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  1. Star Wars T-65 X-Wing, RZ1 A-Wing & BTL A-4 Y-Wing Junior Sets (for Bandai/Revell) 1:72 GreenStrawberry Our friends at GreenStrawberry have been releasing a flood of detail sets for all things Sci-fi for a number of years now, and in the Star Wars fold the Bandai kits are at the pinnacle of plastic kit quality, so there have been numerous sets for those kits, taking the great styrene kits and making them better. Not everyone is experienced with Photo-Etch (PE) though, so some folks might be put off by the complexity of the sets and the amount of work involved. It occurred to them to create some more straightforward sets for the beginner, intermediate or modeller in a hurry that could be used as an introduction to the genre of PE folding without over-facing them with tons of parts or slowing them down to a crawl. Their Junior Sets are their response, and we have three such sets for some of the popular Star Wars Rebel ships, namely the X-Wing, Y-Wing and A-Wing from the original and best trilogy. Each set arrives in a small clear film bag, with a card insert, the PE, the folded instructions, and a thick piece of card to keep everything safe and sound during transit from them to you. T-65 X-Wing (2001-1/72) This set is etched from bare brass, and contains a nicely detailed boarding ladder with separate treads and standing area at the top; a new instrument panel that requires the kit panel to be removed or sanded flat, but using one kit decal and four new decals supplied with the set to complete the detail, as well as small pieces of printed white PVC foil behind the instruments that will glow if you’re lighting your model. At the rear of the engines, the exhaust detail is cut from the nozzles and replaced by PE parts that are oriented with a small hole pointing toward to the aerofoil. If you’re taking the opportunity to light the model, the interior of the engine shell should also be reamed out to make way for an LED. At the nose there’s a small electronics bay that receives an insert skin, plus a two-layer flip-down bay door. Finally, the three gear bay doors receive opener rams near the forward end of the bays, which are folded up to give added depth. RZ1 A-Wing (2002-1/72) This set is nickel-plated PE, and includes a slip of white PVC foil to back up the instruments in the cockpit. This is the main focus of the set, with the kit instruments filed away and replaced by a lamination of PE and printed PVC. The PVC is best glued with CA or PVA, as normal modelling glue won’t adhere. A pair of control handles fit on each side of a central boss to give the pilot something to hang onto, and if you are planning on leaving the pilot out, shave away the tab in the bottom of the seat, and fit the four-point seatbelts that are supplied in the set. As well as delicate new inserts for the engine rears, there are two detail inserts added around the base of the weapons pylons at the widest point of the ship – I hesitate to use the word “wingtip” for obvious reasons. BTL A-4 Y-Wing (2003-1/72) This set is on nickel-plated PE, and includes both printed clear acetate and printed PVC foil for use in the cockpit. Firstly, the engine exhausts are lined with ribbed PE that should be rolled into a tube to be glued inside the outlet and is then joined by a narrow ring that covers the thickness of the cowling parts. Later on the exhausts are detailed by removing the kit detail and replacing it with a crisp PE part in each nacelle, which will be useful if you’re going down the lighting route. The cockpit has its original instrument panel removed and replaced by a new lamination of two pieces of PE and printed PVC foil, which is repeated for the side consoles, with the clear acetate inserted into the window aperture in the rear of the fixed part of the canopy. The engine nacelles receive further detailing that involves folding up a set of skins for the inside of the gear bays, with a small hole left for the stut’s socket in the centre. The final parts make up a skin for the interior of the nose gear bay door, and includes a hinge mechanism for better detail. Conclusion More great sets from my favourite Sci-Fi detail & accessory producer. If you can’t afford a full set, don’t want a full set, don’t trust yourself to do a full set justice, or don’t want to be slowed down by the extra work, these will do the job nicely. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper Mk.I TOS (FP19 for Moebius) 1:32 GreenStrawberry Battlestar Galactica came to our TV screens in 1978, courtesy of Aaron Spelling’s media factory, and was a big hit at the time, even though it lasted a scant two seasons before it was cancelled due to the high costs of each episode, which were coming in at over a million dollars a week. CBS considered picking it up, but it wasn’t until the reboot happened in 2004 that it hit our screens again, and only then if you subscribed to Pay TV at the time. It ran for five seasons of variable quality, and it still doesn’t seem like it was 17 years ago. We really are getting old! The Vipers were a common theme between both renditions, and were similar in form and function, acting as fleet fighters and general run-abouts, having various versions from the original “TOS” (The Original Series) Viper Mk.I, through the Mk.II that was first seen in the opening episodes of the reboot, and later the sweeping lines of the Mk.VII. The original Viper wasn’t referred to as the Mk.I in TOS, but as the Colonial Viper it ferried the originally male Starbuck, Apollo, Boomer and the gang around the late 70s galaxy far far away (wait, what?), using a design imagined by the legendary Ralph McQuarrie of Star Wars fame, with an unused alternate design showing up as the Thunder Fighter in Spelling stablemate Buck Rogers. The Kit This is number 19 in the GreenStrawberry FruitPACK range that bring together a number of smaller sets into a “full meal deal” boxing that gets you everything with a little cost-saving into the bargain. This set arrives in one of their medium-sized black boxes with their usual green and red printing, and a photo of the finished set on a bare model along with some details of the sets in the box. It includes the following rather large group of sets: 13521-1/32 - Intake & nozzles 13721-1/32 - Side Panels VC09-1/32 - VacuCanopy 13621-1/32 - Cockpit 13821/32 - Wheel bay & exterior Unpacking the box is a satisfying experience involving nine Ziploc bags, a sheet of masking material and a printed clear acetate sheet, plus five sets of instructions to help you along. As usual, all the sets are available individually, so if you don’t want them all for whatever reason, you can get as many or as few as you need, want or can afford at the time. We’ll cover each set separately to avoid confusing myself, mostly. Intake & Nozzles (13521-1/32) This set includes eleven resin parts on six casting blocks, plus a large fret containing three delicate Photo-Etch (PE) parts. It upgrades the detail in the front and rear of the three engines, and requires surprisingly little adaptation of the kit parts. The first activity is removing the locating tabs inside each intake and adding a section of intake on a T-shaped platform in the rear. At the aft-end, the three fluted exhaust detail parts sleeve inside the kit trunking, increasing the detail substantially. Back at the front, the exposed central structure of the engine pack has the new intake fans inserted into the front, and once the intake lips are added, the PE parts have a bullet fairing fitted to the centre before they’re placed inside and located on their rear dowels, so don’t cut those off during prep, although there is a spare on the casting block. Side Panels (13721-1/32) The side panels in this set refer to the rounded-off rectangular greebly-filled depressions to each side of the cockpit, which must first be removed from the kit fuselage halves, then have their detail replaced by the pair of resin inserts. The PE sheet is made from thick gauge brass, and contains four parts that are laminated up to create a coaming area in front of the cockpit, and should be curved to match the contours of the fuselage before they are laminated together. Annealing the parts in a flame and allowing them to cool naturally will make that process much simpler. VacuCanopy (VC09-1/32) This is a multi-media set, and includes a vacformed canopy blank in thick crystal clear PETG plastic, plus a set of PE frames to give the canopy sharp definition, and finally a set of pre-cut vinyl masks for each of the six panes. It will be essential to choose the correct glue to put the canopy together without fogging up the glazing, so choose something like GS-Hypo watch crystal cement, or one of the PVA-based canopy cements that are commercially available. Care and preparation will be key here. Cockpit (13621-1/32) This set is mixed media too, with six resin parts on four pour blocks, plus two sheets of nickel-plated PE and a sheet of clear acetate with instruments and screens pre-printed on it. The instruction sheet begins with the tub, which is the largest resin part, and is covered in apertures through which the instruments will be seen. Firstly, remove the flash from over the holes, then laminate up each screen with its matching PE panel and glue them over their aperture. There are four on each side and one large panel at the front, with smaller button panels above some of the side panels, which also have holes behind them - you can just see one of them in the the photo below. The holes allow light to show from behind if you are lighting your model, which seems de rigeur with Sci-Fi builds these days. A nicely detailed control column fits into a D-shaped slot in the floor of the tub. The lower floor is built up on a cruciform sheet of PE, with foot pads, a detailed central tunnel and rudder pedals added before the sides are folded up, leaving a step at the rear that gives a large contact point for when it is glued to the underside of the tub, adding detail under the seat and in the footwell of the cockpit. It would be a shame to hide all that detail away, so a canopy rear frame is included in the set, allowing the modeller to pose it open, simply by gluing it to the rear of the canopy (from kit or the lightweight one above). The other large resin part includes the headrest for the pilot seat and the spine directly behind it, replacing the kit part completely. The new PE canopy rear frame is glued to a recess in the top of the spine, with one of the three resin rams holding it in position. Why three? Spares in case you want to experiment with different lengths or happen to break one. Wheel bay & exterior (13821/32) This set is made up of a large fret of PE, and requires some removal of kit details before adding the new parts. The main landing gear skids have a moulded-in rod removed from each side of the legs, adding a pair of brackets near the bottom, then linking them to the top with a dog-leg PE part on each side. The main bays have a number of small corner protrusions in the corners removed, with a new bay skin folded up from one main part that is augmented by two more slatted detail parts, then dropped into the bays, leaving the sockets for the gear legs visible in the centre. Each gear bay door including the nose skid get skins with integrated hinges added to improve on their blank inner surfaces. The nose gear bay also has a small panel dropped into the roof with opening rams laminated onto it to add more detail in that little bay. Moving to the intake at the tip of the nose, which presumably comes into play in the atmosphere when there’s some gases to take in, the rear blanking plate is removed from the tapering lip part, and has two layers of PE slats inserted to give it more interest, and the final parts are two replacement gun muzzle tips for the main armament at the sides of the cockpit. Conclusion With five sets in the box, this is an extremely comprehensive upgrade to a somewhat bland kit that really does take it to the next level. It’s not cheap, but if you have limited areas of interest or budget to upgrade the basic kit, check out the individual sets before you move on. Truly excellent detail that’s easy to work with. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Battlestar Galactica Fighter Pilots (for Moebius/Revell) 1:32 GreenStrawberry Battlestar Galactica came to our TV screens in 1978, courtesy of Aaron Spelling’s media factory, and was a big hit at the time, even though it lasted a scant two seasons before it was cancelled due to the high costs of each episode, which were coming in at over a million dollars a week. CBS considered picking it up, but it wasn’t until the reboot happened in 2004 that it hit our screens again, and only then if you subscribed to Pay TV at the time. It ran for five seasons of variable quality, and it still doesn’t seem like it was 17 years ago. We really are getting old! The Vipers were a common theme between both renditions, and were similar in form and function, acting as fleet fighters, using a lot of Fleet Air Arm terminology in the dialogue, and having various versions from the original “TOS” Viper, through the Mk.II that was first seen in the opening episodes of the reboot, and the sweeping lines of the Mk.VII. These resin figures are designed with the kits in mind, and each figure arrives in a small card box, with the resin parts ensconced in a Ziploc bag, protected by the folded instructions. The seated pilots are patterned to specific kit marks, but could probably be adapted with a bit of judicious sanding etc. Colonial Pilot Fighter Ace (132017-1/32) This figure is a tacit homage to Lieutenant Kara Thrace, who had the nom de guerre or call-sign ‘Starbuck’. It’s a good likeness given the limitations of size, and consists of six resin parts - the body, two separate arms, a stowed jacket that fits around her waist, pistol at her waist and an equipment box for her to rest one foot on. There is a little flash on her chin and across her back, which should be easy to eliminate with a little care, and once removed from the casting blocks should go together quickly. She scales out at around 5’9” which is three inches taller than her real-world size, but we’ll put that down to the soles on her flight boots being thick, or the taller stature of her fictitious character. Colonial Pilot – Viper Mk.II (132018-1/32) This figure is of a seated male pilot sat in his Viper, waiting for the launch order or pondering life, the universe and everything after a difficult mission. It consists of four resin parts, one of which is a clear visor for the helmet resting on his lap. The pilot is bare-headed, and has a pair of separate arms that are moulded as one piece and fit over the shoulders once the helmet is in place, resting on the top of the helmet with hands folded. The helmet is hollow, and the base can be cut out to depict it more realistically before painting and adding of the visor. Colonial Pilot – Viper Mk.VII (132019-1/32) This male figure has his helmet on and is moderately prepared to launch, although his hands are firmly planted on his lap. There are three resin parts, the body, the separate helmet, and the clear visor, which can be applied after painting the helmet and face. There is a little flash between the pilot’s knees, and the shape of the seat is clearly visible in his back. Conclusion A figure brings a human scale to any model, and these are well-sculpted and simple to build, with little in the way of preparation other than cutting off a few small casting blocks. A quick wash in warm soapy water will help the paint adhere too. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. USS Voyager NCC-74656 FruitPACK (FP18 for Revell) 1:670 GreenStrawberry The USS Voyager, under the command of Captain Catherine Janeway was “relocated” to the far away Delta Quadrant by a benevolent but misguided alien whilst in the middle of a firefight with a Maquee ship, wanting their help in looking after a race called the Ocampa since damaging their planet irreparably in error. It all gets more complicated, the Caretaker eventually dies and the crew are forced into a difficult decision to destroy the station to protect the Ocampa, stranding the Federation ship in the Delta quadrant, so far away from Federation space that it could take the rest of their lives to get home. Cue a long journey home that spanned seven series and ran from 1995-2001 with 168 episodes, of which I’ve seen quite a few but by no mean all. The USS Voyager is an Intrepid Class ship, built in the Martian shipyards in 2371, carrying around 150 crew, some of whom were originally Maquis, filling jobs vacated by crew killed in the initial encounter with the Caretaker and the other protagonists of that episode. Kate Mulgrew played the Captain, and was the first female lead character of any Star Trek show, with a number of alien races also being on the roster, some more annoying than others. Looking at you, Neelix. The Set This is another of GreenStrawberry’s burgeoning range of FruitPACK sets that bring together a number of smaller sets into a “full meal deal” boxing that gets you everything with a little cost-saving into the bargain. This set arrives in one of their medium-sized black boxes with their usual green and red printing, and a photo of the finished set on a bare model along with some details of the sets in the box. It includes the following sets: 13021-1/670 Exterior Set 13121-1/670 Shuttle Bay 13221-1/670 Landing Gear The kit is patterned for the Revell kit that has been re-released a number of times over the years, and we have reviewed one of those boxings here on the forum. It’s a nice kit that builds up into a reasonably sized model, but it could do with a little more detail if we’re honest, in order to bring it up to the more exacting standards of the modern modeller (that’s you BTW). Each set is available separately in case you don’t want to purchase all of them, so make a note of those numbers above if you’re so minded. In the meantime, we’ll deal with each set separately, as they are in their own clear film and Ziploc bags within the box with their own instruction booklets that are printed in colour in the usual GS style. Exterior Set (13021-1/670) This set consists of three sheets of Photo-Etch (PE), two of which are 0.2mm thick and nickel-plated, while the third is bare brass but much thicker than the other two at 0.5mm. There is also a sheet of thin printed plastic (possibly PVC film) with lots of tiny windows and the contents therein to decorate the windows/portholes of the ship. The instructions are 8 sides of A5(ish), thanks mostly to the volume (area?) of PE that you have in the package. Work begins on the aft of the hull, removing a few raised areas to be replaced by laminated grilles top and bottom, plus a wrap-around section of windows facing aft, for which you’ll need to laminate the printed window pictures with the PE. More raised/engraved areas are removed under the saucer, and on both aft “corners” the raised details are removed to accommodate the new PE detail parts later. These are made up with two layers that are bent to fit the shape and glued in place, as are five more sets of windows with printed backing within recesses in the lower saucer. The details removed earlier are replaced with new parts, the rectangular sections being made from two layers each, while the two curved ribbed lengths are glued to the lower saucer along with some frames above the deflector dish, which has extra detailed parts inserted into its three sections once the original detail has been removed. Some additional skin panels are laminated up either side of the pivots at the front of the variable geometry nacelles, and a pair of faceted mesh panels are added to the intakes on the pylons. The same “exfoliation” is carried out on a large number of raised panels on the upper saucer, and a hole is made in the rear of the bridge superstructure, then the windows are filled in with PE and printed plastic picture parts in the same manner as the underside. More printed windows are applied to the hull sides, and another raft of them are placed behind the outer rim layer of the upper saucer. More of the two-layer detail inserts are added to the front “corners” of the saucer lip, then a major detail upgrade is performed on the bridge. The centre section has various layers added to create the correct depth at the centre, the windows and their frames are added on either side of the main bridge hump, and the two-layer grilles are laid in place further outboard, again in a similar manner to the underside. A large detail skin is prepared with additional layers and inserts, then glued to the roof of the bridge, with more parts added to the sides and to the front section of the roof, with yet more side detail panels, an insert that fills the hole in the rear of the bridge, and another pair of detail panels to complete the revamp. Toward the front of the saucer is an auxiliary deflector array set into a large scalloped part of the surface. The array is cut down at the rear and detailed with PE parts, then the raised panels in the depression are skinned with PE, and the two large grille panels are given the (by now) usual treatment with two layers of PE. A trio of three-layer airlock panels are laminated and placed in the front and both sides of the saucer edge, followed by more raised panels being removed from the underside of the hull, to be replaced by yet more detailed skin panels, some of which are two layers. On the back of the “neck” that joins the saucer to the blended hull after a fashion, there is a sensor palette, which is upgraded with a small insert placed in a recess, and a pair of brand-new photon torpedo launchers replacing the soft styrene versions that are moulded into the hull. There are also two raised panels on each side of the neck that are shown being added rather vaguely, which is because they’re actually missed off from the kit. You can see their location on the example photos of a finished example, or on any of the many plans of the ship that can be found online, which is exactly what I did. The final stage has you building up the two slatted impulse engine exhausts on the back of the nacelle pylons. They are folded up into a three-sided shell with grooves for the strakes that is inserted within the hollowed-out styrene originals once finished, which are comparatively chunky. At the back of the hull is a skin for the shuttle bay surround and a door part that has horizontal lines etched in it. Shuttle Bay (13121-1/670) This set includes the two-part bay within the rear of the Voyager, which has a larger inner section and long narrow entrance hall. The set is 100% PE, and includes two sheets of PE in 02.mm brass with 6 sides of A5 instructions. Construction begins with the entrance hall, which is L-shaped and folds up to form floor and walls from one part, with detail inserts lining the walls to add extra visual interest. Doorways and doors are included, and the larger rectangular second section is made up from another one-part floor and wall section, adding door skins and a two-layer sidewall, which gives the impression of a narrow walkway high up that wall. The two ceiling panels are made up from structural layer and detail layer, with added lighting frames running down the centres, and shallow flaps on the sides that give them a better grip on the lower sections, preventing them from flexing and breaking the glue bond. The rear doorway is made up from three layers, plus detail panels inside and out, and optional smaller access door to the right (from the outside) of the main door, which can be glued closed if you enjoy wasting your efforts, or more sensibly in the retracted or semi-retracted position to show off your hard work. The last part involves trimming excess plastic from the top of the rear duck-bill fairing, removing the centre section that is now redundant, plus adding a set of narrow slots in the rearmost area, which will be most use if you plan on lighting the bay floor. If you want to populate the bay, the kit includes a Type 7 shuttle for you to place in the sightline. Landing Gear (13221-1/670) This set is a combination of resin and PE parts, with twenty resin parts and a small fret of nickel-plated PE brass in the package. Construction begins with cutting out the four gear leg apertures on the underside of the hull that are depicted as raised mouldings on the hull halves. The holes are backed by large resin ports that should be well glued into place for maximum strength before closing up the hull halves. The four gear legs are paired and handed once built, but the struts are identical pairs. They have a resin core that is wrapped with a PE skin that is glued in place around it and slid into the four ports after putting the lower legs and feet in position. The lower legs are all identical, with a slot in the inner face that accepts a PE strake. The bottom of the lower legs has a joint onto which the landing pads are fitted, with a choice of two sets of feet. The first set have all the “toes” folded together as if they have just been extended and haven’t yet deployed, while the second set are unfolded into their cruciform landing configuration with a flat underside. The first set could be of use if you were planning an in-flight pose just prior to landing of after take-off, while the second set is great to take the kit’s stand out of the equation and ground your Voyager as it appeared occasionally in the show. Again, probably the first main ship that landed back on a planet willingly – we’ll ignore Cap’n Kirk’s regular crashing of the Enterprise in the films. Conclusion A highly comprehensive set of updates to this ageing kit that should do much of the work to bring it up to modern standards. Your talent will do the rest of the job. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. NX-326 USS Franklin Detail Set (06218-1/350 for Moebius) 1:350 GreenStrawberry The USS Franklin appeared in Star Trek Beyond, part of the new Kelvin Timeline series of films with that actor that wasn’t Bill Shatner – Chris Pine maybe? It was marooned on the planet Altamid after an accidental trip through a wormhole in 2164, where it was kept in reasonable order by one of the characters, conveniently waiting for Cap’n Kirk and his chums to come along and get it back in space again during the climax of the afore-mentioned film. The Franklin was pre-Federation, and the first ship capable of Warp Factor 4, with some fancy defensive and offensive capabilities for its time, which came in handy during the film. It also had a Star Trek: Enterprise vibe about it, which was set a decade or so earlier than its disappearance. Moebius kitted it in 1:350 in 2018, and it’s a nice model but maybe a little spartan for some modellers, so along comes this detail set from our capable friends at GreenStrawberry. The set arrives in one of GreenStrawberry’s familiar medium-sized boxes, and inside are resin parts in a Ziploc bag, two large frets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, some clear acetate with the two outlines of the view-screen printed on it in black, plus a set of A4 instructions, with a sheet of black paper separating the two PE sheets, stopping them from chaffing during transport. The bridge floor is the first to be made, which involves laminating four layers of PE, then another two and finally creating a thick lamination from those sub-assemblies and two more layers, before the crew seats and the various consoles are glued to the new 3D stepped surface on their contact depressions using CA. The large resin “tub” forms the basis of the walls and ceiling, with a two-part lamination of perforated PE parts adding central detail before the floor is glued into position. The centre of the saucer section is drilled out to the correct size according to the instruction, and is filled with a new hatchway made from folded PE, which includes a ladder and floor section, following which the bridge is glued to the rear of the bridge window, with the clear acetate and a PE outer skin added in the front of the styrene aperture. Attention turns to the exterior of the ship now, with two small assemblies either side of the engraved USS Franklin on the front of the saucer, with 20 tiny circular PE parts topping off the paired upstands on the underside of the saucer. Back to the top again, 10 small trestle-like assemblies are folded up and glued to the surface, and the final parts are a pair of mesh panels with circular perforations for the impulse engines at the rear of the saucer. Conclusion This set will give your USS Franklin just the right amount of visual interest, and if you’re lighting the model, the centre section of the bridge ceiling is perforated to give the effect visible in the original. The engine grilles will also add some detail to the exterior lighting, as will all the delicate parts. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Resin Figures (1350015) 1:350 GreenStrawberry While these little folks aren’t strictly Sci-Fi, I suspect that they were intended to be placed in Star Trek kits that have visible bays or arboretums, at least initially. That doesn’t stop you from using them anywhere that their scale would permit, even going as far as a Gulliver’s Travels diorama! The set arrives in a small box, which is why it got side-tracked for a while (sorry about that!), and inside is a plastic bag that has been heat-sealed into four quadrants, each one containing a casting block of figures. There are no instructions because each figure is a single part, and as they aren’t intended for any specific role, you can paint them any colour you like, within reason. The four casting blocks each have little ears at the ends to help protect the figures, of which there four on each block. There are two blocks of male figures, all in different positions, and two blocks of female figures in the same poses as the males, so if we’re thinking Star Trek, you have plenty of variety to play with. The poses are as follows: Walking, possibly carrying or pushing something Standing, hands on hips Kneeling on one knee, both hands out Walking, arms swinging Standing, one arm out straight Standing, possibly leaning against something Standing, hands near pockets Standing, hands folded in front Each figure is attached to the block across the shoulder blades, and there are additional wisps of resin spreading out to ease casting, but all this should be very easy to cut off the back, possibly with the aid of some Blutak to hold the figure down. At this scale the limbs are very slender, but my example had made it here in one piece, but care will need to be taken by the time you begin handling them for painting and eventual installation. Conclusion Very well-detailed and crisply cast tiny people in a range of poses that will add some human scale to any 1:350 model whether it’s Sci-Fi or otherwise. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Star Wars Venator Class Lighting Kit (FX02 for Revell) 1:2274 GreenStrawberry One of the coolest ships from the Star Wars Prequels (IMHO) was the Republic Star Destroyer, having a definite Star Destroyer vibe, and taking quite a big part in the films, carrying Clone Troopers and their equipment into battle. The Revell kit has been around since 2005, and was last re-popped in 2016, so there are doubtless plenty of them languishing in stashes around the world just waiting for these wonderful upgrades. We recently reviewed the detail upgrade sets that GreenStrawberry have laboured over here, and they really bring the kit’s sometimes soft detail up to modern standards, while adding a full interior bay to complete the blowing of your mind. Sci-Fi kits scream out to be lit, and when you’ve spent that much effort on a kit, it would be rude not to really, which is where the fun really begins, especially if you know nothing about electronics in models. With the advances in small portable SoC (System on a Chip) devices, meaningful computing power is now available for relatively little outlay, such as the Raspberry Pi (RasPi) and the Arduino in their various guises. There has been an explosion in technology that is useful in creating lighting control systems for models, which coupled with the affordable cost of light-guides/fibre-guides/fibre-optics, makes it even easier. The final nail in the coffin of lightless models is the size and availability of bright, colourful LEDs of various sizes and styles, which consume a tiny amount of electricity, create very little heat to melt your models, and can now be crammed into small spaces thanks to the infinitesimal size of SMD (Surface Mount Device) LEDs that rival the grain-of-wheat bulbs of yore. The Kit This kit is specifically engineered and configured to be used with the Revell Republic Star Destroyer as it is called, but GreenStrawberry have named their set after the series of ship that Revell have kitted, the Venator Class. It arrives in one of their grey/black themed boxes that is held together by a large green/red sticker that shows a completed Venator class Attack Cruiser floating through the void, plus a small thumbnail of the lighting set in the top right. Inside is a small PCB with an ATMega328PB at the heart, holding and carrying out execution of the instructions that have been encoded onto it at the factory, with no worries about losing everything when you turn off the power. It has two ribbon-cables plugged into sockets on the main board, and the smaller of the two ribbons has two smaller custom PCBs carrying three SMD LEDs each, which are used to create light sources for the tiny fibre-guide lights. There is also a Ziploc bag full of a generous quantity of fibre-guide for you to trim to length and install to make your model sparkle, plus two resin parts that should be glued over the smaller boards to provide the fibre-guides with a concentrated light source. The final parts are a pair of clear-cast resin light guides that are used to transfer the light from smaller LEDs down a narrow engine nacelle to the business end. The instructions show you how to assemble the LEDs and their light tubes that will be filled with bundles of fibre-guide that have their other ends inserted in holes drilled out in the superstructure to give a nice scale-effect to the external lights. The traditional LEDs that are wired into the larger socket are shown in a scrap diagram with letters allocated to them so you can better understand where they are destined for within the hull. Two smaller lights are inserted into the twin bridges, with another two in the sloping superstructure that supports them. The resin guides are inserted into the narrow auxiliary engines with the LEDs fitting into the larger cupped ends, then it is time for the largest LEDs to be used to light the main engines. A number of holes should be drilled through the rear bulkhead to permit insertion of the lights, with the correct diameter for each hole called out along the way. As you’d imagine, the large blue LEDs are for the four largest engines, with four smaller ones for the smaller secondary engines. The location of the holes for the tiny glittering lights and their fibre-guides in amongst the greeblies is left up to you, but a small length of the side is shown with examples of where you could place them. Checking your references to see where they appear would be wise, although 100% accuracy would take more effort than most of us could muster in a lifetime! The only item you will need to acquire in addition is a 2A MicroUSB Power Supply Unit (PSU), which are cheap and easy to find anywhere from in your drawers to eBay or Amazon. It would be expensive and difficult to supply a unit with the kit, as there are far too many mains plug styles for a small company to keep up with, and you’ll only need one style unless your Star Destroyer is going travelling with you. For my purposes I grabbed a MicroUSB cable from my drawer and plugged it into a USB socket in a nearby double wall plug, which did the job just perfectly as it can supply 3.1A if necessary. It’s a lighting kit right? so you turn it on and the lights are there. Right? Nope. This set has a programmed start-up sequence coded into the little computer, which removes the unrealistic and toy-like initial 0-100% blaze of lights, and substitutes a lengthy start-up sequence that builds to a crescendo and incorporates elements of flicker into the main engine lights, as well as sequenced lighting of the fibre-guide LEDs, so if you’re clever with locating them, they should shimmer into life as each LED comes online. The drive flicker doesn’t show up as well in the video below, but it looks really cool in the flesh so will bring your model to life in a major way. One other thing you might need to pick up is an extension cable for the MicroUSB socket to allow you to plug your PSU into a convenient port in a base or beneath the model somewhere out of the way. Those are pretty cheap to pick up too, and if you wanted to convert from MicroUSB to USB-C, which is the current de rigeur connector, that’s your opportunity. You could always bury a USB battery pack in your base to free yourself from the tyranny of a wired connection. Hyperbole’s the best thing EVER!!!!! With lighting any model you will need to consider light leaks, and also take precautions such as spraying the interior of the model with a light defeating black or some other coloured paint. Hot glue can also be your friend when it comes to securing wires or fibre-guide around the inside of your model, as can be tape, zip-ties and many other tools I’ve not thought of. I recorded some video with my DSLR in “daylight” as well as with the lights off, which should give a reasonable representation of the effects and start-up sequence of the set. It’s a first for me (almost), so please excuse the un-fancy presentation. Conclusion If you don’t have the time, the inclination or the skill to create your own complex and programmed lighting set for this impressively large kit, this is the perfect short-cut. It is designed with this exact kit in mind, and uses high quality fixtures and fittings to create a comprehensive package. Imagine having to do all of this work yourself. Where to start? Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. Star Wars Star Destroyer Engine Bells & Shield Generators (10120-1/5000 for Bandai) 1:5000 GreenStrawberry Star Destroyers. It’s just occurred to me that despite their name, they can’t even destroy planets, which was why the Death Star was created - as Alderaan found out to their cost. Still, it’s a cool name. Apart from Tantive IV, known at the Blockade Runner in the olden days, the Star Destroyer was the first ship to hit the screen at the beginning of Star Wars: Episode IV. Bandai have the Far Eastern kit rights to the Star Wars franchise, but those kits are so nice that they keep finding their way to our shores here in the West. GreenStrawberry are big Sci-Fi fans, and have a ton of sets for these kits and many others to improve the detail and accuracy of these kits. This set is intended for the recent Bandai 1:5000 Star Destroyer kit, which although quite a bit larger than the usual 1:72 kits of fighters and so on, can still be improved upon. The set arrives in a small dark-themed box, and inside are five resin parts and a fret of Photo-Etch (PE). The three larger parts are the replacement engine bells without the thick fluted lips of the kit parts. They still have holes in the centre for the lighting kit if you’re lucky enough to have that variant (Brag: I do!), and the three surrounding baffles that are visible at the very tip of the engine bells are supplied on the PE sheet together with a more in-scale fluted section of the engine bell that should be rolled to match the size of the bells and is attached on a tiny dropped lip inside the edge - you can just see that in the picture below. The other two resin parts are the shield generator “golf balls” that sit atop either side of the bridge superstructure. They are moulded on small casting blocks with a central support section, around which the visible PE structure is fitted. The PE part has the support shape etched-in, so that you can glue the resin ball in place before you begin to fold it to shape. Before the outer struts are folded up, the inner ladder-like supports are folded up and glued in place on the etched squares that gives them a good contact patch. With those fitted, and there are 12 for each generator, the outer legs are folded up to touch the underside of the faceted spherical skin. The completed generators are glued into the space left by removing the chunky kit supports, after which the tiny little antennae are glued to the top at the intersection of the facets, as per the accompanying diagram. A scrap diagram shows how the supports should look from the side to assist in placement. As an aside, you can see some holes in the model that have been drilled to accept fibre-optics later in the build in these pictures. Conclusion Another great set from GreenStrawberry. A little delicate folding will be needed to do it justice, and those tiny antennae are best left off until the end. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Venator Class Clear Resin Panels (10420-1/2274 for Revell) 1:2274 GreenStrawberry We reviewed the FruitPACK set for the Revell Republic Star Destroyer in 1:2274 here a little while ago, which included a set of much more detailed resin side panels, where all the greeblies are found between the top and bottom hull halves. This set is from the same moulds, but has been cast in clear resin for anyone wishing to light their model, but not wanting to go down the fibre-optic route. With this set you can light the interior and just lightly drill out or even scratch off the paint after you’re done. The set arrives in a standard large GreenStrawberry dark themed box, with ten clear resin parts, a single grey resin bow hangar bay entrance, and a small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) that forms the bay doors to close off the innards. To prepare the parts for use, you will need to remove the casting blocks, which are inset from the edges to reduce the chances of damage. There is a substantial amount of clean-up that a motor tool (Dremel) will help speed up, but remember that resin dust is harmful, so wear a mask and for the sake of clean-up, try to do it outside if you can. You’ll need to cut away some of the vertical sections of the hull halves too, so take note of where they are for later use. The side hangar doors are folded into two layers to be inserted into the aperture, and the same happens in the bow hangar. Speaking of the bow hangar, the kit hull halves have to be thinned around the nose before fitting the resin part, all of which is covered in the instructions. Conclusion These clear resin inserts provide the modeller with a simple method of lighting your model if you aren’t fond of fibre-optics or creating the light enclosures that they usually require. When compared to the kit parts, they’re a massive improvement on the soft plastic detail with much better definition and sharpness. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. Colonial Viper Mk.II & Mk.VII Updates (for Moebius/Revell) 1:32 GreenStrawberry It’s quite a while since the revitalised and re-imagined Battlestar Galactica (BSG) hit our screens, running from 2004 to 2009 through five series and a spin-off covering some of the exploits of the Pegasus, as well as a short-lived prequel series about the events leading up to the Cylons’ devastating attack on the colonies. Galactica’s flee from the Cylon onslaught was covered by the mighty Viper fighters and their brave pilots, initially the Mk.II was drawn out of retirement through necessity, but later joined by a small quantity of Mk.VIIs that had been separated from the communications network that had been their downfall during the fall of the 12 Colonies. With the network gone, the Cylons couldn’t easily infiltrate and disable them, so they could be used again. These new sets from GreenStrawberry are designed with the Moebius kits in mind, their own reboxings as well as their reboxing by Revell some years later. They’re nice kits, but will benefit from upgrades either from the existing GreenStrawberry sets, or some of these new ones that add a little diorama possibility into the mix, by adding standing crew and some hangar details that could embellish a hangar scenario. You can pick and choose from those available to suit your needs, and all but the Photo-Etch (PE) gear bay set arrive in small boxes, with the resin and PE components in heat-sealed bags, the PE in Ziploc bags, and folded instructions adding extra protection to the parts. Colonial Pilot (132009-1/32) This set turns up in a small box, with ten parts in grey resin, and another two in clear resin. The figure is moulded with legs, torso, arms and head as separate parts, and offers choices for the pilot’s head and helmet. You can use the bare head and have the empty helmet in his hands, or you can substitute the helmeted head, although you’ll need to be careful when painting the face through the visor aperture. There are two clear resin visors included, and you should be able to polish them to a clear gloss if you don't mess up the face painting. Additional parts include the pilot’s pistol on his hip, two larger pouches on his belt at his back and another smaller one at the front. The final resin part is a circular base with deck plating and grating moulded in so that you can pose him separately without creating a full diorama base. The spare heads might also come in handy if your boxing has a resin figure with a solid visor, which is a nice bonus if you’re not afraid of a little light decapitation at your workbench. You’ll need to check your references for painting your model, as the instructions deal solely with the construction of the figure. It’s a good excuse to re-watch the show though, which is nice. Colonial Viper Mk.VII Seat (10020-1/32 for Moebius) The set arrives in a small box like the pilot’s, and contains a complete replacement for the kit’s horribly simple seat in resin, having very naturalistic cloth effect for the cushions that look like they’ve seen some butts. The seat is a single resin part, and is accompanied by a good-sized PE sheet, which contains a seat-base with inserts to represent the bolts holding it down. It also includes a full set of well-detailed five-point seatbelts that have highly realistic furniture, and even have extra parts that represent the attachment points of the belts on the base of the seat. With sympathetic painting and some care, they should look very realistic. Colonial Hangar Equipment Vol.1 (11820-1/32 for Moebius) This set arrives in a larger box, and is a boon to anyone wishing to depict their Viper or Raptor models from Moebius/Revell, which are all scaled to 1:32. The set is mixed resin and PE, and contains seven resin parts, plus two sheets of PE. From these you can make up a step-platform, an access ladder, and you also have two drums to dot around the hangar. The platform is made entirely from PE, which folds up to create a three-step platform that would be useful for a maintenance situation. The access ladder consists of a resin base, into which the two tubular frames slot, after having the moulding flash removed between the tubing. Then a number of tread-plated steps are made up and attached across the small diagonal rungs running up the frames, with a larger standing platform at the top, plus another small step. Finally, a stiffening strip is attached under the top step, with a tube surrounding it thanks to a slot in one side, and a choice of widths to allow a better fit. The two drums are each single parts, and just need their casting blocks removed, then any clean-up that may be required before painting them a suitable colour. Colonial Viper Mk.II Wheel Bay (10720-1/32 for Moebius) The Mk. II is a product of an earlier level of technology in the BSG universe, resembling the original series’ Vipers very closely. They were about to be part of the museum that Galactica was to become when the Cylons attacked, so they were brought back to fighting condition for the next five series of combat. This set suffers from an initial misnomer, as none of the Vipers have wheels, but ignoring that there’s detail in abundance on show with this set. It arrives in the dark-themed flat-pack we’ve come to know and love, and contains two sheets of brass PE, one large, the other slightly smaller. The first task is to remove a lower portion of the rear-upper fuselage to make space for the bays, plus another bay cut out of the underside of the fuselage, centring on the cut-out beneath the nose gear aperture that is laid over it later. The nose gear leg itself is relieved of its tab, then the nose bay is folded up from a single part that has extra layers added behind to give it some depth. Once this is glued within the bay, the cut-out you made earlier can be checked and adjusted if necessary. The nose gear leg has its base extended by a box of PE that is detailed with side panels to obtain the correct height of the new bay. The main bays on the kit are merely holes in the underside of the fuselage, into which the gear legs are glued. All this is remedied by firstly adding detail skins around the base of the legs that are just inside the aperture with a set of parts to hide the bland plastic, then a single double-width bay roof is folded up from the large parts on the smaller fret. There are a lot of small folds required, so make sure you have your PE pliers handy, as the results will be impressive and worth the effort. The bay is inserted into the lower fuselage, and two bulkheads are attached at the ends after being detailed with extra parts, using a folded lip to give the structure more strength. New bay doors are then laminated up and have separate hinges added before they are glued into position to each side of the three bays. Conclusion The BSG ships are still pretty iconic and good-looking ships that have only been kitted in styrene by Moebius in 1:32 and 1:72, and while they’re great in outline, their interiors and bays are lacking by modern standards. This range of sets from those good people from GreenStrawberry gives the modeller a serious choice of excellent detail upgrades. Choose from any of these sets, or the ones we’ve reviewed previously, such as the nozzles for the Viper Mk.II, FruitPACK detail set for the Viper Mk.VII, and for the other Moebius kit of the Raptor, all of which are a huge boost to the details. So say we all. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Waterslide Decals for Slave 1 Boba Fett (1004) & Jango Fett (1006) 1:144 GreenStrawberry Slave 1 first appeared in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with bounty hunter Boba Fett at the controls, following Han & Leia on their journey to Cloud City on the gas giant Bespin, with all the Lando shenanigans that ensued. It also appeared in the Prequel series in an earlier blue and yellow themed paint scheme in the hands of (SPOILERS) Boba’s father, Jango Fett. It seems that father and son were both guilty of leaving repairs and maintenance at the bottom of their to-do list, as they were shabby but functional in both trilogies, with Jango having the edge on Boba, although time was on his side, so it’s about even. The kit from Bandai has been released as Boba Fett’s version (0200638) and Jango’s version (0215637) in different boxings, and GreenStrawberry have produced these two sets, one for each. They are my favourite source of Sci-Fi detail sets, and the decals aim to help with that issue of highly weathered paint that is seen on many Star Wars kits. They have a new but expanding range that so far that extends to the Super Star Destroyer, Star Destroyer and the Death Star, all of which have complex paint schemes in a relatively small scale. The set arrives in a clear film package with their usual dark-themed card wrapped around a stiff card insert, two sheets of decals and instructions on where to put them. The decals are very well detailed with multiple colours, lines and paint damage that will bring out the best in your model, with the visual guide showing you where each individual part goes. The printing is crisp with good registration, colour density and sharpness, and will look best when laid down on a light greyish coat of paint that has been glossed to obtain better adhesion. My go-to Star Wars paint is Xtracrylix XA1137, as you can see that the blue paper is giving a very slight darker cast to the lighter colours. Boba Fett’s Slave 1 (1004) Jango Fett’s Slave 1 (1006) The instructions state that some adjustment of the decals might be needed depending on how well they are applied, or in case the decals stretch due to fitting around curved surfaces, which on Star Wars kits, there are many. Just take it slow, do things one at a time, and ensure that nearby decals are fully settled down and dry before moving onto the next one. Conclusion The detail and intricacy of the paint, chipping and scarring is excellent thanks to some high quality graphics, which will doubtless give a far more impressive finish than a lot of us can manage with a paint brush, airbrush and weathering tools. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Star Wars Venator Class Republic Attack Cruiser FruitPACK (FP12) 1:2274 GreenStrawberry When Mr Lucas announced that the Star Wars universe was expanding after a long hiatus with a prequel trilogy planned, everyone got quite excited, although this was tempered by the dreadful opening crawl that wittered on about trade agreements and had us all nodding off. That was then and this is now, where a great many of us have begun to reassess the Prequels in a new light, but I still think that some of it’s a bit hokey in places (especially the dialogue). One of the more believable new pieces of hardware was the grandad of the Star Destroyer, the Venator Class Republic Attack Cruiser, carrying Clone Troopers and lots of fun hardware, often under the command of a Jedi Knight, which was the source of the other colloquial name of Jedi Cruiser. The FruitPACK This is an amalgamation of three sets that are available from GreenStrawberry, containing resin and Photo-Etch (PE) sheets to give your model a massive boost in detail. The Revell Venator kit has been around since 2005, with the most recent reboxing in 2016, so by now there are probably thousands in stashes waiting for a en excuse to ramp up the details, which are a little sparse and chunky in places. The set arrives in a taped together double-box in black, with the usual Greenstrawberry branding throughout, and it’s a simple task to open it up by cutting open the broad sticker at strategic places, leaving the whole thing adhered to the box. There are two sets in one box, one in the other, comprising the following: 09520-1/2274 Engine & Exterior set 09620-1/2274 Main Hangar 09720-1/2274 Side Panels Of the three, the Main Hangar is the largest, as it forms a large T-shape within the hull of the ship, and all of this is replicated in resin and PE. The engine & exterior set does exactly what it says, while the Side Panels form the “greeblie” infested vertical sections between the top and bottom hull parts, adding massively to what’s normally there. As a side note, there is also a clear set of Side Panels (10420-1/2274), which we’ll look at shortly once we’ve given our full attention to this monster of a set. As usual we’ll deal with each section individually, as they’re also available separately, in case you want to focus attention on one portion of the ship or other. We’ll also be reviewing the lighting kit, which is truly amazing, and comes programmed with start-up sequence and various flickering effects. The resin is separated within heat-sealed channels in a larger polythene bag, and the PE is in a Ziploc bag, with a piece of black paper separating two sheets in one set. The instructions are folded into four, adding some extra protection to the package along with the inflated bags that the resin parts are supplied in. Resin Tips Resin usually comes attached to its pour block, which is where the resin is poured into the mould and acts as an overflow and bubble-catcher for more rustic manufacturers that don’t have access to pressure casting methods. These will have to be removed before you can assemble or paint the parts, so there will be a little extra time needed to prepare the model for construction. With resin, you should take the precaution of wearing a mask when cutting or sanding it, as the tiny particles are harmful to your health if breathed in. Washing the parts in warm water will also improve the adhesion of paint, as there may still be some moulding release agent on the parts when you receive them. Take care not to use water that is too hot, as this may cause deformation to more delicate parts, and this technique can conversely be used to fix warped parts, using cold water to “freeze” the changes in the parts. Engines & Exterior (09520-1/2274) The first task of this set is to remove the moulded-in bay from the underside of the hull, then build up the replacement, which bears a familial resemblance to the “original” from 1977. The bay is made up from a single larger area, with a smaller section attached to one end with a separate roof for the smaller part. This is a shuttle bay, and if you have superior sculpting skills or the Hangar set, you could put something in there for the determined viewer. PE parts are used next to layer up the details around the sides, with two large panels set in the roof, and another even smaller PE bay folded up with tons of small structures along the sides, and a large overhead crane that runs through the main and smaller resin bays, with a set of grabbing arms on a cab. The bay edge is lined with two-layer comb-like parts, and a flat bulkhead behind the bay is given a detail skin, after which the bay is inserted from within. The twin bridges and their fins are next to be augmented, removing the raised windows from around the lower section and the fronts of the twin bridge sections, in preparation for later work. The front of the bridges are wrapped with PE skins that include more realistic recessed windows, and a flat circular panel on the roof, which is of course carried out twice. At the rear of the bridges, another detailed skin panel is fitted to the lower rear with more recessed windows and frames etched in, with more applied to both the sides of the structure, plus another triangular raised section that sits on the sloped front of the bridge. To each side of the bridge are four gun emplacements, which are replaced entirely with new resin parts on both sides that further embellish the top of this large ship. At the rear of the hull above the engines, a pair of new skins are applied to a diagonal panel on each side of the base on which the superstructure and bridge are fitted. The huge engines of the Venator Class are quite visible, the smaller ones being enclosed in long cylindrical fairings. These are made up from two parts, and for the upgrade, the kit's simplified exhaust cones are first removed, then fitted with a folded up set of blades that form a crown within the trunk. The new resin exhaust cones are made of two parts, the outer surface and an inner set of blades on a circular section, which slides inside the outer. These are glued onto the fairings to replace the removed parts, and this is carried out in identical pairs that can then be attached to the model as normal. The four larger engines are built up in a similar manner, but with the radial fins glued into the back of the insert before it is slid inside the larger outer cone. There are four cylinders that fit into the back of the cones, which have their tips cut off and are glued to the back of the PE ring that finishes off the back of the exhaust. Another PE crown is inserted into the short trunk with the blades pointing outward, and is joined by another that has its blades folded inward, with the new exhaust cone and rods inserted into the end. Again, this is carried out in pairs due to slight differences between the exhausts. The smallest exhausts are simply chopped off their trunk, and have new exhausts added to replace them. The final two parts of PE sheet are fixed to the underside of the gigantic “stinger” that splits the pairs of exhausts, finishing off that area. Side Panels (09720-1/2274) This set is almost a drop-in replacement for the kit parts, if you ignore the removal of the parts from their casting blocks, which can in places be left quite rough on the reverse if you aren’t planning on lighting the model (shame on you!). It comprises a collection of eleven resin parts, and a sheet of PE that contains lots of small details. The first activity is to remove the supports from the tip of the bow under the hull, which is where there is a bay door for the ships it carries. The edges are also thinned to better accommodate the parts, with test-fitting always a good idea in situations like this. The side panels consist of four sections for the various facets of the ship, one of which is a side-facing bay. This has a PE bay door applied in two layers before it is glued in place. This is of course repeated on the other side in mirror-image. The bow is open at this stage, and needs its bay door inserting, which is again closed off with a two-layer PE door, with small PE parts added to each side after being folded to shape as per the instructions. The final parts completes the detail on the squared-off side panel just forward of the engine bulkhead. Main Hangar (09620-1/2274) This set is the larger of the three, and adds a huge area inside the ship that will be visible from the bow and side bay doors, providing you remember to leave them open. It consists of fourteen resin constructional elements, plus sixteen blocks with a number of vehicles and ships that will be used to detail the completed assembly. A PE fret of small parts also adds detail to the ships that can’t be done easily in resin at that size. Construction begins similarly to the Side Panels set, removing the upstands in the bow, but adding the side bay upstands into the removal process. The bay is roughly T-shaped, and is created from the trapezoid aft section, which is joined to two straight sections that extends all the way to the nose bay. All the parts so far have “windows” in their sides that are the doorways to small bays where ships are parked and worked upon between missions. The bow bay exit fixes to the last bay section, and the smaller bays are attached to the sides, lined up with the doorways as they are fixed in place. There are five of these bay sections, and they will of course need painting before they are attached, unless you have an L-shaped paint- or airbrush. The kit (or replacement resin) side bay doors are attached to the sloped ends of the aft bay, and the whole assembly is dropped into the hull and glued in place. I’d be tempted to test-fit and glue these parts in place within the hull to ensure that you don’t “bake in” an element of twist or unevenness. The various ships, vehicles and hangar bay storage can be put in any position you want within the bays before you put the four-part roofs on the bay, then invite anyone that might be remotely interested to peek down almost the full length of the hull to see your handywork. I left the accessories until last, as they’re the fun part, and will probably take you a while to make and paint. You get the following in the box: 5 x All Terrain Tactical Enforcer (AT-TE) 20 x Republic Attack Gunship 20 x (Assault?) Shuttle 15 x ARC-170 Starfighter 5 x Low Altitude Assault Transport/carrier (LLAT/c) 12 x boxes of supplies of various shapes and sizes Each vehicle has a resin core with PE parts added along the way. The AT-TEs also have a resin gun for the roof, and six tiny legs to hold it up, applied in a number of stages. The ARC-170s have their wingtip weapons attached, and the LLATs have the carriage mechanism added under the belly, after removing the parallel casting support that each of them has. The shuttles are really small, so it’s tricky to identify them definitively but they are detailed with PE wings and a top fin for each one. The gunships come fully-formed, even down to the top-mounted pointed fairings. A couple of my ARC fighters had a slight casting issue, but as there are 20 of them, you can afford to have a few mistakes or short-shots before you run short. Conclusion It’s a mind-melting set with so many extra details that it would make anyone’s mind boggle, so treat each part as an individual model and work accordingly to complete each element. When it’s done it will definitely blow people’s minds, as well it should. It’s not a cheap set, but it has a lot of content that has taken a great deal of care and talent to create. When I got my kit this was my dream set, but it wasn’t available at the time, so I've been waiting patiently ever since I found out about it. It really does beg for the lighting effects kit to be installed to light up the engines and all the other parts with this set. We’ll be reviewing the lighting set shortly, but suffice to say, it’s a comprehensive almost plug-and-play solution that just needs a MicroUSB power supply. That’s a story for another day though. Incredibly highly recommended. Out of stock at time of writing, but check back regularly – it’ll be back soon. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Lando’s Millennium Falcon FruitPACK (FP11 for Bandai) 1:144 GreenStrawberry The story of Han Solo’s younger years filled in a lot of blanks for many Star Wars fans, although Solo: A Star Wars Story got a luke warm reception thanks to the then-recent divisive sequels, that maybe it didn’t deserve, if it had been judged on its own merits. I say that with my Star Wars fan hat on, which is just the thing to watch what is a Space Opera at its heart, and allowing for the jarring sight of someone else playing the titular part because Harrison Ford has unsurprisingly aged markedly in the 40 plus years since the original film – it took a bit of getting used to, but I got there in the end. I’m also not one to over-analyse things, and can enjoy films that defy physics and sometimes logic (I do have limits though). One major point of interest for me was the introduction of the Millennium Falcon in its original factory-fresh guise under Lando Calrissian’s stewardship, before that fateful game of sabacc that led indirectly to the Kessel Run incident. It was clean, white and streamlined, with a shuttle that fitted snugly in between those two cargo-handling mandibles, and even sported a set of blue go-faster stripes. Han had ruined that by the end of the film though, leaving it a smouldering write-off by the final scene. The Set This is a detail set of Photo-Etch (PE) that is intended to upgrade the excellent Bandai kit of the youthful Falcon, adding detail where Bandai has simplified or omitted. Even Bandai can’t work miracles with styrene alone. We’ve got the FruitPACK in for review, which puts two smaller sets in a thick card envelope to offer a one-stop-shop for the detail, with a discount into the bargain. It arrives in the aforementioned card envelope, and the two sets are found inside in their original packaging that adds more protection to the sheets within. The two sets are also available separately from the FruitPACK, so I’ll drop some links in at the bottom of the review in case someone doesn't want both, and we’ll deal with the sets individually to simplify things. Lando’s YT-1300 Millennium Falcon (09119-1/144) This set contains a large sheet of bare brass PE, and a self-adhesive sheet of printed instrument panels and other details that are integrated during painting to further enhance realism. It starts with the shuttle, adding detailed afterburner-style exhausts by putting new stand-offs on the kit parts and adding a new layer to each of the four exhaust bells. The bulkeads to the sides have grilles behind their outlets too, after which attention turns to the cockpit, which is fairly similar to the one we know and love, although a lot cleaner and less distressed. The upgrade begins with removal of some parts from the simple interior floor part that has seats moulded in, replacing the steering-yoke and adding more detail to the front of the area. A new rear bulkhead is made for the cockpit using the stickers to detail it with the masses of instruments and flashing lights, which should be capable of being replicated by shining a light through the perforated bulkhead to illuminate the printed portions. More stickers are applied to the centre and side consoles, then an interior skin is folded into a faceted half cylinder and detailed with more PE and stickers before it is fixed over the aft portion of the cockpit. New headboxes are made up for the aft seats, some of the moulded-in detail and friction-fit turrets are removed from inside top of the outer skin, then new side consoles are made up from angled PE panels with stickers applied over them, then they are glued to the cockpit sidewall. Outside the cockpit on the side of the hull is a prominent semi-circular vent, with another on the other side, which is covered by a PE grille, with another long strip wrapped around the transition from tapering cockpit to the tunnel behind it. The Falcon has two gun positions in its centre, one at the top, one in the bottom of the hull, which from the box are fairly sparse. The set includes new detailed skins that are formed up and placed on a faceted ring behind the glazing to give it the depth that it should have. More stickers are included to give the area some life, with the rest being painted according to your references. Grilles This smaller set contains two sheets of PE, which are laminated into a set of super-detailed exhausts that are found on the aft deck of the Falcon in a fan-shaped array of six. The kit part that surrounds these exhausts has the moulded-in representations removed and is then backed by three curved parts that support the following steps. The assembly is flipped over and the new parts added into the new deeper recess. The circular lower supports have two layers, plus a central disc to allow enough stand-off for the new fans. These are etched as a single part with the blades attached, which are tweaked slightly to form the angled fan shape, then a central detailed disc is glued over the blank section in the middle. They are fixed into the recesses, and a two-layer grille is placed over the apertures, taking care to align the long ribs toward the front so that they converge slightly towards the front, as shown by the red lines on the instructions. A big improvement on the kit parts. Conclusion The Bandai Falcons are well-detailed for the most part, especially considering their snap-together nature, but you can always improve on styrene that has been engineered for mass-production, and this set does just that with lots of lovely details to draw the eye. Highly recommended. FruitPack (FP11) Detail Set (09119-1/144) Grilles (07719-1/144) Review sample courtesy of
  14. Babylon 5 The Station (09420-1/19660 for Revell) 1:19660 GreenStrawberry Babylon 5 was a ground-breaking American Sci-Fi TV show, or Space Opera from the mid-to-late 1990s that broke a few records, being amongst the first shows to utilise the then nascent Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) instead of the usual miniatures and mattes for the space ships and exterior action, plus a great deal of CGI used in expanding the sets that the humans were later placed in. It also had a five-season story arc, rather than the usual piecemeal show-by-show or season-by-season approach, which in itself gave the show a loyal viewership that stuck with them long after the show was over, and still has fans today. Of course, some of the CGI looks long in the tooth now, and the costumes and hairstyles haven’t aged well, but if you look past those aspects the show still has legs. They had to shorten the story arc to four seasons when they were threatened with cancellation, but the reprieve left them with a season to make without the Shadows, but they managed to pull it off reasonably successfully, with a few straight to DVD movies in the following years. Babylon 5 also had some cool ships, some of which Revell kitted at the time, and although they’re sometimes hard to find now, there must be many Bab 5 kits still in stashes just waiting for this set to arrive and pull the kit detail out of the doldrums. I’m lucky enough to have a boxless kit of the Babylon 5 station in my stash, so when I heard of this set I was pleased, to say the least. It arrives in a clear foil envelope with the usual dark themed card interior within, showing off one of the frets. Holding the package in my hand reveals the weight of more than one fret of Photo-Etch (PE) in the package, and when the resealable outer is opened, it deploys seven sheets of bare brass between sheets of protective black paper that are almost the size of the pack, and there are three different gauges of brass that have been used. Structural components have been etched from 0.2mm sheet, while the more detail-focused parts etched in 0.1mm gauge. The rest are in 0.12mm (ish) sheet that has strength without being too thick or resistant to bending. Construction begins with the removal of the ribs around the main habitat drum and the removal of a raised block where the docking bay entrance should be. The ribs are then replaced by new parts that folded into shape with a lot more detail, with skins added to the curved “prongs” that project over the bulge behind the docking bay. The spine of storage and manufacturing areas that run along the top of the drum, called the “top array” in the kit instructions is decorated with new skins from end-to-end over the next few steps, including details for the sides of the trapezoid boxes on the mid-section. The zero-G docking area “tuning fork” that overhangs the docking hub is also given a detailed skin plus a number of triangular webs underneath, a docking bay aperture below, details for the ring, and an assembly above the fork that I think represents the Tachyon emitter. The rest of the set is a complete replacement for the sails that fit on the “side array” toward the aft of the habitation drum, with six sails per side that first need removing. The new sails are made up each from three layers, the centre being the strong thicker gauge, the two detail skins having fine patterning etched into the surface. They are then surrounded by frame parts on each side and finished by two attachment lugs that then glue onto the short length of remaining plastic between the top and bottom sails. When they are attached to the array, a set of detail skins are fixed to the connection as well as the array surface, completing the upgrade. Conclusion My main issue with the base kit was always the complete lack of serious detail of the parts, although I had a reckless plan to replicate much of it with paint, but if you know me you just know that would never happen! This set makes all my silly plans redundant, and upgrades a so-so kit into a good one. If you’re lucky enough to have one in the stash, or plan on hunting one down, this set is a must-have if you have the skills to fold some PE and remove a bit of styrene from the kit. (yes, I know there's a typo on the package label) Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Star Destroyer Decals (1005 for Bandai 001) 1:14500 GreenStrawberry The Star Destroyer was the first Imperial ship to be seen in the iconic opening scene of Star Wars, that some strange people now refer to as “A New Hope”. To me it will always be Star Wars, because I’m of a certain age. Bandai have been working hard to fill lots of gaps in the available Star Wars kits for a few years now since they took up the mantle from Fine Molds when the Sequel Trilogy began, and they have a huge range of kits now, including the Vehicle range that this set of decals is intended for. They are pocket-friendly kits both in size and cost, but painting details at such a small scale can be taxing to us modellers with normal skills. I’ve had the original Vehicle scale Star Destroyer on my desk since it was first released because I became locked into an indecision-loop on how best to paint it. I’m sure I’m not alone. This set from GreenStrawberry, my favourite source of Sci-Fi detail sets, aims to help with that issue for this kit and they have a new but expanding range that so far extends to the Super Star Destroyer and the Death Star, both of which have complex paint schemes in such a small scale, plus a few others for the two variants of Slave-1. The set arrives in a clear film package with their usual dark-themed card package wrapped around a stiff card insert, a sheet of decals and instructions on where to put them. The decals are very well detailed with multiple colours, lines and greeblies that will bring out the best in your model, with the visual guide showing you where each individual part goes. The printing is crisp with good registration, colour density and sharpness, and will look best when laid down on a light greyish coat of paint that has been glossed to obtain better adhesion. My go-to Star Wars paint is Xtracrylix XA1137, so that’s what I’ll be using once I find the bloomin’ model! I intend to use this set to demonstrate the effect of the decals, as I think they will do a better job than I ever could with my shaky hands and poor eyesight. Although the decal printers aren’t named on the sheet, the colour of the backing paper and style of print reminds me of the decals often used by the likes of Special Hobby or Eduard, who are also in Czechia as the Czech Republic is now known. They will doubtless settle down well with the use of your preferred decal solution, and as long as you don’t try to rush it and apply more decals in one session than is sensible, the results should be excellent. Conclusion I got quite excited when I saw these sets in GreenStrawberry’s recent newsletter, and was very keen to try them out. I went looking for my completed Star Destroyer kit and found it, and hope to show you the results when I’m done. There is also an alternative set for the personal Star Destroyer of Admiral Thrawn, who appeared in some of the well-loved books that are still considered canon under Disney’s ownership, and had a rather fancy scheme applied to his ship to pick him out from the crowd. I’ve added a link to that below. Highly recommended. Star Destroyer (1005) Admiral Thrawn's Chimera Star Destroyer (1001) Review sample courtesy of
  16. Star Wars Hangar Crew (72006 & 72007) 1:72 GreenStrawberry You've probably heard of Star Wars just like you've also probably heard of Bandai, so if you put those two together you've probably also heard of GreenStrawberry and if you haven't you're about to, so prepare your wallet for a shock when you see all the lovely sets that are available. GS as I call them for my ease produce all sorts of accessories and detail upgrades for Sci-Fi subjects in general and Star Wars is one that features heavily on their menu. This latest batch of sets are great for the diorama builder that wants to put their ships into a human scale on the ground, and we reviewed the first issue here a while back, then more sets here, and now yet more to flesh out your collection. Each set arrives in a small rectangular box in their usual dark theme and white front, with the resin in a heat-sealed bag inside next to the folded instruction sheet that adds a little additional padding. Hangar Crew Vol.VI Mechanics (72006) Three figures are included, each on their own casting block. The guard has his hands on hips and is moulded in one piece, while the other two have separate arms. A mechanic carrying a large reel of cable with a separate arm swinging left arm to balance the extra weight, plus a mechanic standing there with his arms slightly wide that are moulded separately. Hangar Crew Vol.VII Guard & Pilot (72007) Another three figure set with two guards in their traditional rebel helmets and body=warmers, one with one hand by his side, the other on a holster, while the other is pointing with one hand. The A-Wing pilot is standing with folded arms and a wide stance with a posture that seems to indicate he’s a bit brassed off about something. Conclusion More grist for the hangar mill to add some human scale to your Star Wars dioramas, all dressed correctly with realistic poses. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  17. USS Defiant NX/NCC-74205 (FruitPACK FP08 for AMT) 1:420 GreenStrawberry It’s Star Trek time again, this time it’s the USS Defiant from Deep Space Nine, when they decided to give the crew of the space station a bit more robust mobility and add some greater breadth to the story-telling. The Defiant is a war ship plain and simple, and that’s all it was been designed for. As well as taking part in season 3 onwards and making an appearance in the Star Trek movie First Contact, it is a chunky little ship and has a bit of a “Voyager” look to some of her shapes, although all strapped to a saucer-style section and without any of the crew amenities that makes ships like the Voyager and Enterprise a home for her crew. The Set Designed to fit to the 1:420 AMT kit that was first released in the 1990s and has been rereleased a few times, the last time as recently as 2014, but they're a bit thin on the ground at time of writing. There are a lot out there in stashes of course, and GreenStrawberry have a pair of sets available to improve on the kit's simplified detail. The FruitPACK brings those together in a cost-effective and attractive box that contains a lot of resin, plus three sheets of Photo-Etch and a small sheet of decals. Inside the card box you get two sets that cover the Engines & Exterior in one, and Hangars in the other. Here’s what it all looks like in the heat-seal and ziplok bags: Engines & Exterior (08019-1/420) There are forty-two resin parts in grey, clear blue and clear red resin, plus two sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) part and a thick instruction sheet, plus a load of tiny resin flakes from the moulding process. There will be a little plastic butchery involved to fit some parts, which is best done before you begin the build, especially as this set just begs to be lit thanks to the translucent resin parts. Initially this includes removing the circular shuttle-bay panel underneath, some small details, a pair of recessed bays under the nose and eight holes on the upper side. The bays are replaced by detailed inserts and eight translucent blue plugs fill the holes, while the shuttle bay is left until later. A few more small details are removed from the snout of the craft and filled with a translucent blue resin part with waffle texture moulded-in and a resin bracing part behind it. Next are a pair of louvered vents on the top of the ship, which are shaved off and replaced by a resin surround, translucent red centre and four resin inserts in the recesses, plus a set of folded up ladder shaped parts that fit into the area. In the engine nacelles new “intake” lips are temporarily fitted to act as a template to cut a hole through which the translucent red intake is passed, and the lip is then permanently attached around it. This is repeated on the other side and joined by a bunch of PE details on each side, and later on some resin parts are added to busy the area up. Under the rear of the nose there is a scoop-shaped area that is detailed with a new skin plus additional parts that replace all the simplified detail of the kit. The kit exhausts are excised and replaced by a sandwich of two bay halves with a translucent blue insert between them that acts as a diffuser for a light to tint the whole bay blue. This will also show up the moulded-in detail and the additional parts placed within the area before fitting. The aft of the Defiant is a bit of a beaver-tail that looks a little unfinished, and this section gets a thorough overhaul with new impulse engine tubes that are recessed, mesh vents and other details. The rest of the set is used in thoroughly upgrading the detail to the outer hull, with skins, grilles and other details that take up a substantial number of parts. more parts are added to the aft, and the upgrade is completed by replacing the shuttle-bay doors with a new more detailed assembly. Hangars (07919-1/420) This set consists of one fret of PE, a sheet of decals, plus seventeen resin parts in grey, and of course the instruction sheet. This details the area you might have just covered over with the new doors in the set above, as well as the smaller bays in the lower hull, so remember this and plan ahead. Construction begins with the main bay in the belly, which is made up in layers to give a thoroughly 3D look, which includes decals for display screens as you go. They both attach to a bulkhead that is also decked out with decals along with some PE parts and access ladders that are folded up and put in place. The bay doorway is lined with a PE lip and the doors are folded into shape and placed in the aperture, with a large decal on the inside “stand clear” written around the edge. The smaller bays are made inside the small resin boxes with one end left open while the other is closed up with some small windows left for lights to shine through, into which you fit the shuttle pads and a lot of decals. There is also a PE part that is added to the underside of the shuttle “tray” that will allow it to be slid in and out, or to fix them in the deployed or retracted positions at your whim. After cutting out the bays from the kit lower, the bay edges are tidied up by adding a PE surround, then apply the completed bay from behind and add extra detail parts to the surround. If you really must cover up all that nice detail, a set of finely grooved doors are also supplied, although you’d be mad to fit them unless you made a boo-boo. The final fun part of this set is a few different types of shuttle, including one larger Chaffee shuttle, two Work Bee Units, and two Type 18 shuttles with their weird hovercraft vibe. They all have decals for their windows, as well as codes and for the type 18s, pinstripes and door lines. Conclusion This is very involved and detailed set that is by no means cheap, but if you’re serious about your Defiant model it’s a must have, especially if you’re planning on lighting it, which is very common in Sci-Fi modelling these days. This provides you with the majority of the parts that will do it justice, needing just the lighting loom to finish off. Very highly recommended if you have or can get a kit for a sensible price. FruitPACK FP08 They’re also available separately if you only want one set Engines & Exterior Hangars (07919-1/420) Review sample courtesy of
  18. USS Discovery NCC-1031 FruitPACK (FP09) 1:2500 GreenStrawberry Star Trek fans will have heard of the latest show from the Star Trek universe, which ploughs an alternate timeline furrow with Captain Pike still in charge of the Enterprise and some rather weird looking Klingons. There’s also a view into the more sneaky side of Starfleet, Section 31, who don’t seem to share the higher moral standing of the previous incarnations of the United Federation of Planets. The Discovery, from the Crossfield Class of ships has some quite extraordinary propulsion systems that allow her to travel almost anywhere instantly, but with some complications that cause issues at times, and lead to some head-scratching plot points. I’m not entirely sold on the Spore-Drive myself, but that’s just me. The Discovery herself has had a new captain in each of the two seasons so far, and with season three in production we wonder if there’s another one waiting in the wings. The main protagonist is First Officer Michael Burnham, who grew up with Vulcan parents that gave her a stoical outlook and a tendency to whisper her lines, which irritates me a little. It’s an ensemble show and the special effects are excellent, with the Discovery sharing a roughly similar outline of the Enterprise from above, but having a more flattened side and front profile. I’ve also just learned that there’s going to be a spin-off show about Section 31, which is probably good news for Michelle Yeoh and another notch on her extensive CV. The Set This is a new tool from GreenStrawberry, who aim to improve the detail beyond the snap-together heritage of the recent kit from Polar Lights. In case you’re unfamiliar, their FruitPacks are supersets of their existing detail sets that offer a one-envelope solution to get your detail on! They arrive in card envelopes with the sets included within their individual wrappers for additional protection. This set includes the exterior detail set and the hangar bay set, so let’s see what’s in them. Detail Set (08319-1/2500) This is a two sheet set that is etched from a thinner gauge of brass so that the details don’t project too far from the surfaces, as it’s a small scale ship that would look out of place if they were of thicker stock. The two sheets contain mostly skin parts, but also have some additional details that aren’t included on the kit, and it should result in a much more detailed model once painted and decaled. The main hull is an arrow-head shape with the wide hangar bay in the rear. In the top of the nacelle supports or wings, there is a shallow recess that is removed and replaced by a deep part that is folded into a box insert that adds depth and a number of tiny window cut-outs. At the rear there are detail inserts in the back of the wings, with a choice of two types, so check your references and suit yourself. On the undersides there are more skins added to the hull, with slimmer inserts added to the leading edges of the wings where injection moulding was unable to provide sharp detail. The saucer section is given a highly detailed deflector where it joins the hull, with multiple parts forming the surround and a spoked representation of the dish itself. The neck is skinned, as are the sides of the inner saucer on both sides, the outer rim and the “bridge” that leads to the bridge dome. The sloped outer edges of the inner saucer is also skinned, as are the inner sloped edges of the outer saucer section, then the neck has another sliver covered up with some final parts. More raised detail is added to the top of the saucer where there are raised blocks, and yet more details are added to the roof of the route to the bridge. Given the slightly underwhelming surface detail of the ship out of the box that relies over-heavily on the decals to give the impression of more depth, this set should give it the massive boost that it needs, with the decals placed over the top treated with several coats of solution to settle them down into the recesses and add realism to the whole model. It’s a must-have if you want to turn it from an expensive toy into a model. Dare I say mandatory? Hangar Bay (08419-1/2500) Since the original 60s series got the budget for a shuttle to augment the cheaper effects of beaming down to every planet they visit, all the main ships have had shuttle bays from which to launch and retrieve these vessels. On the kit the bay is moulded closed, so the first task is to remove that part, plus six of the attachment lugs that make this a snap-fit kit. Then the bay is folded up with a number of simple straight folds forming the basis of the bay, which is then adorned with internal skins, a number of prominent ribs, a perforated roof section that is then closed in by folding down the remaining side after placing a stepped part into the centre back of the bay. The completed bay can then be slid into place within the hull, and has an optional two-part bay door if you want to hide away all your work. This set is etched from thicker gauge brass, so will be less flexible than the exterior set and therefore easier to handle when folding it to shape. Conclusion Having got one of these kits, they’re a little disappointing out of the box, relying too much on the large decal sheets to provide the detail. I’m not a fan of 2D detail, so these two sets in the one box not only save you a few credits, but also does the kit a huge favour in terms of detail. They’re an absolute necessity if you enjoy making detailed models. Extremely highly recommended. You can also buy them separately if you don’t want both Detail Set (08319-1/2500) Hangar Bay (08419-1/2500) Review sample courtesy of
  19. Star Wars BTL A-4 Y-Wing (VC03) 1:72 GreenStrawberry It's common knowledge that the new Bandai Star Wars model kits are pretty awesome, especially since they can be made without any paint or glue, but with this being a modelling forum there are likely to be a lot of us considering upgrades, because we just can't resist! GreenStrawberry have a raft of update sets for these kits that should satisfy most tastes, and they have now broadened their range by introducing a new range of vacform canopies, and with more planned and in progress. What does a vacform canopy do to improve your model? It gives you a more scale-accurate window pane to the full-size props, and it allows a greater view into the interior of the ship with less distortion. This is ideal if you're painting and/or detailing the area, or if you just want a more realistic looking canopy. The set arrives in a small box in the usual dark GS theme, with the two canopies inside protected by a ziplok bag, accompanied by an instruction sheet and a set of vinyl masks for good measure. The two canopies are different because one is moulded pre-cut into front and rear halves, while the other is moulded closed, allowing you to choose open or closed, or just build two and be done with it.  There's a lot of folks that are a bit wary of using vacform canopies, but they're actually not too difficult once you know how - if you do, skip to the next paragraph. If you fill the interior void with Blutak before you begin cutting, and use a brand new #11 blade, scoring round the cut mark lightly so that you don't drift away from the line. Once you've cut it out, offer it up to the model, and gently sand any uneven or proud areas with a sanding stick, being careful not to scuff the clear surfaces. When you're happy with the finish, peel off the Blutak and clean both sides, then dip it in your Klear/Future or whatever you use so that it's ready to use on your model. Conclusion A useful set that has been missing from the aftermarket scene until now, and they should hopefully sell well to anyone looking to add a bit more realism to their model. The range is continually expanding, so if your preferred topic isn't yet covered, keep checking back. Review sample courtesy of
  20. Star Wars Hangar Crew & Equipment Vo.IV (72004 & 07219-1/72) 1:72 Greenstrawberry You've probably heard of Star Wars just like you've also probably heard of Bandai, so if you put those two together you've probably also heard of GreenStrawberry and if you haven't you're about to, so prepare your wallet for a shock when you see all the lovely sets that are available. GS as I call them for my ease produce all sorts of accessories and detail upgrades for Sci-Fi subjects in general and Star Wars is one that features heavily on their menu. This latest batch of sets are great for the diorama builder that wants to put their ships into a human scale on the ground, and we reviewed the first issue here a while back, which is now augmented by these new sets. Each set arrives in a small black-themed card box with CGI rendered sticker on the front showing the contents. Inside the resin is ziplok bagged and has a small instruction sheet where appropriate. Hangar Crew Vol.IV (72004) Three figures are included in this set, each of them attached by the soles of their boots to their casting blocks and their arms standing up by their sides, all surrounded by wafer-thin supports to aid the ingress of resin and egress of bubbles. There are also some wisps of resin adhering to the parts where the moulds have been split, and these can be removed with your fingertip or a sharp blade. These folks are all pilots dashing to their ships, presumably during a squadron scramble, and are in action poses as befits the occasion. Two are running, one of which is adjusting his helmet as he goes, and the third figure is clambering up his boarding ladder with the usual butt-out pose adopted to balance while climbing aboard. Only the helmet-adjuster has his arms moulded in place, so there is some room for adaptation of their arms to suit your needs, which might be useful for the ladder climbing chap. Hangar Equipment Vo.IV (07219-1/72) Like the previous sets, this one includes a set of five boxes of various types and sizes and you will have seen a couple of those in previous sets if you've been paying attention. There are two rounded-edge boxes with horizontal lines engraved in their sides, a flat stackable box with an irregular outline, a box with fluted protective vanes all over it, and finally a pack of four cylinders on a palette. Very useful for background clutter that accumulates on even the most fastidiously clean hangar decks and gives a diorama that lived-in look. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. Colonial Viper Mk.VII (FP06 for Moebius) 1:32 GreenStrawberry Battlestar Galactica was a firm favourite with kids in the 80s, and its reimagining in the early 2000s brought a whole new generation of fans into the mix, as well as some complex, exciting stories and a different organic Cylon than the shiny metal clankers we had become used to. The ships also received a make-over, although the Colonial Viper still showed its Aaron Spelling produced origins, retaining the same overall shape for the older Marks, and for the later Mk.VII a sleek, streamlined hull that still bore a family resemblance to the original. Its fatal flaw was its software that let the Cylons disable them when the time came for their invasion and attempted genocide of the colonies. Those that survived the initial onslaught were stripped of the virus that had disabled them, and were later increased in numbers after the Galactica encountered the Battlestar Pegasus, which had manufacturing capabilities that the older Galactica didn't possess. This FruitPACK allows the modeller to purchase the two Photo-Etch (PE) sets available for the 1:32 Moebius model of this sleek fighter, which includes both the Wheel Bay & Nozzles set (01215-1/32) and the Cockpit & Exterior set (01015-1/32) in one thick card envelope printed in the usual dark theme of all their boxes. Once the tape has been cut from the tongue, the resealable envelope divulges the two sets that are themselves wrapped in their individual foil packages in which they are sold separately. Cockpit & Exterior set (01015-1/32) This set consists of a single large fret of PE, a sheet of stickers for the instruments, a sheet of acetate with printed instrument for a lit model, and the instruction booklet. This is a complete replacement for almost the entire cockpit, and construction begins with the side consoles using your choice of stickers or acetate, with the completed sub-assemblies attached to the larger parts for later insertion into the new cockpit. The cockpit floor is next with foot plates and rudder pedals added before it too is put to one side. The seatbelts are a complex affair and have separate buckles that are fitted pretty much like the real thing and have the same four belts as a modern fighter pilot would have plus an extra central strap between the pilot's legs - probably to discourage hard deceleration! The cockpit tub is folded up from a large part with a few of the instrument screens added to the sides, and the consoles slipped in from the top. Here a number of small L-shaped parts can be used to assist in the strengthening of joins if you feel you need them, as attaching edges of PE is often tricky with small contact areas. The kit seat has its lower sides reduced in thickness to accommodate the new seatbelts and is then set aside while the instructions go off and detail the three fin-mounted guns, make up some very nice RBF tags printed double-sided in red, then add a launch hook to the front gear leg. The instrument panel is a complex affair with three main segments, all of which have large detailed screens that are represented by stickers or acetate again. There is also an angled keyboard at the front of the panel, which also has stickers or acetate, and folds around to give the impression of a three-dimensional part. The completed panel is inserted into the cockpit tub after the floor, completing the majority of the internal work. If you plan to pose the cockpit open with the canopy raised you will need to remove a small area behind the cockpit that is marked in red and apply a small PE insert to the hinge-point before making and installing the canopy. The kit's clear canopy is augmented by a panel that wraps around the rear and incorporates the new hinge as well as some internal details and rams that hold it open. These are left off the closed cockpit, which must have a tiny fillet removed around the sides to fit in the aperture after the alterations. The cockpit tub is inserted from below into the upper fuselage, and the final few parts are vents for the nose intake and the ancillary intake in front of the nose gear bay. Wheel Bay & Nozzles set (01215-1/32) The kit wheel bays have a little detail in the roof but are lacking around the walls, which is part of the main reason for this set. The simple kit bay doors are first relieved of their clunky hinges, then skinned inside with layered PE parts and more realistic hinges. The bays themselves have sidewall detail added and the nose gear bay also gets a roof insert that takes the detail up a level. The boxes in the rear bays are joined by additional wiring harnesses, then the bay doors are joined at the edges, having location points etched into the new sides. The three engine nozzles are hexagonal and have rough detail moulded inside them, which must first be removed to provide a good mating surface for the new parts that are folded up and fitted with a perforated backplate to facilitate lighting. The engines are each closed up around this new assembly, noting that the top engine has a smaller diameter than the bottom two and has a thin detail strip added at the front. Once glued together, small vanes are added to the very tip of each nozzle to give the impression of some kind of steering ability. Conclusion Yet another cracking set from GreenStrawberry, improving a kit that just lacks a little for those that like their detail sharp and adding a discount over buying them separately. Add this to your Viper and you'll stand out from the crowd. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. 2001: Discovery XD-1 FruitPACK (FP05) 1:144 GreenStrawberry 2001: Space Odyssey is possibly one of the most well-known, ground-breaking and most revered movies in Sci-Fi circles, filmed by genius director Stanley Kubrick, years before Star Wars re-broke the mould, with previously unseen quality of special effects and a grown-up story. The ships were believable both in their design and execution with a number of memorable craft that had a practical harshness to both the design and cinematography. The main ship that carried the crew to Jupiter to meet with the second monolith after discovering the little one on the moon was named Discovery and had a massive long hull to keep the atomic engines from irradiating the crew, who were located in the spherical module at the bow. In the middle was a huge dish to communicate with earth, with its troublesome EA35 unit that cost Frank Poole his life when his EVA pod went rogue. Released in 1968, it was initially greeted with a mixed reception partly due to the psychedelic ending and sparse use of dialogue, but over the years the fan base has solidified and turned its standing into that of a true classic. It is still occasionally shown in cinemas and has recently been remastered onto 4K UHD Blu-Ray so we can all enjoy it at the highest possible resolution and fidelity. It's well worth a watch, and the special effects still stand up to scrutiny although if you're expecting an all-action space opera you're looking in the wrong direction. This is more what's known now as Hard Sci-Fi that revolves around realism and takes physical constraints such as gravity and the fact that sound doesn't propagate in space into account. The Kit Moebius released their massive kit in 1:144 scale in 2017 to many a dropped-jaw, myself included. Measuring in at over 40", it is a stunning piece of plastic engineering that would be an awesome centre-piece to any collection, and deserves to be built and finished to the highest standard that we're capable of. GreenStrawberry love Sci-Fi as much as we do and have crafted a bunch of sets that can be used to detail and upgrade the kit to a higher level of crispness. They have three sets and have now brought them together in the FruitPack as a simple way of getting them all with a discount into the bargain. The set arrives in a printed box and has the three sets within, the corresponding instruction booklets with them alongside some decals, acetate sheet and paper consoles. In the box you get the following: 06819-1/144 EVA Pods 06919-1/144 Cockpit and exterior 07019-1/144 Hangar bay The focus of the set is the spherical crew compartment that really ramps up the realism and gives the module a very deep 3D look thanks to the Photo-Etch (PE) and resin parts used to create internal compartments that appear in the film. The external set also includes parts for the engine module and antenna, so it's not all up front. EVA Pods (06819-1/144) The EVA pods perform a pivotal role in the film, enabling the crew to repair the dubious antenna issue, then making off with Frank Poole when HAL 9000's psychosis overcomes him. It also features in the dramatic re-entry that gave us the immortal "Open the pod bay doors HAL" line from Keir Dullea playing Dave Bowman. This is the simplest set of the three with a trio of EVA pods in crisp grey resin that are completed by the addition of the manipulator arms and decals once painted, which even includes the red warning messages on the rear access door. The arms are folded-up from PE and can be cut short when they are stowed or left longer if you see fit with alternative splayed claws giving more flexibility – you could even use those with a separately sourced Frank figure if you are going for the slightly ghoulish look. Cockpit and exterior (06919-1/144) This set includes two PE sheets, a set of printed instrument panels and a clear sheet with windscreen (spacescreen?) facets printed upon them. Construction begins with the engines, which are skinned inside with detailed fluted interior wall and a louvered interior that has perpendicular rails added later on. This would look great with some LEDs behind them, and there are three pods so you'll need to perform the task three times in total. The smaller enginelets also get a detail part, and around the narrow rear of the pods which are actually further toward the front, the moulded in detail is removed to be replaced by small raised detail panels. Moving forward the antenna is raised slightly by the addition of an insert between the two base parts, details are added to the sides of the raised section and the supports for the dish, while the two ancillary dishes are detailed at the rear with support structure, and all three are given delicate cross-braces for the centre signal collectors. Moving inside the cockpit area and the corridor that leads back into the ship are made up from PE parts that are tailored to fit within the sphere, and instruments are provided that peel off their backing paper and are stuck down to give a huge detail uplift to the area. The two pilot couches are folded up and added into the assembly then the trunk back toward the access ladder corridor is fitted to the rear with a bulkhead preventing a see-through ending. The visor for the windscreen is made up with a frame to which the acetate sheet is added, then this is inserted into the detailed recess that slides into the kit visor part with vertical stiffeners inserted vertically between the three front panels. Finally, the cylindrical thruster-like protrusions at the rear of the crew orb receive optional detail skins with circular shapes in the recess, and the important emergency airlock on the lower portion of the crew module is detailed with new parts, just begging for an EVA pod to backed up against it. Hangar bay (07019-1/144) This is the largest and most complex of the sets with 38 resin parts, a sheet of PE, a sheet of self-adhesive instrument panels, a sheet of decals and finally the instructions. It recreates a substantial portion of the lower half of the command sphere, beginning with the hangar bay for the three EVA pods detailed above. The pods sit on retractable arms that transport them out through the circular bay doors, so construction begins with the floor some way below. The resin supports for the landing pads are fixed in place with PE braces, then the bay floor level is placed on top with the retractable beams inserted from behind so that they can be left to slide in and out if you wish. The pads are made up from resin bases with PE detail parts, then all three are placed on the rails and cemented in place with a lower PE skin hiding and strengthening the join. The three segments of back wall of the bay are then made up for later joining. The right panel has an octagonal recess made up from two halves with off-centre joins to cater for the shape, an end bulkhead, and a set of very well detailed PE skins to detail the walls plus an optional door that can be left open or off at your whim. Another shorter resin part depicts a doorway with access corridor leading to the location of the emergency airlock. The centre wall panel has a recess for two tanks and the left panel has a window and doorway with a small room behind it that has a computer console and storage/computer racks in the right portion. Another door can be fitted to the aperture unless you want everything to be seen, and throughout all this construction there are stickers and decals applied to improve the detail still further. The ceiling consists of a large fan-shaped part with six recesses and four detail parts added, and this is fixed to the top of the completed structure once it has been brought together and detailed to your liking. The kit parts for the bay doors are hollowed out into rings for later addition, and the main bay is assembled on the layered floor with neatly fitting location between the four assemblies. In the centre of the floor is the large waist-height console where the crew talk to HAL, and this too has stickers that include HAL's upstand, but not his glowing red eye. Perhaps you're expected to add an LED into the mix to give him the correct amount of malevolence, or you could source a small cabochon in the correct colour if you don't feel up to the task of lighting your model. The decal sheet contains a big black decal for the walkways, with extras for the leading edges of the landing pads. Three raised areas have additional PE edging strips fitted with stickers within them, and then the three space suits are fitted to their hanging poles with a small PE spacer between the neck and helmet, but don't forget to remove any that are going to be missing due to your particular posing of the EVA pods, or at a particular point in the ship's journey. Check your copy of the film for that sort of detail. With the suits in place, a ladder is added into the left ante-room and the bay roof it glued in place on top of the completed assembly. Preparation of the lower half of the orb involves removing a number of small protrusions around the edges and under the bay openings, then adding PE rings around the edges of the doors, as some element can be seen from opposing views. Conclusion This is an incredible set for what will likely be the build of your modelling "career", so it makes a lot of sense to push the boat out. As long as you're comfortable handling PE and resin, it's a bit of a must-have for owners of this kit, budget permitting of course. Detail is staggering, the assembly is sensibly documented in the instructions, and the potential finish replicates the detail incredibly well. Your main decision is how many bay doors do you pose open to make the most of all your work? Lastly, don't forget that you can purchase these sets separately if you or your budget don't feel up to the FruitPACK. Phew! I managed to get through the review without any 2001 puns Extremely highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. YT-1300 Millennium Falcon FruitPACK (FP-04) 1:144 GreenStrawberry We're back to Star Wars again! It's pretty certain that GreenStrawberry are clearly SW fans, as they have released a substantial number of sets for the various kits, including the big and the little Falcons. Now they're offering the little Falcon sets in a super-set, which gives you both sets and offers a discount on the individual purchase price. The set arrives in a thick card envelope with the details on the front on a white sticker. Inside are the two individual sets in the usual GS themed dark grey, green and red, each with a header card, the Photo-Etch (PE), instructions and any ancillary parts hidden within a resealable clear foil envelope. The following sets are included: Detail Set (01616-1/144) If you read my review of the FruitPACK for the big Falcon, you might be expecting a re-tread of that, but this one's a little different due to the way that Bandai engineered the kits separately to cater for the differences in scale. This is patterned on the Force Awakens Falcon, which has the new-style dish after its removal in ROTJ during the second Death Star battle. The set contains a large fret of Photo-Etch (PE) and a sheet of self-adhesive stickers, and construction begins with the dish, replacing the chunky kit mounting for a more accurate one. The central gun emplacements are also heavily modified, with new parts added to the cut-down seats, and a complete emplacement with self-adhesive printed details supplied for your ease. This is topped off with a bezel that attaches to the rear of the glazing so that it can be easily installed top and bottom, as the two emplacements are identical. The landing gear has a new set of scale-accurate doors, plus the "cuffs" that sit above the gear legs. The cockpit is also heavily augmented, with the kit instrument panel cleared of all the moulded-in detail, and the three joining studs removed to make room for the new detail. With that done, the glazing receives a quilted headliner, and a new ceiling is folded up with panels added, then more stickers added for detail. The rear seats get new headboxes to correct their inaccurate appearance, and the side consoles with sticker instruments are added, with a new bulkhead plus surround and door, and of course another sticker for the busy light infested detail. The new roof is added to the lower part of the cockpit, and faced off with a small faceted modesty panel before the glazing is put in place. The final few parts include an edge panel for the access walkway roof, and a blanking plate for the end of the walkway inside the hull. Grilles (01715-1/144) Two small frets with 32 circular parts that laminate up to make the six vents on the aft of the Falcon's deck. Each one is made up of four layers – a lower circle, the grill section, the raised divides, and a final detailed bezel that sits on the top. There are two types of grille, with the two on the left (looking from behind) differing slightly from the other four. Their location is shown clearly on the last diagrams, so there should be little room for confusion unless you try really, really hard! These will improve the detail on the aft deck immensely from the original kit parts. Conclusion Lots of extra detail to improve this gem of a kit and make it more impressive than it already is, with a modest discount on buying them separately thrown in as a bonus. Review sample courtesy of
  24. Star Wars Hangar Crew & Equipment 1:72 GreenStrawberry That low-budget cult classic from LucasFilm is back again, this time with accessories to liven up any diorama that you may wish to create with your massive stash of Bandai kits, or indeed any other 1:72 Star Wars kit. Thinking of it, they'd be pretty useful with any 1:72 Sci-Fi model, with maybe a little adjustment to remove any of the more obvious Star Wars design cues. Each set arrives in a small card box, with the figures in a tiny ziplok bag, a sheet of instructions where necessary doing the job of protecting them from rattling about too much too. The detail is good (remember that they're blown up to approx. 5x real size on my screen), with the casting blocks sensibly placed and a few wisps of flash from where the moulds have been cut to enable casting of parts with gaps, such as legs etc. The range is expanding as we speak (type?), and this is just the first of the range, as follows: Hangar Crew Vol.I (72001) Pilot with mechanics on inspection Containing three figures, two of which have one separate arm, and one having two separate arms, you get a rather heroic-looking moustachioed pilot figure with chest out and a wide stance, a chap with the SW equivalent of a clipboard perusing same, and the third chap is stooping whilst possibly leaning against something. Hangar Crew Vol.II (72002) A-Wing and Y-Wing pilots Three resin pilots discussing tactics or previous battles using the tried-and-tested method involving hands and the waving around thereof. One pilot is kneeling, and has a separate arm, while the others are standing and gesticulating in their flight gear. All three have the requisite helmets for their rides – two Y-wing jockeys and one A-Wing flier. Hangar Crew Vol.III (72003) mechanics and power droid A 1:72 Gonk droid! Sure, you get two mechanics, one striding toward something, the other kneeling to inspect something with his monster clipboard, but you also get a 1:72 Gonk Droid! He's made up of top and bottom halves, plus a pair of little short legs with tissuebox feet. Awesome! Hangar Equipment Vol.III (06718-1/72) This is a simple set that just requires the casting blocks sawing off and making good. It contains four items commonly found in hangars in the Star Wars universe. An inexpertly stacked block of those funny Holocron-shaped packing cubes, a large ribbed box, a smaller stackable "monitor stand" box, and a bundle of cylinders on a palette. Conclusion This will take much of the hard work out of building a layered diorama of a hangar bay, as it's usually the background objects and their candid nature that makes for a good diorama. There is also a Maintenance ramp that will look superb in the background, which we hope to review soon. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  25. YT-1300 Millennium Falcon Perfect Grade FruitPack (FP-03) 1:72 GreenStrawberry Bandai have had the license for all things styrene and Star Wars in the Far East since the reawakening of the franchise, and have produced some truly amazing snap-together kits that have more detail than many "proper" model kits, and these are now being licensed by Revell for wider distribution to us westerners. Their Perfect Grade Millennium Falcon is a tour-de-force in plastic engineering, offering a 1:72 dinner plate sized Millennium Falcon as it appears in the progenitor of the series, Star Wars A New Hope as it became known once it was joined by other entries in the original trilogy. GreenStrawberry are clearly SW fans, and have released a substantial number of sets for the various kits, including the big Falcon. Now they're offering the sets in a super-set, which gives you all three and offers a discount on the individual purchase price. If you're going to splash out on the big Falcon, you either go big or go home, so why not? The set arrives in a thick card envelope with the details on the front on a white sticker. Inside are the three individual sets in the usual GS themed dark grey, green and red, each with a header card, the Photo-Etch (PE), instructions and any ancillary parts hidden within a resealable clear foil envelope. The following sets are included: Exterior (06318-1/72) Contained on a single large fret, this set includes six double-layered grilles for the aft deck exhausts, plus detail parts for within the vents that can just be seen through the grilles. The two lateral docking bay tunnels have their vents augmented with new two-layer grilles, and the upper hatch that is used to retrieve Luke from under Cloud City on Bespin is given a new irising shutter, and two hand-holds to the sides. More vents and exhausts on these areas are also detailed with a covered fan and perforated panel beneath the grilles. On the margin between the cockpit glazing and tunnel, the prominent grating is replaced with a fine PE part; a curved part is added to the right mandible; the nav lights are drilled and given a surround on the tips of the mandibles and in the back of the space between them a pair of steering-wheel shaped parts replace the kit detail. Finally, the base of the dish is fitted with a new set of grab-handle shaped parts around its edges. Landing Gear (06418-1/72) Supplied on two sheets, this set replaces the styrene landing gear bay doors and those perforated "anklets" that each leg sports. It also includes bay door actuators, and details for inside the crew access ramp, plus a ceiling panel that is fitted after a hump inside that area is removed, and holes are drilled to accommodate the four pairs of ceiling lights in the panel. Cockpit & Gun Wells (06518-1/72) Consisting of a fret of PE plus a pre-printed self-adhesive representation of the rear of the cockpit, the upgrades begin with an overhead console attached to the canopy interior, with a number of those odd protractor-like controls you see Han and Chewie fiddling with, as well as more on the main console. The comfy front seats are given new PE tuck & roll panels in their centre, while the more Spartan rear seats are fitted with new details too. The rear bulkhead is a new PE part with a laminated door frame and a door fitted behind, plus the stick-on pre-printed detail for your use if you see fit. The bulkhead part is then attached to the rear of the cockpit area before it is inserted in the hull. The gun emplacements are given a fairly comprehensive refit, removing the seats from their inaccurate mountings and retaining the upper half, then putting a new four-part floor in the well, a raised gantry for the seat, which uses the previously removed seat base to prop it clear of the floor; new controls for the guns; cushion detail for the seat; foot pedals and control box below the controls; a hatch ring; access ladder disappearing into the ship; other controls on the wall and ceiling, and new ceiling panel insert to finish off the area. Conclusion Lots of goodies here for the detailer that takes an amazing kit and makes it even more amazing without any serious hacking away at the styrene, with a healthy discount on buying them separately thrown in for good measure. Review sample courtesy of
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