A glimpse into my scale modeling hobby

Posts tagged “scale modelling

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!

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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…


This is the Kit You’re Looking For

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I finally got around to finishing the 1/12 Sandtrooper kit from Bandai, and it looks great! The steps of the build were very similar to the standard stormtrooper kit, but the extra weapons, the pauldron, and the backpack added enough of a different touch to make the build a unique experience.

IMG_0162Here are a couple thoughts on my finishing choices:

-I used Pledge wax for a gloss finish over the decals and to give the base shiny trooper look. This is where I stopped with the standard trooper.

-I did not want to over weather the armor because I thought that the Sandtroopers would still try to keep their armor as clean as possible in a harsh environment. I could not, however, resist giving this guy a dirty look so I used some weathering powders sparingly to give the appearance of dirt and sand. This gave just the right amount of wear that couldn’t be polished out no matter how hard he tried.

-Finally, I finished the whole piece with a clear dull coat. This was my attempt to simulate years in an environment not conducive to anything looking good.

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These Bandai kits are too fun, and I fortunately have been able to grab some on eBay for very reasonable prices. I guess that whole embargo thing didn’t really work out, Disney and Revell…

Next time you hear from me, I will have pictures from a new workspace! We rearranged our whole basement to make room for a new baby in April, so my workbench moved. I should have some good updates on the Tri-Motor soon.


Gold Squadron Reporting

Y-Wing Overhead

I have been sitting on this finished Y-Wing for a while and have not had time to post. Baseball playoffs, grading, and general exhaustion after a long day of teaching have kept me from sitting down to write. Now, I finally have a few spare minutes to recap the Y-Wing build.

This is a great kit, as you would expect from FineMolds. I love that most of the greeblies are separate parts and not molded directly to the base. This provides a more detailed look to the finished build.

Overhead view of the finished build.

Overhead view of the finished build.

Most of my final thoughts center on my first time using an oil paint gunk wash. In my last post I mentioned that I wanted to try the gunk wash out, and overall I love the final look. I would not, however, suggest the Y-Wing as a great first kit to try this type of wash on. It took me hours with cotton swabs to wipe off the excess oil paint from all of the cracks and crevices. Even with all that work, the final result ended up a little darker than I intended. Despite a moderately difficult first experience, I am undoubtedly a convert to this type of wash. The details pop more than any other wash I have used.

A front detail shot

Front detail shot

Rear Detail Shot

Rear detail shot

I love trying new things out and learning more about the hobby to improve my final builds, and the gunk wash was another great tool to add to my repertoire. I was recently looking at my model display case and imagining what some of my early models would look like, if I knew then what I know now. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the hobby.

One final shot (with a couple Black Series action figures in the background)

One final shot (with a couple Black Series action figures in the background)

I would be curious to hear how this kit compares to the Bandai Y-Wing. I did not get a chance to pick that one up, and now it will be much harder (and more expensive) to find. Maybe it would make a good option to round out Gold Squadron. If not, this build looks great next to my FineMolds X-Wing, and I look forward to many more opportunities to try new things and build better models.


Revell v. Bandai

A couple of disclaimers before I post my thoughts:

-There are a lot of difficult things happening in the world right now and the topic in the following post is not even close to the most important one. The issue, however, does hit close to home for a lot of hobbyists and directly relates to the topic of this blog.

-I have never purchased or assembled a Revell Star Wars model kit because not even the picture on the box can make them look appealing to a serious modeller.

-I have assembled several of the 1/12 Bandai Star Wars figure kits and have found them incredibly awesome.

So, if you keep up with the small community of scale modellers on the internet and the even smaller community of Star Wars scale modellers, you probably know that a major licensing storm was brewing this week. Many of the online retailers in the US and Europe started reporting that Bandai Star Wars model kits were no longer going to be available because of a licensing crackdown. Bandai has the Star Wars license for only Japan, while Revell gets the rest of the world. Rumors flew that Revell asked Disney to crack down on the license, but no one really knows for sure whether it was Disney or Revell who laid the smack down. Either way, the implications for Star Wars scale modellers in the US and Europe are significant.

When I first heard the news, I was very disappointed to put it mildly. Over the past year, my enjoyment of the Bandai kits has only increased, and the announcement of the new TheĀ Force Awakens kits on Force Friday got me even more excited. We were going to get an awesome, detailed, to-scale kit for the new X-Wing? The new TIE? Let me go change my pants quickly! I was eagerly checking Hobbylink Japan for the preorders to go up, so I could snag them right away. And then all this news hit, and I was faced with the prospect of never finding a quality Star Wars model kit in the US at a reasonable cost again. In other words, this decision could all but kill the serious scale modelling hobby in the US. I admit, I fired off some angry tweets and Facebook posts to Revell, knowing that sometimes these companies will really take feedback to heart. I read the statement from Revell today, and I didn’t feel much better about the whole thing, whether or not it is their fault.

I hesitate to spew out further negativity. Believe me, I am upset. Building Star Wars scale models is one of my passions. I have read posts, watched Youtube videos, and heard the cries of my community, and I am right there with them. Revell might be more willing to listen (maybe…), however, if we tell them what we want. With that said, here are some of my suggestions for the future of Star Wars models in the US and Europe, if we are stuck with Revell.

-Continue to produce the Star Wars kits that are out there. They are a great introduction to the hobby for kids.

-For the more serious model builders, these snap kits will not cut it. They are complete and utter garbage for someone who is serious about the hobby. So, why not produce higher-end Star Wars model kits alongside the snap kits? I know Revell acquired the Finemolds kits and is repackaging those, but what about The Force Awakens? Where are serious Star Wars modellers supposed to get new, not repurposed, kits that are up to our passionate standards? I guarantee that people will buy quality new product if you put it out there. That was the main reason people were buying Bandai Star Wars kits. They were a quality product up to our high standards.

-Really, all we ask is that the company that produces our model kits has the same level of passion about producing them as we do about building them. We want an awesome, detailed version of Poe Dameron’s X-Wing that is worthy of lifetime display because it was made with attention to detail and proper scale. I can think of plenty of other model companies that could do an awesome job with the Star Wars license for serious modellers. What could a company like Moebius Models do with the Star Wars license?

Disney and Revell, please do something to win back the community of Star Wars model builders in the US and Europe! As it stands now, we have very little hope of our hobby surviving much longer, which makes me incredibly sad. I got into building models because of Star Wars, and now it seems that this fight over the Star Wars license might kill the hobby for me. I am not willing to pay more than twice the amount of retail value for Japanese kits on eBay. If you really want Bandai Star Wars kits to be a “complement” to what you offer, as you said in your statement today, why should it be so hard to get them? I hope you realize that whoever made this decision is losing you a huge chunk of your customers.

My hope is that next year I can look back at this post, and reminisce about how silly this all was, when we have fantastic new Star Wars kits from Revell or Bandai or whomever, but that has to happen or the Star Wars modelling hobby will die. Please do something before we get to that point. I want to spend my money on a Star Wars kit that is high quality, and right now the only options for that came from Bandai.


Gold Fever

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A full workbench!

My workbench has been a little full lately. I have been working on the FineMolds Y-Wing with most of my free time. There were a ton of small bits and pieces to attach to the main body, and the best part is that they wonderfully covered up almost all of the seams. I only had to fill two small seams where the top met the bottom in the front. All that is left to assemble is the landing gear.

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Starting on decals and small details.

I have been holding off on painting the cockpit so I can match the color to the decals because it is a unique shade of blue. I plan to paint the ship up in the guise of Gold Leader.

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Notice the silver leg!

My other project has been one of Bandai’s great little 1/12 figure kits, C-3P0. He will look great next to my astromech droids. I have come to think of these figure kits as a great diversion while I wait for paint to dry or don’t have a lot of time to work. So far, Threepio looks great, and I have only done a little bit of extra painting. Some of the wiring on his stomach needed to be a different color, but everything else has been molded to look great. I should be done with this guy soon and have all of my thoughts posted. Until then, summer is quickly coming to an end, and I am running out of valuable work time. Off to the workbench!