The second project I finished this summer was the 1/72 A-Wing from Bandai Models. As with many of the Bandai model kits this was fun and easy to build, with plenty of time to paint, weather, and customize as desired. If not for the ease of build I probably would not have finished it this summer.
The kit comes molded in the off-white and reddish colors you associate with A-Wings. I am not a stickler for exact reproductions of studio models, so I was really pleased with the mold colors. I knew some various clear coats and weathering could take away the plastic-y look so I did not mess with the molded colors. If you wanted to go a little more hardcore, it would not be hard. There are lots of straight lines which would make masking fairly easy.
For the weathering, I used an oil paint wash as I have become accustomed to doing on spaceships lately. This method helped give the whole ship a dirty look as well as nicely fill in the panel lines. The oil wash also nicely grimes up all the small engine details on the back. I then topped off the wash with some rust and soot pastels in key spots.
For the base (the coolest base Bandai has produced so far!), I just used Tamiya panel line accent wash to highlight all the recessed parts. I would love to see more bases like this in the future!
Overall, I really enjoyed making this kit, and it was a great distraction while I work on a majorly difficult build of the Swedish Warship Vasa. If you are into LED lighting (something I have limited practice with, limited funds for, and limited time to do effectively), I think the A-Wing would be really easy and fun to light. The rear engine parts are clear allowing for just such a task.
One thing that surprised me about the A-Wing was how big it is next to the X-Wing. I always thought of A-Wings as much smaller for the purposes of speed and maneuverability, but next to my X-Wing in the same scale, it looks bigger than I expected. Granted, the X-Wing is still the bigger ship. I will be excited to see what the new A-Wings look like in December when The Last Jedi hits theaters.
I have fond memories of the TIE Intercepor from the first time it appeared in Return of the Jedi to spending hours playing Lucasarts’ TIE Fighter on my parents’ old PC. I even had the original Kenner TIE Interceptor, and it was one of my only Star Wars toys that still had a working noise maker. Something about the shape of the wings looked sleeker and better than the standard TIE Fighter.
So I bring all of that wonderful nostalgia into building this TIE Interceptor kit from the late Star Wars line of model kits from FineMolds. So far, no surprises. The basic ball cockpit assembly is exactly like the TIE Fighter. FineMolds usually does a pretty good job of covering up seams, but there are a couple I will have to fill.
I did change the color for the Interceptor because all of the resources I have and my memory from the movies skews to a bluer tint than the original TIE. I did a little experimenting with mixing Intermediate Blue and Flat White and finally got a mixture that I like. The pictures below show the first steps with this kit. I look forward to setting this TIE next to my other on the shelf.
My most recent kit was another blast from the past. I remember putting together this same kit as a kid and displaying it up in one of the basement windowsills. As with many of the kits I assembled as a kid, I don’t think I paid much attention to the paint or details. I just wanted to put it together quickly because it was Star Wars, and I ate up anything Star Wars.
Now that I have returned to the hobby, I wanted to revisit this kit for a decent price on eBay. I remember the shuttle being fairly large, but I didn’t remember how few parts it included, so I assumed the build would go quickly and smoothly. In some ways that sentiment was true, but in more ways this kit kicked me in the butt!
I debated about how to paint this kit because the movie models look very white or really light grey. I tried out some of my light grey paints, but they did not fit the look of the movie model. Fortunately, I have a copy of a book that has many pictures of models and props from the Lucasfilm archives. A close examination of those pictures convinced me to go with a white base color.
I tried something new with the cockpit windshield on this kit because I painted the cockpit and pilot figures but did not want to leave the windshield clear. All the pictures of the movie props have a black-tinted windshield. I found some transparent black paint at Michaels and tried it out on this kit. The results still ended up fairly dark, with limited visibility into the cockpit only in certain lights. I am still interested in experimenting more with this paint and would welcome suggestions from others who have used it. I think I may have sprayed it on too thick.
A couple of positive points about this kit include the size and the relative ease of assembly. I think the scale is around 1/72, if I compare it to my other kits in that scale, but it is always hard to tell with the early Star Wars kits. Also, the small number of parts and the fact that they are molded in large chunks made the assembly straightforward (with one notable exception, see below). Oh yeah, the kit also comes with a miniature Darth Vader figure, which I threw in a box for potential future use.
The negative points on this kit were numerous. The two main body pieces had the worst fit I have ever encountered on a model kit. They were both horribly warped and required excessive filling and sanding. I never got to a place where I was really happy with the seams at the wings, but I got so frustrated that I did the best I could and left it. There were other parts that had a pretty poor fit, but none were quite as bad as the body. I guess I have been spoiled by the quality of the FineMolds kits.
A related negative point for this kit was the overall warping of many parts. Outside of the body pieces, the top fin has a noticeable curve if you look at it head on, and the side wings are a bit uneven. I don’t know if this is because of the age of the kit, the quality, or a bit of both. Whatever the reason, I was often frustrated while building this kit.
The final frustrating point on this kit was the worthless hole for the display stand. I had to use my new Dremel tool (a fantastic Christmas gift!) to carve out a new hole just to fit the included stand.
All in all, this kit was not bad, and I feel like the end result looks pretty decent. If you can find it for a really good price, go for it and do your best to modify as you wish.
I have been hard at work on the AMT Speeder Bike, and I decided it was time for an update and a few thoughts. After spending a good chunk of time on this kit, I now know why I got so frustrated as a kid. There are lots of small parts, and the fit on some of the parts is subpar, at best.
A few thoughts at this point in the build: I really like the way the kit is turning out. I have used a few references for the kit, including my speeder bike toy from the 90s and the book From Star Wars to Indiana Jones, which showcases models and props from the Lucasfilm Archives. I mainly used these references because the painting instructions for this kit were worthless. The suggested c0lors ranged from 5 different shades of grey to black, and that was not how I remembered the speeders in the movies.
I once again used the hard silver enamel base coat with a softer acrylic top coat. So far, the results are proving even better than my Corporate Alliance Droid kit. Also, I went with the Tamiya flat brown for my top coat. All my memories of speeder bikes cry out brown, and I could not do this kit in any other color.
The kit has a good amount of detail overall, but some of the parts needed some extra love to fit properly. For the speeder element of the kit, there were not too many spots that needed filling, but the Scout Trooper was another matter. I will talk about him in a future post…
My biggest complaint with this version of the Speeder Bike kit is the in-flight stand. I had many near-heart attacks, broken pieces and angry words while trying to insert the speeder into the small hole in the plastic disk. In addition, the stand would take up a huge amount of space on my shelves, of which I have precious little. Ultimately, I decided the frustration and potentially ruined model were not worth the trouble, so I put the kit on the backburner and ordered a new stand for it.
On the positive side, I really love how the scratched brown and silver undercoat have turned out. I tend to over-weather, and I think I found a good balance on this kit.
I am still working on the Scout Trooper, and hopefully I will get my stand order sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I am returning my focus to the Cylon Raider. Final pics coming soon!