A glimpse into my scale modeling hobby

Anakin’s Podracer

Podracer frontWhatever your opinion of the Star Wars prequels, you probably remember the podrace scene. If you are around my age and had a Nintendo 64, you also probably have fond memories of the Star Wars Podracer game. Besides being ridiculously hard (I recently played the game again at a friend’s house and crashed into the wall repeatedly), I remember all of the cool ship designs for the various alien racers. Some of the racers in the game showed up as fleeting glimpses as the camera panned, while others, like Sebulba’s pod, were featured more prominently in the Phantom Menace. Naturally, if you are going to choose one podracer to make a model version of, the only logical choice is Anakin’s pod, although I think Sebulba’s podracer would make a wicked-looking model. So until FineMolds or Revell comes out with a Sebulba podracer model, I will give you my thoughts on Anakin’s Podracer by AMT/Ertl, hopefully with more poise and skill than I ever demonstrated on the fatal racetracks of Malastare or the renowned canyons of the Boonta Eve Classic.

A great shot of the full build.

A great shot of the full build.

What I Liked

-I loved the size of this kit. The box doesn’t mention a scale, but my guess is somewhere around the 1/32 scale range. It is the perfect scale to show a good amount of detail, particularly on the two engines.

-The final display looks really cool. The metal wire pieces that hold the kit up are very understated and help give the kit a truly floating effect.

-The parts are molded in a pretty good quality plastic.

-If you are patient, you can snag this kit for a pretty decent price on ebay. Keep watching and don’t buy the first one you see. I got mine for about $15.

The pod complete with miniature Anakin.

The pod complete with miniature Anakin.

What I Didn’t Like

-The fit for many of the parts was really bad. Nothing in the cockpit fit well at all, and I had to do some surgery to include everything (part of which was my fault for assembling something the wrong way!). Even if I had assembled everything correctly, I still think the fit would be pretty tight. The engines also had a fat seam right down the middle, which I tried to fill where I could, but the amount of hills, valleys, and crevices on the engine parts made it very difficult to sand down. Fortunately, some of the seams were covered by other parts.

The engines were a great place to add weathering.

The engines were a great place to add weathering.

How Can I Make it Better?

-Weathering is one of the best ways to improve this kit. The engine parts have so many cracks and crevices that a basic black wash does wonders for the overall look. I also used some soot weathering powder around the rear of the engines and the spinning part at the front.

-I love the technique of painting a silver enamel layer and then adding an acrylic topcoat of whatever final color you would like. This allows for some slight chipping of the topcoat to simulate the paint worn down to the original metal. I used this very sparingly on the tips of the podracer’s wings, flaps, whatever you want to call them…

-I also added some weathering to simulate sand-worn spots. Little Ani never left Tatooine, so the only place he ever raced or tried out his pod was in sand. Basically, all I did was use some sand weathering powder to dull the silver on his pod and to lighten up some of the edges on the engines.

Pod with some sand-worn smudges.

Pod with some sand-worn smudges.

-I am sure that there are many other ways you could make this kit even cooler, one being a custom sand display base. Perhaps that’s a project for the future!

Finally, here are a few more pictures of the final build. If you have completed this kit, share some of your experiences or frustrations in the comments!

A nearly full view of Anakin's Podracer. It's hard to get the whole thing in one picture and still show some detail!

A nearly full view of Anakin’s Podracer. It’s hard to get the whole thing in one picture and still show some detail!

The best shot I could get of the whole kit, looking down from the top.

The best shot I could get of the whole kit, looking down from the top.

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