VF-1 Valkyrie Etching Parts
Review by Showapop
I will be straight up and say I hate photoetch. Ever since the modeling community started to get barraged with these little sheets of metal with parts to trick out your model kits with in the late 80’s, there has always been a love-hate relationship with photoetch with me that was mostly hate.
So why do I hate Photoetch so much? There are a few reasons. There tends to be an marketing overtone with modelers that they must buy the photoetch to complete a kit correctly. The parts are fragile and easily broken and they never seemed to stay glued to the kit very long. On top of that they can be pricy. In my opinion they seem to slow down the modeling process although they are advertised as a convenience.
But I must admit sometimes they are a necessary evil. It is still common for model kit companies to leave out obvious details that aftermarket photoetch and resin companies are needed to make up for those shortfalls.
In 2001 Hasegawa released a photoetch set for their 1/72 VF-1 kits. Since I used this VF-1 PE set for three Hasegawa VF-1 kits I believe it would be a good time to review the VF-1 Photoetch in detail. I will state up front that I am generally very critical of Hasegawa’s choices of parts to be reproduced, most of the criticism directed at details that Hasegawa’s VF-1 kits should have had in the first place.
There are seven steps when attaching the parts to the VF-1 model kits; I will go with the order of the instructions starting with the cockpit area.
Step 1 The Cockpit:
The first step consists both of the VF-1 operation levers, seat details and cockpit back-wall. For example the operation levers should have been included with the kit. Imagine an airplane kit that does not come with a joystick. Well, that is what exactly Hasegawa’s did with their VF-1 kit. The kit comes with two useless square blocks that really serve no purpose as you cut them off if you want to add the pilot or add the PE parts. The PE representations of these are very nice though so glad they are included.
The seat details includes a cap for the seat, as that is a difficult item to inject details on, this is a welcome addition to the set.
The back-wall is also another part that should have been included with the kit as a plastic part. It is frustrating to know that on their later kits such as the VF-0 and VF-11 the back wall is included. To me this is the single most important part on the PE sheet and I wish they would have included at least two more of the back wall for multiple kits.
Two of the three parts I feel should have been included with the kit but unfortunately you are forced to buy the PE sheet for these parts. Most importantly is what is not included in this PE sheet: The side cockpit panels. The side panels are noticeably missing from both the kit and PE sheet, which to me a huge oversight and would have been a welcome addition to the PE sheet.
Step 2 Antenna:
Here is a good example of a excellent improvement over the kit with the nose antenna. The kit does come with the nose antenna and is quick buildable with the ones included with the kit. The PE antenna are thin and easily attached and really do improve the kit’s look. A nice addition to the sheet.
Step 3: Airframe
Some more great additions here. The top spine antennas are included and like the nose antenna PE they are easily attached and look great.
One of the features of the Hasegawa VF-1 model kit is the swing variable wing that lets the modeler swing the wing into forward or backwards positions. The trouble with these types of aircraft models in both real world and Sci-fi aircraft is there is a noticeable hole into the airframe when the wings are in the wide-open position. Hasegawa’s includes a PE cap with details to close up the hole and looks nice when attached to the body. The only problem is that the modeler is committed with having the wings in an open position. It is somewhat a necessary evil if you want to close up that hole. No blame here, its just the nature of these types of aircraft when put into a model kit form.
Step 4: Backpack
This is one of the areas where this PE kit shines. Parts include a multi vane exhaust that attaches inside of the large exhaust on the back of the pack. It is easily put together and the final results look great.
The side exhausts are also included. The original part has a smooth side and near impossible for the relief detail to be injected with the part. PE of these parts is included and when finished a decal with the kit is applied to the top of it.
Step 5: Nozzle
These inner exhaust parts are truly for convenience as these can easily be made out of sheet styrene. A very nice addition to the kit but not really needed.
The rear shin lights are also a nice addition to the PE sheet as these details were only represented as a decal on the original kit. Place the part on the kit and apply the decal afterwards when finished.
Step 6: Intake
This is an odd one, it does look nice when completed but when I looked at the original kit I didn't think, “Geez I wish there was a PE part for this area!”
Step 7: Booster
There is quite a few parts for this portion of the kit. Let us take them step by step.
A PE part is included for the front of the booster where the missile/Strike pods attach. The original part does have some injection holes here, a pain to get out but by no means difficult to clean up. A PE part is included to attach to these parts but it ends up making the Missile/Strike difficult to attach to the back portion of the booster. One ends up bending the PE and the front part of the booster pod does not want to sit flush with the rear booster. It just adds more trouble to the already overdesigned Super/Strike kit. I plan to just leave them off on my next Super/Strike kit and just glue the booster parts together.
The detail on top of the booster is easily sanded away so two top detail parts are included to make up for the loss of those details. A nice subtle addition to the PE sheet.
Finally the interiors of the boosters are included. These are some of the nicest parts of the PE sheet, with some nice relief details and when attached, no need to sand out of what would have been a very difficult seam to fill and smooth out.
As stated above this VF-1 PE sheet has some pro and cons and is somewhat a mixed bag of parts in terms of quality and necessity.
Most of my issues are with the cockpit areas. Hasegawa should have included a much better detailed cockpit with the kit. As I did with my VF-1J kit, these VF-1 kits can mostly be built right out of the box and still look great but even then I still need the PE kit to fill out the details in the cockpit and no side panel details were included with either the kit or the PE sheet.
Second, although not stated anywhere on the PE sheet, this sheet is really geared towards the Super/Strike kits as it includes the booster and intake details. If you are just using this sheet for the regular VF-1 kits you will be left with many extra parts.
Finally some of the parts I find either unnecessary or could easily be scratch built by the modeler, while other parts such as the backwall and other cockpit parts under represented or not even included.
What I believe Hasegawa should have done was include a small PE sheet with each kit that includes the cockpit details, backwall and exhaust details with another after market PE sheet for the Super/Strike variant.
What is good about this PE sheet is excellent, and what does not work I question the choices that were made and disappointed with what should have been included with this PE sheet but wasn’t. A mixed bag overall and a nagging feeling you just aren’t getting your moneys worth from this.
©2014 review and photos by Leonardo Flores & CollectionDX.
|Posted 16 July, 2014 - 15:52 by Showapop