Macross +++ 1:100 Stonewell/Bellcom VF-1D “Valkyrie”; aircraft “BA 211” of the U.N. Spacy SVF-303 (Reserve) “Hotspurs”, Miramar Air Base (California, USA), 2011 (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.
The VF-1D Valkyries were two-seater variants of the VF-1 Valkyrie and they were used for training. Each features two independent TV camera "eye" systems within their head, one for each crew member, and each visual system was linked to a RÖV-20 anti-aircraft laser cannon, which could be fired independently or as a single weapon station, operated by either crew member. Otrherwise the VF-1D had the same equipment and avionics suite as the single seat fighters, making them fully combat-capable.
The forward fuselage (コクピット・カプセル Kokupitto Kapuseru, lit. Cockpit Capsule) of a VF-1D Valkyrie functionsed as an escape system that was furnished with an independent life support system, rescue transponder, a hypo-metabolic system, and a simple emergency medical system. When a VF-1D transformed into Battroid mode, the head could open, allowing the two seats to emerge at the top, arranged vertically. The back seat emerged first and the front seat, where the pilot sat, emerged second underneath the back seat.
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 wingtips, 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 was frequently updated, leading to several “re-built” variants, and 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 Mauler RÖV-20 anti-aircraft laser cannon in the "head" unit, 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-spaceship 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 and other guided and unguided ordnance
The kit and its assembly:
This started as a quick relief build after the submission for the 2021 "One Week " Group Build at whatifmodellers.com - but progress was so quick that I finished this VF-1 in time to make it a second submission withing the GB's effective run of nine days.
This one was a simple adaptation of one of the experimental "Heather Ferris" low-visibility paint schemes the US Navy tested during the early Eighties on some F-4S "Phantom II"s of VF-301 and 302, before the moere uniform Light Compass Grey/Light Ghost Grey was eventually adapted. However, the Heather Ferris schemes are absolutely comtemporary for the VF-1's medial appearance, and mating them on a model appeared like a suitable combo.
The basis is - as usual - the vintage and very simple ARII VF-1, in this case a double-seater. It was built OOB with the landing gear down, and with the usual improvements: some standard blade antennae, the fins’ tops were modified with RHAWS fairings. However, I neglected to modify the upper torso - The VF-1D Valkyrie has a slightly different forward fuselage in Super Dimension Fortress Macross The First, lacking the dorsal air brake of the single-seat fighters and having a "cleaner" surface with an edgier spine. But the "standard" hull is also fine/canonical, I just missed the opportunity. Maybe on another VF-1D...?
The underwing pylons were deleted (it's just a trainer and maybe used for air combat drill, so extra weight is superfluous). The gun pod was retained and modified to accept a scratched wire display in its tail to hold the Valkyrie in flight scenes. The pilot figures were just guests for the in-flight photo sessions, later the canopy was glued to a mount in open position.
Painting and markings:
As mentioned above, this kit carries an adaptation of one of the three Heather Ferris schemes, namely #2 with a light nose section and a darker tail/starboard side. Since the VF-1's structure, with VG wings at shoulderposition and a twin tail, differs from the benchmark F-4, I drew up a three-side profile view of a VF-1 and laid the paint scheme out - it made painting much easier.
The Heather Ferris warp-around scheme consists of four tones FS 36375 (Light Ghost grey), 36307 (Light Sea Grey, it was a brownish hue), 35237 (Grey bLue AMT-11) and 35164 (Intermediate Blue). The paints I used were Humbrol 127, a 3:1 mix of 64 and 140, 145 and 144, respectively. The cockpit interior became, according to the look in the TV series, medium grey (Revell 47) with black seats and brown cushions. The landing gear became white and the GU-11 gun pod iron metallic (Humbrol 53), for a toned.down look.
After basic painting, the model received an overall washing with thinned black ink to emphasize the engraved panel lines. A little post-shading was done, too, for a more graphic look, and then the decals were applied. The low-viz "kite" roundels were printed at home, the tactical markings came from an Authentic Decals F-18 sheet (which turned out to be rubbish - very thin but brittle and prone to crack like vintage ESCI decals!!!) and the stencils were taken from the VF-1 OOB sheet. For some contrast to the dull livery, and as a hommage to the "Delta November" markings of the F-4Ss that carried this unique paint scheme, I gave the VF-1D small red markings on the fins and under the cockpit - very subtle, but I think that this improves the overall look a lot. Generic decal material was used to create the grey wing leading edges and some black hull details, e.g. the bands around the nose.
Finally, after some more detail painting (antennae, position lights) , the VF-1 was sealed with a semi-gloss acrylic varnish. The jet nozzles/feet were treated with graphite for a used abnd metallic look.
A small and quick interim project, realized in just three days (plus two more for the pictures). There are certainly better VF-1 models than the vintage ARII kits, but I just love them because they are small, simple and easy to modify. Creating a benchmark profile for painting was quite a challenge, but it was IMHO worthwhile because it made adapting the F-4 scheme to the rather different VF-1 easier.