Monday, February 6, 2017

Bandai Star Wars Vehicle Model First Order TIE-Fighter set review

Hello my friends!

If you follow me personally on facebook you might know that I received two extra Bandai Kits. Today I will unbox and review the First Order TIE-Fighter set and I will do the Millenium Falcon (hopefully) next week. 

A couple of weeks ago I took a look at the Imperial Star Destroyer in this range of models. The diorama I'm working on is almost complete! 

Back to the TIE's! 

This kit features both the TIE/fo and the TIE/sf space superiority fighters. The First Order TIE's have a similar design to the old Galactic Empire TIE/ln fighters but are basically upgraded versions. The TIE/fo has deflector shields and improved solar cells while the TIE/sf is outfitted with a hyperdrive and has place for a pilot and a gunner to operate the ventral turret. The TIE/sf is reserved for the First Order's most elite pilots.


Enough with the background information. It's a Bandai kit so officially it's only sold in Japan. Thanks to Ebay I was able to buy this kit for $4.60 which for what you get is a steal! It's Bandai so details are great and the kit is easy to put together. This is kit number 004.

The box states this kit is suited for kids from 3y/o and up but I'm a bit skeptical about that. I don't have kids but I think it's more for like 8y/o and up due to the small pieces and the skill required to cut it from the sprue and put the model together. 

That doesn't take away from the fact that this is a very accessible kit in both price and required skill for younger people whether they are interested in model building or if they just want some cool Star Wars toys. 

Now let's open up this box!
Just like the Star Destroyer, the instructions on how to put the models together are printed on the inside of the box. Most probably to reduce costs. It has a nice, old-school vibe to it. Unlike most Bandai kits, some of the instructions are written in English, although the instructions are simple enough to just figure it out.


This kit comes with a little sticker sheet. I'm kind of disappointed that they didn't add decals as well, as I really don't like using stickers. I won't be using these anyway as I will be painting the model but I do want to share my opinion about it. 


Comparable to the Star Destroyer kit, we find five sprues numbered A1 through A4 and BM1. A4 holds a wing, TIE/fo front half, a cockpit window and two bottom plates. fist thing I noticed is that the wings are completely black. The TIE/fo is supposed to have white solar cells and there are no stickers for this. Again, I'm going to paint it anyway so it's no problem for me but I was expecting more from a Bandai kit. 


On sprue A3 we find another wing, the rear half of a TIE/fo cockpit, a bottom hatch and a piece of the stand. 


Sprue A1 holds a TIE/sf wing, the TIE/sf front half of the cockpit, a cockpit window and a bottom hatch. It also contains the TIE/sf heavy laser turret.


Sprue A2 holds the last TIE wing, again for the TIE/sf, the back of the TIE/sf cockpit, a bottom hatch and two parts of the hull that are supposed to be colored red.


The same as with the Imperial Star Destroyer, the sprue labeled BM1 hold the parts for the stand.


The model is easy to cut out of the sprue and easy to put together. Keep in mind that the wings have little pegs where they connect to the TIE and they will only go on one specific way.


For ease of painting the solar cells, I didn't glue on the wings yet.


Just a quick and dirty paintjob. I painted the whole model in black, painted a gloss varnish over the cockpit window and painted the struts in a medium gray. If you are hand painting it, don't forget that the TIE/fo also has two small windows on the top hatch and the TIE/sf also has a back window for the rear gunner. 

Below you can see the TIE/sf mostly assembled. I left the cockpit window out because I still had to paint the parts of the hull that are supposed to be red and if you put in the cockpit window before installing these hull parts, you can't put them in later!!! I make these mistakes so you don't have to.




That concludes today's article. Eventually I will turn the TIE/sf into another crash site from Star Wars: the Force Awakens. More on this later or on my personal facebook. 

I hope you enjoyed reading it!

Untill next time!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Bandai Star Wars Vehicle Model Star Destroyer review

Hi friendly folks!

For those of you who've seen last weeks sneak-peak or if you follow me on facebook and/or Instagram might know that I'm working on a diorama of the crashed star destroyer on Jakku from 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'.

An image released before the theater release of Star Wars 7
Now at first I was using a Revell model that was about 13cm long (the box says the scale is 1:12300) but the details are not really to my liking. I found another Star Destroyer model that is roughly the same scale that would fit my base.

I ended up with the Bandai Star Wars Vehicle model 001. Apparently, in Japan where these are sold, they are super cheap! (about $4 or so) I found some on eBay, ranging $5-10 excl. shipping and ordered one from the eBay trader hobby_japan. It arrived about a week later, well before I expected to receive it.

Now, Bandai is famous for their Gundam mech suit kits. They also released a very detailed Star Wars line, rivaling much pricier brands like Fine Molds and alike and I wrote an article about their 1:72 T-65 X-Wing fighter. Near the end of 2016 they started releasing these smaller-scaled miniatures more accessible for children, budget-wise and skill-wise. The box doesn't mention a scale but I calculated it to be around 1:14500.

Okay, enough talk, let's take a closer look!


The box is about 8x15cm, small enough to hold in your hand. But good things come in small packages so let's open it up!


Rather than adding a booklet with instructions, Bandai printed the instructions for building the Star Destroyer on the inside of the box and another thing I noticed is that instead of just having the instructions in Japanese they also added English translations.




Inside the box, we find five sprues numbered A1 through A4 and BM1. On A1 you will find the engine of the Star Destroyer along with the hangar and most of the bridge. On A2 you will find the dorsal half of the hull. On A3 you will find the superstructure, the details for inside the trench and the thrusters from the engines. Sprue A4 holds the ventral half of the hull and the sensor spheres/shield generators. BM1 is the stand.

A closer look at sprue A1
A closer look at sprue A2
A closer look at sprue A3
A closer look at sprue A3
A closer look at sprue BM1
Building the Star Destroyer is really easy (like pretty much all Bandai kits) and requires very little to no clean up. There are no visible mold lines, it comes clean out of the sprue and only needs the occasional touch of a sanding stick to clean up where the hull was connected to the sprue.

ATTENTION!
The only place where you really need to pay attention is when you are placing the trench details. If you don't attach them correctly to the dorsal half of the hull, you won't be able to put the dorsal and ventral half together without making some small modifications. Guess how this dumbass found out...
Placing the trench details on the hull
After putting the whole thing together I compared some of the details with the Revell model I already prepared for this diorama. The main reason why I put the project on hold is because I wasn't satisfied with the details on the Revell Star Destroyer model. Putting them side by side gives a good impression.
Here you can see the size difference.
Details are hard to see due to the bare plastic.
Comparing this with the picture below makes it obvious that the
details on the superstructure and bridge are far superior.
While being a bigger scale model, the details are just simple,
geometrical shapes on the Revell model.
Also, the sensor globe/shield generator, while just
being a sphere on the Revell model, has little details
on it on the Bandai kit. 
One of the few parts where I have to give a point to Revell.
The reactor core/fuel cell (the semi-sphere)
is more detailed and looks more to scale on Revell's kit.
So all in all I'm really happy that I decided to switch models. I might not be able to do some of the damage I was planning initially but I'll have to fix that in the paint job. For now, I'm done building miniature Star Destroyers.

The finished result!
The model is about 11cm long
I hope you enjoyed reading this review and comparison article. Next step for me will be to prepare the model so that I can continue with the diorama.

TO THE BANDSANDER!!!

Hehe... See you all next time!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Sneak-peak, Crashed Star Destroyer

Hey everybody!

Sorry for not posting anything in a while but I didn't have much to post about lately.

I am working on a project, a crashed Imperial Star Destroyer in either a desert or a snowy glacier.
I was halfway working on the model when I found a model that was far superior in details so I ordered a new model halfway the project.

I won't leave you all hanging, I will share some pictures of the old project.




That's all I can tell and show you all about this now. I guess you can kind of see this as a sneak preview of an upcoming article.

Hope you don't mind the short article.

Cya next time! Happy painting! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

How to turn a picture frame into a display plinth

Hello and welcome if you are new and welcome back if you are a regular reader! ­čśŐ

Today I will show you how to create a very simple and very cheap display plinth for scale model tanks (Example 1), airplanes ships or dioramas. You could even turn it into a squad display (Example 2) if you are into wargamers.

The very long list of requirements for this is:
A dollar store beveled picture frame.
That's it.

10*15cm beveled picture frame 
For this specific display, I picked a 10cm x 15cm frame, but you can pick whatever fits your project.
So first remove the back of the frame and the glass that is supposed to cover your picture.

removing the back of the frame
Get rid of the stand and any other bits they might have added to hang it on your wall or anything.
Place the back of the picture frame in front of the frame like shown in the picture.

I used a sturdy sculpting tool to remove the metal bits
Now place your model(s) on it and start planning how to build your base. Thus could be an ocean, beach, landings trip, a simple road or a more elaborate scene. Whatever you want. If you want, you can paint the whole thing in a uniform color to get a better idea of how it will eventually look. 

Final result!

Example 1

Example 2
I hope you found this article helpful! What do you use for plinths? Please share any tips or questions you might have in the comments!

Good luck and happy painting!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

G├╝rmuz, the barbarian + academic bust review

Hi, everybody and welcome back!

Lately, I got more busts then I am able to paint but I want to at least, show them to you all and share my opinion about them.

Warning, brace yourself for a long one!

My latest acquisition is G├╝rmiz, by Hera Models. I got this bust during their anniversary event, so it came as a pack with the academic orc bust and got a nice discount. The bust is sculpted by Raul Garcia Latorre and it is based on the concept art of Victor Guerra.

Sadly, the anniversary sale has ended and everything went back to their normal prices. This means that G├╝rmuz, a limited edition bust, sells for €50 and that the academic orc bust can be bought for €27. (or your regional equivalent)


Let's do this unboxing! I will start with the smaller but not less impressive academic orc bust.

Safely packaged in a hard cardboard container


The bust is about 5cm tall and it depicts a part of the naked torso and scarred face of G├╝rmuz. It is cast in a nice dark resin and doesn't require any clean up. It is designed for practice and made in a way to make it as easy as possible for the painter to start painting. I can imagine this being a great bust to use for workshops.

Frontal view of this beautiful sculpt!

Truly a face only a mother can love

Semi-profile pic of his good side
To see a sped-up example video on how to paint it check this video by DiegueteStudio.
If you want to buy the Academic orc bust for yourself click this link. The price is €27 plus shipping.

Now on to the full bust!

G├╝rmuz, the barbarian is a limited edition bust with a total of only 125 copies available. Because it is a limited edition bust, it comes with some extra's in the box, like a certificate of authenticity, a special poker card, and a sticker.


There is no backstory available for G├╝rmuz, the barbarian. The only things I am able to tell is that he kind of looks like Azog, the white orc, from the movie The Hobbit, but without the scars. His armor is sophisticated for an orc. His shoulder pauldron seems to be made of layered leather, his garment is lined with a fur collar and he wears a decorative torq necklace around his neck.


The whole figure comes in two pieces, the full model plus his upper teeth. I think the teeth were taken out for ease of removing the bust from the mold without breaking them off. It comes in a hard cardboard box protected by thick layers of foam. This model also comes with a showcase base (a diagonally cut, circular plinth) 

The base is also safely packed in the foam
The cast is what I've come to expect from Hera Models, superb! There are no mold lines on the model that require cleaning up and the details are super crisp! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!


Without teeth, he's even uglier! 


Oh... My... God... check those stitches! 

Just look at all those lovely different textures to paint!
As you can see that is one sexy looking orc! Wait that is a weird sentence... But it is a beautiful bust! 

He is currently still available, although I don't know how many copies there are left. If you want him, follow this link to pick him up! It will cost you €50 but it is most definitely worth it! 

So if you made it this far, thank you for bearing with me! Haha. There were a lot of pictures and a lot of things I wanted to say about these busts.

If you are new at painting busts, I recommend picking up this (or any other) an academic bust. They are usually a bit cheaper than a full bust and it makes for great practice to get used to the scale and how to build up volume by using shadows, mid-tones, and highlights! 

That's it for this article! If you got this bust and if you painted it up, feel free to link to your work in the comment section! I'd love to see your work!

I want to thank you for reading and I hope I will see you all next time!