Macross +++ 1:100 Stonewell/Bellcom VF-1J Plus Valkyrie; aircraft

Macross +++ 1:100 Stonewell/Bellcom VF-1J Plus Valkyrie; aircraft “300”, mount of 3rd Flight Leader Taqisha T’saqeel, SVF-789 ‘Dar es Carrack’ of the U.N. Spacy Zentraedi Fleet; Tefé Amazonia Base, Brazil; early 2013 (modified ARII kit)

Macross +++ 1:100 Stonewell/Bellcom VF-1J Plus Valkyrie; aircraft

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. It was preceded into production 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 full-up VF-1 prototype (VF-X-1).

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 was the mainstay fighter of the U.N. Spacy for the entire conflict. Introduced in 2008, the VF-1 would be out of frontline service just five years later.

The VF-1 proved to be an extremely capable 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 minor variants (designated A, D, J, and S) with constant updates and several sub-variants during its long and successful career. Its success was increased by the GBP-1S "Armored" Valkyrie and FAST Pack "Super" Valkyrie weapon systems, the latter enabling the fighter to operate in space.
After the end of Space War I, the VF-1A continued to be manufactured both in the Sol system (notably on the Lunar facility Apollo Base) and throughout the UNG space colonies. Although the VF-1 would eventually be replaced as the primary VF of the UN Spacy by the more capable, but also much bigger, VF-4 Lightning III in 2020, a long service record and continued production after the war proved the lasting worth of the design.

One notable operator of the VF-1 was the U.N. Spacy’s Zentraedi Fleet, namely SVF-789, which was founded in 2012 as a cultural integration and training squadron with two flights of VF-1 at Tefé in Brazil. This mixed all-Zentraedi/Meltraedi unit was the first in the UN Spacy’s Zentraedi Fleet to be completely equipped with the 1st generation Valkyrie (other units, like SVF-122, which was made up exclusively from Zentraedi loyalists, kept a mixed lot of vehicles).

SVF-789’s flight leaders and some of its instructors were all former Quadrono Battalion aces (under the command of the famous Milia Fallyna, later married with aforementioned Maximilian Jenius), e. g. the Meltraedi pilot Taqisha T’saqeel who commanded SVF-789’s 3rd Flight.

Almost all future Zentraedi and Meltradi pilots for the U.N. Spacy received their training at Tefé, and the squadron was soon expanded to a total of five flights. During this early phase of the squadron’s long career the VF-1s carried a characteristic dark-green wrap-around scheme, frequently decorated with colorful trim, reflecting the unit’s Zentraedi/Meltraedi heritage (the squadron’s motto and title “Dar es Carrack” meant “Victory is everywhere”) and boldly representing the individual flights.

In late 2013 the unit embarked upon Breetai Kridanik’s Nupetiet-Vergnitzs-Class Fleet Command Battleship, and the machines received a standard all-grey livery, even though some typical decoration (e. g. the squadron code in Zentraedi symbols) remained.

When the UN Spacy eventually mothballed the majority of its legacy Zentraedi ships, the unit was re-assigned to the Tokugawa-class Super Dimensional Carrier UES Xerxes. In 2022, SVF-789 left the Sol System as part of the Pioneer Mission. By this time it had been made part of the Expeditionary Marine Corps and re-equipped with VAF-6 Alphas.

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 even into the first year of the New Era 0001 in 2013. 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 a total production of 5,459 VF-1 variable fighters with several variants (VF-1A = 5,093, VF-1D = 85, VF-1J = 49, VF-1S = 30, VF-1G = 12, VE-1 = 122, VT-1 = 68) and ongoing modernization programs like the “Plus” MLU update that incorporated stronger engines and avionics from the VF-1’s successor, the VF-4 (including the more powerful radar, IRST sensor and a laser designator/range finder). These updates later led to the VF-1N, P an X variants.
However, the fighter remained active in many second line units and continued to show its worthiness 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:
Equipment Type: all-environment variable fighter and tactical combat battroid
Government: U.N. Spacy, U.N. Navy, U.N. Space Air Force

Accommodation: pilot only in Marty & Beck Mk-7 zero/zero ejection seat
Fighter Mode:
Length 14.23 meters
Wingspan 14.78 meters (fully extended)
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

2x Shinnakasu Heavy Industry/P&W/Roice FF-2008 thermonuclear reaction turbine engines, output 650 MW each, rated at 11,500 kg in standard or in overboost (225.63 kN x 2)
4 x 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);
18 x 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.
Minimum time from Fighter to Battroid (manual): 0.9 sec.
2x internal Mauler RÖV-20 anti-aircraft laser cannon, firing 6,000 pulses per minute
1x Howard GU-11 55 mm three-barrel Gatling gun pod with 200 rds fired at 1,200 rds/min
4 x 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 15x Bifors HMM-01 micro-missiles,
or a combination of above load-outs
Optional Armament:
Shinnakasu Heavy Industry GBP-1S ground-combat protector weapon system, or
Shinnakasu Heavy Industry FAST Pack augmentative space weapon system

The kit and its assembly:
The second vintage 1:100 ARII VF-1 as a part of a Zentraedi squadron series, the canonical SVF-789. This one was inspired by a profile of such a machine in the “Macross Variable Fighter Master File: VF-1 Valkyrie Part 1” Art Book – true robot porn and full of valuable detail and background material for anyone who’d consider building a VF-1.

The SVF-789 machine shown in the book is a simple VF-1A, but with Zentraedi language markings and in a rather unusual livery in all dark green, yellow and black trim and grey low-viz roundels. While this does IMHO not really look sexy, I found the idea of a squadron, manned by former (alien) enemies very interesting. And so I took up the idea and started fleshing it out – including the idea of SVF-789’s initial base deep in the Amazonian jungle (justifying somehow the all-green livery!?).

This second build was to represent a flight leader’s aircraft, and consequently the basis is a VF-1J kit (which only differs outwardly through the head). In order to set the machine a little more apart I decided to incorporate some “Plus” program updates, including a different nose tip for the updated radar and two small fairings for IRST and laser designator sensors above and below the nose section, respectively. The fins’ tips were also modified – they were elongated a little through styrene sheet replacements.
This update is a bit early for the official Macross timeline, but I just wanted more than a standard J Valkyrie in a more exotic paint scheme.

Otherwise, this VF-1J fighter kit was built OOB, with the landing gear tucked up and the usual additions of some blade antennae, a pilot figure and a custom display stand in/under the ventral cannon pod.
The ordnance is non-standard, though; in this case the aircraft received two pairs of air-to-ground missiles (actually some misshapen Soviet AAMs from the Academy MiG-23 kit – either very fat R-60 ‘Aphid’ AAMs or very poor renditions of vintage K-6 ‘Alkali’ missiles?) inboards and four AMM-1 missiles on the outer pylons, with the lowest missile replaced by scratched ECM and chaff dispenser pods. The gun pod was also modified with a new nozzle, with parts from a surplus AMM-1 missile – also inspired by a source book entry.

Painting and markings:
This was planned to be a more exotic or extravagant interpretation of the profile from the book, which was already used as a guideline for the VF-1A build. The overall design of an all-green livery with a white nose tip as basis was kept, together with yellow trim on wings, fins and the stabilizer fins on the Valkyrie’s legs. The VF-1A already deviated from this slightly, but now I wanted something more outstanding – a bold flight leader’s mount.

Zentraedi vehicles tend to be rather colorful, so the tones I chose for painting were rather bright. For instance, the initial idea for the green was FS 34079, a tone which also comes close to the printed profile in the book. But it looked IMHO too militaristic, or too little anime-esque, so I eventually settled for something brighter and used Humbrol 195 (called Dark Satin Green, but it’s actually RAL 6020, Chromoxyd Grün, a color used on German railway wagons during and after WWII), later shaded with black ink for the engravings and Humbrol 76 (Uniform Green) for highlights.
The nose became pure white, the leading edge trim was painted with Revell 310 (Lufthansa Gelb, RAL 1028), a deep and rich tone that stands out well from the murky green.

In order to set this J Valkyrie apart from the all-dark green basic VF-1As, I added two bright green tones and a light purple as flight color: Humbrol 36 (called Pastel Green, but it’s actually very yellow-ish), 38 (Lime) and Napoleonic Violet from ModelMaster’s Authentic Line, respectively. 36 was applied to the lower legs and around the cockpit section, including the spinal fairing with the air brake. The slightly darker 38 was used on the wings and fins as well as for the fuselage’s and wings’ underside. On top of the wings and the inner and outer fins, the surfaces were segmented, with the dark green as basic color.
As an additional contrast, the head, shoulder guards and additional trim highlights on the legs as well as for a double chevron on the breast plate were painted in the pale purple tone. A sick color combination, but very Zentraedi/Meltraedi-esque!

The cockpit interior was, according to Macross references, painted in Dark Gull Grey. The seat received brown cushions and the pilot figure was turned into a micronized Meltraedi (yes, the fictional pilot Taqisha T’saqeel is to be female) with a colorful jumpsuit in violet and white, plus a white and red helmet – and bright green skin! The gun pod became dark blue (Humbrol 112, Field Blue), the AMM-1 missiles received a pale grey livery while the air-to-ground missiles and the chaff dispenser became olive drab. As an additional contrast, the ECM pod became white. A wild mix of colors!

This was even enhanced through U.N. Spacy roundels in standard full color – their red really stands out. The squadron emblem/symbol on the fin was painted with a brush, but in this case in a smaller variant and with two USN/USAF style code letters for the home basis added.
Since I can not print white letters onto clear decal sheet at home, the aircraft’s tactical code ‘300’ was created with letters from the human alphabet. A simplification and deviation from the original concept, but I found the only alternative of painting tiny and delicate Zentraedi codes by brush and hand just to be too risky.

Finally, the kit was sealed with a sheen acrylic varnish – with the many, contrasting colors a pure matt finish somehow did not appear right.

Building was relatively simple, just the rhinoplasty was a little tricky – a very subtle modification, though, but the pointed and slightly deeper nose changed the VF-1’s look. The standard Zentraedi-style VF-1 of SVF-789 already looked …different, but this one is … bright, if not challenging to the naked eye. Anyway, there’s more in the creative pipeline from the Zentraedi unit – this aircraft’s pilot in the form of a modified resin garage kit.

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