Macross +++ 1:100 Stonewell/Bellcom VF-1Na (modified VF-1A Block 12) “Valkyrie”; aircraft “ON 720” of the U.N.S. Air Force tactical fighter squadron SVA-122 “Desert Eagles”; Oceanus Naval Station, Barrow Island/Western Australia, 2024 (modified ARII kit)
The VF-1 was developed by Stonewell/Bellcom/Shinnakasu for the U.N. Spacy by using alien Overtechnology obtained from the SDF-1 Macross alien spaceship. Its production was preceded by an aerodynamic proving version of its airframe, the VF-X. Unlike all later VF vehicles, the VF-X was strictly a jet aircraft, built to demonstrate that a jet fighter with the features necessary to convert to Battroid mode was aerodynamically feasible. After the VF-X's testing was finished, an advanced concept atmospheric-only prototype, the VF-0 Phoenix, was flight-tested from 2005 to 2007 and briefly served as an active-duty fighter from 2007 to the VF-1's rollout in late 2008, while the bugs were being worked out of the full-up VF-1 prototype (VF-X-1).
The space-capable VF-1's combat debut was on February 7, 2009, during the Battle of South Ataria Island - the first battle of Space War I - and remained the mainstay fighter of the U.N. Spacy for the entire conflict. Introduced in 2008, the VF-1 would be out of frontline service just five years later, though.
The VF-1 proved to be an extremely capable craft, successfully combating a variety of Zentraedi mecha even in most sorties, which saw UN Spacy forces significantly outnumbered. The versatility of the Valkyrie design enabled the variable fighter to act as both large-scale infantry and as air/space superiority fighter. The signature skills of U.N. Spacy ace pilot Maximilian Jenius exemplified the effectiveness of the variable systems as he near-constantly transformed the Valkyrie in battle to seize advantages of each mode as combat conditions changed from moment to moment.
The basic VF-1 was deployed in four minor variants (designated A, D, J, and S) and its success was increased by continued development of various enhancements including the GBP-1S "Armored" Valkyrie, FAST Pack "Super" Valkyrie and the additional RÖ-X2 heavy cannon pack weapon system for the VF-1S for additional firepower.
The FAST Pack system was designed to enhance the VF-1 Valkyrie variable fighter, and the initial V1.0 came in the form of conformal pallets that could be attached to the fighter’s leg flanks for additional fuel – primarily for Long Range Interdiction tasks in atmospheric environment. Later FAST Packs were designed for space operations.
After the end of Space War I, the VF-1 continued to be manufactured both in the Sol system and throughout the UNG space colonies. Although the VF-1 would be replaced in 2020 as the primary Variable Fighter of the U.N. Spacy by the more capable, but also much bigger, VF-4 Lightning III, a long service record and continued production after the war proved the lasting worth of the design.
The versatile aircraft also underwent constant upgrade programs, leading to improved versions like the VF-1N and P. For instance, about a third of all VF-1 Valkyries were upgraded with Infrared Search and Track (IRST) systems from 2016 onwards, placed in a streamlined fairing on the upper side of the nose, just in front of the cockpit. This system allowed for long-range search and track modes, freeing the pilot from the need to give away his position with active radar emissions, and it could also be used for target illumination and guiding precision weapons.
Many Valkyries also received improved radar warning systems, with receivers, depending on the systems, mounted on the wing-tips, on the fins and/or on the LERXs. Improved ECM measures were also mounted on some machines, typically in conformal fairings on the flanks of the legs/engine pods.
A limited number of machines was also, when the type was replaced in the fighter units by the VF-4, handed over to U.N.S.A.F. units and modified into fighter bombers for the exclusive use within Earth's atmosphere, intended as a supplement to the dedicated VFA-1 ground attack Valkyrie variant. The machine’s prime task would be to attack and neutralize potential invaders’ landing vehicles, plus general close air support for ground troops and battlefield interdiction missions.
This conversion included structural reinforcements and additional weapon hardpoints under the air intakes, improved avionics as well as active and passive sensor systems from the VF-1P in a modified head unit with two laser cannon. These revamped aircraft received an "a" suffix (Alpha for attack, the Greek letter was chosen in order to avoid confusion with the widespread standard VF-1A variant and VF-1JA updates) to their original designation. Roundabout 120 VF-1s, mostly VF-1As, -Ns and a few -Js were converted to the a-standard between 2017 and 2019 and served at air bases in Africa, Northern America and Australia until 2032.
The VF-1 was without doubt the most recognizable variable fighter of Space War I and was seen as a vibrant symbol of the U.N. Spacy even into the first year of the New Era 0001 in 2013. At the end of 2015 the final rollout of the VF-1 was celebrated at a special ceremony, commemorating this most famous of variable fighters. The VF-1 Valkryie was built from 2006 to 2013 with a total production of 5,459 VF-1 variable fighters in several variants.
However, the fighter remained active in many second line units and continued to show its worthiness years later, e. g. through Milia Jenius who would use her old VF-1 fighter in defense of the colonization fleet - 35 years after the type's service introduction!
All-environment variable fighter and tactical combat Battroid,
used by U.N. Spacy, U.N. Navy, U.N. Space Air Force and U.N.Spacy Marines
Single pilot in Marty & Beck Mk-7 zero/zero ejection seat
Length 14.23 meters
Wingspan 14.78 meters (at 20° minimum sweep)
Height 3.84 meters
Height 12.68 meters
Width 7.3 meters
Length 4.0 meters
Empty weight: 13.25 metric tons;
Standard T-O mass: 18.5 metric tons;
MTOW: 37.0 metric tons
2x Shinnakasu Heavy Industry/P&W/Roice FF-2001 thermonuclear reaction turbine engines, output 650 MW each, rated at 11,500 kg in standard or in overboost (225.63 kN x 2)
4x Shinnakasu Heavy Industry NBS-1 high-thrust vernier thrusters (1x counter reverse vernier thruster nozzle mounted on the side of each leg nacelle/air intake, 1x wing thruster roll control system on each wingtip);
18x P&W LHP04 low-thrust vernier thrusters beneath multipurpose hook/handles
Battroid Mode: maximum walking speed 160 km/h
Fighter Mode: at 10,000 m Mach 2.71; at 30,000+ m Mach 3.87
g limit: in space +7
Thrust-to-weight ratio: empty 3.47; standard T-O 2.49; maximum T-O 1.24
3-mode variable transformation; variable geometry wing; vertical take-off and landing; control-configurable vehicle; single-axis thrust vectoring; three "magic hand" manipulators for maintenance use; retractable canopy shield for Battroid mode and atmospheric reentry; option of GBP-1S system, atmospheric-escape booster, or FAST Pack system
Standard time from Fighter to Battroid (automated): under 5 sec.
Min. time from Fighter to Battroid (manual): 0.9 sec.
2x internal Mauler RÖV-20 anti-aircraft laser cannon, firing 6,000 pulses per minute
1x Howard GU-11 55 mm three-barrel Gatling gun pod with 200 RPG, fired at 1,200 rds/min
4x underwing and 2x underfuselage hard points for a wide variety of ordnance, including:
- 12x AMM-1 hybrid guided multipurpose missiles (3/point), or
- 12x MK-82 LDGB conventional bombs (3/point), or
- 6x RMS-1 large anti-ship reaction missiles (2/outboard point, 1/inboard point), or
- 4x UUM-7 micro-missile pods (1/point) each carrying 15 x Bifors HMM-01 micro-missiles,
- or a combination of above load-outs
The kit and its assembly:
Another build of one of these vintage ARII kits, primarily for the (fictional) livery. This one was inspired by a profile found in a source book (the "VF-1 Master File" from Softbank Publishing), where I found a profile of a late VF-1P from 2024 in a pale, three-tone desert paint scheme, similar to an IDF aircraft, with some white trim on the wings and a white radome. While this machine basically looked attractive, I was a little confused by its supposed operation theatre: Australia. There, over a typical outback landscape, the paint scheme would IMHO hardly work, the tones being much too light and just "wrong". From this, the idea was born to create a "Valkyroo"!
Since the model would rather center around the paint scheme, the VF-1, an “S” variant kit, remained basically OOB. Nevertheless, it received some standard mods and some extras. The basic updates include some additional blade antennae (leaving out the dorsal antennae for a Block 13/14 aircraft), a pilot figure and a modified dashboard. This time the VF-1 would have its landing gear extended, but the ventral gun pod was nevertheless modified to accept one of my home-made VF-1 standard display stands for in-flight beauty pics over the Australian desert.
Since the machine would, in its wraparound paint scheme, rather look like a low-level fighter bomber and mud mover, the ordnance was changed from a dozen AMM-1 air-to-air missiles to something grittier. I gave the kit a pair of GBUs on the inner wing stations, which are Paveway bombs from an 1:72 Hasegawa ordnance set, but modified into optically-guided weapons since the original laser sensor with its ring-shaped stabilizer would be quite large at 1:100.
On the outer pylons the VF-1 received four streamlined pods with unguided missiles, left over from KP MiG-21s which are pretty small and slender for their 1:72 scale. Under the 1:100 VF-1 they work well.
I furthermore gave it another pair of hardpoints under the air intakes, holding an ECM and a FLIR pod (both from a Dragon 1:144 RAF Tornado GR.1, the FLIR is a reversed chaff dispenser w/o fins). That’s not canonical, but this one here is fictional, anyway.
On the legs, small chaff/flare dispensers made from styrene strips were added, and small radar warning fairings adorn the nose and the tail. Thin styrene profile strips were added on the legs and the fins, for a little more external structure, and a small laser range finder fairing was mounted under the VF-1’s nose (also from the 1:144 Tonka).
In order to emphasize this Valkyrie's updated and modified status, I modified the horribly misshaped “S” head unit, lowering and narrowing the cranium’s rear part and reducing the number of lasers from four to just two. For the in-flight pictures a pilot figure was added to the cockpit, which also had the dashboard extended downwards to the console between the pilot’s feet.
Painting and markings:
The goal was to apply an effective (and potentially) attractive paint scheme that would be appropriate for the Australian desert/outback landscape, with its distinct red sand, low, pale shrubs and occasional dark rocks and trees. I checked both RAAF schemes as well as landscape pictures, and eventually created a four-tone wraparound scheme, somewhat inspired by unique RAAF DHC-4s and Pilatus Porter transporter liveries, as well as the SAC bomber scheme that was/is used on RAAF C-130. The US Army MERCD scheme also has some influence. However, the result is not a copy of an existing scheme, the scheme rather evolved gradually – even though, once it was done, it somewhat reminds of the famous Swedish “Fields & Meadows” pattern, just with lighter colors, even though this was not intended!
Due to the model’s small size and the potentially bright Australian theatre of operation, I did not want the disruptive scheme to become too dark. Consequently, the wraparound scheme consists of four tones: splotches of Brown Yellow (Humbrol 94) and IJN Grey Green (Tamiya XF-76), two tones with similar brightness, are the basis. Next came a medium red brown (Leather, Humbrol 62) and finally some Bronze Green (Humbrol 75), the latter intended to break up the aircraft's silhouette through a strong color contrast.
For a subtle counter-shading effect against the sky, relatively more of the Sand and IJN Grey Green was used on the undersides and the dark green was not applied underneath at all. The radome, in order to set it slightly apart from the rest of the airframe, as well as some other dielectric fairings, were painted with Hemp (Humbrol 168).
The cockpit became standard medium grey (Humbrol 140) with a brown seat. The landing gear was painted in classic white, while the air intakes and some other openings were painted in dark grey (Revell 77).
In an attempt to further subdue the aircraft's overall visual profile, I avoided any flashy trim and rather went for monochrome markings in black. The low-viz U.N. Spacy “kite” roundels were created and printed at home. The eagle emblems on the fins belong, in real life, to an F-15E prototype (Italeri kit), the tactical codes were puzzled together from A-10 and T-4 decal sheets. Most characteristic VF-1 stencils come from the OOB sheet, some lines were created with generic decal material.
Due to the model’s small size, only some light, overall dry-brushing with hemp and light grey was done, and then the kit was finally sealed with matt acrylic varnish (Italeri).
A camouflaged VF-1 surely looks odd, esp. in desert colors, but there actually are several canonical aircraft painted in such a fashion, to be found in various official Macross publications - in fact, this model is the attempt to create a more plausible livery than one that I found in such a sourcebook. IMHO, the home-brew disruptive four-tone scheme for this "Valkyroo" VF-1 looks quite attractive, and thanks to the selected tones it also makes the subtle Australia connection. Those small Valkyrie kits never get boring, at least to me! :D