Author Topic: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project  (Read 229 times)

Offline stevethefish

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As you may know, Imai was a Japanese model company located in Shizuoka, Japan. When they went bankrupt, they sold their models to companies such as Bandai and Aoshima, both of which still continue to repop their kits. This Bandai kit is a re-pop of the old IMAI Max-type VF-1J Super Valkyrie. Actually, it comes with parts to build this as a VF-1A, VF-1J, and a VF-1S, and can be built as a regular Valk or Super Valk. What I love about this kit is that you can build it in a regular Fighter mode or sweep the legs down for that pseudo-Gerwalk mode in which the legs are swept down but the arms remain retracted, which is my all-time favorite Valkyrie pose.

In the '80s, the two model companies that made the most Macross kits were Imai and Arii. The former had better overall proportion, while the latter had better detail as well as employed polycaps. This old Imai kit has good overall proportions, however the one complaint is the somewhat stubby nose that tapers downwards.

Here I have done a dry fit, held together with masking tape, to get a feel for how it comes together.





This kit has clear pieces for the navigation lights on the wingtips as well as forward wing lights, but the wing halves fit together tightly and do not create a hollow space inside. If I were to go all out on lighting up a Valk, I think it would be best to do so on a Hasegawa 1:48 scale one. For this project, I decided to leave the wings unlit and instead have it in combat action, during which the strobes and such would not be lighted. I already have flashing LEDs from HDA, but the site does not have any rapid-flashing LEDs. I bought some instead from Lighthouse and will place a fast-blinking yellow LED in the gunpod and have it displayed in an action pose.



Above you will see that the thruster parts are prepped for lighting. The three small engines on the “backpack” are perfectly-sized for 3mm LEDs, and the two big engines on the fastpack boosters are perfectly-sized for 5mm LEDs!



Here is what I am using to clear cast parts for this.

On the right is Oyumaru, which is marketed as a child's toy here in Japan. I bought it at a toy store. Take out a stick, put it in boiling water, wait for it to get soft, and then use it to create molds. On the left is UV-curing craft resin, which I bought at the 100 yen shop Daiso. It’s unnecessary to mix two equal parts or anything. You just squeeze the liquid resin out of the tube and set your part out in the sun to let it cure from ultraviolet radiation. Neat!



I wish to light up what I believe is the infrared sensor on the top of the gunpod. So I taped the gunpod halves together for a dry fit and squished the top of it into the warm Oyumaru to create a mold. I then poured the clear resin into the mold, cured it, and cut it down to shape.



I used a Tamiya saw bit to cut out the plastic-molded to cut out the sensor. Above you will see the replacement clear resin part I made. The parting line showed up in the mold, so I sanded it down. This also will help diffuse the light, of course.



Here I have temporarily situated a 0402 pre-wired red SMD from HDA Modelworx inside the gunpod.



Here I have carefully placed the clear resin piece I made on the top. I will have to work with this piece to get the fit right. You can see some light leak coming from the gunpod’s barrel. I will have to work on that. This is where a rapid-flashing yellow 3mm LED will be placed. HDA only has slowly-flashing LEDs, so I bought this from Lighthouse LEDs.

« Last Edit: Wed Nov, 29, 2017, 08:02:PM by stevethefish »

Offline stevethefish

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #1 on: Wed Nov, 29, 2017, 12:28:AM »


I also realized that there is a sensor in each fastpack booster. This detail is shown on the box art, but not molded into the part. So what I did was take some .75mm fiber optic and used a cigarette lighter’s flame to mushroom the tip into a nice lens. I just used my best judgment to determine where to place these and fortunately they are pretty symmetrical. I drilled a hole into each nacelle with a .8mm drill bit with my pinvise, and then used a larger-sized drill bit on top of that to drill onto that hole to make a shallow indentation around these holes.



Here is a test fit with the fiber optic in. You can see where I used a bit of epoxy putty to correct a mistake I made. Notice the fiber optic trailing out of the hole that is where this part fits onto the backpack part.



Here I have tested it with a red LED.



Here I’ve situated three 3mm flickering blue LEDs from HDA Modelworx into the backpack.



Here are the flickering 5mm blue LEDs in the fastpack booster engine cans. Looking nice!



OK, so the blue part you see in the upper left of this picture is supposed to go into the foot thrusters. You can see where I carefully drilled out the holes before I realized that this whole part is crap. It is not at all accurate, so I have decided to ditch this. So I went back to using Oyumaru and UV-curing clear resin to recast the foot thruster piece from the 1:72 Valkyrie Battroid model from Hasegawa (bottom right).  You can see one cast piece that didn’t turn out right. The two that turned out well are the ones you see stuck onto the stick. I have applied Mr. Masking Solution into the thruster modules I wish to remain clear. The rest will be painted steel or something.



Here you can see the holes I’ve drilled where the wires will need to be fed through. There is a hole in the central hub which allows articulation and another hole you can see behind there, which is the top of the foot. The wires will lead up through the top of the legs and into the bottom
of the fighter where they will be soldered with the other wires. I am hoping that I could somehow attach the replacement thruster modules into this central hub.

Offline Grendels

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #2 on: Wed Nov, 29, 2017, 03:00:AM »
Good work so far, looking forward to this.


Offline blakeh1

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #3 on: Wed Nov, 29, 2017, 02:12:PM »
I not really familiar with the Macross stuff, but it looks pretty cool where you are going with it

Offline stevethefish

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #4 on: Wed Nov, 29, 2017, 08:29:PM »
Thanks, guys. I am also working on lighting up a Gundam. It's the booster unit S-Gundam with rocket modules for legs.



I haven't touched a Gundam model in a long time. There was a P-Bandai exclusive MG version of this kit released online, but it's super expensive. This is a pre-HG Gundam kit, which has plenty of hollow space inside to work with. These old kits can be pretty fun.

As for the R-Type kit I was working on, I need to force myself over the hump and try again to tackle the proper electrical conducting mount for the force orb of that kit. When I get to something like that which makes me nervous, I end up working on other stuff instead.
« Last Edit: Wed Nov, 29, 2017, 08:31:PM by stevethefish »

Offline Quaralane

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #5 on: Sat Dec, 02, 2017, 12:31:AM »
Looks to be coming along so far
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Offline stevethefish

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #6 on: Mon Dec, 04, 2017, 09:23:PM »
Last night I uploaded a progress video on YT.


Offline blakeh1

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #7 on: Mon Dec, 11, 2017, 07:19:PM »
Lighting effect looks perfect

Those geared mechanisms worry me though, especially in older kits. I had some AMT kits where they misaligned and either don't work anymore, or got stuck, or broke, or got something jammed in there etc...

Offline Hagoth

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Re: 1:72 Bandai/IMAI Macross VF-1J Super Valkyrie lighting project
« Reply #8 on: Mon Dec, 11, 2017, 10:40:PM »
Nice prep work on this.  The lighting is already looking impressive.
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