A glimpse into my scale modeling hobby

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Beastly Battlestar

IMG_1924Hey, I actually finished a model kit! That feels like such a rare statement these days other than the Bandai figure kits. Even those can be few and far between. We will just say that I really like to take my time to finish a kit. That sounds like a job interview answer, “I take so long to finish things because I am such a perfectionist.” Something like that…

Down to business. I just finished another great kit from Moebius Models. The massive Battlestar Pegasus from the 2000s BSG TV show. Much of the same praise I have given Moebius before applies here, but I have to admit that after spending plenty of time with the meticulously engineered Bandai kits, it is hard for anyone else to live up to that standard. Fortunately, there were no glaring seams and any smaller ones are fairly camouflaged. Thankfully, because I hate filling seams.IMG_1928I had a few firsts on this kit. This was my first go with photo-etched parts. I bought one of Paragrafix’s photo-etch sets for the landing bay arms and the inside panels on the front piece. I like the little bits of detail they add, but I definitely can’t afford photo-etch kits every time I build a model. Second, I used a Vallejo wash for the first time with the Pegasus. I found it really easy to use, and it gave the kit a great finish. I did not really do much other weathering on this kit, because the wash gave a nice grimier look while making the details pop a bit more.

IMG_1932This model kit is BIG! The picture above shows the Pegasus compared to the TV show’s namesake, the Galactica, and you can see how much bigger the Pegasus is. I still think I like the design of the Galactica better, however. I definitely had to do some shelf reorganizing to display this beast.

IMG_1925Overall, a great kit and a worthy addition to my collection. It was not overly challenging and looks really nice. So say we all!

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Phantastic Phasma

History may remember Captain Phasma as the cool-looking trooper who was a bit of a dud in her on-screen role (I’m still waiting for Episode 8 to change that), but hey, she is pretty darn good looking. This figure kit from Bandai is a good reminder of how great she looks.

The figure comes molded in bright, shiny chrome, which as you might guess is a fingerprint magnet. I kept having to wipe off my grimy fingerprints after working on the kit, but I did not see any other figures on the market that quite matched the chrome look of the Bandai kit. Just a few thoughts on the build and paint process, and I will let the pictures speak for themselves:

  • No problems with assembly. The parts fit just like all of the Bandai figure kits. The cape options were the only main downside. The box has either a hard plastic cape in two parts or a see-through fabric-y cape. I ultimately chose the fabric because I really did not like the rigidity of the plastic cape nor the two parts. I think there are other options out there for nicer fabric capes, but I don’t have the budget to buy another one when there are already two options in the box.
  • I decided to take a bit of the chrome bite away by giving the whole kit a gloss varnish. This helped facilitate a little bit of wash weathering but still maintained a lot of the cool chrome look.
  • Speaking of weathering, I did only a little. I did some panel line washing throughout the kit and gave her a few smudges here and there. I gave her blaster the most wash treatment.

I really love this figure kit from Bandai. Cape issues aside, Phasma looks awesome and everything looks well-proportioned, scaled, and colored compared to some of the other options out there in the same scale. This Captain looks great up on my shelf next to her buddies Kylo Ren and the First Order Stormtrooper. I cannot wait to see how they might utilize her in the next movies, because when a character looks this awesome, she needs an awesome role.

Hello, FineMolds, My Old Friend…

img_1538…and hello, blogging, my old friend. It seems I am in the “complete a model every 3-4 months” phase of my life right now. The great thing about hobbies is how relaxing and rewarding they are, but with young children in your life, hobbies become a commodity. Still, a glorious, glorious commodity I relish whenever I have the chance.

If you follow my Instagram account, @lifetoscale, you will have seen a couple WIP pictures of the above Naboo Starfighter. Finally, the finished product gets its 15 minutes of fame. This kit has been sitting on my shelf for a couple years, but it has taken a back seat to many of the newer Bandai kits. But, Bandai had to take a break for a bit and give way to my 0ld favorite, the now discontinued line of FineMolds Star Wars models. The Naboo Starfighter is easily the most iconic ship of the Star Wars prequels, elegant in its simplicity and curved lines. Here are a few of my thoughts about the kit, in no particular order:

  • This is a tiny ship. Next to my other ships in the 1/72 scale, it is quite a bit smaller and looks much more cramped for the pilot.
  • Very simple assembly with few parts. Most of the seams were hidden, as FineMolds was pretty good at, but I needed to do a little filling on the front engines.
  • There were two pilot/droid options-Anakin and R2 or a Naboo pilot/generic R-series droid. I went with the Naboo pilot because the normal guy never gets much love.
  • I struggled with how much I wanted to weather this ship. In the movie, the ships looked very shiny and well-kept, but I can’t leave a Star Wars ship with no scratches or dings. I suppose that was one of the big critiques of the prequels. As a result, I used a little Tamiya panel line wash and added a few smudges here and there but tried to avoid getting too excessive.
  • Some of the waterslide decals were tiny! It took some deft fingers to get those in place.
  • I finished the kit with a couple coats of gloss varnish to maintain the shiny look seen in the movie.
  • I really liked the base for this kit. It is not the standard landing gear or in-flight display; rather, it accentuates some of the cool factor of how this fighter was docked in the movie.

img_1541If you can find one of these lurking around ebay, pick it up! It is a fast build (assuming you don’t have two small children and too many hobbies) and looks great next to the plethora of Star Wars ships in this scale. I imagine there are a lot of ways you could kit-bash or light the engines on this kit, but that is not for me right now. Maybe when the kids are in college…

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Hot Pursuit

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These two Bandai kits look great together. Watch your tail Blue Leader!

I briefly waffled on what to build after my Bandai Resistance X-Wing, but looking back it should have been a no-brainer. How can you follow up an X-Wing build with anything other than a TIE? I had both the standard First Order TIE and the Special Forces TIE in my stash, but I decided to start basic and come back to the Special Forces at a later date.

I really like the inverted color scheme of the new TIEs in The Force Awakens, and after spending some time with the ship, they look sturdier in comparison to the original TIEs. I still remember that first brief glimpse of the new TIEs in the original teaser as they were chasing the Millenium Falcon. I knew there was something different about them, but the shot was so fast it was too difficult to catch. Six months later, I am now considerably more familiar with the look.

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A good look at the TIE head-on. The wings look considerably sturdier than the OT version.

This model kit from Bandai was a fast and easy build. The parts are molded in a pretty decent color scheme, but most advanced modellers will want to add their own touches with preferred paints. I used a combo of sky grey and white for the wing panels and metallic black for the TIE frame and body. A couple of gloss coats, minimal weathering, and the desired pose on the base made for a nice finished product.

Closing in for the kill.

Finally, I decided to use the laser blasts provided by Bandai in order to display the TIE in pursuit of my T-70 X-wing. I intend to have some fun photographing these two kits together!

Check your rear stabilizer!

First Order of Business

IMG_0440Everything is looking rather Imperial-y on my workbench, as I just recently finished Bandai’s First Order stormtrooper and have started on the First Order TIE.

The First Order trooper looks great, as I expected. I did very little painting on the figure itself, just a couple coats of gloss and one dull so that he had a little shine but not too much. The troopers in the movies all have good looking armor, at least until they are blown up.

IMG_0443Most of the paint work came on the accessories. All the hands needed white on the palms, which I never noticed while watching the movie. The weapon accessories all came molded in black, and the new blaster design is black, white, and silver. I found it easier to paint the whole thing white and then add in the black and silver highlights. The melee weapon was a similar story.

IMG_0441I chose the now iconic TRAITOR!! look for my trooper for now since it is so different from any trooper look we have seen before. He looks great, with the only minor complaint the blobby looking fist hand.

Up next, the First Order TIE. Here is a little preview.IMG_0445

Blue Squadron, Still Reporting

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A man and his ship, unseparable

Finally! After a few months of silence and little work time, I have finished my Bandai T-70 Resistance X-Wing Fighter. As a little Father’s Day gift my wife took my 2-year-old and 2-month-old out for a little while, and I got a little work time to finish off my X-Wing.

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Top view in flight

I love the final kit! This was my first Bandai vehicle kit, and it definitely required more work than the figures, but it was well worth it. Lots of great detail, easy instructions and a great visual reference page for painting and decals. One of the most challenging parts of this kit was all of the tiny decals. When you are on a newborn schedule, there is very little time to dedicate to multitudes of miniscule decals.

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Try and catch me, TIE pilot

A few thoughts on finishing the kit. Instead of using the blue molded parts, I made a mixture of blue, white, and clear to match the decals as closely as possible. I used a light base color, knowing that I would be doing an oil gunk wash later and darkening the kit overall. After two gloss clear coats, I covered the ship in Starship filth oil paint, then wiped it all off, leaving the grime in the panel lines. I did have to re-scribe some of the panel lines where decals had covered them. Finally, I added a few dark soot spots around the engines, gave it two clear dull coats, and I was finished.

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Cockpit and BB-8 shot

I am very happy with the final results. I am really coming around to the snap kits, when they are made really well. There were only a couple spots I used a small amount of glue on to keep secure for the long haul. The Bandai kits can look great with minimal extra effort or a lot, which makes for a great product suitable for all ages and skill levels.

Next up, I am working on the Bandai First Order Stormtrooper and something as yet to be determined. I am leaning toward something not Star Wars. Perhaps the Battlestar Pegasus…

A Couple of New Things

After wrapping up the Ford Tri-Motor, I had to head back to the Star Wars universe for my next build. I can never stray too far from the Wars, since that subject is what got me into the hobby in the first place. Plus, I am still riding high after seeing The Force Awakens (henceforth known as TFA) three times in the theater and pre-ordering my Blu-ray.

Fortunately, I have been able to find the Bandai TFA kits for the X-Wing, TIE/fo Fighter, and First Order Stormtrooper on eBay or Amazon for reasonable prices, so I decided to dive into the new T-70 X-Wing. First of all, I loved the design of the new X-Wings in the movie, plus I just love X-Wings. Ever since my first glimpse of X-Wings in action way back in the late 80s from a VHS recording of the A New Hope TV broadcast, I have been in love. Maybe they reminded me of my late grandpa’s war stories.

This was my first foray into the Bandai vehicle kits, and so far I have not been disappointed. The same attention to detail present in the figure kits is evident here, but there is definitely more need for the model-builder’s touch. The kit could work straight out of the box with no glue or paint, but where is the fun in that? We always want to make it look more authentic!

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I find great joy in painting tiny figures!

One of the things I have not done in a while and found that I really missed was painting tiny figures. This kit came with a seated pilot, standing pilot, and BB-8. For all of them I used a combination of decals and paint. I will definitely be adding more mini painting to my future plans.

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Minis, cockpit, and scissor wings.

As with the minis, I am using a combination of the decals and painting for the whole ship. The tough part about that is matching the paint to the decal color. I have yet to mix up the blue, but hopefully I will get to that this week.

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The fuselage and the wings ready to be joined in perfect Bandai snap-fittery.

The distinct blue stripe on the new X-Wings was molded in blue, but I decided to go ahead and paint that on my own to give it a less plastic-y look. That is this week’s goal.

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Everything fits well as is usual for the Bandai kits.

I am slowly making my way through this kit, not because it is too challenging or time-consuming, but because we are getting our house ready for a second kid to arrive any day now. I can maybe squeeze in an hour in the evenings every once in a while. On that note, I have started an Instagram account to provide more real-time developments on my kits, as well as fun photos of my action figure collection or old models in new settings. You can find me at @lifetoscale on Instagram. I will continue to post blog updates as well, but they take longer to put together, thus they occur much less frequently. I will leave this post with one last picture of BB-8 in his native habitat.IMG_0254

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