4 January 2015

[Crafts] Plastic Planes - Messiah VF-25

Plastic Model Kits. The first and last kits I've built were teeny SD Gundam models. I've never built one properly before. This was well over 10 years ago. There were no Gundam markers, no paints, and most certainly no airbrush. I would construct the basic model, put on the provided stickers, but that was the extent of it. No detailing, no weathering, none of the final touches that polish up the work. But now, that's different.

This kit I picked up last year is the Messiah VF-25 from the Macross series, 1/72 scale by Hasegawa. While I'm not familiar how often this is done, it was intriguing the makers gave hobbyist the option to build two different planes using the same base. They supply builders with the necessary decals and parts that differentiate the planes and from there you can choose which you'd like to recreate. So which one did I go for?

Neither. There were things I like from both the F and S model, but building pre-made things to the exact specification as the designer intended loses the uniqueness of hand-made crafts. Every other person who bought this kit would theoretically make the exact same thing, so how my plane differs from theirs comes down to execution, and I'm not interested in that. Not after modifying retail toy cars for years anyway. To me, I treated this project like a blank canvas for me to express personal taste in designing the appearance of fictional planes.

Originally, I did want to make the VF-25S. That's the grey version with the super cool skull logo. Despite flat gray being appropriate for fighter jets, I wanted gun metal. Gun metal is the black for everyone else. It goes on neutral- not light enough to appear as grey, but not dark enough to be a black. It suits the nature of machines. So on it went- Tamiya acrylic with an airbrush. The sparkles are awesome. Thanks to the metalflakes, highlights are heightened producing a high contrast without losing the midtones. Before proceeding into decals I had to decide what to colour the missiles, and immediately I thought of satin gold. My reason for that is purely a subjective interest in the colour combination. That decided, the supplied yellow decals were no longer an option. Plus, solid red goes better with gold than yellow ever would. Here's the finished results.

Ended up taking most of the VF-25 F model's decals. We can call it the "dark" version of Alto's plane rather than a variant of Ozma's.

Later acknowledging that I screwed up the hinges that would allow the arms that hold the missiles to pivot, I had to scrap the only gold accents I had originally planned. In place of it, I've left touches of Testor's enamel gold in place of certain decals. The tail fin decals weren't going on very well, so that's where the sky grey Tamiya acrylic came into play for the first time ever. The boots are a mix of gun metal, and flat black. Contrast could've easily been made, but I had no intention of drawing that kind of attention to the unit's feet. Same can be said for the tail fin and the pilot's body suit.

While it is a shame the missiles and decals didn't work out the way I hoped, I'm still satisfied how this came out. There might be hope for a return of missile now that it's come to my attention I don't really care if the wings can retract or not. We'll see.

There's a second kit I bought along with the VF-25...

This project won't take off until the weather's warm again, so the wait is going to be a while!