Brand: Italeri 162
Media: Injection Plastic
Markings: Various (see text)
In 1986, Testors Model Corporation released a conceptual model airplane dubbed the F-19 Ghostrider. Their design was based on Lockheed’s real life ‘HAVE BLUE’ stealth fighter project of the 1970s. This F-19 design became the shape of the stealth fighter in the eyes of the public until the official unveiling of the F-117 Nighthawk in 1990. The MiG-37 was Testor’s concept of the Soviet counterpart for the F-19. Testors surprisingly got the MiG-37’s shape closer to the F-117 Nighthawk than their F-19 design.
The MiG-37 is a more conventional design than the F-19 and as conceptualized, is powered by dual non-afterburning Kumansky turbojets. It is larger than the F-19 and used many components (like the landing gear) from earlier MiG designs. Armaments include tactical nuclear weapons and radar-seeking air-to-ground missiles.
Info adapted from the instruction sheet
The kit comes in the usual Italeri side opening box. There are 3 trees: 2 molded in black and 1 clear. This is a simple kit with only 54 parts. The quality of the plastic is typical of the 1980s: thick and brittle with simple details. What little panel lines there are are the raised type. Some things I’ve noted:
2 color options for the same aircraft, Bort 36, are included. I can’t determine the quality as my copy has yellowed and is already brittle but it looks to be typical Italeri stuff from the 1980s.
All in all, a very simple kit indeed with mold quality of its time.
Construction begins as usual with the cockpit. The details are simple but molded on. I added a harness with masking tape and busied the plain cockpit area with plastic plates. For the color I went with the weird green hue Soviet plane cockpits tend to come in. Perhaps the green is to keep the pilot’s Russuan bear tendencies at bay? Hah!
The kit came together very quickly but the fit is average in some spots while poor in others. I did the best I could and spent some time to eliminate the gaps that were as wide as 2mm wide. Stores-wise, I decided to keep the front bomb bay closed but I lost the aft bay doors so I mounted 1 of the bombs in there.
Colors & Markings
Both color schemes provided by Italeri are boring: 2-tone gray and white or all black. And since this is a Soviet aircraft, it deserves some splinter/digital camoflage. I went with all gray with a digital camo of black, blue and gray on the upper fuselage. Masking was a challenge but with the Aizu 1.5mm masking tape, the only real challenge was the time it took to mask the patterns. I’m glad to say the result was quite good with barely any paint bleeding or overspray.
Markings-wise, I had to trash the kit decals as they have degraded badly. 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.
Panel wash was with the usual Mig AMMO Deep Down panel wash. To blend and lower the contrast between the camo colors together I filtered using the oil paint dot method with dark gray, white, yellow and blue oil paints.
I botched a bit of the final assembly and ended with glue stains in some spots that I had to buff out, repaint and weather. Now the bottom looks more patchy which I think adds to the look of an operational machine. The main gear doors also didn’t fit correctly but I made do with them.
All in all, not my best build by any measurement and the age of the kit really shows in the fitting and details. Still, it’s amazing to see how close Testors got with the shape to the F-117. I really should build the F-19 counterpart to this one. /Looks at my to-build pile…
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!
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.
Brand: Hasegawa 65724
Media: Injection Plastic
The VF-25 Messiah is one of the latest variable fighters used by humans in 2059. It was developed as a replacement for the VF-171, the standard variable fighter in the New UN Spacy. Production prototypes were fielded by SMS in 2059, during Macross Frontier fleet’s voyage into the center of the Milky Way.
Like previous variable fighters, the VF-25 can transform between 3 forms. Unique to other models however, is the EX-Gear power armor integrated into the cockpit which reduces the burden on the pilot during extreme maneuvers. With the addition of various modules, the VF-25 can be configured for multiple missions. The VF-25 is also the first variable fighter to be able to transform without having to eject its armored pack (unlike the VF-1).
The VF-25S is an enhanced variant of the standard VF-25 assigned to team leaders. It also features a distinctive 4 laser armed head in Battroid mode. The build here depicts the VF-25S piloted by Skull Squadron leader Ozma Lee from the private military contractor SMS. Skull Squadron deployed with the Macross Frontier Fleet during the Vajra War.
Info adapted from Macross Mecha Manual
I’ve taken a look at this kit here.
As mentioned in my preview, this kit is basically built up in subassemblies like a typical mecha kit. Fit is great as usual for a Hasegawa Macross kit. Even better is the option to model this kit wheels up straight out of box so fitting the gear doors wasn’t an issue.
Another nice thing is that the thrusters can be assembled and painted separately so no masking was required at all for these parts.
Colors & Markings
I decided to go with Ozma Lee’s VF-25S colors because I really liked the distintive skull marking on the back of his Messiah. The color scheme of 2 grays required quite a bit of masking but once done, it looked good. As best as I could, I masked and sprayed the yellow and black sections but I went with decals for the main chevrons on the fuselage. If you looked carefully, the shade of the painted and decal yellows are slightly different. Oh well, I’ll live with it.
The decals are typical Hasegawa in that they take a while to get off their backing. They are not as thin as TwoBobs or Cartograph but are robust enough to take some re-positioning without tearing. Some of them did tear but they took to re-aligning quite easily. They reacted well with Mark Softer and thankfully, the carrier film surroundings are not thick so not much trimming was required.
I went easy on the weathering with a panel wash and some light filters on random panels. I also added some streaks on the flaps, slats and in random spots. With the filter I also managed to slightly tone down the decals. It works OK but it’s something to improve on.
The base is a round piece of wood purchased online. It was drilled with a small length of brass tube inserted and quickly sprayed flat black from a can. I then mounted a brass rod into the kit and this rod slots into the tube in the base. For my next build, I’ll try to make the rod removable on both ends to make the kit easier to handle.