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.
First introduced in 2008, the VF-1 was developed for the UN Spacy using Overtechnology obtained from the Macross alien spaceship. It would remain as the mainstay fighter throughout what would be called Space War 1. The VF-1 is capable of space flight and is able to have FAST packs attached to it to increase performance and ordinance.
The VF-1 is designed to be able to transform into a bipedal humanoid ‘Battroid’ mode and a hybrid ‘Gerwalk’ mode where the VF-1 takes on the look of a fighter jet with a pair of arms and legs. In Gerwalk mode, the VF-1 has the additional capability of VTOL operations and is able to skim the surface like a hovercraft. In Battroid mode, the VF-1 is pretty much capable of replicating human movements and most importantly, go into hand-to-hand combat with enemies.
The VF-1S is an uprated variant of the standard VF-1 built by Northrom. It features a modified head with 4 lasers, improved engines and avionics and is assigned to squadron leaders and CAGs.
The VF-1 can be augmented with the Shinnakasu Heavy Industry FAST Pack system with six micro-missiles in two NP-AR-01 micro-missile launcher pods (mounted rearwardly under center ventral section in Fighter mode), and two HMMP-02 micro-missile launcher pods. This configuration is called the Super Valkyrie. The HMMP-02 pod can be replaced by the optional Mauler RO-X2A high-powered double-action beam cannon pod (mounted on dorsal section) which changes the VF-1’s designation to Strike Valkyrie.
The Super Strike Valkyrie* variant is armed with 4 FAST packs (2 overhead, 2 underwing) with 2 HMMP-02 pods and 2 RO-X2A beam cannon pods. It is a further modification of the S-FAST pack / Config ver. 1.1 w variant. It is assigned the first strike role and a secondary space defence role. The mission is to quickly intercept the enemy before they get too close to the fleet.
*The Super Strike Valkyrie is my own variant
The base VF-1 kit was first released in 2000. In 2001, the Super and Strike Valkyrie variants were issued. In 2004, Hasegawa released an all-in-1 boxing where you can build either a Super or Strike Valkyrie. Options were also provided for the A/J or S variants.
Revolutionary at the time, the parts were designed to be able to be built in sub-assemblies so you can paint them separately before finally assembling it together. Now that it’s 2019 though, it is showing its age with most of the components broken down to the very basic left and right halves so there are seamlines everywhere.
With that in mind though, the mold is still holding up with a minimal of flash and very finely done panel lines as per Hasegawa’s usual standards. 4 marking options are provided: all of them are for the ‘Macross: Do You Remember Love?’ color schemes. No pilots or missiles are included (you need the weapons set for these). Out of the box, there’s also no gear up option.
Well, the base kit is the same as the VF-1A I built in 2017 so the same comments apply. I did go with a gear up option so some cutting, trimming and adjusting was required for the gear bay doors to fit properly. The most modifications done were on the Super PACKs which would fit under the wings. The female mounting point needed to be filled up and a slot required for the underwing pylon to fit in. I followed the reference pic of the S-FAST pack / Config ver. 1.1 w and armed my VF-1S with AMM-1 and RMS-1 missiles. First strike role so it needs a lot of missiles to do its job. 🙂
The kit is made up of components from 2 separate boxings. but I replaced those that I didn’t assemble properly with new more carefully done ones. Yes it means I have a ton of spares now which can’t be assembled into another VF-1. Oh well.
I pre-painted quite a lot of parts that I foresee would be hard to reach later on. I should have pre-painted the inside of the FAST packs also but didn’t. These would prove to be hard to reach during the painting stage. Lesson learned.
Colors & Markings
I figured only someone as brave (or reckless) as Milia Jenius would fly this configured VF-1 but I didn’t want to paint the whole kit in her red color. It’s… well… too red. So I decided to go with a white VF-1 with red highlights in a splinter pattern. It took quite a bit of masking but was straightforward enough. For the FAST packs I ended up with a darker color than I originally planned but I think they still work with the main color scheme.
I had 2 sets of decals. 1 is old and yellowed but I needed some of the markings from this sheet for the Super packs. All went well until the last piece which started tearing. I ended up fixing it with some red from unused markings on the new sheet. The shade of red didn’t quite match but you won’t know until you stared at it. It’ll have to do.
The new decals went on without a hitch and as usual, reacted very well with Mark Softer. I gave Milia the nose number of ’03’ figuring Hikaru Ichijyo is ’01′ and Maximilian Jenius is ’02’. Stencils were as usual kept to a minimum.
The kit went through my usual stages of weathering of panel wash, fading and filtering but no chipping this time. For the dark FAST packs I panel washed with a medium gray instead of the dark brown I always use. All the clear parts were installed and painted before the components come together.
Final assembly took quite a bit of patience. Some careful planning was required and the components were attached in a specific sequence to reduce the chance of screwing up on my part.
And I’m done! Killing 2 kits in 1 go might be a waste to some, but for me, it’s well worth it to have such a heavily armed variant.
Time to put everything together! First i attached all the vernier nozzles on the FAST packs. I kept these glossy just like the thrusters.
Since I only have 1 clear parts tree I’m stuck with only 1 lens for the beam cannons. I made up a pair of lenses from battery blister pack instead, painted these clear orange and glossed them up with a brush of Future.
The beam cannon FAST packs are then attached to the backpack. They fit canted slightly inwards so I added 0.25mm plates to the attachment points to keep them perpendicular.
The head and the GU-11 gunpod were then attached.
The pilot and canopy were then added. Turns out the black on the canopy is a different shade than the black on the nose. To get them to match better, I handpainted flat black over the nose pattern.
The clear parts are painted accordingly with transparent red and blue and attached with Gator Glue. Future was brushed on to give them a shine.
The stores were added in an inside to outside sequence: FAST pack, RMS-1 missile then AMM-1 missiles. These were attached with CA glue.
The legs/engines were then attached with good dollops of cement.
The base is a piece of round balsa. I drilled a hole and added a short length of metal pipe for reinforcement. The block was sprayed in AK Black Grey and given a coat of gloss.
The rod attached to the kit slots into to the pipe in the base.
Last on is the backpack with the beam cannons.
And I’m done! Quite happy with how this turned out.
The fixes required after painting were thankfully minor. The most obvious being the round plate on the backpack.
Some careful hand painting fixed it.
After a gloss coat, it was time for decals. Since I didn’t have enough of the roundels, I had to use the 2 that were from the old boxing, which is at least a decade old and not in the best shape. Each roundel was made of 2 layers: 1 white and 1 red. Just my luck that the last red piece started breaking as soon as I lifted it out of the water.
To fix it, I cut out sections from the red skull squadron markings on the new sheet and stacked them onto the existing decal. It’s not perfect (the shade of red is slightly different and if you looked carefully 1 corner is not very neat) but it’ll have to do. Sidenote: I also added yellow bands around the Super FAST packs to indicate that these are the HMMP-02 missile pods instead of propellant ones.
Milia gets the ‘003’ nose number since I figured that Hikaru is ‘002’ and Maximilliam is presumably ‘002’.
The decals from the new sheet went on without any problems and worked very well with Mark Softer. I kept the stencils to a minimum.
Once cured and given another gloss coat, it’s time to weather.
First is a panel wash with Miig AMMO Deep Brown Panel Line Wash.
To reduce the contrast between the different colors and markings, I added a filter with blue and white oil paint.
I also blended Mig AMMO Oilbrusher Starship FIlth in random spots.
Ready for weathering.
Filtered and faded with oil paint.
Ready for weathering.
Filtered and faded with oil paint.
The blending of the oil paints add add some visual interest and replicates the look of an operational machine.
Since they are in a darker color, the FAST Packs were given a panel wash of Abteilung Neutral Grey instead. Fading and filter were the same using white and blue oil paints.
/crosses fingers. Final assembly is next!