By Less Than Super Ostritch - images & text © 2004
The Big Qualifier
This is my first resin kit and my fourth model kit since my 15 hiatus from the hobby. I know "recast" is a four letter word to some people, but I was not going to let my novice skills destroy an original Club-M beauty. Besides, if you like this kit, they are almost impossible to find.
(Editor's Note: After seeing this model through several stages of construction at our local club meeting, I asked Brian to do a write up. Then I hounded him mercilessly until he did. If you want to flame somebody for "promoting recasts" or whatever makes your bile rise - flame me, not Brian.).
Prepping the model was very easy. I scraped and sanded most of the flash off very easily. A dry fit let me know that the assembly phase would be a cinch. Clearly the recaster used quality resin with a good quality mold. I washed the resin kit with some dishwashing detergent and let dry overnight. I primed a few separate parts, particularly the cockpit, so I could start this section first.
Constructing the Fuselage
I've read where resin modelers will install metal rods to give the heavy resin sections some support. I wish I'd listened to this advice. I assembled, broke, and assembled, and broke, and assembled it several times throughout this process. In retrospect, I would have left the two front wings (just behind the canopy) until the very end… I snapped these puppies off more times than I can count. The strength of the Super Glue ain't so super when you are sanding the seams. Several of the panel lines have been eliminated due to my overzealous sanding of the main seam between to two main fuselage halves. I also over-sanded some of the panel lines on the two nacelles… and I poorly rescribed most of them. The main air intakes were a little brittle on the front bottom half. The fit was less than perfect particularly when you inserted the little sections in the intake roof. The intake fan fit in nicely.
Main wings and tail wings fit nicely. Sanding was difficult to get the seams flush. I found out the beauty of Mr. Surfacer primers (the 1000 and 500 series in the small jars) too late for this project. These thick primers applied with a toothpick can be a lifesaver. The feet/thrusters fit in nicely, but the walls of these sections were somewhat brittle. I did not put the thrusters in until the very end since painting them would be much easier separate.
The recast did not come with white metal landing gear like the original. As a result, I decided to make this an “In-flight” model. That meant landing gear up and we needed a pilot. Parts for the landing gear covers did not line up perfectly, so I had to use a lot of putty and then rescribe the door lines. I should have thrown away the doors altogether since they were more trouble than they were worth. Perhaps I could have filled up the landing bays with putty, smoothed it out flush to the sidewalls, and then just rescribe the panel lines of the landing bay doors… of course, that would have been too easy.
The recast came with two pilots, but I ended up using a cleaner Hasegawa extra pilot from the VF-1 Weapons set. The cockpit is extremely sparse. I did very little detailing of the cockpit section save an oil wash (In retrospect, I should have done a little drybrushing too). The vacuum-formed canopies were a little hazy and fragile. But I cut them into place and used some canopy glue to connect it to the canopy and fill some slight gaps.
Once the main assemblies were complete, I masked the canopy with Blue Tac (the stuff to hang posters). I cleaned the model again with dishwashing soap to get rid of some oil. I constructed a crude holder out of a bent coat hanger, which was a godsend during the painting stage. I sprayed the model with Mr. Surfacer grey primer, which uncovered many of the rescribing errors, putty problem areas, and overall flubs of a newbie modeler. I fixed some and gave up on others (I like to pick my battles).
I painted the base coat with an off-white, and I was really unhappy with it. After further consideration, the "off white" or "egg shell" should be left to the Pottery Barn squadron of UN Spacy (only the old folks on the boards will think that joke is funny). I went back to the original flat white paint scheme... unexciting, but I like it better. Perhaps I will spice up the details with some color. I only use Tamiya paints.
I wanted to try some post-shading techniques, so I thought that I could protect the base coat with a gloss lacquer coat. That way if I screw up then I can remove the post shade without attacking the base coat. Make sense? Well, I tried the aforementioned plan and it did not work. I oversprayed with an acrylic paint over the lacquer coat (by accident), and then tried to correct my work by wiping the acrylic paint off. However, it wouldn't come off with either water or windex... this does NOT bode well for my post shading experiment! I decided to abandon the post shade and just do an oil wash over future. I sprayed the thruster nozels/feet with gunmetal. I chose the black, white and yellow “Fokker” scheme for the plane. There is dark sea grey in the smaller air intakes (not the main jet fan intakes). Overall, I am very displeased with my paint finish. I did not thin the paint down enough, hence the slight orange peel effect.
The pre-scribed circles where the Macross logo is supposed to go did not fit any of my Hasegawa 1/72 scale decals. I filled them up with putty and went with the smaller logos from my Hasegawa decals. I am very disappointed with the decals, but unfortunately I have no other choice except to leave the aircraft bare. I basically made up the decal application, since I had no reference materials. I used a similar technique as you would on the Hasegawa VF-1's.
I saw this technique “In-flight” stand in FSM magazine. It couldn't have been easier to build. I took an acrylic rod (cheap as chips from usplastic.com) and heated it up with a heat gun (also cheap as chips). As the rod got warm, it began to bend. As it was bending I guided it along the grooves of a large coffee can (USE GLOVES since the heat takes a toll on your hands). I drilled a hole at an angle into the base, and the curved acrylic rod fit right in. As for the attachment to the VF-4, all I did was drill two little holes in the acrylic rods and the plane. Then I superglued two nails that I sawed in half into the base. Turned out great. You can barely see the attachment points underneath and you can take the plane off the stand fairly easily. I have only primed the base, but I imagine I'll just paint it black (in the words of Mick Jagger), perhaps with a Macross symbol.
The Final Word
I'm very pleased with the kit, and I learned a lot in the process. My biggest frustrations were not with the model, but with my poor painting, puttying and rescribing skills. I highly recommend this kit, and I would definitely shell out for the original if I could find it.
This page copyright © 2004 Starship Modeler. First posted on 24 February 2004.