Hasegawa 1/72 ASF-X Shinden II
|KIT #:||64503 (CW03)|
|PRICE:||3400 yen retail (about $27.50)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Ace Combat (AC; エースコンバット; Ēsu Konbatto) is a hybrid flight simulation action video game series featuring 18 games published by the Japanese company Namco Bandai Games and produced by Project Aces, an internal development team. The series emphasizes fast-paced action and dramatic plots, and has established itself as one of the most successful arcade flight action franchises.
Most games of the series take place in the same fictionalized world populated with fictional countries with details loosely based on real-life location, events, and wars. One of the main selling points of the series is the ability to pilot a range of aircraft that include accurate or slightly modified representations of present day military aircraft, prototypes that never saw actual battle, and completely fictional boss-type superweapons. Longtime fans of the series are rewarded with small hints of the continuity between the games, as some characters and events are referenced from one game to another.
The first three titles in the series were released on the Sony PlayStation system (Air Combat also known as Ace Combat in Japan, Ace Combat 2 and Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere). Three subsequent titles were released on the PlayStation 2, (Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War and Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War). Two titles were released on the PlayStation Portable system (Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception and Ace Combat: Joint Assault). One title was released on the Xbox 360, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation. Ace Combat Xi: Skies of Incursion was released on the Apple iOS in 2009. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon was later released on both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 systems. Namco Bandai later revealed working on a new Ace Combat title for the Nintendo 3DS, which revealed to be Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy. In 2013, they revealed Ace Combat Infinity, the first free-to-play title in the series, which was released in 2014 exclusive to the PlayStation 3.
Apparently this is the second kit of the Shinden II, the first having reached collector status. The kit is very nicely molded as you'd expect from Hasegawa. The fuselage is molded in upper and lower halves with the wings as part of the fuselage halves. There is a nicely done cockpit with a four piece seat and a four piece pilot figure. The instrument panel includes decals and fits into the anti-glare shield along with the clear sight. This is topped by a single piece canopy that can be posed open.
Quite a bit of the construction deals with installing the engine inlet and exhaust pieces. The aircraft has vectored nozzles and you get separate ones for normal or STOVL flight. In this vein, the horizontal stabs/fins can be posed either near vertical or in a lowered position. Wing tips are separate as well and again, can be positioned either for normal or STOVL flight. In this case you need to make a choice as the tip position is permanent.
Landing gear are nicely molded and can be eliminated if one is building the kit with the wheels up. One is offered separate gear doors for the nose and requires the removal of the placement tabs on the main gear for the in flight position. There is a large, clear display stand provided for those who wish to display the model above the ground. Also attached to the nose of the plane are two large canards. A goodly number of weapons are provided if one so chooses. This consists of six AMRAAMS, four of which can be replaced by rocket pods. If one chooses to use under wing weapons, holes need to be opened in the lower wings early in construction.
Decals are provided for two camouflage schemes. One is the Air Superiority scheme shown on the box art, while the other is a maritime scheme with the upper surfaces in dark blue. Decals are nicely printed and include weapon markings as well. The white bits (for the maritime scheme) are nearly impossible to see in the scan and you get a variety of optional aircraft numbers. Instructions are typical of modern Hasegawa kits and offer detail drawings as well as paint colors using Gunze references.
The kit is part of Hasegawa's Creator Works series that concentrates on anime, manga, and game subjects. While these sorts of things may not be everyone's area of interest, they do make for some very neat looking models and what with the yen/dollar rate being so good, are well worth picking up from a Japanese discount source as getting it in the US will easily double the price. Total cost to me with slow shipping from Japan was $32.00
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