Tag: Completed

Completed : Nitto 1/20 PKA ausf. G ‘Gustav’

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Kit Info
Brand: Nitto Nr. SF3D Series 5
Scale: 1/20
Media: Multimedia (injection plastic, brass,
rubber, lead and copper)
Markings: Wave PKA Konrad

The Subject
The new armored fighting suit of the Shutoral Forces, the PKA.G in opposition to the new weapon of the Mercenery troops, the Super AFS had more strengthened mobility and armored defensive power to a series of PKA.H and was armed with a laser gun we could see in a series of AFS of Mercenery troops in the left hand. Increase of the engine output reinforced walking system in order to cope with increase in weight made the form of the PKA.G quite different from a series of H. A little reconstruction of the body of the PK.41 made it possible to fly installing the PKA.G in it like a series of H and the XPK.43 for the exclusive use of the PKA.G took the first flight at the end of 2885.

Info from the back of the box

The Kit
This kit was part of the original wave of releases by Nitto in 1984 when Maschinen Krieger was still called ‘SF3D Original’.

This is a multimedia kit. Besides the 90 or so styrene parts it comes with a piece of brass mesh, 2 metal springs, 2 brass rods, 2 pieces of copper wire, 1 piece of black wire and 2 lead weights for the feet. Options on the kit includes having the face plate opened or closed and 2 different pilot heads. The limbs are attached via polycaps so some posing is possible. The kit also comes with a Panzerfaust.

The Build
This kit is pure 1980s vintage. Cement is required everywhere and while there are polycaps the kit can’t be posed in any meaningful way. Unlike modern versions of Ma.K kits, this Gustav doesn’t come with rubber joint covers (which actually present their own problems). The joints are instead the old school 2 plastic halves clamping over a polycap. I ended up making joint covers with epoxy putty. This also helped with the kit keeping a pose. I also had enough leftover epoxy putty to fashion some cushioning for the pilot seat. There’s provision for an LED (not included) in the chest but I closed it up with a minus mold.

General fitting is OK but the legs flop around even with the polycaps in place. The brass rods slot through the springs and these, when bent properly, lets me fix the leg pose. I left out the lead weights for the feet since I’ll be drilling holes to pin the kit to the base.

Oh and the kit can’t hold the included Panzerfaust. Pity.

Colors & Markings
The pilot needed to be painted and fit inside the kit first. As a testament to how lousy I am with figure painting, I only managed to get a decent result after 4 tries. Luckily I was using acrylic paint so it was easy to strip and redo.

I went with a simple color scheme of dark gray with red bands this time. The markings are from the Wave PKA Konrad kit as the one from the box is yellowed, brittle and unusable.

Finishing
Weathering is kept simple with my usual rounds of oil paint dot blending, panel wash, fading and pin washes. In this case, I went with a light gray and brown so they show up over the dark gray color scheme. Chipping and mild drybrushing was done with light gray and dark brown acrylic paint. Once mounted onto the base, I also added dust on the bottom half of the Gustav.

Basing
The base is kept simple like my previous Rally Pawn build. In this case, it’s a grass field instead of the lunar surface. Once attached, I don’t like how the kit looks like it’s hovering instead of standing with some weight on the ground. It’s something to fix in the next one.

Even though the kit is vintage, the build didn’t actually take too long but it was interrupted by a few weeks of traveling and general malaise after getting back. In any case, I like the result although I really need to work on figure painting. In fact, that’s the part that took the longest time in this build. Otherwise, even scratchbuilding the joint covers was quite easy.

Build Log
> Part 1 : Construction
> Part 2 : Painting & FInishing

Number 8 of 2018

Completed : Hasegawa 1/72 Shinsei Industry VF-25S Messiah

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Kit Info
Brand: Hasegawa 65724
Scale: 1/72
Media: Injection Plastic
Markings: Kit

The Subject
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

The Kit
I’ve taken a look at this kit here.

The Build
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.

Finishing
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.

Basing
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.

Build Log
> Part 1 : Construction
> Part 2 : Painting
> Part 3 : Finishing

Number 7 of 2018

Completed : Airfix 1/72 BAE Systems Hawk 109 ‘TNI-AU’

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Kit Info
Brand: Airfix A03073
Scale: 1/72
Media: Styrene
Markings: Scale Nutz A72019
1/72 TNI-AU Hawk 109/209 ‘Unity Guardian’

The Subject
The British Aerospace Systems Hawk is a British single-engine, twin seat advanced trainer aircraft. It is used in a trainer capacity and as a low-cost combat aircraft. First flown in 1974, over 900 Hawks have been sold to 18 operators around the world. The Hawk was designed to be maneuverable and can reach Mach 0.88 in level flight and the airframe is stressed for +9g. When configured for combat, the Hawk can be armed with a centerline gun pod and armaments on 4 (up to 6) hard points.

The Hawk 100 is an upgrade of the original Hawk T1 with a re-designed nose, re-designed wings with 2 additional hard points, additional avionics, optional forward looking infrared (FLIR) and HOTAS. The TNI-AU export is designated Hawk 109.

The TNI-AU first placed orders for the Hawk starting in 1978 and would operate 3 variants: Hawk Mk 53, 109 and 209. 8 Hawk 109s were delivered and assigned to Skadron Udara 1 “Elang Khatulistiwa” (1st Air Squadron “Equatorial Eagles”) and Skadron Udara 12 “Panther Hitam” (12th Air Squadron “Black Panthers”). It is flown as a primary jet trainer and 7 are still believed to be deployed by TNI-AU in 2018.

My build depicts TT-1203 circa 1997, a Hawk 109 from Skadron Udara 12 flying out of Pekanbaru AFB, Sumatra.

Info from WIkipedia

The Kit
This kit was released in 2009 along with the T.1 variant. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on five parts trees plus a single tree of clear parts. The cockpit is basic with instrument panel and side console details presented as decals. Other options include:

  • 2 x seated pilots
  • gear up or down
  • open or closed ventral speed brake
  • centerline gun pod
  • 4 x AIM-9L/M missiles
  • wingtips can be rounded or with missile rails
  • optional refueling probe
  • 2 types of external fuel tanks

Parts break down is straightforward and the molding is crisper than Italeri but less so than Tamigawa. The panel lines are on the heavy side but are done well. There were no flash on the parts but there are some visible ejection pin marks.

Decals look well printed with sharp details although the carrier film is somewhat thick. It’s a huge sheet with complete stencils and 3 markings for 2 BAE Systems demonstrators and 1 Indian Air Force operational trainer.

The Build
In the late 2000s, Airfix started releasing modern kits with the latest molding technology and this kit is part of that wave. The plastic is softer than what I’m used to but was easy to trim, handle and sanded very easily. Sprue gates are on the heavy side but it’s nothing that some sanding can’t handle. I find that the instructions are not as user-friendly as what you get from Tamigawa. For instance, there are color call outs via a paint number but I couldn’t find a legend for the numbers anywhere.

I was building a TNI-AU Hawk 109 trainer, and based on reference photos I did the following:

  • left off the pilots and added seatbelts on the seats with tape
  • installed the wingtip missile rails
  • left off the AIM-9Ls from the kit as TNI-AU uses AIM-9Js
  • gunpod wasn’t installed
  • left off the glass plate separating the front and rear cockpit
  • replaced the rear cockpit HUD with a control box made from styrene rod
  • inflight refueling probe wasn’t installed

The fit on the wingroots aren’t great with obvious gaps but otherwise, it’s a straightforward and quick build. I decided to prioritize the fit on the top side and leaving the major gaps on the bottom but there’s no real way to prevent the gaps on the wingroots.

An odd omission is the frame in the middle of the canopy. Airfix designed the glass plate separator inside the cockpit to replicate this frame but based on photos it should be outside the canopy, not inside. I decided to simply mask and spray this frame. Making it even stranger is this frame actually appears on the boxart and instructions. Also missing are the lights on the side of the intakes. Another odd thing is the pre-drilled holes for the centerline gunpod but not for the pylons on the wings.

Other that these small issues, it was a trouble-free build.

Colors & Markings
The TNI-AU Hawk 109 was painted in a 3 tone SEA camouflage up top and a light gray on the bottom for much of its operational life. The demarcations are solid so it was a matter of a lot of careful usage of vinyl masking tape and spraying each color.

I’ve had the Scale Nutz (since defunct?) TNI-AU Hawk sheet for a long time now. The decal sheet is marked ‘Made in Singapore’ and the decals are printed well with decently thin carrier film. All 109 and 209 Hawks from either squadrons can be modeled. While there are enough specific markings for 1 Hawk 109 or 1 Hawk 209 from either squadron, you’ll need to source the common stencils elsewhere to do so. The decals reacted well with Mark Softer and are quite easy to use.

Finishing
In real life, TNI-AU maintains their Hawk 109s very well so I went with a simple panel wash for a clean finish. The final assembly of all the small antennas did provide some challenges as their pins were all oversized and had to be trimmed carefully to fit. I also managed to lose the round clear part that sits on top of the fuselage but I managed to replace this with part of the clear tree.

I can now call this done. The paint job isn’t as smooth as I want it but for a get-back-on-the-saddle project, it’ll have to do.

Build Log
> Part 1 : Construction
> Part 2 : Painting
> Part 3 : Finishing

Number 6 of 2018

Completed : Fine Molds 1/72 Koensayr BTL-A4 Y-wing Starfighter

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Kit Info
Brand and Kit Number: Fine Molds
Media: Injection Plastic
Markings: Custom

The Subject
The BTL-A4 Y-Wing Starfighter is a single-seat assault fighter-bomber. Heavily armed with laser cannons, ion cannons, proton torpedos and proton bombs, it was deployed by the Republic Navy during the Clone Wars and the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil War.

The BTL-A4 traces its lineage to the BTL-B used during the Clone Wars which were crewed by a single pilot and a gunner in a domed turret behind the cockpit. By the time of the Galactic Civil War, most Y-wings had their engine nacelles and body panels stripped down to the bare minimum to ease maintenance. This resulted with them sporting a skeletal appearance. The gunner’s turret was also replaced with a pair of fixed forward firing ion cannons.

The BTL-A4 variant would see action in the Battle of Scarif, the Battle of Yavin, the Battle of Hoth, the Battle of Endor and the Battle of Jakku.

Y-wing info from Wikipedia

The Kit
The kit comes with 5 trees molded in light gray and 1 small clear tree for the canopy. The only options provided are a pilot and landing gear in both up and down positions. The lowered landing gear are attached with polycaps. The base comes as 1 tree and is somewhat overly engineered for what it is.

Fine Molds has a reputation of very nicely done kits and this one is no different. Molding is very crisp for its vintage (2007) with barely any flash on the parts. There are however ejector pin marks on the support pylons and particular deep ones on the restractied landing gear pads. The pilot could be nicer but I think it looks fine once under the canopy. The breakdown of the parts seem to indicate that seamlines would either be hidden by other parts or wouldn’t be obvious.

Markings provided are for Gold Leader, Gold 2 and Gold 3 with the decals replicating the various wear and tear on them. The decals are printed well and in register although I can’t vouch for the quality due to its age.

Build
So after the ‘fun’ that was the Alpha Jet, I decided I needed a sanity build. Something that fits well and I can bang it out in a much shorter time. Luckily this kit was easily reachable in my stack.

And per Fine Molds’ reputation, this kit came together very quickly and generally pain-free with the only fitting problems I have are attaching some of the piping and the retracted landing gear. The parts that cover around the nacelles also needed some adjustments to fit properly. All in all though, very much trouble-free and I was done in no time.

Colors & Markings
First up was a gray jumpsuit instead of the usual orange for the pilot. I decided to go with a custom color scheme instead of the usual (tragic) Gold Squadron Y-wing. I’ve always remembered the Y-wing to have orange markings so that’s what I went with. Then it’s a matter of masking the pattern on the nose and nacelles. I went with orange and a medium gray for the patterns and the result gave me a 1970s vibe.

I didn’t use the decals at all for this build.

Finishing
The fun begins with an overall panel wash of Raw Umber oil paint. I tried to be more precise but with the Y-wing having so much gribble, the oil wash inevitably filtered some of the panels. The effect looks alright though.

Then I filtered some of the panels with red and blue oil paint to add some subtle discoloration. Lastly I added chipping over the whole kit with a sponge and some minor handpainting.

Overall and extremely trouble-free and enjoyable build. Given another go I would have made sure the orange was more discolored. But I’m moving on and calling this done.

Build Log
> Part 1 : Construction
> Part 2 : Painting & Finishing

Number 5 of 2018

Completed : Kinetic 1/48 Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet A ‘Top Aces’

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Kit Info
Brand and Kit Number: Kinetic K48043
Media: Injection Plastic and Photoetch
Markings: Kit

The Subject
The Alpha Jet is a light attack jet and advanced jet trainer jointly manufactured by France’s Dassault Aviation and Germany’s Dornier Flugzeugwerke from a collaboration initiated in 1967. Under the terms of this agreement, each country agreed to purchase and assemble 200 aircraft. A total of 480 Alpha Jets would see production with deliveries starting in 1978 and would be adopted by various other countries. Due to different avionics fit, French and German Alpha Jets were visually distinct, with French planes (designated E for Ecole or school) featuring a rounded-off nose and German ones (Designated A for Appui Tactique or tactical strike) featuring a sharp, pointed nose.

Germany would fly the Alpha Jet in the ground attack role. The Alpha Jet A specifications were noticeably different from France’s Alpha Jet E with many components provided by German companies. In addition to the ground attack role, the Luftwaffe would also fly the Alpha Jet in ECM and reconnaissance roles.

The Alpha Jet was purposely designed to be simple (eg. it can be turned around in 10 minutes with minimal ground equipment) and easily exportable to other countries. It can carry up to 5,000lbs of munitions, which includes an external belly-mounted gun pod.

In 1992, the Luftwaffe began to phase out their Alpha Jets with the last leaving the service in 1999. 16 were purchased by the Canadian company Top Aces (formerly Discovery Air Defence Services) in the 2000s and flown to provide ‘Red Air’ threat replication, ie. to fly as the ‘bad guys’ for adversary training. Some of these would retain the original Luftwaffe camouflage but others would be repainted in a unique white, gray and medium blue scheme.

This build depicts a Top Aces Alpha Jet A.

Alpha Jet info from Wikipedia
Top Aces info from Wikipedia

The Kit
Before the release of this kit, your only option for a 48 scale Alpha Jet was by Esci from 1980 (which Heller reboxed) and a PJ Productions resin kit. So this was a welcome modern release in 2013 by Kinetic.

Befitting its modern sensibilities, the kit is designed to be built into either the A or E variant of the Alpha Jet. The kit is broken down into 170 or so parts with separate inserts, antenna and noses for the various variants. It’s molded in light gray and comes in 3 styrene sprues, 1 sprue of clear parts and a small fret of photoetch parts.

Features and options include:

  • Photoetch restraints for the ejection seats
  • Photoetch HUD frame
  • Positionable canopy
  • Options of the A and E types (with parts for the minor variants within each type)
  • Positionable flaps
  • Separate speed brakes
  • 4 underwing fuel tanks
  • 2 types of centerline gun pods

Details are good although the panel lines are somewhat heavy-handed though consistent. The parts also feel ‘thick’ and lack the finesse of stuff from Tamigawa. The clear parts are quite nice with minor distortion. All in all, it’s quite an improvement compared to my experience with their original F-16 releases.

The box comes with 3 marking options:

  • Qinetiq United Kingdom A in gloss black and white
  • Top Aces A in 3 tone camouflage
  • French Air Force E in gloss black

Interestingly, there are parts to build a Belgian B variant but no marking options for it.

Build
I can summarize this as: ‘some basic modeling skills required.’

It’s definitely not as bad as their F-16 kit (which I threw in the towel after just trying to assemble the cockpit) but I pretty much had to dryfit, sand, trim and adjust almost every part. There were no sink marks and a minimum of ejector pin marks but most parts have some flash which required sanding off. At least the plastic was easy to sand and work with.

Some problem areas I want to note:

  • The instructions are unclear in the direction of how some parts should fit.
  • There are also wrong part call outs. Notably, I found out too late that for the air brakes to close, I needed only to install parts A6/7 instead of C14/15. I ended working quite a bit to get the air brakes to fit in place.
  • All the gear doors required work as they are designed to be left open. I didn’t quite get the nose gear doors to fit closed properly.
  • The main gear doors fit better but the starboard door is too short on one side. Some trim and adjustment was needed for every gear door part for them to fit.
  • The cowling is short molded on one side.
  • The intake halves fit well but they are narrow so there’s no real easy way to get rid of the joint line running length-wise down the engine trunking.
  • The anhedral of the wings look good but they fit with some play into the sockets on the fuselage. I ended up making sure the fit of the leading edges of the wingroot were good and settled with fixing the trailing edges.
  • Some of the panels unique to the A variant didn’t fit well and required a fair bit of trimming and brute force.
  • The tailfin doesn’t fit flush to the base of the tail and required filling.
  • Not my preferred method but the main landing gear needs to be installed before the fuselage was closed up. At least they are quite chunky and stayed in place throughout the build.
  • I went with building each half completely with the correct nose and inserts before joining both halves together. Had I followed the instructions, I think I’d have more fitting problems.
  • Major trimming and adjustments were required for the exhaust housings and for the speed brakes to fit closed. This latter bit could have been avoided if Kinetic had called out the correct parts for the closed position.
  • I should have tested the fit between the pylon, sway braces and fuel tank before the finishing stage. I don’t think I ended with the correct fit and I find that the fuel tanks hang off the pylons wrongly.

Like I said, ‘some basic modeling skills required’. However, while time consuming, not once did I really become frustrated and wanted to throw the kit against a wall. In the end I consider this kit to be a ‘good’ challenge. YMMV of course.

Heck, I even challenged myself to add scratchbuilt details:

  • Replacing the photoetch restraints with ones made of masking tape.
  • Replacing the HUD projector and glass plates with thinner ones from a battery blister pack.
  • Adding cockpit sidewall details.
  • Adding cabling to the back of the rear instrument panel.
  • Adding cabling to the rear bulkhead of the rear cockpit.
  • Adding details on the canopies including rear view mirrors and handles.
  • Adding hydraulic lines on the landing gear.

Colors & Markings
This kit will be part of my Aggressor collection so naturally, I’ll be going with the Top Aces scheme. Looking at photos online, these aircraft look very clean with only minor weathering. Translated to the model kit, I think this clean finish will look quite flat so I decided to take a bit of artistic license.

I went ahead with adding a marble coat under the main colors to break up the monotony of the finish. I tried to make this marble coat lighter by using a medium and dark gray instead of the usual white. Then it was a matter of painting white, masking, blue, more masking and then the gray. Based on references, the demarcations are kept tighter than usual.

I don’t have the exact shade of blue on hand but I think the end result compares well to the photos online which were all taken under different lighting conditions.

One major thing Kinetic missed out are that the leading edges of the tailfin, wings, stabilizers and pylons are black. These are quite prominent in photos so were masked and sprayed. I’m not sure why this detail was missed although they didn’t miss the black for the splitter plates and intake lips. Kinetic also missed a small extension of black on the top side of the intake lips.

Last minute fix: attaching the fuel tanks without using the sway braces

Finishing
The few decals went on very easily and reacted nicely to Mark Softer. However, some of the markings are slightly oversized compared to references. Weathering was also kept at a minimum based on what I’ve seen in references.

With that done, I added the final parts and painting the details like the wingtip lights, antennas, pitot tubes, pylons and fuel tanks. Every one of these things required some sort of trimming and adjustments before they fit so it took a while. Again, I had to check references as the instructions had missing part numbers or the wrong info.

In the end, I couldn’t couldn’t leave the fuel tanks alone. Checking references, it turns out the tanks attach directly to the pylons without the use of sway braces. So I pulled the braces off and inserted stretched sprue into the sockets in the tanks to create pins. These pins are then inserted into the sockets in the pylons. I think they look a lot better now.

All in all, not the smoothest of builds but I had a bit of fun with this one. It just took longer than expected. Kinetic has definitely improved from their earlier releases (I finished this one after all) but they are still a ways from the likes of Tamigawa.

This is definitely one of my ‘look from 2 feet away’ kits. Nonetheless, I’m glad to add this unique and IMO handsome aircraft to my finished column.

Build Log
> Part 1 : Cockpit
> Part 2 : Main Construction
> Part 3 : Main Construction
> Part 4 : Main Construction
> Part 5 : Main Construction
> Part 6 : Painting
> Part 7 : Finishing

Number 4 of 2018

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