Submitted By: George Caswell
Gunpla TV episode 31 invited us to post our own Macross models that we had built: sadly, the one I would most have liked to show off, the Hasegawa VF-1 Battroid, had a painting issue and I long ago took it apart to repaint it, and never completed the work.
This one, however, is a close second. It’s Imai’s 1:144 scale Queadluun Rau (pronounced “quad-loon row”) from the original “Macross” TV show from 1982. (Imai long ago sold the molds for this kit to Bandai, who reissues the kit periodically, and as a result it’s actually available now...Back when I got this kit, Bandai reissues of it were not available, and so I got this kit in an online auction from a Japanese seller.
In the TV series, the Queadluun Rau is the weapon of choice of female Zentradi. I decided to paint mine in the distinctive green-and-white scheme of Milia Fallyna’s unit from the memorable battle in episode 18 (“Pine Salad”) when she fought Max Jenius for the first time.
This is pretty much just a straight build: the only alterations I did were to make construction and painting easier. When I first got the kit several years ago, I had planned to make all kinds of changes to make the model more accurate to the lineart, but in the end the straight build that I ultimately did was quite rewarding. Even when a kit isn’t too great on its own, if you paint it right, it can really shine. In this particular case, I tried to focus on getting vibrant colors and precise boundaries between colors. The green and white colors (as well as the black stripes in between) were done by masking the parts with tape and spraying the different colors. It was fairly demanding work in places, but the end result is one of the best models I’ve ever done.
One big simplification I did was to eliminate the opening cockpit hinges and simply glue the hatches down. The Queadluun-Rau is a battle-suit (the pilot is 8.5m tall, the suit is around double that) – so the opening cockpit is actually the whole chest block. The kit included a pilot figure (torso only, not that great honestly), but really no detail inside the cockpit. It really didn’t seem worth building the cockpit interior if there was nothing to look at in there. There were other advantages to sealing the cockpit as well: one of the big ones was that it allowed me to do away with the hinge mechanisms, which would have bound the three hatch segments to the backpack, rather than to the rest of the chest. By gluing the hatches to the chest block, I was able to treat the backpack as a separate part right up until the final stages of the project.
One frustrating aspect of this kit was that the seam that held the backpack together cracked open a few times. This can be a problem with old, non-snap kits: you can have fairly large, hollow assemblies joined on a very long seam, and if it’s not joined together securely enough, it just takes a little force to crack that seam open. When dealing with one of these old kits it’s important to get the best bond you can manage between the parts, and it’s often helpful to reinforce that bond as well.
At some point I want to make Max’s Valkyrie (the TV version) in the same scale to go with this: Imai did make a 1:144 VF-1, and luckily for me a friend of mine had one collecting dust in his garage and gave it to me! So one of these days I’ll pull that kit out, give it a few tweaks, and have a proper Max vs. Milia set…