Hitachi developed the ASTACO (Advanced System with Twin Arm for Complex Operation) in 2005 to respond to diverse application requirements of heavy-duty machines. A special feature of the ASTACO is its ability not only to make complex actions, such as cutting an object while holding it, pulling an object while holding other things, and bending long objects, but also delicate actions such as holding soft, fragile objects. This feature allows the ASTACO to operate in various fields, including recycling and handling dangerous articles, and rescuing people at disaster sites.
As part of the Science World Series model kits, Hasegawa brings the beautiful 1/35 Hitachi ASTACO (Advanced System with Twin Arm for Complex Operation) Neo. The kit is comprised of 194 parts and is molded in multi color. As with ”multi colored” model kits, the idea is not having to paint it for those interested on the subject that aren’t necessary seasoned model builders.
All the parts are crisply molded in orange, dark gray, light gray and clear parts. Two sprues are of soft vinyl for the hydraulic hoses. There is also a descent amount of tubing for some hydraulic lines. You will end up with some of this tubing left great for some other model building projects.
The ASTACO model kit in general has an awesome fit. The operators cab is nicely detailed via parts and some of the operating screen as decals. It is worth mentioning that after cleaning some of the mold lines, the operator figure is nicely molded and very usable. However I did notice that his/her legs won’t reach all the way down to the cab’s floor. There are decal markings for the hard hat that identifies the operator from a male or female one.
You’ll be tempted to skip some steps (I was) and build especially the boom arms sub-assemblies. Have you ever heard of the saying measure twice cut once? Well, check twice and cement one because the booms are filled with parts that are not meant to be cemented or they will loose the articulation if some cement gets thru those parts.
Painting the Hasegawa ASTACO NEO Hitachi.
Although the model is molded in colors, if you have the means and know how, you will definitely want to paint it. I looked for reference photos online. Most of them show an orange base color for the long booms and a very dark gray for the cab. I thought in advance about being moderate on the weathering*. I did use Vallejo 70.851 Bright Orange with a drop of Vallejo Flat Red 70.957. Once all the orange parts were painted, I added a few drops of Vallejo White to lighten up the base color. This was airbrushed on the orange parts give the bright orange a faded appearance. All the hydraulic hoses on this model kit were airbrushed with Rubber Black XF-85.
For the cab, I used Tamiya German Gray XF-63 darkened with XF-1 Flat Black. The same faded appearance was create by airbrushing Tamiya Neutral Gray XF-53. The extending arm was painted with our recently reviewed Metal Color Chrome. I have seen some Hasegawa ASTACO built and heavily weathered but I noticed that some model builders do weather this as well. As much as we prefer to weather this kind of subject, the extending arm must be well chromed and squeaky clean. In real life they are or else they would cause a hydraulic disaster with the ‘O’ rings and other parts involved with the extended arm.
An assortment of enamel washes and streak effects from our friends at
AK Interactive was used.