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  1. So while my current Wingnut Wings build dries after putting the laquer on I decided to start on this commissioned build. Having started assembly I quickly realised I wanted one for myself so with the colour ranges I need in hand it was time to hit the hobby store! So first up was mixing the special "black" The kit really is a snap-fit kit and goes together without the need of and glue, however as there are joins in visible areas I would need to bond the plastic to enable me to sand them smooth. The body again was very easy to assemble - I might have to get the Storm Trooper set and build them with my son!! I decided to to do as much of the detailing by hand as I could. so far I'm really happy with the result the head still needs some scratches and damage. Also Admin - I really like the new system, this was uploaded and posted from my phone!!
  2. 1:43 Millennium Falcon Well, if you want EPIC, then this has to be the definition. In the next weeks, I'll start to put together an abridged build log for this model. For more info, check here: http://www.model-space.com/us/build-millennium-falcon.html Now, I simply can't build this 'as is'. That wouldn't be sporting...with all that interior detail etc. This will be enhanced further with multiple exterior lights, fibre optics in the interior, as well as lights in the corridors etc. It will also have some 3D-printed additions, as well as pulsating hyperdrive lights to replace the standard blue LED display. There will be other additions, but they are yet in planning stage. A number of mods on here, including some nice Paragrafix photo etch. How does that sound?
  3. So I'm interested in this very large scale Kit of the Millenium Falcon - supposedly a 1:1 scale model of the actual prop from the Empire Strikes Back. This is not an inexpensive kit, and is sold by subscription. does anyone have any experience with this supplier and kit? http://www.model-space.com/us/build-millennium-falcon.html I like the level of detail they provide - seems a great platform for adding additional detail. I guess my concern is with the overall price vs kit quality. If I'm going to shell out the serious coin they're asking, I want a kit hat is essentially perfect in fit and finish... any thoughts?
  4. 1:48 X-Wing Starfighter ‘Moving Edition’ Bandai Catalogue # 0196419 Available from Hobby Link Japan for 8,467Yen From Wookieepedia: The Incom T-65 X-wing starfighter was the primary all-purpose starfighter of the Rebel Alliance and its successor governments. Known for its versatility and exceptional combat performance, it was a favorite with Rebel and New Republic pilots. Possessing deflector shields, a hyperdrive, an R2 astromech for repairs and navigation, and a complement of proton torpedoes, the X-wing allowed the Rebellion to launch raids in Imperial space with improved odds of a successful mission. The X-wing played a major role in the Galactic Civil War following its capture on Fresia and the defection of its designers to the Alliance. It was most heralded as the fighter that destroyed the Death Star at the hands of Luke Skywalker. Later in the war, it would form the backbone of the Alliance Starfighter Corps, defending Alliance ships and leading attacks on Imperial vessels and installations. Most importantly, it could perform on near equal terms with the Empire's high-performance TIE fighters when handled by an experienced pilot. Pilots of Rogue Squadron favored using the multi-role X-wing fighter, flying it as often as they could on most missions; they only employed other craft for highly specialized missions, such as missions that required ion cannons. The X-wing was so predominantly flown by Rebel and New Republic forces that it became a symbol of their faction, much like the TIE fighter and Star Destroyer were symbols of the Galactic Empire. Thanks to continued upgrades to the basic design and improved tactics, the X-wing series remained one of the galaxy's predominant multi-role starfighters for over 40 years. First of all, it needs to be said that if you live outside of Bandai’s far eastern licence territories, then this is going to be like a kick in the balls. For reason’s only Disney can answer, the specific territorial licence for this region is now being strictly enforced, meaning that Bandai Star Wars products are only available there and NOT to other regions. If you want these, you’ll either have to ask a Japanese friend to get and ship to you, or you’ll have to take your chances with the chancers (and their inflated prices) on eBay. I’m really sorry to break that to you. I have my kit on pre-order for about fours months from HLJ, and thankfully they honoured that arrangement. I just wish I’d bought two! Courtesy, Deviantart The kit itself comes in a not insubstantial sized box ( size) with a seriously attractive image of a frontal attacking X-Wing on the upper lid. Various images around the side panels depict the model at different angles, showing the various features and functions of this particular edition. I’m a real fan of Bandai’s visuals on their kit boxes, and this is by far the very best, in my opinion. The box is also quite heavy, and this model is also a very reasonable size, despite it being 1:48 scale! Upon lifting the lid, the interior or split into two compartments. One of these contains the various coloured sprues, and the other a large black box containing the ‘action’ components of the kit. This kit contains EIGHT sprues that are moulded in a variety of colours. In some cases, you’ll see multiple colours per sprue, which is still something that I find a novelty. There’s no doubt that Bandai have mastered this process as the parts quality is unsurpassed, with no flash or flaw and no seams that are apparent. The clear parts are possibly the very best that I’ve ever seen from any manufacturer. All sprues aren’t individually bagged, but they have been packaged with serious care and attention, and are in perfect quality. Bandai’s plastic is also extremely high quality, and the whole model has been designed to fit together without using any glue. From my previous experience, the part fit is also spot on. SPRUE A This is moulded in THREE colours, and also contains CLEAR parts. The most obvious, the Rebel Alliance emblem is moulded in the red sector, and this clips to the base. The other red parts form fuselage and S-Foil panels. Two cream yellow parts form the panels on the forward upper fuselage, and the light grey mouldings include parts for the laser cannon and various other panels, plus parts for the R2 astromech. Clear parts include a whole single piece canopy with moulded frames, or you can use a two-part solution that has a separate frame that clips over it. Diffusers are included for the engine tail pipes, as well as a part for the instrument console and proton torpedo bay. SPRUE B This whole sprue is moulded in light grey styrene, and the four internal S-Foil panels are moulded here, as is the main lower fuselage and rear upper deck. Two pilots are included, for both sitting and standing position. The detail is just beautiful and will requite some nifty painting to do it justice. External X-Wing detail consists of fine panel lines and beautifully raised panels etc. The panel lines will easily take a wash if you want to paint and weather this model. SPRUES C1 & C2 These two light grey sprues contain the main S-Foil wings. Detail here really has to be noted as the inboard walkway panels with their treadboard detail is just amazing! It has to be seen to be believed. Extremely fine….. Also found here are the upper fuselage halves, two part nose cone, proton torpedo channels, rear fuselage chamber and forward engine cowls. SPRUE D (x2) Anything on this model that contains multiples, tends to be found on these two identical sprues. They contain forward laser cannon barrels, tips and flash suppressors, Incom 4L4 Fusial Thrust Engines, various other engine parts, landing gear and doors etc. Of particular note here are the thrust engines that are moulded as complete tubes, and yet retain excellent detail. We have some nifty slide moulding to thank for that miracle of technology! SPRUE E The only way to describe the colour of this sprue is that it appears to have a dark graphite sheen. It certainly helps to bring out the detail on various parts here. Look closely, and you’ll see the deflector and power shield generator panel that fits along the upper rear fuse, forward engine sections, cockpit tub, S-Foil servo actuator, undercarriage struts, and further cockpit parts, to name but a few. SPRUE F Moulded in a sort of bluish-dark grey plastic, this sprue contains canopy frames and the fuselage canopy sealing frames. Display stand and Mecha parts A large matt black box with Star Wars logo, contains the brains behind this outfit. Open one end and you’ll find the internal mecha-module for the X-Wing. This is moulded in light grey and has a series of LEDs and wires that run to the various locations on the model. It’s actually pretty obvious to where they run just by looking at the location of the wires on the block. Four of these with clear LED lenses, concern the engine tailpipes that glow red. Another clear LED runs into the area where the proton torpedoes will fire from, and a yellow LED will sit neatly behind the instrument console and illuminate the panel On the underside of this module is a small black socket into which you will plug the display stand. That stand is to be found in the larger box chamber, and is wrapped in cellophane. Moulded in black, a small screw secures the neck to the base. Be careful not to trap any wires here. Screws for fastening the parts are found in this mecha box. Spin the base over and unscrew the panel to fit 3 x AA size batteries. When you remove the protective cap from the connector plug, there is a recess in the bottom of the base, designed to store this little part. Now…..plug the mecha module to the base and switch on the power. The LEDs start to glow, except for the proton torpedo. Press the left hand button and the S-Foil motor will operate and the foils will open, complete with a really neat sound that looks like it was sampled from the movie. Press the button again and the foils will close. The sound itself comes from a speaker in the lower face of the stand. Press the middle button and the proton torpedo light starts to fade in and out, complete with electronic sounds. You may have heard about the demo mode that this unit has. Since everything is in Japanese, I had to fathom this myself. Turn OFF the model, hold down the left hand button and then power up the model. You will hear a couple of R2 astromech droid noises and then the model will go into a sequence of opening its foils, firing a torpedo and then closing the foils. The unit then powers down to save battery. There are other modes too, including silent, but I need to spend time fathoming them. If you look closely at the underside again, there are three more locations to store parts. If you wish to take the model OFF the stand and display by itself, then three plugs need to be inserted into the X-Wing, to hide the mounting points. Conversely, if you then wish to mount the model on the stand, these plugs can be stored underneath the base. To finish the base, the Rebel Alliance emblem is moulded in red styrene, and pushes onto the upper plinth. Once the model is fitted, its angle can be tilted due to the adjustable head. Decals/Stickers Decals Whilst this model is moulded in multicolour plastic, and there is no real need to paint it unless you want to weather the crap out of it (and who doesn’t!!), there is also a comprehensive decal sheet. Like any decals, you do need to apply these to a gloss surface, and from that, I imagine a painted one. The stickers are simply a duplication of the decals, and they do look very good, despite me being generally averse to anything that peels and sticks. I have used these on the 1:12 figures, and with no issue. The vibrancy of the decal sheet is a little greater than the stickers, but the stickers are cut to precisely fit, whereas you may need to manipulate the decals and trim carrier film. I’m actually quite tempted to NOT use many decals, except for key ones, and actually airbrush the various tinted and coloured panels. I think this would be useful in order to maintain much of the intricate surface detail. Stickers Please note that a small metallic sticker sheet is included, and these printed stickers are designed to shield wire looms from view (engines) and to hold various wires in situ during construction. Instructions Unlike the fold-out sheets that come with the figures, this publication is a proper booklet that is stapled. The illustrative quality is fantastic, BUT, it’s all in Japanese. This means you will need to pay careful attention to every single detail, so that nothing is missed. The instructions do seem to jump around a little in areas, but there is a logic to them. If you have a smartphone (and who doesn’t?), I advise you use a free, real-time translator scanner app. You can hover the phone over the instructions and you see them magically appear in English (or Engrish!!) on your phone screen. Decals and stickers (or painting!) will need to be added as construction progresses, and specific markings are illustrated throughout construction. The rear of the manual also has a final, comprehensive set of model photos that have annotation for these. This also extends to the pilot and R-2 unit. A generalised colour guide is also provided. Conclusion As I said, I really wish I’d bought two of these, or maybe even three. The kit is just mind-blowing, with exceptional levels of detail and authenticity. The fact that it lights up and spews sound at you too is just the icing on the cake. You might be in mourning for missing up the chance to build a FineMolds kit when they were generally available, but seriously, if you have one of these, then you’ll be as happy as a pig in the proverbial. This isn’t a walk in the park to build when you consider the Japanese instructions and the complexity of the model, but it is one that will look amazing in your collection when finished and weathered with blaster marks etc. Recommended? Damn right!!!!! Review sample courtesy of my wallet.
  5. Well, I reviewed this here yesterday. I said I couldn't wait to build the Scout Trooper, I just didn't expect to build it today or this fast. Its like the other Bandai kits in that it basically snaps together. So far not a drop of glue on this kit. Hardly any cleanup of the kit if you're careful to cut it off the sprue and most of the joins are hidden in creases or where there are natural line. It almost fell together and took a whole 90 minutes at most. All of the sprues, pre-coloured, are gloss. The under-suit though of the Scout Trooper though is matt as its cloth. To get around this I sprayed all of the gloss black suit parts (not the poly caps though) with Vallejo Matt which always comes up the most matt finish Ive ever seen. Once the figure was complete though I noticed that the gloves are semi-gloss black so I did a quick masking job and over-sprayed the gloves in a semi-gloss varnish (Vallejo again). Otherwise this is OOB at the moment. Decals are great using setting solution and adhere well and make a real difference, especially around the face. So a few pictures before more words... With gun in hand. There are a few hand combinations both armed and unarmed, plus a set of hands that moulded to fit the handle bars on the Speeder Bike itself. The gun can also be stowed in the leg pocket on the figures right leg, a nice touch. So, pictures of him unarmed. My only issue is illustrated below. To allow the feet to be posed on the Speeder Bike pedals the ankles of the figure have to be articulated. Most of the joints are hidden most of the time depending on the pose. The only one thats visible all the time is the ankles. Once I decide how its going to be posed I will probably fill the gaps in the ankles and then spray the filled joints gloss white to match the boots. More to come once I start the bike. I guess at that point I need to choose whether he goes on the bike or stays as a standalone. He's also going to need some weathering too.
  6. Hello All, Well I have completed another one of the Bandai Star Wars kits. This time its the R2-D2 kit that comes in a 2 droid set of R2-D2 and R5-D4. He builds in no time and shouldnt need paint. That said for the Chrome parts I used Alclad Chrome (sprayed over the coloured plastic) and for the dome of the head I used Alclad Duralumin as the silver plastci in both cases looks a bot toy like. He comes our really well and I can really recommend these kits, theyre a change, really easy, very accurate it seems and come with all sorts of extra's. He has arms and actuators as seen in the various films but I chose to leave him in his standard state. Eventually I intend to weather him and C3-PO up and place them on a sand base doing them as if they have just climbed out the Escape Capsule at the start of Star Wars A New Hope. Enough words, time for pictures. And here he is with his companion And finally with the other figures built so far.
  7. 1/48 Bandai Star Wars Snowspeeder. Bandai Kit Ref: 996692 Priced Yen 1,920 (about £15 before pnp and customs if they get you). Anyone who knows me knows I love Star Wars. I have done since I was 6 and saw it in the cinema in 1971 when it was released. When Bandai said they were the new official kit suppliers my heart kind of sank, the kits that were done by Fine Molds were great and I had high hopes for more. Given Bandai's reputation as a toy manufacturer I cant say I held out much hope. How wrong was I! Ive had the lot on order since I saw the 1st reviews and this is my 1st review here of one of these kits. I have the rest. It is just that Jim seems to have beaten me to the gig every time. Must have less to do than I do Though he's a bit busy right now so I figured I'd jump in and review this whilst I can get a word in edgeways. The Box. The Kit comes in a great sturdy glossy little box with what I think is really nice cover art. Oh how I wish they would do the At-AT walker in the background in the same scale. That'd make a great diorama. The box looks like this: The Instructions. The Instructions are up to the same standard as the other kits. That is that they are in Japanese and anyone who wants to read them needs a translator. The pictures and markings for each part though are very clear, the build looks really easy and they have put in some good presentation on the diagrams and illustrations. The Sprues. There are only 5 sprues. This isn't a big kit. What is there though is exquisite. I have built the Fine Molds kit in the same scale and this is up there for detail. I'd say its almost a copy but there are subtle differences and the feel of this kit is of a much more modern one (who'd have thought the original Fine Molds one is about 6 years old now?). As Jim mentioned in one of his reviews that somehow on the 1st sprue Bandai have managed to mix black kit parts with clear. It is amazing how they did this and some may see it as a gimmick. I guess it is but it doesn't make it any less impressive to me. There is a base and stand included on one sprue and in all cases the moulding detail and the panel lines are very even, crisp and up there with any other manufacturers kits I have seen. All the other sprues are as standard, except the clear Red/Pink one. This has some simulated laser shots on it so once can show the ship in action firing the forward guns. Pictures of the sprues are below: The Decals. These are really nicely done, thin and look to have little carrier film if any in some cases. Final Thoughts. Because I don't read Japanese and given the coloured nature of the sprues it makes me wonder if Bandai, like the other kits they have released recently, give the less experienced modeller the chance to do the whole kit unpainted with the sprues being coloured and no need for paint? This does seem the case when you look at it and from a viewpoint of encouraging less experienced and young people into modelling I think its to be applauded. Of course those amongst us who like a bit of fun can really go to town on Star Wars. Everything is weathered to within an inch of its life and that battered lived in look (at least for Rebel items) is almost encouraged. There were rumours that Bandai were going to ban shipping outside Asia Pacific (Revell have the Star Wars Franchise rights in Europe and the USA). I really hope they don't as these are some great little kits. I myself, as I wrote above, love Star Wars but having built the Fine Molds one in the same scale (and having enjoyed every second of that) did wonder if I wanted to build this kit too. Then I saw the following picture.... Its a promotional image from the Computer Game Star Wars: Battlefront and as soon as I saw it I knew I needed a 2nd Snowspeeder. This'll be my inspiration for the next build. If anyones interested the Fine Molds one I built is this one: In summary anyone who loves Star Wars will be thinking of getting this Im sure. If you are not you should. For anyone else I guess its down to whether you like the look, fancy something different or just want to weather the life out of something and if you do I think this is the one, or one of the ones, for you. Highly Recommended. I bought this from Hobby Link Japan but it can be found on some importers sites.
  8. Hello again, Well after putting up all of the pictures Ive taken so far of the Banda Kits I've built I figured I should show the final one so far. I still have the R2-D2 and R4-D4 to do as well as Darth Vader in the figures so far, I guess I will do R2-D2 to go with this guy next. So, as the others he bascially falls together. A little less complicated than the Scout Trooper and Stormtrooper as there are less optional fittings here. There are 2 sorts of arms that allow either poseable arms or the fixed arms you see here. The poseable ones look less realistic so I opted for the fixed ones and they're in the classic C3-PO pose anyway. He does have 2 head choices one with dent one without (I chose dent) and theres the ability to have his 'eye' hanging out on a stalk too like in return of the Jedi. The stomach and back of the legs have decals for most of the wiring and theyre pretty good with some setting solution. This one has no paint at all on it so far other than the black lock he has on his chest which in photo's shows a silver border and centre which Ive painted here with Vallejo acrylics. Again you need to be careful removing parts from the sprue so as not to damage the gold plating too much, that said most of the sprue stubs are in areas not generally on view. He also has a silver leg which I used here for a bit of variation, this is seen in some scenes in the movies. I will dull him down a bit and weather him as I'd like to show him, along with R2-D2 as if on Tatooine after they crash down in the desert after escaping the Empire at the start of Star Wars: A New Hope. The gold is pretty difficult to photograph well but I think they came out OK. Enjoy. And one last one with the team so far
  9. Hi all, Well after building the 1/12 Scout Trooper I figured I should try one of the others. So, out came the 1/12 Stormtrooper. Same sort of build as the Scout Trooper, very fast, looks very good and all one would do once the pose was finalised is maybe glue and fill the gaps in the joints for the arms and legs. I might get round to that eventually. The only paint on him is across the nose where there is a grey area, the decal looked wrong so I painted it with vallejo blue/grey. A nice feature is the poseability for now and the fact that he has multiple (3) weapons all of which can be interchanged and the smallest pistol and blaster can also be placed in the black holster on his leg. You can even choose whether he is left or right handed. Very cool. I hope you like the pictures. Cheer for now...
  10. 1/48 Bandai Star Wars Scout Trooper and Speeder Bike. Bandai Kit Ref: 0196693 Priced Yen 4,000 (about £30 before pnp and customs if they get you). Once again Bandai answers a long standing wish of mine. Since building the AMT/ERTL kit of the same subject when I was a child I have always wanted to get another kit of this subject and do it some justice. Well my dreams have been answered and this kit is really a great one from my point of view. Like all of the other Star Wars Bandai kits reviewed here by myself and Jim these are only available for import from Japan. I use the well known HLJ for this and every time a new kit comes up I add it to my wish list/warehouse there and just wait for release. The reason its only import is that the license for Star Wars in Europe is held by Revell whereas its held by Bandai in Japan and I guess the two companies have a non-compete clause across the world with respect to Star Wars. Personally I think this is a bad move but thats between LucasArts, Disney, Revell and Bandai to work out. There were rumours that Disney may block shipping Bandai out of Japan and Revell out of Europe, I hope not and so far its still a good (if expensive if the Tax Man gets you) route for these kits. The Kit. The box art (above) is really evocative of the Speeder Bike from the Star Wars movie (Return of the Jedi) and shows the Speeder in pursuit of its foes through the forests of Endor. Its a really nice, shiny and well built box. Its packed to the full with kit pieces too. Effectively this is two kits in one. One of the Scout Trooper himself. Personally I think this is the coolest armour of any of the Imperials in Star Wars, maybe the Tie Fighter pilot comes close but this wins it for me, so just for the Trooper I'd have paid a premium, but with the Speeder Bike its just a win win for me. Given its two kits my review will take two parts, the Scout Trooper and the Bike as two mini reviews. The Scout Trooper. As all of the previous kits the trooper builds from multi colour multi media pieces, some sprues have more than one colour on them, something that continues to surprise me in a good way. The Trooper is predominantly gloss white (needs some weathering for a good representation of an Endor Trooper) and black. His armour being white and the under suit being black. In this kit there's also some brown in there for the soles of his boots. A decent touch. The main parts are contained in the 1st three sprues pictured below whilst there is a fourth sprue that is made of a softer rubber style plastic which is all the joints in the figure. This allows one to either display the figure standing or in an action pose or he can be placed upon the bike itself. A nice touch I think. This also seems to follow other Japanese manufacturers who often allow posing of figures and models, this reminds me of Wave Ma.K kits I've built in the past. There is a separate base for the Trooper and Ive noticed that all of the bases of the figures so far are the same and are inter-lockable. I guess Bandai are allowing for figure collectors who'd like to display all their figures together, another nice touch. The Main Figure Sprues (above) and the rubber 'joints' (below). The Speeder Bike. As mentioned above the Speeder Bike could be considered a kit in itself. Its very nicely moulded, as all of the other sprues is completely flash free and is again coloured, just like the Scout Trooper. In the case of the Speeder Bike the plastic is a deep grey and a brown colour. These match closely the colours of the 'real' thing and so for a more casual modeller they could suffice. Of course most of us, including me, will paint these but as a means of introducing younger or less experienced modellers to the hobby I think this is a great move. Again this comes with its own base, this time consisting of a forest floor piece and what looks like the lower half of a tree. This allows a small, invisible from one side, support to attach to the bike and give a sense of the bike either hovering whilst at rest of flying through the sky with the Scout Trooper posed onboard. The Speeder Bike and its components arranged on three multi colour sprues (above). The Decals. There are decals for both the Trooper and the Bike but there are two options here. For the less experienced modeller there is a set of self adhesive decals available (on the green backing paper) and for the more experienced a set of slide decals (on the blue backing paper). Again a great option that allows the less proficient modeller to still build a representative kit. The Decals. Waterslide (left) and Self Adhesive (right). The Instructions. Being for the Japanese Market the instructions are completely in Japanese other than the odd title here and there. This shouldn't give too many issues as we can all Im sure work out the colour scheme. Whats also common with the other Bandai kits is the quality of the instructions, they're great. Very well presented, illustrated and annotated (though I wish I could read Japanese). The Colour Callouts on the back page are great and show a weathered bike to give the modeller a few ideas, again a great touch. The Bases. As I mentioned above there is a seperate base for the Trooper (black) and one for the bike (brown). These are a great touch and the interlocking of each to each other or to other ones in the series is a great little feature. The Bases for the Speeder Bike (left) and Scout Trooper (right). Conclusion. Well you probably already guessed, I love this kit and cant wait to get to the build itself. The Trooper is cool, the bike is cool, two together is super cool so I'll be building these at the soonest opportunity. The bonus is that for someone who enjoys weathering these two also have endless opportunities for fun. Highly Recommended. Available from Hobby Link Japan (HLJ.com) and other Japanese Importers.
  11. Another Bandai Kit knocked off! Again completed in a day... Painted with Mr Color and washed with AK Interactive Grey Wash for Grey Decks and NATO Wash.
  12. So this is Bandai's Tie Advance x1 in 72nd.. Fantastic kit..Took less than a day to complete. Painted with Mr Color Blue Grey and weathered with AK Interactive NATO Wash.
  13. 1:12 Stormtrooper Bandai Catalogue # Available from Hobby Link Japan for ¥1,920 I recently took a look at Bandai’s new C-3PO release, and was pretty impressed with it. That was a subject I’ve always enjoyed since I was a kid, so I really couldn’t resist buying that one. However, Threepio was the only character to make the flight here from Japan. I also ordered the R2-D2 & R5-D4, Darth Vader, and the Stormtrooper kits. The latter is what I’m looking at today. I imagine that most of you will recognise the Stormtrooper instantly. This character, one of the evil Empire’s foot-soldiers, is famed for being able to shoot absolutely nothing, despite being deployed in great numbers. Irrespective of that, for me, this is just one of the coolest looking Sci-Fi creations of all time. Bandai’s box, as with C-3PO, shows an action shot of the character on the lid, with the posing options printed on the box edges. The box is another high quality, lustrous affair, and certainly an attractive entrée to the main course that we’ll now see. We have a slightly smaller sprue count that we did with C-3PO, with there being two bags containing FOUR sprues. One main sprue is moulded in white, and the other in black, with a couple of white parts moulded on there too. The remaining sprues are the polythene joint connector one, and also the mandatory display stand. Two decal sheets are included. These are identical, but give you a choice between waterslide decal and regular stickers. SPRUE A Underneath that shiny white armour, the Stormtrooper wore a black suit, and this is exactly what you find here, in a multitude of pieces; some recognisable, and others, not so much. Easily identifiable are upper and lower torso halves, into which fit the polycaps that the arms, legs and head plug into. The black suit doesn’t actually exist in its full form, under the white armour. Bandai have tackled this by moulding the various articulated joints in black, hiding those polycap parts again. Black parts are included which supplement the main white helmet armour. The kit is essentially designed so that painting isn’t necessary. As with C-3PO, options are yet again made available. In the case of the Stormtrooper, you can chose from four sets of hands with different poses, and of course, you will be able to mix and match between them, creating a far higher range of unique posing options. Those hands will also need something to grip, and there are THREE weapon options here, as well as an optional pouch which fits to the soldier’s utility belt. This even comes with a strap to securely fasten the weapon in place. Parts you will recognise on here are the ribbed, fabric neck protection, and the various parts of the helmet which are black, such as the eyes, mouth and the band which sits below the helmet dome. Notice also the display stand insert which is designed to specifically match the Stormtrooper’s foot. Two white parts are moulded here which form the left and right hand pouches which are fastened to the soldier’s utility belt. SPRUE B Seams could always have a potential to ruin your day with a project like this, but Bandai have done a great job in hiding these down the sides of ridges etc. A good example of this are the leg and arm parts. On the real thing, a beading runs down the sides or fronts of these key areas, and the seam runs immediately adjacent to that bead. Quite nifty, and a very good way to make this a pleasurable build. Whilst the engineering of this kit is generally very clever with regard to hiding seams, it may be a little less so with the helmet. The lower rear portion is moulded as left and right halves, with the seam running down the middle of the area. It’s no big deal to be able to remove this if painting later, but I can’t vouch for that if you want to leave this in bare plastic. Apart from that, the helmet is superbly designed with a total of 6 parts going into its construction. This model is fully articulated, as the separate upper and lower torso parts clearly indicate. Most of the external armour parts on this kit are used either or both in conjunction with the black sprue parts and the flexible joints sprue. The lower torso, built up from several parts including the detailed forward control panel. One thing I notice with this kit, as opposed to the C-3PO release is that the sprue connections aren’t on the joint faces but on the part paces themselves. Thankfully, Bandai have made these absolutely minimal, and some of the most thoughtful sprue gate implementation I’ve seen. SPRUE PC As I noted in the C-3PO review, it seemed that this sprue was common to all releases, and it does appear to be that way. Look on ‘PC’ as meaning ‘polycap’. Again, not all parts here are designed for use with this kit, and the plastic itself is flexible, aiding articulation of your finished project. Essentially, this sprue contains all the joint connectors and flexible sockets that fit within both the under-suit and armour of the Stormtrooper. The flexible torso connector is also a common part to the C-3PO release. SPRUE SWB2 The last sprue is again a common item, containing the display stand into which you will add the specific insert from the first sprue, designed to fit the Stormtrooper. The base is plain and black, and I would again look at doing something with this to represent the flooring in the Death Star, or similar. Plastic Summary I’m becoming quite a fan of Bandai’s quality of engineering and moulding, with the end result being very mindful of the modeller’s overall enjoyment. No defects can be seen, nor flash, seams and sink marks. Ejection pin marks simply don’t figure here. A triumph! DECALS Yes, even the Stormtrooper has a few of these, represented in both sticker and waterslide decal format. I would of course, always choose the waterslide type, and a little setting solution. Printing in both cases is excellent, with perfect register and nice detail. INSTRUCTIONS I’m not really a fan of Bandai’s format here. I wasn’t too bothered last time I reviewed C-3PO, but I have to say that a booklet would have been easier to handle and follow, instead of a long strip with both sides containing assembly detail spread among completed images etc. Still, you shouldn’t have too much trouble, unless you work on a small table. Just remember not to leave it all unfolded! Illustration is pretty clear, with the character being split into drawings in which the shaded portion is the one currently being constructed. The sheet also illustrates the options available in this release. Conclusion It must be the kid in me, but I’ve always wanted to build a model of a Stormtrooper, and this pretty much captures the look and feel of the character. I’m not sure if the waist looks a little thin, but in all, I can’t really complain. I do think a nice touch would have been a Han Solo or Luke Skywalker head, and a hollow helmet, allowing you to pose the figure as one of the good guys in the Stormtrooper armour, as seen in the first film. Hey, we can’t have it all ways. I think in some ways, we’re becoming spoilt. This really is a great little kit, and also very affordable. I just hope you don’t spend all your man-cave time posing him instead of building further projects! Highly Recommended Review kit courtesy of my wallet. To purchase directly, click THIS link. James H
  14. 1:12 C-3PO ‘Protocol Droid’ Bandai Catalogue # BAN996418 Available from Hobby Link Japan for ¥2,800 This one really needs no introduction. If you’ve never heard of, or seen C-3PO, then you must’ve been living with your head rammed in a certain physical extremity, for the last 40 years almost. This is probably the most lovable and well-known arthropod droid that has ever hit the silver screen. Along with his sidekick, R2-D2, this golden tin can character is probably one of the most loved from the original Star Wars film trilogy. Bandai? I always thought they produced electronic video games! I suppose I'm showing my age How I remember Bandai C-3PO (or Threepio) is just one of a number of 1:12 Star Wars figures that have been released by Bandai, and one of four that I have here. I decided to look at this one first, simply to show both the technologies and design features that Bandai have crammed into this release. If you can remember the 1:48 Fieseler Storch that Tamiya released a few years ago, then you will have found the coloured/clear sprue to have been quite a novelty. That seems to be pretty par for the course these days, with some manufacturers. Bandai have used this to good effect; not just with colour, but also with some sprue parts being flexible. Bandai’s Star Wars releases look just sumptuous in their presentation. As with the other kits in this series, this one is packaged into a highly glossy box that shows the main character on the lid, and with a series of model images and options highlighted around the box edges. Unfortunately, all descriptive text is in Japanese, so I can’t readily translate for you. If you have a Smartphone, such as the iPhone, then there are real-time translators that can hack this text for you. C-3PO contains SIX sprues, some of which are sub-divided into a number of other sprues, and packed into heat-sealed cellophane wrappers. Two packets contain a number of connected sprues that are plated in a gold, mirror finish. Another has a single sprue that is chrome plated. C-3PO had a replacement leg which wasn’t of the same gold finish, and this caters to that, as well as a number of other parts. One packet contains two black sprues (one rigid and one flexible), plus a waterslide decal sheet. The last packet is the most unusual sprue I have EVER seen. It is mainly black styrene, but also has gold, red and clear elements, with the red parts appearing to be flexible. That is a neat bit of moulding on behalf of Bandai. Very impressive. SPRUE A This is the sprue which really captivates me due to its multicolour mouldings. The predominantly black moulding contains a number of interconnection parts, such as the torso midriff and the inside hand. The famous torso with its wiring is well depicted here. This is supplemented by a few parts that are moulded in red plastic too, plus mute gold. What this kit does supply are decals in both waterslide and sticker format, and a sticker/decal is supplied for the midriff connecting point. Clear parts are provided for the eyes, and also the electronics module that is located in the panel on the rear of C-3PO’s torso. Look at the arms of C-3PO, and you will see various linkages. Most of these are integral to the mouldings we’ll see in a moment, but the extras are provided here. If you want these to match the other parts, then you really need to airbrush them in something akin to Mr Metal Color Brass/Gold. These are far friendlier to apply than the Alclad colours, and don’t have the same noxious whiff. SPRUE B1 This is a single sprue, and one that is gold plated. A good number of C-3PO’s key parts are here, such as the head shell parts, upper torso, lower torso, and some head and connective parts. Two chest plates are included, one of which has an attachment part of some sort. Sorry, I can’t elaborate further, but if you are a Star Wars buff, you may know exactly what this is. That forward plate is interchangeable too, with the part simply plugging over an internal plate, also on this sprue. Look at the rear torso plate and you can see that the access door for the electronics unit, is a separate part. That electronics unit is also included and the door can be removed to show this. The head is split into a rear shell, interconnecting plate, and the forward shell. Two options are provided here, with one of them having a dent in the forehead. Again, I don’t know the significance of this. I only ever saw the first Star Wars film, and that’s where my knowledge begins and ends. Clear parts are provided for the eyes. I was just thinking how great it would be to model these with a nice, soft light filtering through them. I think I may just do that, as there is plenty of space in the stand to house a switch and any resistors required. That stand also comes with an optional post onto which Threepio can be mounted (charging post?), and because of this, a small plate to the rear of the lower torso, can be removed if you want to pose the model like this for a while. I have to say it does nothing for me, and perhaps detracts a little from the character standing on its own two feet. Other parts on this sprue include one of the integral arm halves, ball sockets for both arms, one of the knee joints, upper left leg halves and electronics unit panel. SPRUES B2/B4/B5/B6/B7/B8 These sprues are connected together to make a larger sprue, and again all finished in metallic gold. It’s now that we see a couple of other options. Notice that the regular bent arms are supplied as halves, with the actuators moulded on them. If you want to pose the arms in a less bent position, then you can make these from a series of individual parts, such as upper/lower halves and separate actuators. It will be useful to use one of these other arms if you wish to pose the model in this iconic way, as the arms and hands can rotate. Optional hands are also included, with the fingers less bent on one set. I really do like the options available here. Due to the arm actuators, it wasn’t really feasible to have a fully moving unit, and I think Bandai’s compromise is certainly very workable. All limbs are movable to a degree, including the legs, and here you see the upper right leg, and the lower left, plus the left foot with a separate sole. Bandai also did a great job of moulding the upper arm/shoulder connection parts, although these are a number of parts that unfortunately have the sprue connections on the part face. As these are very minor parts, they will easily be touched up. SPRUE B3 The reason this sprue is moulded separately is instantly evident. Yes, it’s finished in chrome, and not gold. C-3PO had a chrome finish lower right leg which was obviously shown to be either a replacement, or from another droid. As a result, this sprue contains the lower leg halves, knee joint, actuator, foot and sole. Lastly, the electronics unit is to be found here. SPRUE PC ‘PC’, I hear you say. Yes! I think the best way to look at this is that it might mean ‘Poly cap’. The plastic is flexible, and contains a multitude of joint connectors. Instructions show that not all of these parts are to be used, so it must a sprue that is common to a number of releases. As well as the joint connectors, the flexible torso connectors are also moulded here. SPRUE SWB3 This last sprue contains the model’s plinth. As this is a common part, it has a hole within it that is plugged with a specific part on the first black sprue. Notice that a small connector part is also supplied, which is ideal for joining the base for the R2-D2 kit. With these joined, I might be inclined to add some yellow sand to the base, simulating the Tatooine surface. Plastic Summary Moulding is seriously high quality, with plenty of detail and minimal clean up required. The latter is essential when you consider the metal plating on the majority of parts. No defects can be seen, and you really don’t need to worry about ejector pin marks here! DECALS As I have already mentioned, both waterslide and sticker options are given for all of these. I’m not a fan of stickers, and at least with the decals, you’ll be able to get them to bed down nicely with setting solutions. Printing, in both cases, is excellent. Instructions This is printed on a long, fold-out sheet, and shows every single section of the model, referenced against a drawing that highlights the specific section under construction. Very clever, but then, quite necessary as most folks simply won’t be able to understand the Japanese text. Options aren’t as obvious to start with, and you will need to study the instructions for a couple of hours first. Printing is in a combination of black & white, plus colour, with a number of model photographs included. Conclusions Just wow!! I know some modellers will be concerned with plated parts, and won’t like them……BUT, remember that this finish is a perfect base onto which to add a combination of satin and matt varnishes to simulate the tarnished finish of the real thing. Accentuated with grime and sand, then you really should have a replica of C-3PO that is very close to the movie character. You will need to follow the instructions illustrations closely so that you understand the options available to you, but that is only because of my lack of understanding of the Japanese language! Whilst I’m no fan of Sci-Fi, this and a number of other kits from the same range, are manna from heaven for me. These iconic characters were a big part of my childhood, and to see them immortalised in an amazing kit is just what I’ve wanted to see for many years. Thanks for fulfilling that guilty passion, Bandai! VERY highly recommended Review kit courtesy of my own wallet. To buy this directly, click THIS link. James H
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