1:100 VF-1J Valkyrie, 'ML 555' of UN Spacy SVF-1, 2500th aircraft; 2011

Started by Dizzyfugu, January 04, 2023, 12:01:41 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


The first finished model post for 2023, even though the model had already been finished around Xmas 2022 - the pictures took a while to take and edit. However, here's a model of the 2.500th production VF-1, or better: what became of the aircraft after its ceremonious roll-out. To be specific, this is a Stonewell/Bellcom VF-1J (Block 7) 'Valkyrie', aircraft 'ML 555' (Bu. No. 2110406/1; pers. mount of Major Yingluck 'Joker' Maneethapo) of the U.N. Spacy SVF-1 'Skull Squadron'; North Ataria Island, early 2011.

Some background:
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 fully functional VF-1 prototype (the VF-X-1).

Introduced in 2008, the VF-1 would be produced en masse within a short period of time, a total of 5,459 airframes were delivered until 2013. 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.  From the start the VF-1 proved to be an extremely capable and versatile 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 sub-variants (designated A, D, J, and S) and its success was increased by continued development of various enhancements and upgrades, including the GBP-1S "Armored" Valkyrie, FAST Pack "Super" Valkyrie and the additional RÖ-X2 heavy cannon pack weapon system for the VF-1S with 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, production on Earth was stopped but 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 its persistent production after the war in many space sectors proved the lasting worth of the design.
The versatile aircraft underwent constant upgrade programs. For instance, about a third of all VF-1 Valkyries were upgraded with Infrared Search and Track (IRST) systems, placed in a small, streamlined fairing in front of the cockpit. This system allowed passive long-range search and track modes, freeing the pilot from the need to give away his/her position through active radar emissions. The sensor could also be used for target illumination and precision weapons guidance.
Many Valkyries also received improved radar warning systems, with sensor arrays mounted on the wingtips, the fins and/or on the LERXs. Improved ECR measures and other defensive measure like flare/chaff dispensers were also added to some machines, typically in conformal fairings on the flanks of the legs/engine pods.

In early 2011, VF-1 production on Earth had already reached the 2.500th aircraft, a VF-1J which received a striking white-and-blue commemorative paint scheme upon roll-out, decorated with the logos of all major manufacturers and system suppliers. After a brief PR tour the machine (Bu. No. 2110406/1) was handed over to SVF-1, the famous Skull Squadron, as an attrition replacement for Major Yingluck 'Joker' Maneethapo's aircraft, leader of the unit's 5th Flight and a Thai pilot ace from the first stages of the Zentraedi attacks in 2009.

With the opportunity to add more personal style to his new mount, Maneethapo's chose the non-standard modex ML 555 for his fighter - a play of words, because the five is pronounced 'ha' in Thai language and '555' a frequent abbreviation for 'laughing'. Bu. No. 2110406/1 retained its bright PR livery, because its primary colors matched well with SVF-1 'Lazulite' flight's ID color. The aircraft just lost the sponsor logos and instead received full military markings and tactical codes, including the unit's renowned skull icon and the characteristic "ML" letter code on the foldable fins. The nose art for the 2.500th production VF-1 jubilee was retained, though.
In SVF-1 service, Bu. No. 2110406/1 was soon upgraded with an IRST and retrofitted with FAST Packs and avionics for various zero-G weapons for operations in space, since the unit was supposed to become based on SDF-1 and go into space with the large carrier ship. However, only SVF-1's Flight #1, 2 and 3 were taken on board of the SDF-1 when the ship left Earth, the remaining unit parts remained at the home base on Ataria Island, tasked with homeland defense duties.

In 2012, at the end of the war, SVF-1's Lazulite' flight was re-located on board of ARMD-02 (Armaments Rigged-up Moving Deck Space Carrier vessel), which was and rebuilt and attached to the refitted SDF-1 Macross as originally intended. There, Bu. No. 2110406/1 served into the first year of the New Era 0001 in 2013, when it was replaced as a Flight Leader's mount by a VF-4 and handed over to SVF-42 back on Earth, where it was repainted in standard U.N. Spacy fighter colors (even though it still retained its commemorative nose art) and served until 2017. Bu. No. 2110406/1 was then retired and unceremoniously scrapped, having already exceeded its expected service life.

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. 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 several major variants (VF-1A = 5,093, VF-1D = 85, VF-1J = 49, VF-1S = 30), sub-variants (VF-1G = 12, VE-1 = 122, VT-1 = 68) and upgrades of existing airframes (like the VF-1P).
Despite its relatively short and intense production run the fighter remained active in many second line units and continued to show its worthiness even 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!

General characteristics:
All-environment variable fighter and tactical combat Battroid,
used by U.N. Spacy, U.N. Navy, U.N. Space Air Force and U.N.S. Marine Corps

Pilot only in Marty & Beck Mk-7 zero/zero ejection seat

Fighter Mode:
    Length 14.23 meters
    Wingspan 14.78 meters (at 20° minimum sweep)
    Height 3.84 meters
Battroid Mode:
    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

Power Plant:
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 225.63 kN in overboost
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

Design Features:
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, firing 6,000 ppm
1x Howard GU-11 55 mm three-barrel Gatling gun pod with 200 RPG, fired at 1,200 rpm
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:
Another small and vintage 1:100 VF-1 Fighter. This time it's a non-canonical aircraft, based on a limited edition decal sheet that was published with the Japanese Model Graphix magazine in April 2001 with Hasegawa's first release of their 1:72 Valkyrie Fighter kit. Check this here for reference:

Excerpt from Model Graphix Magazine, April 2001...
by Dizzyfugu, on Flickr

Further information about the magazine issue: http://www.starshipmodeler.com/mecha/jl_clrvalk.htm

The give-away sheet featured several VF-1s, including an anniversary paint scheme for the 2.500th production Valkyrie. This is AFAIK neither 'official' nor canonical – but the pretty blue-and-white livery caught my attention, and I had for a long time the plan to re-create this livery on one of my favored 1:100 models. This would not work 100%, though, so I had to improvise – see below.

The kit was built OOB, with the landing gear down and (after taking the flight scenic pictures) with an open canopy, mounted on a small lift arm. Some typical small blade antennae the 1:100 simple kit lacks were added around the hull as a standard measure to improve the look. In the cockpit I added side consoles and a pilot figure for the in-flight shots. The only non-standard additions are the IRST sensor fairing in front of the cockpit – the model of the anniversary VF-1 in the Model Graphix magazine carries this canonical upgrade, too, it was created from clear sprue material. Another tiny addition were the RHAWS antenna fairings at the top of the fins, scratched from small styrene profile bits.


The Valkyrie's ordnance is standard and was taken OOB, featuring twelve AMM-1 missiles under the wings plus the standard GU-11 gatling gun pod; the latter was modified to hold a scratched wire display for in-flight pictures at its rear end. The Model Graphix VF-1 is insofar confusing as it seems to carry something that looks like a white ACMI pod on a non-standard pylon, rather attached to the legs than to the wings? That's odd and I could not make up a useful function, so I rejected this detail. The magazine Valkyrie's belly drop tank was - even though canonical, AFAIK - also not taken over to my later in-service status.

Painting and markings:
The more challenging part of the build, in two ways. First, re-creating the original commemorative livery would have called for home-made decals printed in opaque white for the manufacturers' logos, something I was not able to do at home. So, I had to interpret the livery in a different way and decided to spin the aircraft's story further: what would become of this VF-1 after its roll-out and PR event? In a war situation it would certainly be delivered quickly to a frontline unit, and since I had some proper markings left over, I decided to attach this colorful bird to the famous Skull Squadron, SVF-1, yet to a less glorious Flight. Since flight leaders and aces in the Macross universe would frequently fly VF-1s in individual non-standard liveries, sometimes even very bright ones, the 2,500th VF-1 could have well retained its catchy paint scheme.

The second part of the challenge: the actual paint job. Again, no suitable decals were at hand, so I had to re-create everything from scratch. The VF-1J kit I used thankfully came molded in white styrene, so that the front half of the aircraft could be easily painted in white, with no darker/colored plastic shining through. I painted the white (Revell 301, a very pure white) with a brush first. For the blue rear half, I settled upon an intense and deep cobalt blue tone (ModelMaster 2012). For the zigzag border between the colors, I used Tamiya masking tape, trimmed with a tailor's zigzag scissors and applied in a slightly overlapping pattern for an irregular edge.
The landing gear became standard all-white (Revell 301, too), with bright red edges (Humbrol 174) on the covers. Antenna fairings were painted with radome tan (Humbrol 7) as small color highlights.

The cockpit interior became standard medium grey (Revell 47) with a black ejection seat with brown cushions (Humbrol 119 and Revell 84), and brown "black boxes" behind the headrest. The air intakes as well as the interior of the VG wings were painted dark grey (Revell 77). The jet nozzles/feet were internally painted with Humbrol 27003 (Steel Metallizer) and with Revell 91 on the outside, and they were later thoroughly treated with graphite to give them a burnt/worn look.
The GU-11 pod became standard bare metal (Revell 91, Iron metallic), the AMM-1s were painted in light grey (Humbrol 127) with many additional painted details in five additional colors, quite a tedious task when repeated twelve times...

After basic painting was one the model received a careful overall washing with black ink to emphasize the engraved panel lines, and light post-shading was done to the blue areas to emphasize single panels.
The full-color 'kite' roundels came from an 1:100 VF-1A sheet, the skull emblems were left over from my Kotobukiya 1:72 VF-4 build some years ago, which OOB carries SVF-1 markings, too. The 2.500th aircraft nose art decoration was printed on clear decal film with an ink jet printer at home, even though it's so small that no details can be discerned on the model. SVF-1's "ML" tail code was created with single white decal letters (RAF WWII font), the red "555" modex came from an PrintScale A-26 Invader sheet, it's part of a USAF serial number from an all-black Korean War era aircraft.

The wings' leading edges were finished in medium grey, done with decal sheet material. The Model Graphix Valkyrie does not sport this detail, but I think that the VF-1 looks better with them and more realistic. Red warning stripes around the legs - also not seen on the model in the magazine - were made from similar material.

The confetti along the jagged edge between the white and the blue areas was created with decal material, too – every bit was cut out and put into place one for one... To match the cobalt blue tone, the respective enamel paint was applied on clear decal sheet material and cut into small bits. For the white and red confetti, generic decal sheet material was used. All in all, this was another tedious process, but, at the small 1:100 scale, masks or tape would have been much more complex and less successful with the brushes I use for painting. For this home-made approach the result looks quite good!

Finally, after some typical details and position lights had been added with clear paints over a silver base, the small VF-1 was sealed with a coat of semi-matt acrylic varnish, giving it a slightly shiny finish.

A pretty VF-1 – even though I'd call it purely fictional, despite being based on material that was published in a Japanese magazine more than 20 years ago. The simple yet striking livery was a bit tricky to create, but the result, with the additional  SVF-1 unit markings, looks good and makes me wonder how this machine would look with FAST pack elements for use in space or as a transformed Battroid?


Reality is an illusion caused by an alcohol deficiency


If it aint broke ,,fix it until it is .
Over kill is often very understated .
I know the voices in my head ain't real but they do come up with some great ideas.
Theres few of lifes problems that can't be solved with the proper application of a high explosive projectile .


Thanks a lot - and it won't be the last 1:100 Valkyrie, even though the kits have become rare (and expensive) recently. But there are still some specimen in The Stash™, as well as some design ideas.  :angel:


Oh I bet you've got ones stashed away for a rainy day matey  ;D
And as for design ..oh I knew they are gonna be good if this one I anything to go by   <_<
If it aint broke ,,fix it until it is .
Over kill is often very understated .
I know the voices in my head ain't real but they do come up with some great ideas.
Theres few of lifes problems that can't be solved with the proper application of a high explosive projectile .