Shinden II with. In most images I found of the Shinden II online, it is almost always shown with 6 AMRAAMs so this is accurate. However, it’s also supposed to be designed for anti-shipping missions so I would have liked an option for that too (rockets for ships? Hmmm). I guess it’s too much to ask. 😛
Decals are provided for 2 aircraft:
Hasegawa also provides a set of serials so the modeler can customize a serial number. Quality is typical of Hasegawa so they should fit fine. For the stencil freaks, there are also a ton of these so they should be happy.
All in all, I like the approach Hasegawa has done with this release. it’s an all-in-one package where you don’t have to add anything from an option set to complete. The parts count is also not too high so you won’t get bogged down with the details and best of all, it has Hasegawa engineering so fit and finishing should be good.
If only they would do this with their aircraft kits.
Preview courtesy of my wallet