Macross +++ 1:100 Stonewell/Bellcom VF-1J (Block 5 with MLU update) “Valkyrie”; aircraft “ET 240” of the U.N. Spacy SVF-201 “Flying Shamrocks”; Magadan Air Base, late 2017 (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. 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 ECR measures were also mounted on some machines, typically in conformal fairings on the flanks of the legs/engine pods.
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 with several variants (VF-1A = 5,093, VF-1D = 85, VF-1J = 49, VF-1S = 30, VF-1G = 12, VE-1 = 122, VT-1 = 68)
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
Pilot only 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 (1 x counter reverse vernier thruster nozzle mounted on the side of each leg nacelle/air intake, 1 x 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 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:
Well, once in a while I dig one of these vintage ARII kits out of the mecha pile and let the spirits flow. This one was a kind of mental distraction, after putting together eight models for the “RAF Centenary” group build at whatifmodelers.com – and it’s the realization of an idea I had maybe 20 years ago when I worked part-time at a painter. One day I came at a wholesale shop across a rattle can with RAL 1000 (Beigegrün), a kind of yellow-ish RAF Sky and one of the ugliest colors you can imagine beyond RLM02. But I thought “One day I’ll try to paint a VF-1 with THIS, and it will certainly not look bad…”.
Said and done, the VF-1J remained basically OOB but received some mods and updates. First of all, the kit was to be displayed in flight, with its wheels tucked up, so I added one of my home-made standard display stands to the gun pod.
Then the kit received, as a standard treatment, some characteristic blade antennae on the back and the nose which the kit simply lacks, due to the small scale and its simplicity.
Then came some cosmetic additions – partly canonical, partly fictional. The IRST fairing in front of the cockpit as well as the sensor mounted on the wing roots were inspired by official source material. The fairings on the lower legs are home-made and also inspired by authentic VF-1s, even though their shape is different. The RHAWS antennae at the tips of the fins are a similar case, improvised with styrene sheet and putty. The missile pods were scratched from leftover AMM-1 missile heads and styrene profile, for more ordnance and a more streamlined look than the OOB dozen of AMM-1s on the underwing pylons. Last but not least, the cockpit received an extended dashboard (filling the space between the pilot’s legs) and a pilot figure.
Painting and markings:
Green! This became the theme that would make the idea of RAL 1000 as basic color tolerable. I settled for a uniform livery, inspired by a profile found in a source book (even though it was be basically blue). I wanted a somewhat plausible and convincing look.
Basic painting was done with brushes and most of the trim in bright green and white was done with generic decal sheet material. A tedious process, but in the end a convenient solution. Some very light post-shading (with Humbrol 90) was done, shifting the overall RAL 1000 into a more greenish direction.
The decals and stencils come mostly from the OOB sheet, but some individual markings were gathered from the scrap box. For instance, the green clovers on the fins’ outsides come from a Hasegawa Ki-61, while the USN-style code “ET” on the fins’ insides are tactical letter codes from an RAF SEPECAT Jaguar.
A small and quick interim project – and the RAL 1000-based livery does actually not look as bad as (secretly) expected. In fact, the green livery is a nice contrast to the red roundels – a bit unusual in the Macross universe, but the Valkyrie looks good!