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1/3000 Yamato Macross Fortress Step by step modeling guide by WM Cheng (January 5, 2011 January 11, 2013)

Hi all, I was so excited to get my Yamato 1/3000 SDF-1 yesterday! It is absolutely fantastic, I haven't been this excited about a toy since my first 1/48 VF-1, I just can't get over it, the more I look/work on it, the more I'm amazed. This is IMHO, Yamato's finest work thus far. Unexpected, I got another 2 days of holidays from work, so this thread will outline what I can do to this toy in 2 days, then it will be a very slow trickle as I find time to work on it once my "paying" job starts up again. I'd initially laid out all the attachment parts on their sprues and went through the instructions to familiarize myself as to where the parts go. I for one (I know I'm in the minority here!) am very glad that Yamato chose to have these parts as attachments. Yes it would be nice if they did it in the factory (I know it is a toy!) but how many times do they do a half-assed job there, either twisting the part of the sprues so there's a large chunk missing or left behind and gluing it on crooked only to have us rip it apart and re-attach it properly. Otherwise, like many other toys, they could of left off the screw panels and just

exposed the ugly screws (afterall it IS a toy!). I am very happy they included the pieces, in fact upon examination, they have gone through the trouble of putting the screws in hideaway places, then creating panels and pieces that for the most part, the sprue attachment will be hidden in the end. Of course it isn't the case everywhere, but it's clear they thought about sprue placement and how that tiny nub will appear in the final toy. Lastly, I like that some of the detail were separate such as the turrets or thrusters as it allows for sharper delineations between the attach part and body, allows for undercuts and a deeper draw for the plastic than would be possible if it was just a molded on detail.

Ok, I also dug out my reference materials. There aren't a lot of colour exterior references for the DRYL SFD-1 - if any of you have anything I don't have, please feel free to post it here for all of us to use! I also included two Star Wars books; Star Wars Chronicles (equivalent to the Star Wars Gold Book) and Sculpting the Galaxy for the Star Destroyer surface detail references, they were able to achieve a sense of scale without engraved panel lines, they just varied the shade of grey and drew lines on the surface with a mechanical pencil (which I was thinking of trying out for this toy).

I started to look at all the thrusters for the ARMDs first. I thought that since most of them were separate, I'd take the opportunity to paint them metallic without having to mask the toy - it would further add another shade of grey to the scheme. First I looked carefully and identified the thrusters that has sprue attachement points that will be exposed on the final toy, I separated those out with a sharp x-acto knife and sanded the sprue nub off and laid them out on the cardboard. The remaining pieces will have their sprue connection hidden in the toy after attachment - so I left them attached to the sprue trees so that they can be more easily handled for airbrushing. I decided to airbrush them with Alclad metallizer Steel as its a middle tone metallic. I set the airbrush on the finest spray line and tried to color the edges without spraying too much into the black centers = I was lazy, I should mask the black insides, but if you're careful, a steady hand on the finest pencil line should do. In the end, I touched up some overspray of the inside with a black gundam marker.

I started to attach all the screw hole covers. I used a dab of white glue to make sure they held in place, but is not permanent in case I ever had to take it apart to fix a joint or something. The panels are really well designed IMHO, they really work with the surface detail and are in pretty ideal locations. I really had to hunt and partially transform the toy to find this access panel which can only be seen during partial transformation.

The seam on the bridge really bugs me. So I thought I'd "pop" off the bridge to work on it separately, also I thought it was a good idea since its fragile and I'd be handling the SDF-1 a lot in subsequent phases that anything small, fragile and breakable should be removed (or it will accidentally break off and get lost!).

Well, it looked like it would just pop off, it was much harder than I though. I took a jeweller's screwdriver to wedge myself under the bridge and twist, but it would come off. After a little more twisting, it finally came off. It wasn't just glue that was holding it down, there seems to be some plastic tube with a metal screw holding it down screwed in from the top of the bridge to the top plate of the SFD-1. As you can see, I pried so hard that I snapped the tube with the metal screw in it clean off. Luckily this will be hidden when I re-glue it back on, its nice that its a mechanical connection (stronger) but I can't see how I can access the screw without damaging the fine details on top of the bridge. Now in hindsight I see the scew access panel on the top, but I still don't think I can pry it off without damaging the delicate surface detail. At leas the twist marks that damaged the plastic are under the bridge and can't be seen once the bridge is back in place.



The clear bridge pieces just pops off now, its actually all clear with the lower chin painted. Yes, I have a bit of a seam on the top part of the clear piece too as most people have complained. I think I will load a little ink into the clear piece inside portion which they hollowed out the different levels as bridge detail and sand the top part a little down for a tighter fit when I re-assemble. The rear antenna mask was just crazy glued onto the main bridge and broke off while handling it - which was just as well as it would get in the way of sanding it. I added putty to the two sides and Mr. Surfacer 500 to the front and top of the bridge themselves. Upon closer examination of the reference material. there is actually a horizontal seam detail/reveal that runs for and aft of the main circular dish - so I left those seam intact.




Here's a shot of the ARMDs with the painted metallic thruster nozzles in place - I think it adds a bit of colour relief from the monotone grey. I think anything to add more shades of grey will be a good thing for this scheme.


Ok, I tried to take apart the leg to see if I can access the City. I noticed 3 obvious screws (ones that I didn't cover up with the provided panels yet) and thought I'd take them apart thinking that if I can separate the two halves vertically, it should expose the city attached to the bottom piece with the top piece removed. Well, I took apart the 3 screws and the front section (near the knee) separated, but the back section seems locked in by the tan coloured engine blocks, I couldn't free it the two halves. After breaking the bridge screw piece, I thought I'd better not try to force this one (in case I screw up the knee joint or break something) - so I chickened out. If anyone here wants to take a crack at getting the City out to paint, please let me know how you did it! For know I'll concentrate on the outside.


I just couldn't wait any longer, I had to do an oil wash on this toy to pick out the details! I usually would do it after painting some differnt greys and panels, but I wanted to see all the amazing surface details first, then decide what extra panels I would airbrush/spray on afterwards but before the pencilwork. As I did the oil wash, I couldn't believe how much detail I had to put the paint on! There was detail on every surface, hidden everywhere! It took quite a few hours to apply all the paint and a few more hours to wipe it down!



Oh well, I almost forgot about the ARMDs - they are loaded with details, models in themselves! You really start to see all the molding effort Yamato put in once you do an

oil wash. I just used black oil paint with varying thinness or dilution of low odour varsol, really thin for the panel lines and contours and really thick and black for the vents and thrusters and mechanicals.

Here it is after hours of wiping down the excess oil paint! Pretty good and I haven't even gotten to the paint or dry brush yet.








Lastly these pictures show the ARMDs with the oil wash applied, it really shows that there is literally details on every surface of the ships, they are amazing little gems in



So my 2 days are over and I didn't get very far, I did spend a few hours cleaning up my workspace since there was a layer of dust over every surface and tool (tip... airbrush and dust don't like each other ;-) and a few years of neglect (and being a Dad). However, I love this toy so much that I can't keep my hands off of it! I'll try to get some more done in small drips and drabs over the next few weeks, but it will be a very slow build from here on in. Please feel free if anyone else is starting on their own 1/3000 SDF-1 to hijack/contribute this thread as I would love to learn a thing or two and mooch ideas off of too (the reason I post is that it should be a collaborative effort!). A special thanks needs to go out to vf_1s as I've downloaded all his photos and reference scans of his amazing 1/2000 custom and I am using it as reference for my own paint-up. danbickell - ah, gone down that dark path before... I did a resin Enterprise in 1/1400 scale way back in the day (almost 15yrs ago) before aztek masks or decals, and CAD drafted out and painstakingly hand-cutout that pattern and it just about killed me (and I was young then!). At 1/3000 scale I can't imagine how much smaller the panels will have to be! It's just too much work for me to cover the entire ship in that kind of pattern times several, since you need at least 3 or more shades to make it really work. The pencil lines will still have an undercoat of a few larger rectangles and irregular shapes rotated and reused in a few different orientations that I will spray on that will serve as the background. But if anyone here is will to try that approach, I'd love to see the results!

OK, down to business! I was thinking since I was nearing the end my "window of opportunity", what could I get down so I can still have a decent toy sitting on my desk for all the days I can't work on it, I can't just leave it laying in pieces on my workbench. So I decided to tackle the bridge. I sanded down all the excess putty and Mr. Surfacer and decided that this was a good opportunity to add a little more detail to the bridge.


It's a hard call between a toy and model, I wanted to completely re-build the antenna arrays, but after playing around with it, and transforming it a few times, I found I really liked the robust transformation and playability of this toy so I opted for the safer approach and used the existing toy antennas and just augmented them as I feel they are studier and more flexible than anything I would build. Next was to find something thin enough to not over power the tiny scale of the bridge. All my styrene stock was just too thick. I ended up finding a bunch of unused photo-etched parts I had laying around (the advantages of being a pack rat, I never throw anything out!) and started playing around with the tinest of parts to see where they could fit.



So I took a little break knowing that I want to leave time for the airbrush paint to dry, I decided to paint all the dark grey sprue attachment pieces a Tamiya dark grey, knowing full well the greys won't match, I thought it would be nice to add yet another grey into the mix.


I always try to plan ahead a few steps so I can work in paint drying times so by the time I finish a certain task, I can get back to whatever has been left drying and work on that, kind of leap-frogging steps. Here's some shots of the Photo-etched parts glued on with crazy glue onto the bridge. Note here, I forgot that I needed to modify the internal tab a bit (make it smaller) to allow the clear piece of the bridge to fit a little snugger in towards the bridge superstructure (to minimize the gap on the top) - I went ahead and started gluing the PE parts (if I were to do it again, I would cut down that internal tab and test fit the clear piece first before gluing all the PE parts. Anyways, curious to see how it all goes together, I mixed a bit of Tamiya sky grey, neutral grey and bit of medum blue (15:5:1 ratio rough estimate)to get close to the main body colour - again, I don't think it has to match exactly as I will end up with a lot of shades of greys, but they are all on the blue side of the spectrum.









A little black oil wash later... Ok, so now I remember about the clear visor part gap - argh! I did my best to sand the back vertical edge down a bit and shave off some plastic off the tab in the bridge side that fits into the clear part so that I can get it to seat itself higher and more snugly into the bridge to minimize the gap. I also added a few drops of thinned black paint inside the clear visor piece to pick out the molding for the bridge levels (its amazing they even thought of that!) Then I had to re-paint the big radar dish tan color. and fitted it onto the rest of the ship to see how it would fit in. I will add some tiny darker grey, silver and dark sivler paint highlights as well as some hits of red and white here and there to bring it some life like the DRYL references, but at least its at a stage that I can leave it for a few days. At the end, I want to add a few strands of stretched sprue to span vertically across the main antenna masts to simulate the vertical antenna cables.









I also noticed playing around that there are magnets inside the main guns that help keep them together in the cruiser mode. The last 3 shots is how it will sit on my desk till I can get enough time to work on the next stage. Possibly start the other shades of greys and applying small patches of greys randomly all over to form the base for the pencil work, I'd like to darken up the lighter grey and lighten the darker grey so they are a little less contrasty and blend a bit more (the post-shading at the end will tone down the paneling, pencil work and match the greys a bit more). Of course there's the matter of taking the leg apart to get at the city, that will be a paint deal in itself.




I'm planning on just cutting out lots of different shaped rectangles and odd-shapes [...] and do several passes over the whole ship in strategic spots (the idea is to not cover the entire ship and leave various mottling of greys exposed) - probably on post-it note paper as they are relatively low-tact self-adhesive and I can reposition and rotate them as I spray. Finally I will do several once overs of grey to "blend" all the colours in. At least that's the plan before I add the pencil lines. Of course I haven't the time at the moment, so its just all in my head for now - but planning is an important part of modelling. Tackle that seam in the center of the first island on top. I had to pry off that first gun turret, it was pretty stubborn, but it eventually "broke" off. They crazy glued the pegs in the holes so the pegs broke off at the turret - I don't really see any other way around this. I used crazy glue at the seam to fill it up and prevent it from flexing later on during transformation, sanding and handling.




I also took the opportunity since the gun turrets were pryed off to paint the front portions of them a grey (I used Tamiya Neutral Grey) to further give a little more variance to the different greys used in the scheme.


While I was letting the crazy glue set, I decided to use that idea on the toy thread to swap the rail-gun/antenna top to bottom to allow them to swing all the way forward so they point forward parallel to the body of the SDF-1. If you just got the toy, I suggest doing this right away before inserting the screw covers - but I already inserted the screw covers. I tried to pry off the gun turrets on the shoulders which were easy - but that little forward cover piece was really tough. I couldn't get in underneath without scratching up the surrounding plastic. In the end just un-doing that rear screw underneath the gun turrets is enough to free the rail-guns at the rear to swap them top and bottom.




Once I finished doing that, the crazy glue had setup fairly well, I then added Tamiya putty to the left and right of the crazy glue strip so I could feather up to the glue when I sand to eliminate the seam.


While I was letting the putty and guns dry, I thought I'd start to cut a mask of little rectangles, squares and random rectilinear shapes for the panelling I want to start. I just used a post-it note and started to cut random shapes. They will then be layered, rotated, mirrored, flipped and reused so create the "plating" detailing on the surface.


I rotated the body to get a better angle on the sanding and worked at it till I was almost back down to the plastic. You can see the putty feathered up to the crazy glue seam - I used a bit of putty since I noticed there was a tiny bit of sink in the plastic around the seam that I wanted to fill up.



Lastly I started to airbrush very lightly Tamiya Sky Grey which is a shade or two lighter than the plastic of the toy. This is my first coat, as I will do this with several different shades to build up a layering which will become the basecoat for the pencil lines at the end. The first try at the grey panelling was done with various light and heavier sprays and leaving some of the plastic underneath exposed to create a few different grey intensities to give a little more interest. I didn't want to go overboard (always trying to keep subtle) but in the end I can still tone the overall contrast down at the end with some post shading to blend it all in.



This is all I got to in the 4hrs. Next time I'll do a few other grey tones with the same stencil (I've found that if I do a very light mist of artist spray mount on the rear of the stencil - it becomes a removeable self adhesive sticker that's easier to handle). The key here is light thin coats, you never want to soak the paper, if you keep it light mistings, then the edges of the paneling pattern remains crisp. Overall I think I want to darken the light greys and lighten the dark grey plastics so the 2 tone greys are more similar and less of a contrast.





Ok, I got a kick in the pants from an amazing fellow MacrossWorlder here! Manji has been so kind to send me his leftover PE parts AND a assembly manual (for me to take apart the leg to get to the Macross City piece to paint) all for free!! I tried to pay him, but he wouldn't take it, so I thank you and dedicate this thread to Manji and the amazing people this site brings together. The assembly manual was invaluable to disassembling the leg. I was hesitant at first dealing with this $400-500 toy, but procrastination pays off! Thanks to Manji's manual now, it gave me the confidence to start.


From the manual, I loosened the rear engine bells first (they are just held on with a little dab of crazy glue) with my fingers and pulled. Then I took a jeweler's screwdriver and carefully pried up the two engine piping detail plates to expose the screws hidden underneath them.




Next was the more obvious side screws which I tried back in January, but without knowing the hidden screws behind the engine bells - I was stuck. With that out of the way, I next proceeded to remove the side pieces with the 3 screws shown in the manual.


I thought this was it, unfortunately, there is more, I had to remove the top plate to access the hidden vertical screws. Prying apart the rear turret wasn't a problem, however the forward plate was a much bigger deal. I ended up snapping the 3 pins that held it in place trying to pry it up. Upon closer inspection after I've taken it apart, I notice that there is quite a bit of crazy glue holding this piece via the 3 pins down to the larger plate - I don't think you can take the piece off without snapping the location pins off (I guess I have to glue it back on when it comes time to assembling it back together again.







Now I can get at the city when the two haves come apart vertically... WRONG! There are still two more hidden screws right at the knee joint and there's a piece that covers it however to get this little piece off to uncover the screws, I had to take the whole knee insert right out of the lower leg. Oh well, no shortcuts here I guess I had to take everything apart.



But for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to slide the knee insert out of the lower leg. According to the instructions it just slide right out.


Well, there is an undocumented screw that is holding this piece on! After a lot of headscratching, I started unloosening screws and found out that this upper screw to the knee piece is what was holding the knee insert to the lower leg.


With the knee insert out, I can take apart that last piece that covers the two hidden screws that allows me to finally access the city piece!




Anyways - here's a shot of the wonderful PE set that Manji was so kind to send to me. I really just wanted the tiny PE Valkyries and launch arms (have no idea how I'm going to paint them!) - but there was so much more stuff that I want to use the rest of them for body plating for the rest of the SDF-1. What was even more wonderful, was that Manji still had the plastic wrap left on it, so I could peel back portions of the wrap to start prepainting some of these plates before they went onto the SDF-1 which saves masking later on. So I started to mix up different batches of colour based on where the plates go. Its okay to get the colours just close enough and not exact because you want the plates to have a slightly different tone than the plastic anyways - this will help with the azteking panels to be sprayed later on to create even more panel variation - but you don't want it to stand out too much to ruin the overall scheme of the SDF-1



Lastly I have cut a pattern for the background to the city. It's been scanned at 600dpi with the ruler behind it for you to scale if you need to - but if you print it out at 600dpi, it should be size as is. I will use this to compile the various city backgrounds that have been used on these threads for the 1/2000 SDF-1 that other masters have toiled hard at creating! I have a bit of a surprise that I hope will work out for the azteking panelling paint surface treatment thoughout the ship (but that comes much later!) - some of you who know me from Starship Modeller might have an idea - but don't give it away yet.


by KyeKye of MacrossWorld

I finally have a decent space to work in now and I hope to keep it going (although all my glues and supplies have dried out and I have to go on a shopping trip next weekend to replenish my supplies). I just basically masked all the areas with very thin cut masking tape I wanted the tan ground to be and sprayed for the concrete surfaces and the centre asphalt road strip. I mixed Neutral Grey with Medium Blue (Tamiya colours) for a slightly bluish hue to the background to better blend in with the bluish background to be printed behind the city

This is the first shot after I removed the masking.


Next I handpainted some of the details with Tamiya Tan for the stadium (I know its not as orange, but I thought it was a little more realistic) and light grey and dark grey for the various buildings to make them stand out.


I'll do the parks and water features once I pay a visit to the hobby store to get some of that landscaping flox material for the tress and shrubery. I don't want to paint the grass until I get the landscaping material to make sure the greens work together. So here's the last shot with the city component placed back into the leg to see.


Really?! my eyes have gone bug-eyed I realized Im not as young as I used to be. My eyesight isnt as good now and I found it really difficult to see down to the level of detail I wanted initially so I ended up having to back off and stop a little bit premature than I was planning on. Oh well. To all who are trying this, now that Im taking a crack at detailing one of these beauties up I appreciate that much more or respect that much more the level of dedication KyeKye and VF-1S has done to make their SDF-1s look the way they do! Kudos to you guys. I managed to squeeze a few more hours over the last few nights to get the city done I just wanted to close the leg back up (before I loose the screws!) and get to the exterior detailing and painting as soon as possible (thats my favourite part).




I wanted to thank KyeKye and vf_1s so much for the next part. The city background they provided invaluable graphics, tips and suggestions to where to find the appropriate artwork from the available Macross Books to compile my own city background behind the city. I loved what they did so much that I liberally stole from both of them and photoshopped my own composite of the best parts that I liked from the two designs. I loved the "blue" look that vf_1s established but also the transformation signage from kyekye - I hope you don't mind guys ;-) I later de-saturated the file so the bluish hues were toned down a bit to match my painted city a bit more. I also ended up cutting pieces straight from the background and gluing them as facades directly onto a few of the larger buildings to tie together the foreground and background a bit more too. I wished I had the time (or patience) to put lighting in, but in the end, the time that would have taken would have been time from the exterior which I am looking forward to. I'm sure many Dads out there will understand how precious time is - and for the times that I will see the outside in my display case vs. picking it up afterwards and opening it up to turn on the lights just didn't justify it enough for my personally.





I started to airbrush the PE parts the dark grey that I was going to apply to the darker leg areas...


I love the fact that they are self-adhesive - but I worry if they will fall off over time (I hope the clear-coats that I will apply in the end will alleviate that problem a little. Yay! I get to finally put this leg portion back together again...





Now for my secret weapon! I got a hold of these decals made by PNT from Starship Modeller (think they were originally designed for the Babylon 5 model kit) http://starshipmodeler.biz/shop/index.cfm/product/798_140/11000-hull-plating-detaildecals---gray.cfm And these great 1/144 tiny decals that KyeKye put me onto.



The plan is to pre-paint in a close shade all the PE panel parts and apply them to the toy first. Then cover it in all these decals (over top of the PE parts to tie them into the panelling a bit more so they don't look stuck on). Then apply another pass of lightly airbrushed aztec pattern over the decals (probably a lighter colour to bring up the values as the decals will tend to darken the overall tone) to tie the decals in a bit more to the base colour of the toy. Lastly a post-shading layer to weather the decals a bit, tie them together, lighten the darker grey areas and darken the lighter grey areas (I personally find the two contrasting greys in the toy too stark) and seal it all in with several coats of flat clear-coat finish. The only side-track might be to take apart the ARMD to find a way to get tiny magnets inside near the Valkyrie launch windows so I don't have to glue the tiny PE launch arms in place and they could be magnetically attached. Thanks to Valkyrie who excited me with his laser etched masks for the numbers 01 & 02 for the ARMDs - it gave me the kick in the butt to carve some time out for this baby. I feel Yamato really screwed us first generation adopters when they offered decals and PE parts for the second generation SDF-1 toy. But thanks to people like Valkyrie - that gap is rapidly closing. He has very kindly provided me a sample of his fine work so I can be the guinea pig for his efforts and they worked like a charm!



Since the void in the middle of the zero is a free floating piece, Valkyrie suggested that I attach a piece of tape to the mask while it was still on the backing so I can properly transfer the entire zero correctly onto the ARMD flight deck. You'll notice that there are these little tabs he included to help you line them up with the first white line and central strip to allow you to position the numbers correctly on the flight deck.



Once transferred, I removed the tape holding the piece and carefully remove the areas I want paint to be in.


After some careful double checking with some knowledgeable folks here on this board and my book references, I determined which one was going to be ARMD 01 and ARMD 02


Then I used cheaper regular masking tape to extend the masked area to prevent overspray - I kind of over did it, but I'm a little rusty with my airbrush, after all it's been years now.


I laid down a light grey undercoat first since the blue is quite dark and I didn't want it to turn the red paint purple in case there is any translucency to the red. I thought white underlay would make the red too vibrant over top - so I decided on a light grey.


Now I just sprayed on a coat of Tamiya red over the light grey once it was dried.


... and here you see the finished product once I took the masking off - thank you so much Valkyrie!




Lastly I sprayed some thinned down dark grey as some post shading to take the bright curse off the flight deck - the ARMD 01 on the right has a light treatment of post-shading while the ARMD 02 on the left hasn't received it yet.


I liked the post shading so much on the ARMDs that I decided to do a first pass on the rest of the SDF-1. I choose a dark grey so that I could tone down the light grey areas (too light in my opinion) and at the same time, lighten up the dark grey legs (too dark in my opinion) so they'd match a little bit more - less contrasty. Note: I also applied all the photo-etched panels to the toy itself. I think that once I apply the paneling decals and do an oil wash over the PE parts - they should integrate themselves nicely into the overall effect. It gives me a better idea of how to blend the colours together and the amount of weathering required in the end. Also by doing a little bit of the post shading now, it will lessen the amount I need to apply over the paneling decals.






Now I'm ready for a gloss clear-coat to seal in the post shading (to prevent scratching) and to provide a smooth surface for the decals (my favourite part!). It's important to lay down a glossy clear-coat especially when applying decals over a dark colour as the decal film tends to "silver" 126

when applied over a dark (rough) matte surface. Hopefully I'll get some time over the Christmas holidays to apply the enormous quantities of tiny decals! Got another 2hrs last night! I'm hoping to get enough time this Christmas Break to finish this puppy (finally! - might be wishful thinking though...) My favourite part! DECALS!! I started by cutting the large sheet into smaller pieces so it doesn't overlap onto the major scribed details on the ship.


I save the leftover bits and pieces to add into tight and hard to reach spots here and there.


You can see how the underlayer of the lighter panelling adds to the overall depth of the decal panels.


I hope to spray another layer of lighter panelling (masked airbrushing) over top of these decals so they are "sandwhiched" between two layers of aztec panelling - it should work them into the over paint finish a little bit more, I also want to do an overall grey coat (maybe a lighter grey) as the panelling is a bit dark - that should hopefully blend all the layers together a little bit more. Lastly, I intend to apply the little red, yellow, orange and white 1/144 scale warning stenciling decals after the overall panelling is blended in, so the red "dots" stand out from the weathering (all amongst various clear-coats to protect each step of the way). As you can see though, I still have 80% of the first stage of decalling ahead of me. Wish me luck to get some time this break to work on it more!






Thanks everyone, not much new news but the same old - every few hours I get I continue on the decalling, there are so many surfaces and so many tiny little pieces (I didn't quite know how labour intensive this was going to be). I got maybe another 8-10hrs over the Christmas Break to work on this puppy and I've managed to cover the top and side surfaces. I still have the sides of the upper portion and the entire underside and some interior surfaces that are currently hidden in cruiser mode. I'd say I'm at least 2/3rds done with the aztec panelling, but only 1/3rd done with the overall decals as I still have tones of the tiny data stencilling decals (the tiny hits of red, white and yellow details) all throughout the ship. After the aztec panelling, I plan on doing another dark/black oil wash in select areas to pick out the darker vents first (while the gloss coat is still there for the decals) and then tone down the overall effect of the decals with a light thin coat of grey - which will lower their contrast against the grey plastic and hopefully lighten up the dark grey areas. This will tie everything together a bit more. At which point I will clear coat gloss again to apply the more colourful tiny 1/144 & 1/100 data stencilling decals that I shown before. This way the colours will stand out a bit more against a more muted background. I hope... at least that's the plan.






Hopefully I'll post more when I've got something more interesting to show. It's just a stage right now of sloughing through the grunt-work of applying tonnes of tiny decal bits - hopefully it will pay off in the end. If the unpainted model was available when I first bought this toy, I'd opt for that version (even if it cost the same as the toy), but I had no choice back then (I hate it when you're punished for being an early adopter!). The unpainted model is not only cheaper, but has more stuff included, the unpainted model includes the extra decals, glow in the dark stickers, resin optional parts and the photo-etched details including the tiny 1/3000 scale valkyries and launch arms for the ARMDs (the toy doesn't include any of these extras). It's mostly molded in all the correct colours anyways, and most of my time was spent taking my toy apart to access the city within the leg. I would definitely recommend the unpainted model over the toy. However, if you have no time to build or don't feel comfortable putting it together yourself or don't care about the extras - those would be the only reason to go the toy route now. But in either case, definitely get this toy (in either form while you can), I think its the best thing Yamato has put out! Good luck. p.s. - nothing more to report but just more decalling - I've just finished the underside of the legs - only the lower main fuselage and the underside/inside front guns left. 140

A few hours on the weekend... just some more of the same old same old...





Next up is to transform it to get at all the areas hidden when in cruiser mode... I don't think the aztec panelling decals will show up on the dark grey areas of the ship, I plan on decalling the lighter photo-etched panels on the darker areas to tone them down though and I'm thinking that I'll apply those tiny 1/144 scale decals that have red, yellow and white (shown earlier in the thread) printed onto them to show up on the darker areas as tiny hits of colour like the illustrations - but that's a ways off for now. Well, this decal job was a lot more than I had anticipated (I can't imagine if I had to mask and paint all those details!!). This time I transformed it into the robot mode to see all the areas I had missed decaling and I found out areas I had missed doing the dark oil wash to pick out the details too. So I took this opportunity to oil wash any missing areas including the photo-etched plates that were added (they contained some really fine etched panel lines. Now here's a tip I had to find out the hard way - do the dark oil wash over the PE parts BEFORE you decal over them - the decal film was just thick enough to have filled into some of the fine etched lines so the dark oil wash didn't remain in those areas. The PE parts that didn't have the decals over them retained the oil wash nicely and showed off the details nicely.




An overall shot - showing just how much farther I have to go!! Argh. I think I'll apply some more aztec decals over the lighter PE panels on the dark areas next (as I don't think the decals will show on the dark grey areas). Then next is the coloured data stencils in the 1/144 scale sheets I 148

had ordered before - this will add the hits of red, yellow and white colours sprinkled throughout the SDF-1


Close up of the front of the leg chins (which I'm rather pleased at how its turned out). It's a little dark at the moment, but I will do a light thinned grey overspray over top of this to tone down the contrast so it seems more blended in the end.



The lighter grey PE panels on the dark grey areas took on the dark oil wash really well. I will add the aztec decals over top of them as my next steps. I plan on having some of the decals spill over the edges of the PE panels to work them into the dark grey areas even more to "blend" 152

them in. Note, I used the self-adhesive PE panels from the sticker sheets directly, but when I added the dark oil wash, the varsol in the oil wash must of reacted with the adhesive and some of the panels came off and needed to be re-glued (crazy glue) to the ship - should of done that in the first place instead of relying on the sticker sheet.


I was worried that some of the nice PE panels were buried underneath the cool aztec panelling decals before (especially here at the top of the leg) - but luckily, the oil wash "popped" them 154

back out and gave a bit more depth to the decalling.

Here's a parting shot for a few weeks (as next weekend is Family Day - we'll be away for the 155

weekend with the family!)

Just finished up on my last job and have a week in between jobs so I thought I'd finish up this 156

baby! Unfortunately, I got really sick on the last day of work (just as your body slows down, it thinks its a good time to get sick!) and I've been in bed the last few days. However, as soon as I had a bit of foggy vision, I hit my bench to start decalling again! OMG!!! I have never decalled so much... - I've must of spent days and days just applying decals. The aztec panels were a huge job to cover the entire toy, now comes hundreds of these tiny warning stencils all over to give it that mottled scale look with splashes of red and white like the animation. I think its these hundreds of tiny decals that will give it a sense of scale in the end - but the process is tedious. After 3 days of decals, I thought it looked pretty good, at a point I would stop and possibly clear coat it to protect them. So I stop here to take some photos, and oh man! it doesn't look like much in the photos, especially in the full shots, it looks like I hardly decalled it at all!! So I took some close ups, but you really don't see how many decals I put in unless you're in person, it is one of those models that look really different in photos than it does in real life (or maybe I've been working too close to it!). This overall shot looks like I've done nothing!! so discouraging...

I zoomed in closer and start at the front...


I liked that the decals on top of the panelled decals are so small that you can't make out any words...


I chose all the smallest decals I could find from those sets (they are fantastic for this application)


I couldn't resist putting the bridge on, even though I'm not finished with it...


There are these yellow caution stripes that I thought worked pretty well around the launch bays...


Everything still has the gloss coat over it so its shiny and allows the decals to adhere better after I will seal it in with a matte flat coat which should lighten the overall tone and blend it all in...


All those odd Photo-etched panels now work themselves into the darker grey scheme a little better and the decals provided a much needed layer to tie them into the overall darker leg area...



I tried to pan along the length of the SDF-1 (might work if you enlarged the web browser)




I almost forgot about the underside! so many tiny pieces... Mico pieces? ;-)





Final parting shot for now...


Everytime I look at it I think, hey there some good spots for more decals!! This really is so detailed for a toy... Yamato has really outdone themselves on the sculpt and the amount of details they put into it, I'm constantly amazed as I transform this baby and discover new spots they populated with "gak".


I HAVE TO STOP!! or I'll never finish. So after another few hours of applying decals (which I thought I was done yesterday!) - I finally clear-coat sealed the decals in with a thick glossy finish. I will let it dry overnight before I start to dust it with the flat Neutral Grey to tie 174

everything together and a few coats of flat/matte clear coat.



Well, I finally got the panelling toned down to what I wanted - I sprayed a few light coats of grey over the decals, and they now look more painted on than decals, more subtle surface texture than markings. This overall "graying" is intentional since large objects then to "haze out" in the distance and lose contrast - its a trick to create scale as well as the flat/matte finish.




However, it toned everything down, some of the deeper vents and details were lost due to being sprayed over with grey. All the details don't "pop" anymore. So I now have to add another step and clear coat this light grey spray with a glossy coat so I can do another dark oil wash to pick out / punch up the details before I can seal everything in with a flat/matte finishing coat.





After that, I in tend on dabbing tiny bits of chrome silver to the tips and clear red over them as navigation lights all over and start to detail the interior of the chest nozzles, I'll paint them in a gun metal silver to be clear-coated in red clear. I also intend to do some weathering of the rear 184

main engines in Alclad Burnt Exhaust. Hopefully this will be as far as I can go finishing up the surface of the SDF-1 this weekend because I start work on Monday again - argh! I still haven't gotten to those wonderfully tiny photo-etched launch arms and Super Valkyries yet, but that will have to come later.


Well, I've really put a bit of myself into this build! It's my hair!! Someone earlier on suggested that I use human hair for the antennas vertically spanning between the radar array since I couldn't get stretched sprue thin enough and strong enough to hold. Well, originally I had 186

planned 8 per side, but I guess either age, eyesight or just being old got the better of me so I just ended up with 4 per side.


I then painted them grey, so they looked less like hair and it thickened them up a bit - but they were strong!



The second oil wash did wonders popping the details out! The overall flat/matte clear-coat lightening everything quite a bit, including the dark grey areas, I always thought they were too contrasty, but now they might be too light and blended into the overall scheme a little too much.





I still have a dry brushing stage to go to pick up the highlights and then a mechanical pencil pass like they did on the Star Wars Star Destroyers, but I am glad I'm finally finished with the decal stage! The panelling ended up to be a much bigger job than I had anticipated.




I airbrushed the interior of the engine bells Alclad Burnt Exhaust - I hated the tan colour of the plastic in there. I then "charred" the edges of the ends of the legs to tie them into the engines.



The final parting shot...


I got a little time to do some pencil panel lines all over the SDF-1 - the key is subtle here! But it was a lot of surface area, at least some of the flatter areas like the rear engine tan portions are a bit more detailed now.





Some light grey/white drybrushing to pick out the raised details,



Unfortunately, when I started to dab around for the nav lights, I used the Tamiya marker chrome on a fine 000 brush, and didn't realize I got some on my palms! Argh! I accidentally transferred some tiny hits of silver around the toy. I thought, I'd use some organic solvent to wipe away the bits of silver, but unfortunately, the solvent ate through all my layers of clearcoat and greys!! So I've gotta do a bit of a repair job to that tiny section I tested it on - well, one step forward - 2 steps back! I did add the Tamiya red clear over the tiny hits of chrome silver to simulate the red nav lights all over the SDF-1. So here it is for now... still a ways to go!!





I just used a ruler and a mechanical pencil [for the pencil lines], very sharp - I usually use a H lead (harder lead) and started to draw on the surface. It works best on a matte surface (which is why I waited till my matte/flat coat) and you have to seal it again afterwards since it will rub off with your fingers. I got the idea from Star Wars - its how they detailed their Star Destroyers. I also use a Photo-etched template that has weird shapes on it for the odd access panel here and there. Gotta do that repair job where the solvent ate away at my paint and touch up some areas where the red lights were a little too large before the Photo-etched Valkryies. I decided to just paint with Tamiya Clear Red over some of the engine thrusters on the bottom, it already had a metallic under coat and created a darker red rimmed effect that I wanted for my more muted version of the SDF-1.





I've gotta thank Manji from these forums here once again. He provided me his un-used photoetched extras from his Yamato kit - and actually gave me the boost I needed to start this project. Thanks so much, I really owe you one! So now I finally get to the little 1/3000 scale valkyries. They look so good on the PE part, but are such a B^&$h to work with. I think I'm just getting old and my eyesight isn't what it used to be, but damn they're small! Unfortunately after I cut out the launch arms, I promptly lost 2 of them - I've searched for 3hrs on my hands and knees and only found 2 of the four that were there. I guess 2 will have to do (unless some other kind soul would like to send me theirs ;-). Note to all DO NOT CUT THEM OUT until you are ready to work with them, they are small and WILL BE LOST! Another note, Tamiya acrylics suck adhering to metal photo-etched parts! They scrap off even just looking at them wrong. I've painted and re-painted these tiny Valks white about 4 times due to various bits scraping off, or the airbrush spray was just too heavy to obscure the tiny etched line details on them. In the end, I suggest doing a black oil wash on them first to fill into the etched lines (very shallow), then a very light coat of white over it but still allowing the black lines to show through, afterwards, handling it with kid glooves till you clear coat protect it. The launch arms are really tough to bend correctly, especially the tiny folds on either side of the long part of the arm, there just isn't much material to grab onto. The trickiest thing is to bend it into a U-shape the first bend into an L-shape is easy, but when you go to the other side to do the U, you tend to flatten out the first bend. It took a lot of practice and trail and error - plus headaches because 214

my eyes don't seem to focus down to something this small anymore. I've got to find one of those large magnifying glass on a gooseneck stand that will ship to Canada (checked out some cool ones at Amazon.com, but they don't ship to Canada - argh).




Note to self: paint after you bend them! These are the fast packs - note they even have ones for the port side and different ones for the starboard side (strike cannons!)


Here's to how the PE valkyries look after you oil wash them - quite a lot of detail for something so small! I just wished they were already in white photo-etched as a lot of this detail gets obscured when you paint them white - argh! Maybe that's why I haven't seen anyone who has used these PE Valkyries on their kit yet - hmm....



That's it for now until they dry and I try to assemble the valks with their fast packs. (I do love the macro capabilities of my 11yr old Nikon Collpix 990! - nothing else I have can get so close and clear to these tiny parts) *** Note by MacrossJunkie: "Pretty much anything you can do on a model like the Hasegawas, you can do on a Yamato or Bandai toy. The toy materials tend to be more durable as well. The downside is you'll need to figure out how to disassemble enough of the toy for painting or just find a way to work around that. As far as panel lining goes, I believe wm cheng uses an oil wash. I say it really comes down to personal preference. I've tried a bunch of methods for panel lining and never really settled on a single method, instead using a mix of different methods based on the situation. My general view of some of these methods: Fine-tip Gundam Marker: Easy and fast to do. Least desirable result due to heaviness and thickness of lines compared to other methods, especially on light colored surfaces. Can stain painted areas or plastics making 221

screw ups potentially hard to fix. Pencil: Easiest and fastest to do and simple to fix mistakes. Too shiny if not flat coated. Looks better on grayish or darker colors. Terrible looking on white. Pro Modellers weathering wash: Possibly one of the most difficult to apply and time consuming. Rubs off too easily while in the process of applying it. Decent look, but can be a bit splotchy. Works better when the panel lines are deep and fine and you add something to break the surface tension of the liquid like dish soap. Non-toxic and no harmful fumes which is nice. Easy to fix mistakes with soap and water. Enamel paint + thinner: Very low surface tension which makes for good capillary action meaning potentially less work for you. Harmful fumes from the thinner and need good ventilation. Easy to pick a color to panel line with to fit the subject. Should wipe off cleanly with thinner. Can be a bit sticky when it dries on surfaces if not cleaned off. Looks very good. Artist oil paint + mineral spirits or turpenoid: Seems very similar to the enamel paint option in application and results. Doesn't have the stickiness of the enamel option. Fumes can be harmful as well, even if odorless. Easier to wipe off than enamel which is a bit bad in this case since I've been able to completely and accidentally rub it off with just fingers while holding it trying to apply to other areas, forcing me to clear coat as I complete sections. Personally, I do either enamel or oil wash option for the majority and sometimes small areas are judiciously done with pencil or gundam marker when the situation calls for it. " *** Exactly what MacrossJunkie said (he's my new hero! - I hope to emulate him with my toys someday). The only note I have to add to what he said is you have to be careful of your base colours (especially in modelling) that whatever you use as a solvent for your wash doesn't react to the underlying paint colours (there are parts of Yamato/Bandai toys that are painted or tampo printed that you don't want to react with) but for the most part, the molded in colour bare plastic is fine. I actually tend to use pencil for some of my Yamato 1/60 V2 Valks since the panel lines are so fine and shallow, I find nothing really lies within the shallow groove other than an ruler drawn pencil line. If you're careful and use a harder lead like an H2 and line it very lightly to get a light grey out of it (I also use a smudge stick from an art store to smudge the pencil a bit either side to create a "post shading" effect or stain/streaking) you can get fantastic results even on white Valkyries, especially after you've clear-coated them to prevent the pencil from rubbing off. I've used a pastel/chalk dust wash before too, especially for staining/streaking - I think I outlined the method on my VF-0S build. The newer Tamiya weathering sets are based on this 222

principle (but even easier as its already made into a "makeup" like paste with applicators) and I think MacrossJunkie here is the resident expert in applying those to toys, you have gotta see his Bandai VF-25G - its especially hard to get a dark coloured Valkyrie to look good and he's one of the only ones I've seen pull it off! Just to back up a bit, I tried to paint those tiny photoetched 1/3000 Valkyries and it turned out to be a disaster. I tried 3 times, and each time it got worst. When I sprayed them white, I lost all the etched detail so the wash wouldn't sit inside the lines anymore because the white paint was in them (so shallow) and I tried to paint the red, yellow and blue squadron colours with the finest brush I had, but it was just too small for my old eyes. I ended up each time bathing them in Windex to strip the paint off and start over. So in the end, I left the top bare metal (luckily its silver and not brass) and did a dark black wash to pick out the PE details and painted the flat underside white.



Yes, those PE backpacks are a b#$@h to glue together, they fit perpendicular to the valkyrie and there's a left and right pack, one has the beam canons! It took me about 3hrs to get the four Valkyries assembled and I ended up with one crappy tester, one ok passable, and two decent planes. Luckily I had lost 2 of my launch arms, so I can only use the 2 good planes that turned out anyways.



These next photos show how I'm attaching the PE launch arms, I just folded the base and that friction pressure is what's grabbing onto those molded vertical ribs within the black opening - its just friction fit, I thought I might just put a dab of "white" glue to hold them in place, if I were to handle the toy a bit more (for now I'm just leaving them).



And with a tiny dab of thick crazy glue, they held. You have to play with the "claws" a little bit (pry them open with some 000 tweezers) depending on how vertical you got your fast packs glued onto the Valkyries. Luckily I had to only choose the 2 best ones that turned out of the 4 that I made. Then a little "twisting & turning" once its mounted to get them aligned and true the way I wanted them to appear on the ARMD openings. [...] the trick [for gluing the tiny parts] is the underside, the "leg/intake/engine" portion of the fast pack sits flat against the underside of the horizontal portion of the Valkyries, concentrate the glue to the underside and build it upside down, the top will take care of itself if the bottoms are aligned properly. Also the thicker crazy glue will help, and do one fast pack at a time - the rest is just patience and where your personal frustration point ends up being







So here are some better shots of the ARMD with the attached launcharms and Valkyries finally attached to the rest of the SDF-1! (I need to dust this baby a bit when you're taking macro photos so close, every piece of dust shows up!)









So lastly, I took some quick pictures of my baby. I couldn't go outside to get proper lighting (its fricken cold in Canada in the winter!) so I probably won't get decent shots till the Summer. This will have to do under proper shots are done. This is just on my workbench with whatever black foam core I could find lying around the basement so you get the idea!











I purposely made the conscious decision that this was a painted toy and not a model, so I left a lot of the delicate "needle-like" antennas all over this ship off - I'm not sure if I made the right decision now, but I had intended to transform it once it a while (otherwise I would have puttied and sanded every seam). Some of it is my laziness and just wanted to cut down the scope of the work involved, but basically every one of my "real-world" fighter models that had delicate pilot tubes and lightning rods (F-16) have broken off over time despite my careful handling. Oh well. The photos do get progressively better as I shoot it - like everything, I get rusty when I haven't done it in a while.















Well, overall I am very happy with how it turned out and admire the ones on these boards that have gone through the extra effort of lighting them - BRAVO! That's just beyond me at the moment. Maybe in 10 years or so when I'm no longer the center of my daughter's universe I might return to modelling like I once did, but for now, toy collecting has taken over and will have to do for now. Yamato has really outdone themselves with this stellar offering and I wholeheartedly recommend this toy to anyone still sitting on the fence about it - its truly remarkable. This [Macrss toy] and the new VF-4G Lightning have to be my all-time-favorite offerings from Yamato.

Happy Modelling! (And wear a safety mask.)