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tekering's BItComp entry #3 - VF-11 Thunderbolt Super Battroid resin kit

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In the hopes that the "Built It Competition" hosted by @Return To Kit Form exceeds 20 entries ('cause I'm dead-set on getting a 1:72 Norbert Gerard Power Armour kit!), I've decided to devote all my resources to the task... meaning I'm gonna spend the next six months building all three of my Macross resin kits.  

The third and final entry is the oldest kit, and will definitely prove the most challenging; it's also the only officially-licensed resin kit I own, produced by Hobby Base RETPPU.

I bought it nearly 25 years ago, back when Macross Plus was the hottest property in the franchise.


And wouldn't you know it, 25 years later, Macross Plus is STILL the hottest property in the franchise.  B))

Edited by tekering

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That’s a sweet kit! Love the gunpod!

Boy, I didn’t think to try multiple entries. You’re an animal @tekering:)

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in 15 minutes of postings Tek commits to more Completed resin kits than many members have completed in 15 years :D

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18 hours ago, Duymon said:

in 15 minutes of postings Tek commits to more Completed resin kits than many members have completed in 15 years :D

"He's more machine than man now. Twisted and evil"

Haha great selection Ted! You certainly have got tons of work cut out for yourself - good luck!

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Well, this is interesting:

A Macross Plus 1:72 VF-11 Super Thunderbolt by Hasegawa, and a Macross Plus 1:72 VF-11 Super Thunderbolt by Hobby Base RETPPU.


I would expect some parts to exhibit minor scale discrepancies -- wings and feet, especially -- since the kits represent different modes...


...but this is unbelievable!

These kits are clearly NOT to scale.  :blink:

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That’s redonkulous..

Its way beyond stylistic differences!

Who’s version is true 1/72?  I can’t imagine  Hasegawa has had it wrong all this time,  but :unknw:

The Retppu looks better..

Edited by Bolt

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32 minutes ago, Bolt said:

Who’s version is true 1/72?

I tend to give Hasegawa the benefit of the doubt.  Their 1:72 pilot scale seems consistent with other Macross merchandise...


...and their packaging demonstrates the proper use of a colon to denote scale (something a lot of people don't seem to understand).  :p

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Monthly update:  One month in, and I'm already behind schedule..!  :vava:

Kinda got distracted by this behemoth.  :lol:

Anyway, having completed the initial assembly phase for both Hasegawa and Hobby Base RETPPU VF-11s, let's compare the two in more detail:


Hasegawa instructions are a total of ten pages, with CAD drawings clearly illustrating each step of the assembly process.  There are about 80 parts altogether.


This is the only bit that confused me.  The piece circled in red is not labeled, and I couldn't find it on any of the sprues.  It was only when I looked at the picture beneath it that I realized that I was looking at two parts combined (D7 and D8, as indicated above).


Despite an equal number of parts, the Hobby Base RETPPU features only a single page for instructions, trying to illustrate every stage of construction in one hand-drawn picture.  It's a lot more confusing, and far more difficult to parse.  For example:


Note that polycap P17A fits into the elbow joint, and P17B slots into the forearm...


Also note that the polycap sprue contains a part labeled 17, but neither a 17A nor a 17B.  :unknw:


Ah, here's the explanation.  The included polycaps were apparently recycled from RETPPU's VF-1 kit, and several of the parts require modifications to fit the VF-11 joints.  According to the printed directions, polycap P17 is supposed to be cut into two pieces, one 2mm (in width, presumably) and the other 2.5mm -- hence, P17A and P17B.


So I cut them to fit and removed all extraneous protrusions...  However installing them reveals a further problem.


The elbow joint is supposed to be held together by a rod in the middle, but the rod is much too short to reach the hole it's supposed to fit into.  <_<

I'll have to drill those out and replace them with metal pins or something.


The legs are fairly well-proportioned, but it's gonna take a great deal of work to fix those horrible seam lines...  All that sculpted panel work will be destroyed.  :(


Still, when it's all put together, it makes a terrific Battroid...


...provided you have a very solid stand to support it!


The joints are floppy as hell, and can't begin to handle the weight of the figure...  :angry:


...unless you wanted to display it doubled over or something.  8P


This is the best you'll be able to manage unassisted.  :unsure:

Further updates will follow when I figure out how to replace every single joint. :bigshok:


P.S. I was gonna paint both kits simultaneously, and display them together...


...but the profound difference in scale is even more apparent when the assembled kits are compared side-by-side.


Again, both kits claim to be 1:72 scale!  :blink:

Edited by tekering

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1 hour ago, tekering said:

Kinda got distracted by this behemoth.  :lol:

Umm.. OMG!:shok:

The VF-11 looks great! Good job navigating those instructions. Hasegawa & REPPTU clearly have different ideas of what 1/72 is..as well as what’s line art accurate..

I hope you can replace or modify all those joints easily enough.

Edited by Bolt

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On 6/7/2019 at 4:05 PM, electric indigo said:

Man, those seamlines on the legs come straight from hell!

Yes, but before I can even start fixing them, I have to paint the knee joints and the feet; those parts will be sandwiched between the leg halves, meaning they've gotta be painted before the legs can be properly assembled.  What a pain.  :(

First, choosing the right greys:


The VF-11B is surprisingly tricky to paint, owing to its three-tone grey color scheme.  Yamato tried (and failed) three times to get the colors right.  <_<


Over a span of eight years, Yamato released a 1:72 toy (that was too light), a Battroid action figure (that was too blue), and a 1:60 toy (that was too dark)...


Three distinctly different base tones, despite all being the product of the same manufacturer!


So I've been spraying a lot of test coats, trying to find the right warm grey for the primary color, the right slightly-cooler grey for the FAST packs, the right dark grey for the hands, feet and joints, and the right slate blue for the highlights.  Lots of trial-and-error, really.  :unsure:

So, let's talk about the laborious process of painting resin parts.


Stage 1: After washing off the mold release agent with dish soap, trim and sand the parts so they're ready for priming.

Stage 2: Apply a light coat of primer, which will bring out the sculpted detail as well as reveal any surface imperfections that need to be fixed.

Stage 3: Sand down the raised surfaces, to reveal how much recessed detail should be visible and to give the surface a rougher texture.  This will allow the second coat of primer to adhere firmly to any raised surfaces, and avoid paint rubs wherever surfaces will be in contact with each other.


Stage 4: Apply a second, more uniform coat of primer, ensuring the surface has a smooth, even finish.  Stages 3 and 4 may require repetition, especially where surface imperfections like air bubbles or scratches require putty to repair; sand and prime, sand and prime again until the surface is perfect.

Stage 5: Apply the base coat.  I much prefer the black basing approach to pre-shading, and everything I paint starts with several coats of Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500.

Stage 6: Apply a light coat of the primary color (in this case Tamiya's AS-4, "Gray Violet").  Recessed detail should retain a little of the base black color, so it stands out.


Next update will cover shading and panel-lining... if I ever get that far...!  :huh:

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Nice job Tek:good: .. ya stages 3&4 over and over, I can relate! I really like the black coat underneath effect. And I’m taking notes!:D

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Sorry for the lack of regular updates.  The further behind schedule I become, the more time I spend building, and the less time I spend photographing and documenting the process...  :unsure:

So, to solve the floppy joint issues that plague this kit, I've resorted to metal pins, rods and screws for stability.

See, these segments fit between the thighs and the legs, basically acting as knee joints:


As previously demonstrated, however, they're entirely inadequate to the task of supporting the figure's considerable weight.

My solution was to drill into them, and attach them with wood screws:


Since the screws will be concealed by the leg armor, it seemed like the simplest solution (and allows me to adjust the tension as required).


Success!  The figure now stands unassisted.

Of course, the resin joints that attach the thighs to the body failed in their job as well...


...and had to be drilled out and replaced with metal screws.

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I'm curious, how does the "1/72" kit compare next to the Yamato 1/72 and 1/60?  Being that much bigger than the Hasegawa, it almost looks like it should be 1/60.

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9 hours ago, Chronocidal said:

I'm curious, how does the "1/72" kit compare next to the Yamato 1/72 and 1/60?  Being that much bigger than the Hasegawa, it almost looks like it should be 1/60.

Well, parts of it are bigger...  The gunpod, for instance...


...while other parts are equal in size...


...and some parts are actually smaller, even.


They're both a pretty accurate 1:72 scale, as it turns out, but significant differences in proportions between modes leads to major differences in size (and shape!) between individual parts.  Despite my efforts to paint and detail them to match, some startling discrepancies remain...


...and surprisingly, Kawamori's original animation models sheets are the culprit!  :o


The angle these are drawn from suggests three verniers on the leg armor; two pointing downwards (towards the back of the fighter) and one pointing out to the side...


...and as we can see, the battroid was drawn that way in the animation.

However, in fighter mode...


...there are clearly four visible, on a considerably thinner and more elongated armor piece.  This is the design the informed Yamato's toys, and Hasegawa's kit.

So, it turns out both model kits are accurate in scale and proportions, despite (or rather, because of) discrepancies in the inconsistent line-art!  :unknw:

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Looking good, I've enjoyed the discussion, pictures and commentary!

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On 6/7/2019 at 4:05 PM, electric indigo said:

Man, those seamlines on the legs come straight from hell!

Yeah, it required a lot of grinding, filing, sanding, and putty, and then all the panel-lines needed to be re-scribed...  <_<


Then more fine sanding and putty work to clean up the lines...


...and finally, the legs are ready for painting.


So let's talk about masking.  I used 2mm white Tamiya masking tape to isolate the stripes on the legs, and then covered the rest of the surface with generic cheap stuff:


I then started by spraying another layer of the primary color (grey) over the exposed area of the stripe, which will help seal the masking and prevent color bleeding when the orange is applied.  This prevents any paint from seeping under the tape.

Several light coats of orange followed.  Patience is key here; if you attempt complete coverage with a single coat, you might lay down too much paint and get it under the masking.  Again, to avoid color bleeding, spray the orange at a safe distance from the surface, and give the paint a chance to dry before spraying the next pass.  Eventually, you'll have a strong, even coat, and removing the masking tape is very satisfying.  ^_^


Tamiya's masking tape is also useful for panel-lining, as it provides a clean guideline to follow.  I use an extremely fine-tipped marker I bought at a specialty stationery store:


If you're working with flat surfaces, rulers can be useful, too.  ;)


Next comes my favorite part of the process: applying waterslide decals.  :D

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Looks nice but a bit grainy. Would you consider a light buffing prior to decaling to prevent silverIng effects on decals? Or just lay a gloss coat prior to decaling?

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On 10/12/2019 at 3:38 PM, nightmareB4macross said:

Would you consider a light buffing prior to decaling to prevent silverIng effects on decals? Or just lay a gloss coat prior to decaling?

Another excellent suggestion!  The medium sea grey I'm using for the primary color is a matte paint, so the surface isn't as smooth as it would be using a glossy or semi-gloss color.  A layer or two of clear gloss is always a good idea before applying decals.  :good:

However, it turns out the Hasegawa UN SPACY markings for the legs won't actually fit, since the shape of the FAST pack armor on the resin kit is significantly different from the fighter kit I'm stealing the decals from...  


...so, lots of putty, sanding, primer, sanding, putty, sanding, primer, sanding, and more primer was required to reshape the armor...


...until eventually, I had enough flat surface area for the lettering to fit.  

Base coat, primary color, and a coat of clear gloss later, the surface was finally ready for the decals.


Areas that are not visible in fighter mode (like the backs of the legs) have no established precedent for warnings, nomenclature and the like, so I'm free to apply whatever markings look right to me.  Using a mix of Hasegawa, Wave, and Bandai decals -- some Macross-specific, some not -- I think I've managed a consistent look that's realistic without contradicting other depictions of the VF-11.

I've used Hasegawa's kits and Arcadia's "Premium Finish" toys as inspiration, since I think their markings strike the best balance between anime-accuracy and real-world detailing.  Bandai's DX Chogokins tend to overdo it, and I want to avoid prominent markings that are inconsistent with the animation.

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Another minor modification I made to the kit was to articulate the biceps, which both increases range of motion and enhances the figure aesthetically.


Compare the animation model sheets to Yamato's figures, and you'll see one significant problem is the shape of the biceps on the toys.  What is fat and round in the line art -- suggesting an armored joint -- becomes a poorly-proportioned flat cylinder instead.

sitting unassisted.jpg

My earlier photo shows the stock biceps on the resin kit weren't a whole lot better.


So, I started by cutting the part into separate pieces...


...and then hollowing them out so that I could fit a joint inside.



Properly painted and installed between the arm and the shoulder, it now looks more accurate and increases articulation.  :good:

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Oh, and speaking of the shoulder...


I gave some serious thought to what markings might make sense there, based on the hypothetical purpose they'd serve in fighter mode...


...and I figured the yellow arrows might indicate alignment points -- magnetic locks, for instance -- which could've been used during assembly, or by maintenance personnel to confirm the individual parts were lining up properly during transformation.


I added an identical pair of decals to the fuselage of my Hasegawa kit, for the sake of consistency.  8)

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I'm destroying perfectly good sculpted detail in the engine nozzles...


A small, accurately-centered guide hole will ensure the much larger hole I drill is equally centered.


Once drilled, they're glued onto the FAST pack boosters.


These big holes are just the right circumference to fit LEDs into.  ^_^


With the FAST packs mounted to their housings, they appear to be a consistent height from below...


...but viewed from above, one sits considerably higher than the other.


A scrap bit of PVC sprue will act as a spacer, and correct the discrepancy in height...


...and now they're properly aligned from both the top and bottom.  :good:



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Now, those FAST packs are solid resin -- and quite heavy -- so I've reinforced their mounting points with screws, in a location that will be concealed by the wings.


I then started filling in the gaps between parts with Tamiya putty, and sanding the surface smooth.


A coat of primer followed, confirming the gaps had been sealed, and then a flat black base coat.


I masked off the area where I want the black stripe to remain on the fuselage.  It probably won't be visible behind the canards once the nosecone is attached, but I wanted to make sure it was there anyway.


Finally, after a couple coats of the primary color had been applied, I sprayed the torso with a liberal amount of clear gloss and added a couple decals.  The arrestor hook label is barely visible above the black triangle, but the "NO STEP" and "DO NOT PAINT"* lettering is clearly legible.

Those masked-over portions are clear parts on the Hasegawa fighter kit, so I want that section to remain high-gloss.  The rest of the surface will be sprayed with a flat matte topcoat.

* I just love the irony of "DO NOT PAINT" warnings on a model kit.  :lol:

Edited by tekering

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I didn't realize anyone was still paying attention!  It seems the Gnerl has all but stolen the spotlight...  :huh:

This Battroid was a more complex build, though; even the hands required work.  On that note:


Let's talk about dry brushing and panel line accent washes.


Drybrushing is what I call an "addition" technique, where paint is lightly applied in numerous little strokes until the desired coverage is eventually achieved.  I use cheap or well-used brushes for this, with the bristles cut down to about half of their original length.


With paint only on the very edges of the brush, and already half-dried as it's applied to the plastic parts, the paint tends to adhere only to the raised surfaces.  This is perfect for details like robotic fingers, of course.  ^_^


Using a thin black wash for panel-lining accents is exactly the opposite; a "subtraction" technique, if you will.  Capillary action fills all those grooves, channels and valleys between the raised edges with a watery black enamel (or grey or brown, depending on the primary color you're complementing), and then the excess has to be removed from where it isn't wanted.  Enamel paint thinner or Zippo lighter fluid is ideal for this sort of thing, since it's unlikely to damage the lacquer paint your primary colors were applied with.  Precision-tip cotton swabs like Tamiya sells are preferable to common Q-Tips or fabric rags.


Having painted up these fists for demonstration purposes, I have no intention of actually using them...  The stock hands included with the kit aren't compatible with the gunpod.


The alternate right hand is a two-piece design that fits around the grip of the gunpod, but there's no corresponding left hand to hold it up by the barrel...


Kotobukiya to the rescue!


This hand looks to be a similar size, but it's missing some of the prominent details on the stock hand... like that channel cut into the back of the hand.


My diamond file will make short work of that.  :aggressive:


I used a Gundam marker to outline the edges of the groove I'd cut into the hand, then went about painting it to match the stock hands.


Here you see the results of spray painting, drybrushing, and panel-lining; a lot of work just so the VF-11 can hold the gunpod with both hands.

Come to think of it, it's exactly the same mod I did to Quamzin's hand, so that he could brandish his rifle in exactly the same way!


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As impressive as this build is, the quality of photos and modeling tips in this thread is staggering! Resin kits can be so different than normal plastic kits, guides like this are always awesome. Well done!

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One significant disadvantage resin kits have over injection-mold kits is the higher likelihood of damaged parts (and the effort required to repair them).  The VF-11 head looked good from the front, but there's a big chunk missing from the back:


So, putty and sanding was required to fill the gaps, and the missing panel lines had to be rescribed.


The orange color was sprayed over a coat of primer, then masked off along the sculpted panel lines.


A second coat of orange was applied over the mask, to help seal the edges, and then a flat black base coat over that.  Finally, the primary ocean grey color was sprayed on, and the edges of the stripes were panel-lined with my 0.03mm marker before the masking tape was removed.


After a little more touch-up work, the head was completed and attached to the torso.


I cut a thin piece of cellophane from a discarded toy's window box and trimmed it to fit over the camera eye detail on the face.  From the right angle, it catches the light quite beautifully.  :good:

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So here's the kit built stock:


And here, with the legs articulated for a floating-in-space pose, and the arms articulated for a two-handed grip:


...and a shot from below, showing the LEDs installed in the FAST pack boosters and the feet.


VF-11 boosters.jpg

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