A glimpse into my scale modeling hobby

Posts tagged “star wars episode 1

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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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.


New Space

My new escape space.

My new escape space.

This post has been a long time coming. After my wife and I moved this summer, it took a while to establish a new workspace and then a while after that to get around to sharing some pictures of my space.

We have a nice area tucked away in our basement that is perfect for a small workspace. I furnished the space with a brand new desk unit from Ikea. Many of my other family members bought this desk set for various purposes, and it works perfectly. The storage area on the side works well for storing my stash of future kits, while also giving some display space on the top. Naturally I had to decorate the area with some of my favorite collectible items!

Easy to install drawers are a good place to store extra paint and supplies.

Easy to install drawers are a good place to store extra paint and supplies.

Another benefit of my new space is area nearby to store my display case, filled with built models. There is also some shelf space around as I start to grow out of my meager display case. Unfortunately, with a little one on the way in January, I may have to find another way to store some of my finished kits. A nice, heavy glass display case does not play well with children…

Proud Papa can look at his previous creations all the time!

Proud Papa can look at his previous creations all the time!

The only downside to my new workspace is the carpeted floor. At my previous townhome, I worked on a concrete-poured floor and was able to do all of my painting and building in the same space. Now, I have to use an outside space in the garage to do all of my spray painting and airbrushing, so I do not risk permanently damaging the carpet.

Finally, I have a little peak at my next project. I am already well into building and painting the engines of Anakin’s Podracer by AMT/Ertl. I found the kit on Ebay for under $20, still in the shrink wrap. Some of the pieces were loose in the box, but so far everything is accounted for. Looks to be a fun build!

Podracer Beginnings