For anyone who regularly builds Bandai model kits, there has been a noticeable proliferation of droid kits, mostly of the astromech variety. This has been slightly frustrating for me because I miss the character kits and get a little tired of the same droid kit re-released in a different color scheme. Obviously, it is an easy cash grab for the company with little need for creating new kits, and I have backed off from buying many of the new releases for that reason. I have picked up a few, however, and will share some of my thoughts about each of them below.
First, the rocket booster version of R2-D2. I had already built an R2 kit a few years ago, but when I saw the rocket booster version I thought it would be a good chance to improve on what I did before, and I was a fan of the prequel-centric accessories. The biggest difference between this R2 and my previous R2 was that I painted all the silver myself instead of leaving the mold color. This meant that I had to do some filling and sanding on the head in particular, which I always dread. I was actually pretty happy with how it turned out, however. Also, if you look at the comparison shot above, the painted silver looks so much better than the plastic molded color. I went with the in-flight pose and the zapper on his head to give this R2 a more prequel style.
Finally, for a completely different kind of droid, I picked up the Star Wars Celebration exclusive 0-0-0 protocol droid from the Dr. Aphra comics when I attended Celebration last April (for my thoughts on that whole experience, check here). This kit was clearly just a re-boxed version of C-3PO molded in black with slightly different decals, but the final look is pretty cool. Of all of the droids in this post 0-0-0 was the easiest to build and paint. I put him together, dry brushed a few silver spots to show a little wear, and then gave him a semi-gloss top coat. Overall, a super simple and quick build that looks great.
The droids are fun, quick builds with a lot of room for customization, but I really miss the steady stream of non-droid character kits. I know a new Kylo Ren is out now, but I would love to see some more characters. I suppose the ships will have to keep my satisfied for now...
Solo will likely never be remembered as the best Star Wars movie for a variety of reasons, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, not least because it gave us a new version of the Millennium Falcon. The number of Millennium Falcon kits on the market is vast, and there are many versions in many different scales from the tiny Bandai 1/350 version up to the amazing Perfect Grade 1/72 scale version from A New Hope. I have the big box Bandai Perfect Grade version sitting in my stash, but I cannot quite bring myself to build it yet out of some elusive idea of needing it to be perfect. One thing the other models of the Falcon do not have is the unique coloring and style of Lando's version. This difference and the smaller size drew me to this kit as a potential stepping stone to the big one in the future.
This 1/144 scale kit was a pretty standard build from Bandai. Easy snapfit parts and great engineering make all of their kits fun to build. As I think I have written before, the decals are one aspect of Bandai kits that I am less impressed with so I found a great set on eBay from user yogurt80. I do not believe he has any Lando's Falcon sets available right now, but he makes a lot of great sci-fi decals.
One of the fun parts of this kit was the small inside portion of the ship. I ended up painting a lot of this because even high quality decals had a hard time with all of the crevices. Ultimately, this part is not visible in the final display of the model, but I had fun with it.
Another challenge for painting was the tiny cockpit figures, which include Han, Chewie, and Lando. In this picture you can just barely see Lando sitting in the back behind Han. Figures in 1/144 scale are difficult to paint well! At least any imperfections are hidden by the cockpit! On the subject of the cockpit, this kit does not come with any clear window parts, but a few of them would have been so small, I can see why the open cockpit makes sense.
I did not do a large amount of weathering because Lando likes to keep his stuff in top shape, so I did a basic oil wash and then used some oil brushers for the engine exhaust. The final look gives it the just barely used and kept in decent shape look. I was pretty happy with the final results.
Finally, I bought one of the basic lighting units from Bandai for the iconic blue engines. There is an access panel on the bottom of the Falcon, and I love the look with the engines turned on. It is easy to install, and while definitely not the highest quality lighting unit, it does the job well enough for me.
Quick note for those interested in building this kit. There is no landing gear included, so you will have to scour the internet to find a set. I know there are several out there, but I tend to prefere in flight displays on my models.
Model builder, board gamer, and all around lover of small scale stuff.