A glimpse into my scale modeling hobby

Posts tagged “the force awakens

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

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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.


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…


A Couple of New Things

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!

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I find great joy in painting tiny figures!

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.

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Minis, cockpit, and scissor wings.

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.

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The fuselage and the wings ready to be joined in perfect Bandai snap-fittery.

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.

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Everything fits well as is usual for the Bandai kits.

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.IMG_0254