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  1. Spice Harvester from Dune (MMS-013) MENG via Creative Models Ltd Dune began in the 1960s as a long-running series of books by Frank Herbert, and several attempts have been made to realise the initial book in movie form, with varying levels of success. David Lynch made a decent, if simplified attempt at it in the 1980s, although it was a flawed movie with irritating voice-overs (from my point of view, at least), while a three-part TV movie in 2000 was considered a reasonable adaptation, but I haven’t seen that one. This latest expedition into the deserts of Arrakis benefits from the availability of realistic Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) that can be used to enhance the scope and scale of the saga as it deserves, without looking false. It also benefitted from a massive budget and an acclaimed director, not to mention a cast of many famous actors, although David Lynch’s version also had some famous faces, including a young Patrick Stewart as Gurney Halleck before his Star Trek days. The new film has been split into two episodes to portray as much of the book’s content as possible in an effort to retain the important aspects of the original story, and part 2 has been out now for a couple of months, rounding off the original story, allegedly, with the possibility of more to come if it has made enough money for the studio, which I expect it has by now. I haven’t seen the second part yet, so no spoilers please! The Spice Harvester is an essential part of the mining of the spice Melange from the deserts of Arrakis, and they are essentially factories on tracks that are dropped by their carriers onto parts of the desert where spice has been detected, in order to extract it. The noise of the Spice Harvesting attracts the giants worms that are native to Arrakis, as they are drawn toward repetitive vibrations, and when they get there, woe betide anyone or anything that remains on the sand. Each harvester is protected by a group of spotters in Ornithopters that keep an eye out for incoming worms, as their appearance is almost inevitable. When one is spotted, the carrier craft swoops in, picks up the factory and airlifts it to safety. In theory. We see what happens to a Spice Harvester when the carrier arrives too late in the first film, although all the crew survive thanks to Duke Leto Atreides happening by with a flight of Ornithopters. The Kit Like the Ornithopters, this kit is also scale-free, although it’s pretty clear that it isn’t the same scale as the ‘thopters, as the factories are massive, in order to be able to mine and process Spice in an economical manner. The kit arrives in a larger end-opening box with a painting of the factory on the front, and instructions on the rear, plus the same basic instruction sheet in four languages and the Japanese safety and contact sheet found in the Ornithopter kits. There are four sprues in olive green/brown styrene, plus a small decal sheet in its own bag, containing just three decals, mainly because factories tend not to be colourful anywhere in the galaxy because it’s not cost-effective. Construction begins with the main hull, which is a slab-like part with tiny aircon units, heat-exchanger pipework and other such greeblies on the top, and very little other than the track housings on the underside. The underside is the first part to be used, adding track attachment straps across the front and rear sections from within, then flipping it over onto its back to mount bogies for the tracks, two at the front and two more on the back. The roof is applied to the top, and sixteen trapezoid track units are made from four parts each, with track links moulded-in to improve the detail. They are plugged into each of the track attachment arms hanging from the holes in the underside in fours, two on each side of the arm. The front, rear and side walls are attached to the blank walls between the top and bottom surfaces, adding more detail, then the Spice mining conveyor is created from top and bottom halves to make hollow pathways, which is mounted on a carrier that is inserted into a trough moulded into the underside in the direction of the vehicle’s travel. Markings There are just three decals included, and there are no colour suggestions on the box, as the machines are a dirty olive green/brown in the movie. If you intend to make a more realistic model and paint it, there are tons of shades from all the major manufacturers that could be used, and the opportunity for weathering with heavy sand discolouring could be quite fun if you like that sort of thing. The decals are printed in China, and suitable for the task in hand, as they’re one colour, and almost too wee to see. Make sure you’ve not tied one on the night before applying them, as you’ll need steady hands. Conclusion We understand that 1:72 Ornithopters are on their way from MENG, but this factory vehicle is unlikely to be amongst the up-scaled ships getting an airfing due to its actual size in the movie, so this may be your only option. I could of course be totally wrong! Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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