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)
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. 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.
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 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:
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.
A quick project, and another camouflaged VF-1 that IMHO proves that there’s hardly any paint scheme that does not suit Shoji Kawamori’s elegant robot/airplane design. Those small Valkyrie kits never get boring, at least to me! :D