Macross +++ 1:100 Stonewell/Bellcom JAS.1A/VF-1A "Valkyrie"; aircraft "24 Red" of the SVF-15; Sweden, 2005 (Whif/modified Arii kit)
Another historic classic, another "child" of the late 70ies: an anime interpretation of the famous 'Fields & Meadows' camouflage, characteristic for the Swedish Saab 37 'Viggen' jet plane family (and also used on other Swedish military vehicles, but the Viggen is/was the most prominent one).
This weirdo idea had been lurking in the back of my mind for a long time, and when a friend of mine uttered the idea of such a color variant for a Valkyrie, too, I decided to start a kind of competion - for comparison purposes, to see how an individual interpretation of this unique paradigm on a Valykrie from both of us would look like?
The kit is, as usual, a simple, vintage 1:100 scale VF-1A Valkyrie Fighter from ARII. Since the livery would be the "star" of the kit, only minor things were changed/enhanced. Usual added cockpit details include a HUD, a pilot figure, seat belts and an ejection seat trigger. Some typical Valkyrie antennae on the outside were added, too, and the rudders re-positioned off of the neutral position.
Additional external features are a IR pod under the nose, small bulges in tne air intake area which are supposed to contain guidance antennae for the air-to-ground missiles (see below), and two outriggers under the vertical fins which contain a (fictional) radar warning system and a chaff dispenser. Viggen would frequently carry such equipment in external pods, so why not be more effective and integrate them into the hull?
Now for the camouflage scheme... that one was tricky. The colors themselves are already a riddle. I guess that anyone who tries to match the original colors through photographs becomes crazy at some point, because light and weathering make them look VERY different from machine to machine, and even from picture to picture!
The Viggen's proportions hardly match a Valkyrie, but I tried my best to apply the 'Fields & Meadows' scheme on the upper surfaces. But transferring a scheme from a fixed double delta wing airplane onto a variable geometry wing fighter just leaves lots of room for interpretation... After extensive research (and experience with two 'Fields & Meadows' Viggens in 1/72 scale in the past) I finally settled for the small Valykrie on:
Light Green "322M" = Testors/Model Master 1734 (Green Zinc Chromate)
Dark Green "326M" = Humbrol 117 (Leaf Green, FS34102)
Black "093M" = Mix of Humbrol's 33 & 91 (Flat Black & Black Green) in 1:1 ratio
Earth "507M" = Testors/Model Master 2008 (Raw Sienna)
Grey undersides "058M" = Testors/Model Master 2086 (RLM76, Lichtblau)
The Zinc Chromate sounds crude and IS very bright, but on the 1/100 scale Valkyrie this extreme green is O.K., esp. with the later black ink wash which tones down everything a bit. At 1/72 scale I would have rather used Humbrol's 80 (Grass Green), which is a bit "milder" and comes IMHO very close to the real life color.
Humbrol 117 for the dark green tone is a compromise, and IMHO still a bit too dark. During pre-tests I found more authentic but even darker greens like Humbrol's 116 (FS 34079), 75 (Bronze Green) or 30 (Dark Green) to be too murky for the small kit. 117 is already considerably "brighter", and this contrast was simply necessary for a good overall impression of the camouflage scheme - the dark green was supposed to stand out against both the light green and the black fields. I should have used RAL6003, but the way it turned out is still acceptable.
Instead of pure black which 'Fields & Meadows' is supposed to contain, I went for a very dark green, which also yields a slightly bleached look. Some pictures of real Viggen also suggest that the "Black" is actually a greenish tone.
Testors' Raw Sienna from their figure color series is a very good match for the Viggen's light earth color patches. Another, more common but also very plausible alternative is Humbrol's 118 (US Tan, FS30219). Again, pictures of real Viggen suggest a wide variety of light brown shades due to fading and light influences! The Sienna is more yellowish, though, so I went for that tone.
Finally, RLM76 for the undersides was a surprise find! Originally, FS36375 (Humbrol 127) was my choice. But when I checked other paints in store I found Testors' RLM76 to be a tad lighter and with a stronger bluish hue - exactly the look I had been searching for for this kit, without need for mixing.
The radar nose became semi-gloss black and the wings' leading edges were painted in flatr aluminium Markings were consciously left simple, trying to emulate the stern original Viggen look as much as possible, with no flashy distractions. Consequently, there are just standard Macross roundels instead of Swedish insignia (which look, in red/white instead of blue/yellow, a bit disturbing?), a yellow squadron number at the cockpit (for SVF-15) and the red individual airplane number on the vertical fins' outsides. Only a falcon squadron empblem in red and yellow found its way onto the fins (it comes from an Israeli IAI Kfir from a Hasegawa kit), because the colors matched well with the overall look of the kit.
After basic painting, the kit received a light wash with black ink and some fine liner treatment. Then, decals and finally a coat of matte varnish was appllied. The end result looks cool, though, whatever one might quibble about authenticity!
Some extra effort went into the ordnance under this VF-1A's wings, though: the outer pylons hold a 4-missile launcher each (leftover from a fictional but neat ESCI Kamow Ka-34 'Hokum' kit), the inner pylons carry larger cruise missiles which were inspired by the characteristic Rb04E and more modern Rbs-15 anti-ship/surface missiles the AJ37 used to carry in its heydays.
These are actually modified Norwegian AGM-119C 'Penguin' missiles in 1/72 which I found in a Hasegawa F-16 weapon kit and never has a use for. I shortened the fuselage, changed the main fins into wing end plate types and added details like an underbelly air intake for a jet engine (like the more modern RBS-15 missile now carried by the Gripen) and an exhaust nozzle. Finally, these missiles were painted to look like a Rb04E in white, black and aluminium - they help a lot in order to create a "vintage AJ37 feel" to this Valkyrie.
Even when the finish is not perfect, it is amazing to see how well even such an exotic livery works on a Macross Valkyrie - it suits her well, as an hommage to one of the most famous (and attractive?) camouflage schemes ever applied to military verhicles.