Macross +++ 1:100 Viggers/Chrauler Destroid "Defender" ADR-04-Mk.X; "G-3 (s/n D-109-231)" a.k.a. "Miss Francis III" of the U.N. Spacy Ground Forces; South Ataria Island 2010 (Arii kit)
The MBR-04 series were the first combat-ready Destroids and the most successful land-combat weapon Destroids that were built with OverTechnology of Macross. The abbreviation MBR (Main Battle Robot) indicates the model was developed as a walking humanoid weapon emphasizing the heavy armor firepower of an artillery combat vehicle, designed to replace mainline battle tanks. The Type 04 series was developed jointly by Viggers and Chrauler. Unlike the variable fighters, which had to be designed to accommodate transformation mechanisms, the MBR series featured a structure with a large capacity that allowed plenty of room for machinery and armor.
The initial development line, the "Tomahawk" multipurpose battle robot and comparable in its intended role with former main battle tanks, had inferior anti-aircraft abilities, even though it boasted firepower like no other biped vehicle from the Destroid series. Originally, the Tomahawk was just called "MBR Mk. I", but once its systems and structural elements became the basis for other models, its designation changed into the "Type 04" Destroid. The main frame from the waist down, a module which consolidated the thermonuclear reactor and ambulatory OverTechnology system of the Destroids, was common to all of the Type 04 series of biped battle robots. Production line integration using this module was a key goal of Destroid development, and the quick development of further variants.
The ADR-04-Mk. X Defender Destroid was one of these family members, a walking weapon developed using OverTechnology for deployment by the United Nations Military. During development of the MBR-04-Mk I, a version of the Destroid ambulatory system with the anti-aircraft Contraves system (for use during the early stages of battle) was simultaneously being developed in a joint effort by Viggers-Chrauler under direction from the United Nations. This initial support Destroid, tentatively designated ADR-04-Mk. II, which still shared many components and even hull sections with the Tomahawk, did not progress beyond prototype stage - primarily because of a focus on the Tomahawk as UN's primary ground weapon. It nevertheless provided vital input for the ADR-04-Mk. X Defender, which became an important defensive asset to protect ground troops and vital locations, as well as for operations in space on board of the SDF-1.
Designed for the purpose of super-long-range firing in atmosphere and space, the Defender was rolled out in March 2009 and immediately put into action against the Zentraedi military. Unfortunately, the cost of the unit was high and posed significant difficulties for manufacturing, especially installing the high-definition targeting system, which lead to a bottleneck during mass production.
The ADR-04-Mk. X Defender's only weapons were two stub arms, each featuring a pair of large-caliber, specialized interception capability guns instead of manipulators, similar to the eventual mass-produced MBR-04-Mk. VI Tomahawk. The anti-aircraft engagement model (anti-tank class) wide-bore guns each fired 500 rounds per minute and all four barrels firing in combination were able to unleash continuous 2,000 rounds per minute, even though only short bursts of four rounds or just single shots were typically fired to save ammunition. The 78 mm rounds were aimed via an Erlikon Contraves fire control system and fired at an impressive muzzle velocity of 3,300 meters per second. A wide range of ammunition types could be fired, including HE, AP, APDS high speed, massive kinetic impact rounds, EMP grenades and rounds with chaff/flare/thermal mist charges. The internal belt magazines made it was possible to load up to three different types per twin gun and deliberately switch between them. The overall supply was, however, rather limited.
The rotating mechanism structure of the upper body allowed the unit to respond quickly to enemies approaching even from the rear, for a full 360° coverage of the whole hemisphere above the Destroid. Due to the independent arms, the Defender could even engage two targets separately and split its firepower among them. Additionally, the targeting system was capable of long-range firing in space and could perform extremely precise shooting at long distances in a vacuum/zero-G environment. Hence, the Defender Destroid was more a next generation anti-aircraft tank and in service frequently moonlighted as a movable defensive turret. However, despite featuring a common Destroid ambulatory system, the Defender's mobility was rather limited in direct comparison with a variable fighter Battroid, and it lacked any significant close-combat capability, so that it remained a dedicated support vehicle for other combat units.
180 ADR-04-Mk. X Defenders were ordered, built and operated by UN ground and space forces, about half of them were deployed on board of SDF-1. During the First Space War, around sixty more Defenders were converted from revamped MBR-04 series chassis, mostly from battle-damaged Tomahawks, but some later Phalanx' units were modified, too.
During its career the Defender was gradually upgraded with better sensors and radar systems, and its armament was augmented, too. A common upgrade were enlarged ammunition bays on the shoulders that could hold 50 more rounds per gun, even though this stressed the ambulatory system since the Defender's center of gravity was raised. Therefore, this modification was almost exclusively executed among stationary "gun turret" units. Another late upgrade was the addition of launch rails for AMM-1 anti-aircraft missiles on the gun pods and/or the torso. Again, this was almost exclusively implemented on stationary Defenders.
A short-range sub-variant, under the project handle "Cheyenne", was developed in 2010, too, but it was only produced in small number for evaluation purposes. It was based on the Defender's structure, but it carried a different armament, consisting of a pair of 37 mm six-barrel gatling guns plus AMM-1 missiles, and a more clutter-resistant radar system against fast and low-flying targets. The Cheyenne was intended as a complementary aerial defense unit, but the results from field tests were not convincing, so that the project was mothballed. However, in 2012 the concept was developed further into the ADR-04-Mk.XI "Manticore", which was fully tailored to the short-range defense role.
Equipment Type: aerial defense robot, series 04
Government: U.N. Spacy
Introduction: March 2009
Accommodation: 1 pilot
Height 11.37 meters (overall)
10.73 meters (w/o surveillance radar antenna)
Length 4.48 meters (hull only)
7.85 meters (guns forward)
Width 8.6 meters
Mass: 27.1 metric tons
Kranss-Maffai MT828 thermonuclear reactor, output rated at 2800 shp;
plus an auxiliary GE EM10T fuel power generator, output rated at 510 kW
2x thrust nozzles mounted in the lower back region, allowing the capability to perform jumps,
plus several vernier nozzles around the hull for Zero-G manoeuvers
Max. walking speed: 72 kph when fully loaded
- Detachable weapons bay (attaches to the main body via two main locks);
- Type 966 PFG Contraves radar and fire control set (a.k.a. Contraves II)
with respective heat exchanger on the upper back
- Rotating surveillance antenna for full 360° air space coverage
- Optical sensor unit equipped with four camera eyes, moving along a vertical slit,
protected by a polarized light shield;
- Capable of performing Zero-G manoeuvers via 16 x thrust nozzles (mounted around the hull);
- Reactor radiator with exhaust ports in the rear;
- Cockpit can be separated from the body in an emergency (only the cockpit block is recovered);
- Option pack featuring missiles or enlarged ammunition bays;
2x Erlikon 78mm liquid-cooled high-speed 2-barrel automatic cannon with 200 rounds each,
mounted as arms
The kit and its assembly:
A kind of nostalgia trip, because my first ever mecha kit I bought and built in the Eighties was this 1:100 Destroid Defender! It still exists, even though only as a re-built model, and I thought that it was about time to build another, “better” one, to complete my collection of canonical Macross Destroids.
With this objective, the vintage kit was built basically OOB, just with some detail enhancements. The biggest structural change is a new hip joint arrangement, made from steel wire. It allows a more or less flexible 3D posture of the legs, for a more dynamic “walking” pose, and the resulting gaps were filled with paper tissue drenched in white glue and acrylic paint.
A more cosmetic change concerns the Defender’s optical sensor array on its “head”. OOB it just consists of a wide “slit” with a square window – very basic, but that’s how the defender is depicted in the TV series. However, I have a Macross artbook with original design sketches from Studio Nue, which reveal more details of this arrangement, and these include a kind of louvre that covers the mobile sensor array’s guide rails, and the sensor array itself consists of several smaller optical units – the relatively new 1:72 Defender from WAVE features these details, too, but the old 1:72 Defender from Arii (and later Bandai) also only has a red box, even though under a clear cover, which is IMHO dubious, though. The louvres were created from hemispherical styrene profile bits, the sensor array was scratched with a front wheel from an 1:100 VF-1 and more styrene bits.
The guns/arms were taken OOB, but I reduced the opening at the shoulder (and with it the angle the arms can be swiveled) with styrene profile material, which also hides the foo fit of the shoulder halves that hold the guns and a reinforcement styrene plate inside of them.
While I could have enlarged the ammunition boxes on the Defender’s shoulders (they are extended backwards), I left them in the original and OOB configuration. Another hull mod I eventually did not carry out were clear replacements for the molded searchlights. Having some visible depth and true clear covers would have been nice, but then I doubted the benefits vs. the mess their integration into the body would mean, so that I went for a simple paint solution (see below).
A final cosmetic modification tried to improve the look of the shanks – but it did not help much. On the Defender, there are two continuous ridges that run across the lower legs. This is a molding simplification and wrong because the Defender (and all other 04-Series chassis’) only features the ends of the ridges.
I tried to sand the inner sections away, but upon gluing the parts finally together I realized that the fit of these parts is abysmal, and PSRing on the resulting concave surface between the leftover humps was a nightmare. Did not work well, and it looks poor.
With this in mind, a general word about the Arii 1:100 Destroids with the Series 04 chassis: there are three kits (Defender, Tomahawk and Phalanx), and you’d expect that these used the same lower body just with different torsos. But that’s not the case – they are all different, and the Defender is certainly the worst version, with its odd “toe” construction, the continuous ridges and the horrible fit of the lower leg halves as well as the shoulders that hold the stub arms. The Tomahawk is better, but also challenging, and IMHO, when you are only looking for the lower body section, the Phalanx is the best kit or the trio.
Painting and markings:
This Defender was supposed to remain canonical and close to the OOB finish, so this became a simple affair.
All Macross Destroids tend to carry a uniform livery, and esp. the Tomahawk/Defender/Phalanx family is kept in murky/dull tones of green, brown and ochre: unpretentious "mud movers".
The Defender appears to carry an overall olive drab livery, and I settled on RAL 7008 (Khakigrau), which is - according to the RAL color list - supposed to be a shade of grey, but it comes out as a dull, yellowish green-brown.
This tone was applied overall from a rattle can, and the few contrast sections like the ammunition boxes or the dust guards of the knee joints were painted with NATO olive green (RAL 6014, Gelboliv, Revell 46). The hull was later treated with Modelmaster Olive Drab (FS 34087), which adds a more greenish hue to the basic paint.
The kit received a thorough black ink washing, then some dry-brushing with Humbrol 72 (Khaki Drill) was applied. The decals came next, taken from the OOB sheet, plus four decals for those vernier thrusters that had not been molded into the kit’s surface. The only change is a different piece of “nose art” on the left leg, replacing the original, rather small decal. It actually belongs to a Czech AF MiG-21MF (one of the two famous Fishbeds from Pardubice in 1989, aircraft “1114”) and filled the bumpy area over the lower leg’s seam (see above) well – a kind of visual distraction from the PSR mess underneath...
Finally, the kit was sealed with matt acrylic varnish, its major sub-assemblies put together. The optical sensors received lenses with clear paint over a silver base. The large searchlights were painted, too, with a silver base plus white and clear blue reflections on top, covered with a generous coat of Humbrol’s Clearfix to mimic a clear, glossy cover.
After final assembly, some mineral pigments were dusted onto the model’s lower areas with a soft, big brush.
I knew that the Defender was trouble, but esp. the legs turned out to be horrible to build. However, the small cosmetic changes really improve the model’s look, and I am quite happy with the result.