1:100 Stonewell/Bellcom VF-1JS Super Valkyrie; "200" of the U.N. Spacy SVF-124 ‘Moon Shooters’ Fighter Squadron; Lunar ‘Apollo’ Base, 2012 (ARII kit conversion) - WiP
The kit and its assembly:
This VF-1 is another contribution to the “Old Kit” Group Build at whatifmodelers.com, running in late 2016. I am not certain about the moulds’ inception date, but since it is an ARII incarnation of this type of kit and even moulded in the early pastel green styrene, I’d think that it was produced in 1982 or 83.
Anyway, I love the Macross VF-1, IMHO a design masterpiece created by Shoji Kawamori and one of my favorite mecha designs ever, because it was created as a late 70ies style jet fighter that could transform into a robot in a secondary role. As a simple, purposeful military vehicle. And not like a flashy robot toy.
Effectively, this Super Valkyrie is a highly modified OOB kit with many donation parts, and this kit is a bit special, for several reasons. There are several 1:100 OOB kits with FAST Packs from ARII/Bandai available (and still around today), but these are normally only Battroids or Gerwalks with additional parts for the FAST kit conversion. The kit I used here is different: it is, after maybe 25 years of searching and building these kits, the #70 from the original production run. It is (so far!) the only Fighter mode kit with the additional FAST Pack parts! Must be rare, and I have never seen it in catalogues?
Until today, I converted my Super or Strike Valkyries from Gerwalk kits, a task that needs some improvisation esp. around the folded arms between the legs, and there’s no OOB option for an extended landing gear. The latter made this Fighter mode kit very attractive, even though the actual kit is pretty disappointing, and AFAIK this kit variant is only available as a VF-1S.
With the Super Valkyrie fighter kit you receive basically a Gerwalk with a standard fighter cockpit (which includes a front wheel well and an extended front wheel leg), plus extra parts. The leg/engine-mounted NP-FB-01 systems are less bulbous than the parts on the Gerwalk or Battroid kit, and the OOB dorsally mounted NP-BP-01 boosters are TINY, maybe 1:120 or even 1:144! WTF?
Further confusion: the kit includes a set of lower arm parts with integrated rocket launchers, but these are not necessary at all for the Fighter build?! As a kind of compensation there’s a new and exclusive element that simulates the folded arms under the ‘fuselage’ and which, as an added value, properly holds the hand gun under the fuselage. As a quirky flaw, though, the hand gun itself comes in the extended form for the Battroid/Gerwalk mode. For the fighter in flight mode, it has to be modified, but that’s easily done.
Anyway, with the potential option to build a Super Valkyrie with an extended landing gear, this was my route to go with this vintage kit. The Super Valkyrie already looks bulky with the FAST Pack added, but then I recently found the S-FAST Pack option with two more boosters under the wings – total overkill, but unique. And I had a spare pair of booster bulks in the stash (w/o their nozzles, though), as well as a complete pair of additional bigger standard FAST boosters that could replace the ridiculous OOB parts…
Building such a Super/Strike Valkyrie means building separate components, with a marriage of parts as one of the final steps. Consequently, cockpit, central fuselage with the wings and the air intakes, the folded stabilizer pack, the folded arms element with the handgun, the two legs and the four boosters plus other ordnance had to be built and painted separately.
Here and there, details were changed or added, e. g. a different head (a ‘J’ head for the flight leader’s aircraft with two instead of the rare, OOB ‘S’ variant with four laser cannon), covers for the main landing gear (the latter does not come with wells at all, but I did not scratch them since they are hardly recognizable when the kit is sitting on the ground), the typical blade aerials under the cockpit and the feet had to be modified internally to become truly ‘open’ jet exhausts.
The wing-mounted boosters received new nozzles and their front end was re-sculpted with 2C putty into a square shape, according to reference sketches. Not 100% exact, but the rest of the VF-1 isn’t either.
This VF-1 was also supposed to carry external ordnance and my first choice were four wing-mounted RMS-1 Anti-Ship Reaction Warheads, scratched from four 1.000 lb NATO bombs. But, once finished, I was not happy with them. So I looked for another option, and in a source book I found several laser-guided bombs and missiles, also for orbital use, and from this inspiration comes the final ordnance: four rocket-propelled kinetic impact projectiles. These are actually 1:72 JASDF LGB’s from a Hasegawa weapon set, sans aerodynamic steering surfaces and with rocket boosters added to the tail. Also not perfect, but their white color and sleek shape is a good counterpart to the FAST elements.
Experience from many former builds of this mecha kit family helped a lot, since the #70 kit is very basic and nothing really fits well. Even though there are not many major seams or large elements, PSR work was considerable. This is not a pleasant build, rather a fight with a lot of compromises and semi-accuracies.
Seriously, if you want a decent 1:100 VF-1, I’d rather recommend the much more modern WAVE kits (including more realistic proportions).