If you have ever played as the First Order in Fantasy Flight Games X-Wing Miniatures tabletop game, you are probably familiar with the pilot named “Backdraft.” On a couple occasions, Backdraft has been the bane of my pilots’ existence with his rear turret. I regularly had him on my mind as I was building the Special Forces First Order TIE from Bandai.
This is a great kit, in line with the standard First Order TIE Fighter. The main differences were the bigger cockpit for two pilots, the red armor plating, and the rear turret. I really like the design choice of the splash of red on the Special Forces TIE.
I do not really have much to say about the process of building this kit because it was straightforward and problem-free. This time around, I painted the wing parts separately to avoid hours of annoying masking. A lesson learned from the previous First Order TIE I built. For weathering, I did a little bit of panel line washing as well as some light color pastels to highlight some of the corners, edges, and details.
I have been surprisingly prolific recently, probably because there are no papers to grade or lessons to plan for the next couple months. Thus, there will be more regular posts coming out over the summer. As always, I keep my Instagram account up to date on what I am currently working on, so check it out and follow @lifetoscale.
I keep coming back to these Bandai figure kits because they are just awesome. They are quick and make a great side project during a more prolonged or difficult model project.
One of the fun things about the Clone Trooper kit was that there were so many options for how to paint and weather this guy. Stormtroopers are fairly uniform, but thanks to the Clone Wars TV series and even some brief glimpses in the prequels, clone troopers had a lot of different markings, not to mention they weathered a lot more and their armor showed it.
When I first started assembling the clone trooper I was undecided about what sort of paint scheme I wanted to use, if any at all. Over the course of the build, I settled on the 212th Battalion color scheme because I have always loved Obi-Wan Kenobi and these were his troops on Utapau. I did a little googling to find a quality picture of the paint scheme and then jumped right in.
Two regrets about the way I went about painting this kit, which will influence future projects. First, I had already assembled the trooper so I had to do some difficult masking in hard to access places, which could have been eased by masking before I assembled. Second, because I did not want to mask the entire trooper, I hand painted the spots that needed markings. Both of these regrets left me wishing I had masked and airbrushed all the markings before assembling the parts. Lesson learned for next time.
Because I painted directly on the plastic, I was able to easily do some chipping with a toothpick and xacto knife. These gave a nice worn effect to the battalion markings. Then, to top the painting off, I did some panel line washing in a few spots and added some weathering pastels also. I finished the kit with a semi-gloss lacquer because the clone troopers were never quite as shiny as the stormtroopers.
Overall, I am pretty proud of my first real customized paint job, notwithstanding the usual weathering effects. I really like the result, and if I had endless supplies of money (haha!) I would probably try to customize several different clone varieties. Lessons learned and a good-looking figure make a great success. As a bonus, you can switch out the heads to be either a Phase 1 or Phase 2 trooper. As you can see from the photos, I preferred the Phase 2.
This is a great kit that will look even better when displayed next to my eventual Battle Droid and STAP kit.
Hey, 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.I 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.
This 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.
Overall, a great kit and a worthy addition to my collection. It was not overly challenging and looks really nice. So say we all!
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.
…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.
If 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…
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of my favorite things about the scale model hobby is the opportunity to constantly learn new skills. On the Revell Ford Tri-Motor kit I learned how to make my own decals and tried to advance my seam filling skills. The former was really easy, the latter is still a work in progress.
This kit from Revell is not high quality. The parts did not fit well at all, and it lacks in detail. In other words, the perfect kit to customize for this Indiana Jones lover. I used the ILM model and props book for visual reference and did my best with what the kit had to offer.I did a minimal amount of weathering with a dark gray wash and some soot streaks, but the biggest addition was my custom decal of the Lao Che Freight logo. Easy to make and full of the extra character the kit needed, it was a worthwhile diversion with minimal research. Check out this previous post for more details about the decal-making process.
I probably spent far more time on this kit than I needed to, but it was a nice change of pace from the usual Star Wars lineup. Plus, I learned some new skills in the process. As someone who loves to learn, I am always appreciative of new challenges. Heading on to another Bandai Star Wars kit next!