Author Topic: VF-1D Super Valkyrie - Hasegawa 1/72  (Read 3371 times)

November 25, 2010, 11:01:13 PM
Read 3371 times

Funaka

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More than anything in the Gundam universe, I love Valkyries. I inherited a love for airplanes from my dad and I just always liked robots going back to the Shogun Warriors toys that were out when I was 4 or 5. So when this show called Robotech came along with an actual plot and these cool robots THAT TRANSFORMED INTO JETS!!! It was the coolest thing ever for the eleven year-old version of me.

I've collected a bunch of Valkyrie kits over the years and even built a few back in my brush-painting days but this is the first time I tackle on in my "real model builder" era. The Gundam kits always call to me, "I'm easier... build me next." This time I'm resisting the temptation.

For this project I'm combining Hasegawa's 1/72 scale VF-1D kit (I like the longer nose on the VF-1D in fighter mode), which comes with a photoetch parts set, with a Super VF-1A (just the Super parts and the folded backpack and bent legs that go with them, I'll still have a complete VF-1A fighter kit when I'm done), the weapons set (for the pilots and missiles) and the Option Decals Set 3 (http://www.hlj.com/product/HSG65766).

I'm going for the "7th Aircraft" of the Minmay Guard. Both the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels have a 6-plane aerobatic team, but they each have a 7th plane, a two-seater which serves as a backup plane as well as a promotional plane to take up VIPs and members of the media. I haven't worked out the exact color scheme yet, but it will be more or less blue and white to go with the decals.

Anyway, here's the progress...

Airplane models pretty much always start with the cockpit. I took one quick detour to deal with the landing gear doors (technically, the wheel well and cockpit tub are the same piece of plastic). I wanted the doors closed on this model. Like the Hasegawa Mustang I built last year, this plane is meant to be built wheels-down only and putting them up requires some surgery. At least these gear doors are in the neighborhood of the size of the hole they are supposed to cover. The Mustang gear doors were a joke.

I started by cutting the tabs off of the doors and gluing the two main doors together using a piece of plaplate to brace them into one solid piece. I then installed some plastic strip inside the wheel wells and them sanded them flush with the edges. These provide a lip for the gear doors to sit on when I glue them shut.



But, of course the gear doors are too thin, so I had to glue tiny thin strips along their edges to mate with the plastic lips I had added. Some careful sanding made for a pretty damn good seal. Once I finish the cockpit and really glue the nose halves together I'll perfect the fit of the doors.



Next came the actual cockpit (or the front office as many plane modelers call it). I had actually done a bit of work on this kit about 5 years ago before shelving it, so the instrument panels and a few other random pieces are glued on already. This shouldn't be a major problem to work around.



A few photo etch parts are meant to go in the cockpit, like these ones on the tops of the seats:



I assembled the two pilots, giving them different poses to make them not look like two identical pieces of plastic. The backseater gets to wave since the guy in front is doing the driving. I still have to work on his right arm. It's ridiculously skinny and his hand is kinda limp-wristed right now:





Here's a test-fit with the canopy, can't have anybody's head or hands keeping it from fitting later:



The cockpit on this thing is extremely simple, so once I get the pilots set and add a bit of mesh or something onto a bare and very visible piece of side wall, I'll paint it and close it up.
"I don't belong to an organized political party. I'm a Democrat." - Will Rogers

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December 08, 2010, 10:25:47 PM
Reply #1

braxat2000

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Awesome!
I love vlakyries too  :lol:
Great work on your model.
I'm going to follow this one closely..

January 20, 2011, 05:04:59 PM
Reply #2

Funaka

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Alright... where was I???
Well now that the Bandai World Cup and my 20-something page report on my trip are out of the way, I can get back to my WIP. I've actually been working on this here and there for a couple of weeks, but have spent all my on-computer time either making my reports vegging out, so I haven't been updating this WIP.

Work continued with the cockpit. I wanted to add some detail to this large piece of side panel that shows pretty well once you put the model together but is completely bare, so I tried something I see a lot of IPMS-type airplane builders do, I added some wiring:


Next, the armrests in the cockpit were completely devoid of detail, and real airplanes always have a bunch of switches and knobs there, so I added little plastic bits that should come out with some paint and dry brushing:




Next I worked on the arm of my backseater to give him a better pose. I sawed the arm into 3 tiny pieces, added some plastic strip and sanded and re-glued it into a better pose.


The next trick was converting back of the VF-1D for Super pack use. There is some "historical" discrepancy here. The Super Ostrich and Elintseeker Valks do not fold their fins when the backpack folds over to mount the Super packs. But then again, these VT and VE Valkyries do not really look like straight VF-1D conversions as their noses are more blunt and the pilots are packed almost on top of each other.
http://www.1999.co.jp/itbig02/10020299a.jpg
http://www.1999.co.jp/itbig08/10088020a4.jpg

Now the regular VF-1D folds its fins like the regular VFs for Gerwalk mode ( http://www.1999.co.jp/itbig08/10082441a3.jpg )and older kits were made of the Super VF-1D with normal folded fins. The problem that arises is that the Hasegawa kits of the VF-1S/J/A all have a hatch that folds down (inwards) just a bit to clear the fins when the backpack folds over. This folded hatch is utilized for both the Super/Strike fighter kits as well as the Battroid kits. Back in the old 80's Takara Valks these same hatched folded outwards so you could get the head through during transformation. The VF-1D kit does not have this hatch. Here's a comparison, with the back of the VF-1D on top and the back to a normal VF-1S/J/A on bottom:


The VF-1D's back is one solid piece, and is also taller where the backpack folds over:


The normal VF is both shorter, and has the retractable hatch:


If I were to slap the backpack onto the VF-1D, the Super packs that mount to it would be cocked upwards a good 10-15 degrees and look stupid. So, I had to do some surgery, starting with cutting both backplates in half so I could keep the unique VF-1D front half and use the normal VF-1S/J/A rear half with its cut-out for the hatch:


Next I had to cut the hatch out of the rear portion of the VF-1D, and cut some of the front off of it so it would be the right length. Then I had to file a groove into the back of it:




Finally, I cheated some and shaved down the front plate so the fins could clear. I really wanted to make sure that backpack sat solidly on its mounting posts so that the super packs would be as well-aligned as possible. These kits can have alignment issues even when they aren't modified.


And a test fit:




Last step is to glue it together and fill it with gap-filling CA glue. Masking paper was used to protect the very VERY fine surface detail while I sanded this seam.

"I don't belong to an organized political party. I'm a Democrat." - Will Rogers

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Also, see my report on the Bandai Gunpla World Cup 2010

January 29, 2011, 06:55:47 PM
Reply #3

Funaka

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One of the last things I have to do before I start priming is to retract the rear wheels. To do this I had to modify the "legs" is to add a plastic shim inside the wheel well to support the rearmost gear door otherwise it just falls into the wheel well. Up front, I had to cut out the support from the landing light mount. The landing light is like a third landing gear door that opens forward so that the landing light can shine forward. Unlike the actual landing gear doors that fit pretty good in the well, the landing light "doors" were too long, too wide and too thick.



I had to file down the landing light door to the right dimensions and also file the edges so that it could sit flush on top of the "rails" that were left when I cut out the center of the door mount.



Now the doors fit pretty well. Like the nose gear door, I can't do the final fit until I glue the halves of the legs together.



Next was the foot exhausts. The way the kit is made the feet are sandwiched between the legs and have to be masked off. That also means you have to paint them and everything inside before you glue the legs together. I didn't want to do this so I shaved the circular shapes off the sides of the feet that hold them in place.



I thought I would have to make some kind of mounts for the feet but it turned out that when I test fit them they fit pretty snugly and touched the plate with the molded in exhaust detail inside the leg well enough that I decided I could just glue them in place after the model was done.

They sit slightly deeper than intended, but you can't really tell. Here's the comparison to the stock mounting:



I love it when mods just kind of work themselves out. That's why test-fitting is so important. It's amazing how many things fit  that aren't even necessarily meant to fit together.

The last thing was to glue the photoetched deteail inside the feet:



Now I'm ready to wash all the parts I've worked on for priming.

The next thing I did was to get back on the computer and work out my color scheme. I wanted to go with a stripes and sunburst pattern. It's a real classic with airplanes. But it's too classic. It looks right on a Super Cub, or Decathalon. These are fabric-covered airplanes from the middle of the 20th century so I wanted something to modernize the look of the color scheme. I first thought of fading them out with the airbrush but thought that would be kind of lame since the pattern would just kind of disappear.

But I liked the idea of the pattern starting strong towards the center of the plane and then breaking up as it got out towards the extremities. I don't know when I made the connection, but I decided to do it with little white strips like the pattern was being cut to ribbons. I think the idea comes from what Gamerabaenre did with the patterns of blue and pink in his Gouf Cstom and Zaku II (http://gamerabaenre.com/gouf_conv.htm) but the pattern is applied in a gradient from one end to another. Here's the mock-up:



The UN Spacy is upside down on the gunpod because it just bugs the heck out of me to see it upside down when carried in battroid mode, especially when that makes it rightside up in fighter mode WHEN IT'S RIGHT NEXT TO THE UN SPACY LOGO ON THE LEG!!! Why have it all rightside up in one mode and all upside down in the other??? It's like the Zaku shield, it should really be on the left shoulder for right-handed pilots since that way it would deploy forward in the typical two-handed firing stance.
"I don't belong to an organized political party. I'm a Democrat." - Will Rogers

Please visit Funakatown
Also, see my report on the Bandai Gunpla World Cup 2010

January 30, 2011, 10:45:21 PM
Reply #4

Grail

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Cool!
Looks like it's getting the full Funaka!  :-)
Looking good. I will watch.
Cheers!
Throw it Hard

January 31, 2011, 01:15:50 AM
Reply #5

nkvd

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Wow! Gotta say, nice work so far, and great mock-up!  ;) I really like the color scheme...I'll definitely keep an eye on this WIP.

February 05, 2011, 10:47:00 AM
Reply #6

braxat2000

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Fantastic color scheme!
Great job on everything.

February 21, 2011, 09:31:46 PM
Reply #7

Funaka

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Man, I've been kind of under a rock with this project... A big part of that is just life getting in the way. In the last few weeks I've had to fight with my insurance company and the body shop that didn't fix my car right to get them to fix it right. I've also battled a colony of large ants that moved into my bedroom wall. I've had to study for a promotional job interview (I got the job tho!). I've had to do online traffic school. And I made an "Intro to Mecha Modeling" presentation to the local IPMS club. But also, I'm just to the point of fixing the 20-odd seam lines on this kit and it's not something I look forward to all day at work.   

Anyway... I thought Iíd be painting the cockpit soon since it needs to be painted before I close up the fuselage, but I started assembling some sub-assemblies and as I began to test fit some parts, I found a lot of small issues that needed attention. Some of these fixes are still in-progress, and I bounced around quite a bit from one small task to another but Iíll try to present it in an orderly fashion.

I test-fit the VF-1D head that tucks into the bottom of the cockpit and found that the head sits too low so that rim of the gun turrets on the side of the head stick out above the actual head. A lot!



To fix this I added some plates on the bottom of the head to shim it upwards (technically downwards since itís on the bottom of the plane, but...) and now the guns sit flush with the top of the head.





Next was the Super booster packs. The very first thing I did was cut the tabs off the main thrusters so that they could be painted separately and slid into place afterwards.





The booster packs had some fit issues as the main thrusters didnít fit inside them well without splitting the packs apart at the seams. If you look in the picture above, you can see the bulges on the inside on the right side that house the small maneuvering thrusters on the sides of the packs. These interfere with the fit of the main thrusters so I sanded them upper bulge down a bit and the side of the booster as well.



Next I looked at the way the packs mount to the backpack. The mounts have a really small contact point that doesnít allow much glue to hold these relatively large structures to the plane. Even worse, there isnít a positive fit that keeps them aligned, so you could mount them really crooked. Iíve seen Valks with this problem, even some of Hasegawaís own prototype models can be spotted with crooked booster packs.



To fit this I used a 1.5mm brass rod and CAREFULLY drilled matching holes into the mounts for the booster packs. This rod will go through a plastic rod, which will be securely glued inside the backpack, which should give a secure and straight fit. The downside is that this will all have to be glued in place and aligned after painting is done.





The next fix for the boosters was the gaping hollow spaces visible behind the main thrusters when viewed from behind:



To remedy this I added some small strips of plastic as brackets to mount some plastic plate:



Once these brackets were in place I used trial and error to make a set of upper and lower formers to block off the hollow space and glued them in. Iíll add some detailing greebles to them before painting. Iím also going to add some plaplate or strips around the inside backs of the booster pack because thereís a lot of blank space visible around the main thrusters.



I test-fit the arms and discovered a big hole in the hollow ďelbowsĒ that will be visible once the plane is all assembled. Itís not horrible since you would only see it from certain angles, but still, itís an easy fix so I blocked it off with some thin plaplate.



With the legs glued together, I went ahead and installed the landing gear doors. They still required a bit of filing but I got a pretty good fit. Iíll probably still need some filler here and there but Iím pretty happy with the results so far. The question is how much putty Iíll have to use to smooth them out and how much Iíll have to rescribe the door outlines.



Thatís it for now. I got my workbench cleaned up and all the kits put back that I took to the IPMS meeting and actually got a little work done this weekend. If I can get a few more sessions in this week I might get this model primed pretty soon and while there will still be issues to fix, I'll feel like I've started to make some progress again.

"I don't belong to an organized political party. I'm a Democrat." - Will Rogers

Please visit Funakatown
Also, see my report on the Bandai Gunpla World Cup 2010

February 23, 2011, 12:02:46 PM
Reply #8

braxat2000

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Awesome progress so far.
I'm following closely :).

March 31, 2011, 03:33:59 PM
Reply #9

Funaka

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Update 03/31/11

Okay, there's something wrong with me. I have 60 pictures of a kit that isn't even primed yet...

Anyway, I added some detail to the main thrusters as well as the reactor missile thrusters, which were just a flat plate:





Then I went to work painting the cockpit. It's like a kit in and of itself. You have to paint it, then clearcoat it. Then decal it. The clearcoat it. Then do a wash. Then clearcoat it. Then drybrush it. Did it all in a weekend of short spurts of work followed by waiting for clearcoats to dry. Those hasegawa decals are THICK it took a lot of MicroSol just to get them to stay in place, let alone conform  to the shapes in the cockpit. Here's a series of pics showing the progression:

























Starting last weekend I decided this kit needs more decals so I started rendering this. It will go in the circles on the side of the Super Booster Packs. I'm going to make a few more things like numbers and stuff and also some decals for my VF-25 while I'm at it. In the meantime the kit is primed and I'm doing round two of fixing seam lines.


"I don't belong to an organized political party. I'm a Democrat." - Will Rogers

Please visit Funakatown
Also, see my report on the Bandai Gunpla World Cup 2010

March 31, 2011, 04:15:02 PM
Reply #10

Grail

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Okay, there's something wrong with me. I have 60 pictures of a kit that isn't even primed yet...
:lol: I agree. Digital photography can be dangerous.
I can't believe you remember the old shogun warriors! I had the 2' Great Mazinger when I was little.. Is that right? It blew my mind when I got it at christmas!

Awesome wip. I always like the updates. Liking that's it's 1/72. Really dig the detail route you are taking. Very cool. It's helping me decide how to approach my 1/72 YF-19's. I grew up seeing robotech too. Awesome cartoon. Looking back,I can't believe how fast the eps go! It's comical..
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