This is actually my 4th go at the ‘new’ mold Hasegawa F-14 kit. The less said about the first 3 disasters the better. Anyway I hope to break the cycle with this one. The kit includes all the parts for the various iterations of the F-14 through its 30 years of service so I’ll be basing the configuration of the F-14A+ Kai on what I can see on the screencaps. Here we go…
My copy of the kit has old-ish decals so I decided to go with the PE control panels instead.
These are just a tiny bit too wide and the recesses for the boarding steps on the left fuselage get in the way of the control panels from fitting flush.
I added some plastic plates to raise the angle of the control panels so they clear the recesses.
The boarding steps required a bit of sanding to fit flush. The NACA-style gun vents are… not great.
After carefully trimming the flash, sprue marks and thinning the parts, I managed to get them to fit OK. The corners on both NACA door parts aren’t sharp though so will need to be addressed.
I used plastic plates as guides so the 2 parts align properly.
Like almost all my Macross kits, I will be building this kit gear up. I decided to ‘close’ each of the gear doors before putting both fuselage halves together.
Again, plastic plates are used on the inside to use as alignment guides.
A dryfit shows a gap in between the doors. Something to fix later.
A lot of plate work for alignment.
I dryfit the nose section to the fuselage and like all 3 of my previous failures, there is a small gap right where the 2 parts join. I used to simply slap on a lot of putty and sand everything away. I’ll see if there’s another way to fix this.
I attached the wing glove vanes closed. These will need to be blanked off after both halves of the fuselage come together.
Before the 2 halves can fit together though, parts of the molded on main gear well need to be trimmed off.
The kit comes with the F-14A/B wing glove ECM fairings molded on. These need to be trimmed off.
The screencap shows however that the other fairing is present on both sides so these were attached.
The top and bottom speed brakes were trimmed and fitted into the aft fuselage.
Once fitted together I added the beaver tail. The F-14A+ Kai uses the modern version with the ECM bump and fuel dump pipe.
I decided to drill out the the fuel dump pipe. The hole is wider in real life but I’m afraid my limited dexterity won’t be able to pull it off.
This is proving to be a long build. Yay.
I’ve always wanted to build the F-14 that appeared in the Macross Zero OAV. Based on some research it looks like this particular boxing of the 1988 molds has all the necessary parts to depict an almost 100% replica of the F-14A+ Kai. The Tomcat that appears in the anime is officially designated F-14A+ Kai and is basically an F-14D that has an F-14A cockpit. It’s armed with 2x AIM-9 Sidewinders and 6x AIM-120 AMRAAMs and flew without external tanks during it’s appearance in episode 1.
Hasegawa did release an official F-14A+ Kai kit of their own. But that kit is based on the 1977 molds so it’s simplified and has raised panel lines. Hasegawa also didn’t bother with the details of the F-14A+ Kai as it builds into a bog standard F-14A. I never did manage to get my hands on the Hasegawa Macross Zero F-14 but after I managed to track down an aftermarket set of 1/72 decals off eBay, I decided it was time to build my own more accurate version.
I try to build my Macross kits wheels up so the first thing I tried is to cram 2 pilots into the kit. The pilots come from the Hasegawa US Pilot/Ground Crew Set. I’ll need to modify the pilots to be more ‘accurate’.
I used both epoxy putty and 0.25mm plastic plate to upgrade the helmet. The oversized pauldrons are also replicated with plastic plate.
After some sanding and shaping, I think my mods look OK. They should look fine once painted and under the canopy.
After re-checking references, I realized I got the shape of the pauldrons wrong so I went back to fix them. I also cut the pilot’s lower legs off so it’s be easier to fit the cramped cockpit.
I trimmed the pauldrons, res-primed then re-checked the figure. Good to go!
On a whim, I decided to test-fit the pilots into the cockpit. The RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) fits OK but the pilot didn’t fit correctly: in fact, the instrument coaming touches the pilot. It looks like Hasegawa got the dimensions wrong here and it’s both disappointing and surprising.
So I took it as a challenge and try to open up some space. Looking at the front cockpit, the back panel is very thick.
I replaced this panel with 0.25mm plastic plate.
The coaming requires thinning on the inside before it fit properly.
In the RIO’s cockpit, there’s a big gap between its coaming and the instrument panel. I added plastic plate to cover this up.
The kit includes both GRU-7 and NACES ejection seats. The F-14A+ Kai uses the GRU-7 ejection seat but compared to the NACES, it takes up more space which amplifies the limited space inside the front cockpit.
With the NACES seat, it’s better now but the pilot still seats too low: his view is blocked by the coaming.
I cut off the molded straps and the canopy breakers then added the GRU-7 ejection handles on the NACES seat. At this point, I’m very happy that this F-14 is a fictional variant.
added plastic plates on the seat to raise the pilot. I also sanded the bottom of the coaming to slightly lower its height.
The coaming looks too big and bulky for 1/72 scale.
To make it look more to scale, I thinned the edge of the coaming.
Another test-fit and I think it looks much better now.
I also thinned the pilot’s back slightly so he sits closer to the seat.
It’s a lot of work just to cram 2 pilots into the cockpit but at least it worked out.
Media: Injection Plastic
The VF-0 is a development variable fighter pressed into service during the Mayan conflict in 2008 (as depicted in Macross Zero). Introduced in 2004, it is a trial production and testbed using Overtechnology for future variable fighters like the VF-1. Originally tasked with tests and research, production was ramped up and pressed into combat service in 2008 against the Anti-UN Alliance.
The VF-0 is equipped with conventional turbofan jet engines which limits its range, handling and power. The use of the conventional engine also necessitates a larger airframe. Future variable fighters would be fitted with thermonuclear reaction engines which address this major shortcoming.
The VF-0C is a single-seat delta winged variant. The larger wings increased air combat manoeuvrability and a 20% greater payload compared to the A/S variant. The VF-0C was tested by the UN Marine Corps and 6 were produced for this purpose.
This build depicts the squadron leader’s VF-0C from VMFAT-203 ‘Hawks’.
Information from Macross Compendium
Hasegawa released a flurry of kits after Macross Zero premiered. The VF-0C however, did not actually appear in the OVA. While I’m not sure what was going on in the background, the VF-0C and VMFAT-203 Hawks are both canon now. Anyway, this kit is basically a combination of the VF-0A and VF-0D kits. As usual with Hasegawa, the parts are crisply molded with fine panel lines. Details are nice although some ejection pin marks appear in places that boggles the mind: eg. in between the rear facing vanes on the tail. There are also a number of sink marks on some of the parts.
Engine faces are provided both in the (somewhat shallow) intakes and the exhausts which is a nice touch. Another nice touch is the inclusion of a pilot figure. In fact, since this is pretty much a rebox of the VF-0D, there are enough parts for 2 pilots in the box. Nice. Another pleasant surprise is the inclusion of stores although it’s only a pair of rocket pods. Interestingly, there are options to mount the rocket pods dorsally ala the BAe Jaguar and British Electric Lightning.
Markings are for 2 fighters: the colorful squadron leader and a low-viz line fighter.
Construction allows for subassemblies as usual and there is a semi-serious effort to allow for the engines to be installed after final construction (it works but it’s not a drop-in asssembly). Since many components are hidden when everything is put together, I decided to go ahead with having as much of the kit together this time. The wings would prove to be a challenge to fit flush with the fuselage. Given another go I think I would fit the wings first before the legs/engines.
Like my previous VF-22 build, I decided to do this kit wheels up. Like that one, this isn’t supposed to be modeled wheels up so some adjusting and trimming was required. The end result is not perfect. A brass rod was added and reinforced with epoxy putty in a spot that’s not visible externally.
I managed to crack the front canopy so I sacrificed another VF-0 kit for the part. Otherwise, construction was relatively pain-free.
Colors & Markings
I originally wanted a custom camouflage to the kit but ended up with a combination of the 2 kit options: it’ll have the squadron leader’s colorful markings but the color scheme of the line unit. It was a quick matter of black base, base color, mask with blutack, then the dark gray pattern up top. The gun, external tank and rocket pods are in the same color to reduce the amount of work.
After the gloss coat has cured, it was time for the decals. I decided to forego with the small stencils for this one and after about 3 hours of work I was done. Typically of Hasegawa, the decals are thick and need copious amounts of Mark Softer. I also used Mark Setter to get some of the decals to conform around shapes. They look fine after drying overnight.
The finished kit was given a simple diluted panel wash of raw umber oil paint. I then added some color variation with white, yellow, red, blue and black oil paints. Lastly I added some streaks on the main wings with a 6B pencil and swiping in the direction of air flow with my thumb.
After a coat of flat varnish, I added the clear sensors on the nose (which I tinted brown with Tamiya Smoke) and handpainted in the wingtip lights with transparent red and blue over silver. Then it was final assembly with a mix of styrene cement, white glue and superglue.
This kit is surprisingly big and it’s not just because of the delta wing. Overall, it’s wider and longer than an F-14. More importantly though, I have another Queen joining the masses and another Macross jet off my to-build stash. 😀
Number 2 of 2017
There’s a very obvious step on the wing joints which I try my best to fix. Nothing too drastic like sanding like mad though. Just an attempt to make the step look less jarring.
Painting begins with a base of black primer.
I’m going with the camo from the kit instruction since I couldn’t come up with something better. So first up the light gray.
Using blutack as a mask, the darker gray goes on. It went quite smoothly this time.
The engine sections on the dorsal were masked off and painted. Then a gloss coat is sprayed to prepare for decals. I decided to skip all the stencils. As usual, Hasegawa’s decals are thick and require a lot of Mark Softer. But once cured, they look fine. Some prepainting was required for the wingtips and the tailfins. This simply means more tape and being careful about overspray. 24 hours of curing later, I wiped down the kit with a wet cloth to remove any decal residue. After that it’s another glosscoat to seal the decals in.
Panel line wash is next with Raw Umber oil paint and left to dry for 24 hours. During this time I notice parts of a formation light decal tore off. I carefully re-attached these back with Future. The result is OK if not looked at too closely.
I decided to try out some pin washes with oil paint following the instructions from my friend Maxwinamp. The effect is two-fold: 1) it weathers the surface to simulate airflow over the mecha 2) I find it somewhat blends the camouflage by giving an overall filter. I went easy on the pin washes though as in canon, the VF-0C wasn’t used heavily operationally.
After a day of drying, I took another look at the kit and decided it needed more weathering. I went with white and black oil paint only for this round. I also added streaks with a 6B pencil and swiping the marks with my thumb.
Final assembly is next along with painting of the small details like wingtip lights.
Next up on the workbench is another shelf queen from January 2011. Yep, 6 years. Unfortunately I’ve had to wipe my website late last year and I lost a lot of in-progress pictures of this build (Update: I have since recovered said content). Anyway, work continues with drilling a hole for the pole. I’ve had to put the hole off-center as the gunpod was in the way. Nothing too drastic though. The brass rod was then reinforced with epoxy putty in spots that can’t be seen from the outside.
Hasegawa typically designs its Macross kits to build in subassemblies. Usually it also means you can paint them up before putting everything together. This kit is no different but I decided to go with a more conventional build with this one so I put together most of the kit (like an aircraft kit) and will go from there.
My workmanship hasn’t been great for this build though. There are some obvious steps on the joints between the wings and the fuselage. Not sure if I can overcome these. Anyway, work continues.