Macross +++ 1:100 Stonewell/Bellcom VF-1J "Valkyrie"; aircraft "BD 530" of the U.N.S.A.F. 643rd Tactical Fighter Squadron; Barksdale AB, 2013 (Whif/Arii kit) - WiP
The kit and its assembly:
This was a spontaneous interim build in a busy time, so that the kit remained almost OOB. The model is one of the vintage ARII kits, and the build circled primarily around the (fictional) livery. The latter is a kind of re-interpretation of a paint scheme that I had applied to a “Wild Weasel” Valkyrie many years ago – it carried a three-tone wraparound scheme which had been inspired by the USAF’s “European One” schemes, also known as “Lizard”, and most popular for having been applied to the A-10s based in Germany. However, I used much more toned-down colors (Dark Slate Grey, Olive Drab and Dark Grey), which created an almost uniform but also very dull look. I wanted something similar, but with “brighter” colors, but also not a copy of the “Lizard” scheme. More about that later.
As already mentioned, the kit remained OOB, just a pilot was added to the cockpit because it would be built with the landing gear tucked up and put on a display. Due to the clear but thick canopy no extra detailing was done inside. Characteristic blade antennae were added to the nose flanks and on the spine.
The ordnance was taken OOB, too, I just replaced two AMM-1 missiles on the outer pylons with a scratched ECM pod and a chaff/flare dispenser.
The display is one of my almost-patented wire constructions that use the OOB display base and is attached to the back of the ventral gun pod.
Painting and markings:
As already mentioned, “European One/Lizard” was the guiding theme, but with the intent to use lighter colors. Another influence was the two-tone scheme which the Brazilian Air Force used on their F-5Es and some Tucano trainers. It consists of FS 34092 (European One Green) and FS 36173 (Neutral Grey), with the green only added to the upper surfaces, in a rather disruptive pattern. I borrowed this basic idea and added a third color, Humbrol 150 (Forest Green), as a lighter alternative to FS 34102 (Medium Green) from the original “Lizard” scheme. The pattern for the upper surfaces was lent from a Vietnam War era RA-3B, which carried different colors, though (three shades of grey). The other tones are Humbrol 149 and Tamiya XF-53.
The cockpit became medium grey (Revell 47) with a brown seat. The air intake interiors landing gear was painted in classic white, while the air intakes and some other details were painted in dark grey (Humbrol 67), which helps brightening the camouflage up. For the same reason I gave the aircraft a black radome – it stands out quite well, but I felt that a grey nose or the extension of the camouflage up to the nose tip would make the Valkyrie look less UNSAF-like. Another factor is a benchmark VF-11 I found in a source book which also carries a kind of European One scheme, and it also has a completely black nose radome.
A black ink wash was used to highlight the engraved panel lines and only light post-shading was done here and there. The wings’ leading edges were created with decal sheet material from TL Modellbau, the low-viz kite roundels were printed at home on transparent decal film. Most stencils were taken from the VF-1’s OOB decal sheet, the squadron markings and the tactical code were puzzled together from the scrap box. The “UNSAF” markings on the legs were created with single 3mm letters, also from TL Modellbau.
Finally, the kit received a coat of matt acrylic varnish (Italeri), just the black radome received a sheen finish.