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Improving the Macross VF-1S Valkyrie in Battroid mode

Arii's 1/100 scale

by Pablo A. Castro © 2003 Modeler Site

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Twenty years ago the animation series Superdimention Fortress Macross was first aired in Japan. A few years later the series was known in many western countries as the first part of Robotech (a US childish version)

As a kid I was fascinated by those amazing fighter planes that suddenly transforms into robots fighting against gigantic aliens (the Zentradi). Departing from the typical giant robot show (such as MAZINGER where a lonely super-robot fights a different monster in every episode), Macross robots were mass produced war machines that were part of an armed force: the UN Spacy. The transformable fighter was known as VF-1 Valkyrie (VF stands for variable fighter) named by it's creator, Shoji Kawamori, after the hypersonic bomber xb-70 Valkyrie.

The subject of this article is a model I did some years ago. It represents the vf-1s Valkyrie in Battroid mode (i.e. robot mode) piloted by the famous Skull Squadron leader, Roy Focker.

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The kit

The Arii representation of the vf-1 Valkyrie Battroid mode in 1/100 scale is one of the worst ever produced in plastic (just only better than the 1/170 scale version from the very same company). It suffers from various flaws and inaccuracies but was very easy to find (nowadays it is not so), dirt cheap and has one of the best Macross box art ever. The kit consists in white polystyrene plastic (not the best around..) and vinyl joints that allows certain poseability to the finished model.

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Improving the kit 

Making a decent model from this kit demands some scratchbuilding work. Two areas consumed most of the modelling time, the hands and the hip:


The kit's original nose cone or hip (a giant variable robot anatomist could help here!) is too short and it's shape is incorrect. I made a new one by patiently carving it from a wooden cone. When I was satisfied with it's shape I made a silicon rubber mold of it using a silicon sealer found at most hardware stores (CAUTION! always protect the master with some release agent such as dishwash liquid soap) After waiting 48hs for the silicon to cure I made some copies of the nose cone with liquid epoxy resin (Araldite) that look much better than the kit's supplied one.


Hip 1

Wood carved cone

Silicone mould

Finished resin part


Hip 2

Original part from Arii

New epoxy resin part 


The original kit's hands are just a pair of amorphous bulges so I had to expend a lot of time making new articulated hands from scratch. I sculpted the fingers using small diameter plastic tubes (from a lollipop candy!) and inserted copper wires inside (from fine connection cables) as tendons thus providing some articulation. The new fingers and thumbs were fixed to the previously carved original hands with the aid of a two parts epoxy putty. 

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A short time after finishing the model I received a set of Wave's 1/100 articulated hands from HLJ... That's one of the curses of the plastic modeller, the scratchbuilder murphy's law : as soon a scratchbuild model is finished a kit of the same subject will be available!!


Original hand and new articulates ones

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Additional modifications to the kit were:

Make transparent parts for the head visor, shoulder and legs lights.
Modify the knee joints (these parts are awful represented in the original kit).
Enhance poseability by making new arm articulations.
Make new shoulder covers.
Open the feet/exhausts with a x-acto razor saw.
Open chest intakes.
Add covering plates to the sides of the chest.
Modify the main gun by adding gattling barrels, a transparent sight and a strap made from a black plastic bag and some metal parts.


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A: Position light (fiber optics)

B: Hand painted figure

C: Side plates for closing sides


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D: Lights

E: Position light (fiber optics)

F: Hand painted

G: New resin hip

H: Transparent visor

Finally I added a little 1/87 scale seated woman figure from Preiser representing one of the main characters of the series: Lyn Minmay. Though the figure and the nominal robot scale differs, when compared to some of the Macross series scenes the proportions look good and the woman figure gives the model a sense of scale.

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Paint and decals

For painting this model I used a spray can of matt white from Krylon. The paint went smooth and thin on the model. The black stripes and yellow details were also painted with spray cans from the same company. Spray can paints are a good option when you are not in the mood of using the airbrush (I mean all that cleaning and so)

Panel lines were marked with a fine tip permanent ink pen. Metallic parts were painted with Humbrol buffing enamels (gun metal and matt aluminium)
Gunze Sangyo transparent acrylic paints were used to tint transparent parts.
After decalling I cover everything with Krylon's clear gloss acrylic spray paint. 

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The kit's decals were used but I used some stencils fromWave's Macross Decals 2 .



For the final clear coat I decided to use my airbrush since I wanted a smooth semigloss finish. I used a mix of Tamiya's acrylic clear gloss X-22 with XF-21 flat base (Caution: never use the flat base alone) This protected the decals and panel lines.


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It was a hard work but I enjoyed it and even if I hate the original kit it helped me to full my modelling goal: have fun!!

Very soon.... the VF-1 Battroid from Hasegawa


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The Super Dimension Fortress Macross-1, This Is Animation The Select 3, 5, 7, Tokyo: ed. Shougakukan, Japón 1983.
Macross Perfect Memory, ed. Minori, Japan 1984.
Shoji Kawamori Macross Design Works, ed. Movic, Japan 2001.

TV series

The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, TV series, several episodes. MBS, Tatsunoko Productions, Japan 1982.



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