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.
…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…
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.
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.
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!
Everything 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.
Most 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.
I 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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.