Updated: Feb 15, 2022
Naming the Return2kitform.com shop build Sex Machine may not have been the smartest move. Mainly because I get lots of “???” or “Er okay” when I mention it. Here I was thinking that it was a catchy and relevant title that might just get a few extra clicks, but it seems I still have much to learn about this blogging business. Oh well.
I have never been accused of being the fastest builder so it comes as no surprise that it has been a while since the last update. Most of the time has been spent sanding, sanding and a bit more sanding - thanks mostly to the design of the VF-1 itself.
As the below image (courtesy of the Macross Mecha Manual) depicts the VF-1 is a series of modules loosely connected. In order to get the appropriate feel Hasegawa has produced the kit in broadly the same way. This makes the kit a pain to build since there are bunch of sub assemblies. But there is really no other way to go about it of you want to represent to gaps and spaces between components where they should be. Add in the Super/Strike FAST packs and you have a lot of assembling to do!
Thankfully for the model builder Kanamori’s later designs are much more sleek. This makes Hasegawa (and the kit builder’s) job easier as the kits are less reliant on modular sub assemblies and go together more like a regular aircraft kit.
I am on record as being a big fan of the Hasegawa kits, after all they the main reason I got into this hobby in the first place. But sometimes I wonder what was being passed around in the office when when decisions are being made. For example this kit is absolutely packed with great surface details. Finely recessed panel lines, hatches and rivets abound. So why are the panel lines on the RMS-1 reaction missiles raised? Really? Raised panel lines on a kit released in 2013. Needless to say I am pretty annoyed as those raised lined cross the seam joining both halves of the missile body. So for now I have put them aside while I decide what to do. I could just get rid of all the lines since the line-art doesn’t show them. Or alternatively I could clean one up and re scribe all the lines and cast copies. One thing is for sure - I am not sanding and re-scribing six of the damn things!
With the wind starting to leak out of my sails it was time to switch things up as another helpful trait that I have never been accused of having was efficiency. Since I was getting tired of staring at bare plastic I decided to focus on getting the FAST pack set completely finished, almost as a sub model within the whole project. I am hoping that this will keep the mojo flowing and after a week or so I was finally ready to start painting something on this kit (I don’t count the cockpit as I am not convinced I won’t have to do it over for a third time).
FAST Pack Colours: TV vs Movie
There are a bunch of slight variations of the VF-1 between the DYRL? Movie and the TV series and one of them is the colour of the FAST packs. In the Movie they are a dark blue but in the show they are a weird grey/green.
Looking over Hasegawa’s recommended 60/40 recipe of Air Superiority Blue and Neutral Grey left me with doubts so I went looking for an alternative. After asking around the forums and pages (and not getting any definitive advice) I decided mix up my own and landed on a custom Tamiya mix of XF-66 Light Grey/XF-14 JA Grey/XF-26 Deep Green in a 2:1:1 ratio.
While it isn’t even close to what is on screen I decided that I liked the colour enough and that it would contrast nicely with the Cannon Fodder brown fuselage. After mixing up a batch I then made two lighter shades by mixing in XF-80 Royal Light Grey since I was all out of XF-2 White.
After that is was just a matter of spraying on some Scale Model Supplies black surfacer and marbling with their white. This was the first chance I had to fine tune my SMS DragonAir airbrush and I have to say I like it a lot. It was very affordable and is absolutely the best airbrush I have ever used. Mind you take that with a grain of salt as I started out on an Aztek before graduating to a pair of old Paasche VLS that I have been persisting with since 2005. But in comparison to the VLS to the DragonAir is simple to use and clean, produces fine lines and feels good in the hand.
Dave from the Plastic Model Mojo podcast claims that airbrushing is a skill that decays and I agree. In fact I would extend that to all modelling skills - if you don’t use ‘em you lose ‘em! At least that has been my experience on this build so far. But I was pretty happy with the way the FAST packs came out after watching a couple of Shuichi Hayashi tutorial videos on basic painting and masking sol techniques to introduce some tonal variation. By the way if you haven’t seen any of his videos then head over to YouTube and treat yourself.
Just be aware that at first it seems he has quite the high pitched voice which sounds a bit comical. It turns out that he just renders his videos at 1.5 or 2 times speed!
So far I am pretty happy and am always looking forward to getting back to the bench. Right now I am plugging away at masking off the steel accents on the boosters before I start adding all the decals and markings.
No doubt it will be a few weeks until the next update but this build is turning out to be a lot of fun.