A glimpse into my scale modeling hobby

Posts tagged “star wars saga

Fast and Nimble

IMG_2372.jpgThe 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.

IMG_2379.jpgThe 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.

IMG_2376.jpgFor 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.

IMG_2374.jpgFor 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!

IMG_2378.jpgOverall, 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.

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A Bit of Backdraft

5C6CF448-B1BA-497A-8EB3-C06937F98494If 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.

A665E1E9-90EE-4E29-B8F9-C001EBB4A8ADThis 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.

8BC86BED-793D-4C17-8624-EA7D0B757A84I 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.05758599-BFB1-4037-BDAA-D46205B429B8


Customizable Clones

IMG_1941I 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.

IMG_1940When 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.

IMG_1942Because 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.


Phantastic Phasma

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.


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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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.


Interceptor Time

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.

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Standard cockpit design with my blue-gray paint mixture. I like how the tint turned out.

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An attempt to get a closer look inside the cockpit. The wall decals show up pretty well and you can see an outline of the TIE Pilot. Once the clear piece goes on the front it will be much harder to see inside.