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.
The kit decals went on OK. Some are robust and took handling and adjusting well but others did tear and some careful re-alignment was needed.
I also made a big mistake in putting the SMS logo on the wrong side of the tailfins. I had to carefully re-hydrate them to move them to the correct side. In the process I managed to strip the black color on one of the tailfins. So I carefully sanded and buffed the area, masked off the existing decals, then re-sprayed black. It looks OK now.
The whole point of going with Ozma Lee’s VF-25S colors is the very cool skull logo on the back of his VF-25. Thankfully Hasegawa designed it in 3 parts. Due to their intricate design, I went with decals for the yellow and black chevrons. The other yellow markings were masked and sprayed. The 2 shades of yellow don’t quite match but I’ll live with it.
Once the decals have cured, the kit was wiped down, dusted and sprayed with another gloss coat to prepare for the panel wash and weathering.
Weathering begins with a panel wash using Mig AMMO Deep Brown wash. Is it better than the usual oil paint sludge? Not really. But it’s ready to use out of the bottle.
I’m not neat about it at all. What matters more is that the wash gets into all the panel lines.
After 30 minutes or so, I wipe down the kit with a paper towel lightly dampened with odorless turpentine.
I tried my best to wipe from the front to back direction. This follows the direction of airflow (er… yeah even though these things usually fly in a vacuum).
Next I added filters, discoloration, faded the decals and streaks using the same brown wash in addition to white and black oil paints. The efforts are more obvious in the light gray areas.
I made sure to add streaks on the wing actuators.
The overall markings and (especially) the skull doesn’t look as stark now.
Final assembly of the parts is next and I can call this done.
Looks patchy after a few rounds of gray to check for seamlines. But it’s finally ready to paint.
First is the base of Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black cut with lacquer thinner.
The VF-25S is in a 2 tone gray camo. I used MIG AMMO Light Gray for the lighter gray.
I’m guessing because the mecha were all CGI animated in the TV series the designers could get away with more stylized camouflage designs. That translates to having to do a lot more masking though. In any case, I first used 1.5mm and vinyl masking tape to trace the curves, then the usual masking tape to backfill the rest.
The darker shade of gray using Model Air Aggressor Gray was then sprayed on.
The colors were added in thin coats so the black base shows through. The result is a patchy look that I think looks good for an operational machine.
The masking tape are then removed and checked for any spot fixing required. Luckily there was only a few this time. Once that’s done, it was time for decals. I begin with a gloss coat.
While waiting for the gloss coat to cure, I assembled the thrusters. For some unknown reason the various components were snapfitted together. These will be installed during final assembly.
Finishing this kit is next!
Building up a Hasegawa Macross kit is easier than a typical aircraft kit in that they can be built up in subassemblies like a mecha kit. However, some planning is needed to make this work out so I begin by cutting and dryfitting the major parts together. As usual with Hasegawa, the fit is very good though tolerances are tight in some parts.
Since I’m building Ozma’s VF-25S, I went with the single seat cockpit. The ejection seat is nicely detailed although hidden once the Ozma figure is attached.
As with any aircraft kit, the pilot and cockpit needs to be painted and finished first.
With the instrument coamings installed, the cockpit is tight place to be and very little can be seen. The main console itself is a decal.
Hasegawa designs the wings to be movable but I went ahead to cement them in deployed position instead.
The exhausts are very detailed and also movable. I’ll be prepping these separately and only installing in the final stage.
As usual with my Macross kits, I want to build them in-flight whenever possible. The pole is a hollow brass rod secured with a glob of epoxy putty.
The kit came together quickly. Gaps and seamlines are part and parcel of building a kit, but with careful (and multiple) dry-fits, it’s possible to minimize them.
I spray gray color on all all the joint areas to check for gaps and seamlines. The gray color makes any issues easier to see. Luckily for me, there were only a few areas that require fixing.
The canopy was masked and given a coat of Mr. Masking Sol R. The liquid mask will fill any gap I miss with the masking tape and more importantly, it will also hold everything in place. I didn’t use the liquid mask in my previous build and the masking tape lifted and caused some overspray. Lesson learned, I’m not going to skip this step anymore.
Once dry, I’ll attach the canopy to the kit with Gator Glue and then it’s time to proceed to painting.
Final product pictures have popped up on the internet and it looks good. But it’s a Wave kit, which based on my experience usually means the plastic would be softer, the molding would not be as sharp as Bandai or Hasegawa and there might be fit issues. Still, I’m glad someone is finally tackling this very rare variable fighter.
This one’s coming @ 6,264 JPY in February. More pictures are on Hobbysearch.