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Hasegawa's SV-51 Gamma (Nora Type) Kit Preview


By John Lester - images & text © 2004

Scale: 1/72 - about 12½"/ 317mm long when assembled
Parts: 159 injection molded plastic (108 pink, 40 grey, 11 clear) on 8 sprue trees
Instructions: Multi-page fold-out; exploded assembly diagrams and paint/decal guide. Japanese text
Decals: Waterslide. Markings for one aircraft (Nora Polyansky's)
Molding Quality: 10 - state of the art
Detail: 10 - fine engraving and delicate details
Accuracy: See review
MSRP: 2800 JPY (~$26.58 USD/$35.01 CAN/ 21.90 EUR) available from HobbyLink Japan
Overall Rating: Impressive kit but man, the paint scheme is bright ....

[Box art]

Using information stolen from UN Spacy, the Sukhoi/Israel Aircraft Industries/Dornier consortium developed the SV-51 variable fighter as a counter to the VF-0 series.

[Box build-up]

^ Completed model, from the box

Image: 'A' sprue - upper fuselage half and assorted detail pieces

Image: 'B' sprue - bottom fuselage half and assorted detail pieces

Image: 'C' sprue - Wings and wheels, mostly

Image: 'D' sprue - control surfaces, nose cone and landing gear. The 'box' protecting the spike on each tail fin is a nice touch

Image: 'E' sprue - various details

Image: 'F' sprue - legs and engine fronts

Image: Ordnance includes micro-missile dispensers and the Gsh-371 55 mm gun pod

Image: Putting the decals on will be a long and challenging task, I think, but far easier than trying to mask and paint these markings!

Image: Instructions

Unlike the VF-0, the SV-51 is optimized for combat, and can outmaneuver and outrun the best UN Spacy has to offer. The price is shorter "legs", very often requiring transport close to the battle area by by specially equipped submarines. It was flown by the hottest Anti-UN pilots during the run-up to the First Space War ... or so the story goes in Macross Zero, the latest installment in the long-running Macross franchise.

What You Get

Hasegawa's latest kit is impressive - in size, in detail, and in complexity. Jammed inside the box with the impressive art are 8 spries containing over 150 parts, an impressiv decal sheet and instructions. The clear parts are bagged separately from the other plastic bits; the rest of the sprues (all except the one containing armament molded in a garish magenta hue appropriate for the subject pilot) are piled together in a separate bag. The kit provides the option of underwing ordnance, open or closed intake for the VTOL maneuvering engines, and open or closed cockpit canopy. You also get one pilot figure. It's a big model - larger than the VF-0, which is itself significantly bigger than the later VF-1s.

There is no flash and only the barest hint of mold seams on my kit. There are a lot of ejector pin marks, but very few on surfaces that will be seen when the model is built (the landing gear bays being notable exceptions). Detail consists of finely engraved lines and crisp raised shapes, and is fully the equal of any of today's state-of-the-art jet aircraft kits. It seems as if a different team engineered this one than did the earlier VF-0, as evidenced by some of the smaller details. The landing gear wheels, for instance, are provided as left and right halves with tire and hub together (unlike the separate tires and hubs on the VF-0), and the wings are one piece (a plus, in my book, as those inserts used on the VF-0 andVF-22 are a pain to fill!).

The huge waterslide decal sheet looks to be typical of modern Hasegawa kits: crisply registered, with sufficient color density that the underlying paint won't show through the markings. You get markings for just one airframe, Nora Polyansky's. It looks like you could use them as a template to do D.D. Ivanov's grey-on-grey fighter - if you can't wait for the inevitable re-release from Hasegawa of this kit with those decals. I'm not sure if the tan-colored 'red shirt' airframes sport the same bird-like markings, but you could certainly use the data stencils provided to do a model of one of those. Of course, if you're like me, you think the fighter looks like the bastard child of an F/A-18 and an SU-27, and so a blue/grey 'Flanker' cammo scheme is in order ....

Instructions provide exploded drawings for the 14 assembly steps plus a detailed decal placement and color guide.

Text is in Japanese, which is not really a problem for non-Japanese readers as the assembly diagrams are pretty clear. Paint call-outs are a bit tougher to decipher. They're referenced to a chart with mostly generic paint names (Black, Silver, etc) and there's a lot of mixing called for (80% Black + 20% Silver, for instance). There are enough screen shots posted around the web (do a Google on SV-51 Macross) so that one can get a fairly good idea what's needed, though.

Is it accurate? The consensus on the street is that the overall shapes are dead on (I have yet to see Macross Zero, so I can't really comment). It appears that Hasegawa used some "artistic license" as to landing gear, as the mech hasn't been seen with those down. As one commentator noted, they're almost a caricature of Russian-style expeditionary-airfield capable designs. Overall, I'd say Hasegawa have captured the look of a first-generation, experimental fighter based on untested blending of radical new technology and old-school design.

If past releases are any guide, assembly should be pretty straight forward. There'll be some seams to fill, but Mr Surfacer will be sufficient for them. Since the wings are fixed, there should be no areas where you can see through the model to be plugged.

Conclusions

If you like big and ugly, and are not put off by lots of parts, this kit should appeal to you. What you get in the box is certainly worth the asking price. Anyone with some experience building plastic kits should be able to handle this beast.

Recommended.

Please click here to read the build up review


Many thanks to my wallet for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ readers a day? Contact us!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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This page copyright © 2004 Starship Modeler™. First posted on on 29 March 2004; Last updated on 2 September 2005.