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: Airfix A03073
Markings: Scale Nutz A72019
1/72 TNI-AU Hawk 109/209 ‘Unity Guardian’
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
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
Number 6 of 2018
Time to finish this thing. The markings come from Scale Nutz, a defunct decal company based in Singapore. The sheet comes with full stencils for 1 aircraft but enough unit numbers to build any of the Hawk 109 and 209s in TNI-AU service in either squadron. I went with TT-1203 from Skadron 12 for this one. The decals were easy to use and reacted very well to Mark Softer.
Once cured and another gloss coat over the markings, I gave the kit a panel wash using Mig AMMO Deep Brown Panel Line Wash. The TNI-AU maintains their Hawks quite well so I didn’t do other weathering besides this panel wash. Once that has dried I gave the kit an overall flat coat.
Once the flat has cured, it was time to do final assembly. First up are the landing gear, gear doors, external fuel tanks and antennas. The pins on the antennas were all oversized so some trimming were required. The main gear struts were just about 2mm too short so the fit isn’t perfect there.
I was missing the blade antenna on top so I shaped one using 0.5mm plastic card. The clear part that goes into the recess on the spine was also oversized and I pinged it into my room when trying to trim it down. In the end I cut out a small circle from the clear part tree and used that instead.
Last off was the canopy masking and turns out there was some overspray inside the canopy. I popped this off, cleaned the inside, then re-attached.
This one’s definitely not my best finish with all the minor problems popping up. But at least it’s done.