The Mitsubishi F-1 is one of my favorite Japanese modern aircraft. This is perhaps Hasegawa’s earlier offering in 1/72 scale. I almost thought that the build was really enjoyable only if there weren’t a lot of hiccups that occurred throughout the project, particularly the stiff and yellowing-decals.Very unlikely that I do 1/72 scale aircraft these days, but behold, here is one of them! I bought this kit a few years ago and was left on an open shelf in Indonesia’s tropical humidity. I wish I had done it a bit earlier as I would have saved the decals from total crap (it broke up into pieces during the process). This kit was developed for simplicity. There wasn’t much in terms of parts and I was able to put together the main fuselage within an hour. Hasegawa’s plastic is very hard and it was very important that I get the joints together right first time.The kit has nothing much of an interior per se, except for an extremely simple cockpit and front wheel bay. They were quickly painted with XF-66 Light Grey while the instrument panels flat black. While the wheel bay gets a coat of flat white. After adding some weights inside the nose cone, I glued the two fuselage halves together with Extra Thin. Keep in mind that to avoid any misalignment, I did it one small area at a time. By doing this, I had more time to check the quality of the bond, and adjusting it as necessary. To protect the air data probe, I kept part of the sprue tree attached to it. Panel lines were all raised and I decided to keep them all intact that way. With the need to replace missing panel lines due to filling and sanding, I decided to re-scribe the lost panel lines. The weren’t many so it wasn’t a big deal. And besides, I don’t think people would notice under the 3-tone camouflage.Intake trunks were quickly glued, filled and sanded smooth. Meanwhile, the whole fuselage was sprayed with Mr. Surafacer Black to see if there were any imperfections on my previous sanding work.
Metal areas were painted first. this is just to make it easier for me to manage the masking process. I tend to work on the metallic areas first as part of my standard procedures. Lower section was painted XF-2 Flat White. Meanwhile, I masked and attached the canopies…… and continued with painting the upper three-tone camouflage. One challenging fact about Japanese camouflage colors are that they are not in any paint list except Gunze/Mr. Color. Since I only have Tamiya paints, I was forced to mixed some bottles to get a color that matched closely with the actual colors.
I used XF-70 Dark Green 2 (IJN) for the dark green; XF-58 Olive Green for the medium green; and XF-57 Buff lighted with XF-19 Sky Grey for the light tan.
It took a couple of passes and layers, paint mixing trial and errors to get the look I was aiming for. I used blue-tack to help get the fuzzy soft-edge pattern. All of the paint were added a pint of XF-19 Sky Grey to tone it down to scale. That also includes the white underside.Additional masking job was conducted using Tamiya Masking Tape for Curves. The product is pretty good and served its purpose. It is stretchy, sticks pretty well, and easy to pull off. I saw no residue. It’s more vinyl than paper. It has the thickness of twice of regular Tamiya masking tape.Everything was then glossed-up before decaling. I initially used Future Floor Polish but then I changed method. Instead, the clear gloss finish was X-22 Clear Gloss diluted in Mr. Leveling Thinner. The decals were showing its age and many of them had cracks . Had sprayed another coat of X-22 Clear mixed with Mr. Leveling Thinner in 7:3 ratio on to the decals – just for my insurance. Luckily, most of them came out really well and slid off onto the kit’s surface without much drama. I wasn’t completely sure that if I HAD NOT coated the decals, they would perform well. but I didn’t want to hang around to find out. Despite progress, I almost lost the ‘248’ hull number as it disintegrated when I applied Mr. Mark Setter (definitely too strong for the old decals). A quick patchwork with flat black solved the problem.All the landing gear were quickly installed. I glued them with Extra Thin but I thought that I should have used CA glue instead as it took almost forever for the Extra Thin to cure! The interior of the wheel bay is flat white with raised details. I saw an opportunity for some washing, perhaps using a mix of dark grey and brown washes.At this stage, I installed the external fuel tanks, rocket pods, and covers.
Washing the panel lines was a very minor affairs. All panel lines were raised and the recessed ones are exclusively around the moving surfaces. My primary wash material was mixing Tamiya PLA brown and black (not in image) to create a darker and dirtier brown color. Some last minute touch-up was necessary as the red fuselage band didn’t go well. As anticipated, it broke into 5 pieces. The extra coat of X-22 kept it together but at the same time made it more rigid. Here I am picking out some of the broken areas with XF-2 Flat White, which I would then brush the final XF-7 Flat Red.After much thought, I decided to turn the box-supplied Mk.82s as dud training iron bombs. Simply because the original bombs from the box looked ugly, but if painted blue they looked really cool.A “what-if” Mitsubishi F-1. As for the self defence AIM-9 I threw away the kit’s toy-like missile and got these replacement AIM-9L/M from Academy’s F-16K box. I know, they didn’t match with the inert Mk.82s and they were not even historically accurate, BUT…Fitting was a bit challenges, and surface detail is on the raised panel types (not the most popular). But I wanted the F-1 badly so Hasegawa seems to be the only player in town that have this. would a 1/48 look better, i think so. A couple of things to note. the tan needs a bit ‘tanner’ more to a ‘desert yellow’.A very diminutive scale model. Nevertheless, I am very happy that the project is over.