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  1. 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
  2. YT-1300 Millennium Falcon Upgrade Sets(for Bandai) 1:144 GreenStrawberry The Millennium Falcon is perhaps the best known and most recognised of any spacecraft real or imaginary, with a number of kits popping up over the years in different scales. Bandai's recent release of a raft of new kits has been great for anyone wanting to build a collection of Star Wars related models in a couple of consistent scales, rather than box-scale as seems to be the way with Revell, the main European license holder of late. The Bandai kits are snap-together, but don't let that fool you. They are the pinnacle of the injection-moulded art, and you'd wonder initially how they could get any better with the addition of Photo-Etch (PE) parts. These sets from GreenStrawberry are engineered to appeal to the more advanced modeller who will end up painting their creation, and you WILL need Super Glue (CA) to attach the parts to your model. The sets arrive in a flat re-sealable pack, with a black themed backing card, a chunk of thick cardboard to keep the PE safe, a set of instructions (both of which are hidden within), and the sheet of PE brass on display in the front. They are designed to improve both detail, accuracy to the scale/CGI models, and add a scale-thickness to otherwise over-scale parts. Millennium Falcon Upgrade Set (01616 for Bandai) The main set includes a large sheet of brass PE, plus a small set of instrument panel parts that are printed on sticky-backed paper, to give your interiors a huge lift in detail. It provides a welcome lift to the interior of the cockpit and the gun ports on the top and bottom, as well as some structural parts. It begins with a complex replacement of the mount for the prominent oblong dish that now adorns the Falcon's topside, replacing all the thick bracketry with more delicate parts instead. The base of the dish is also augmented, and the two assemblies are then brought together into one. The kit has a simple plug-in seat with controls for the gun turrets, which is slimmed down and has its lugs removed top accept a new control column/trigger, which is then placed inside the compartment that is folded up from brass parts, with stickers providing the instrument panel detail on the various facets of the walls. These are further enhanced by relief panels added within, and the finished assembly is fitted to the rear of the glazing with a flange around the outside. This is of course repeated for the other turret, giving you two in total. The main asymmetrical cockpit is also upgraded in a similar way, removing the kit instruments from the main panel and roof along with the three lugs that hold the top to the bottom. The canopy has a skin with insulation quilting etched into it, and all the panels are replaced with new ones that have stickers applied with instruments. The roof has a faceted liner folded up, with additional panels and stickers added, which is added to the lower cockpit along with the new replacement rear cockpit bulkhead that is so often visible in cockpit shots from the movie. This is a lamination of three parts onto which the appropriate stickers are fixed after painting, with two location holes included to register the part on the rear of the cockpit assembly. The rear seats are provided with headboxes that are missing from the kit parts, and the front of the cockpit roof is finished off with a "hoop" that bridges the space between the curved wall of the kit and the faceted inner skin. As a point of interest, you can see that all the instrument panels are perforated where there are usually lights on the various boards, which will show through the stickers if you position some LEDs behind them, making for easy lighting of the busy areas in the various cockpits. The landing gear for the SW:TFA Falcon has the now-standard five legs of two types, both of which get new scale-faithful doors to replace the chunky kit parts moulded into the legs, and the struts themselves are fitted with the perforated circular frames that can be only approximated in styrene. The final job is to fold up the insert that shows at the end of the entry ramp, requiring you to remove the blanking plate moulded into the lower hull. This and another part in the roof will add to the look of the area. Millennium Falcon Grilles (01715 for Bandai) The Falcon's prominent exhausts on the top deck are part of what makes it what it is, and this set provides six new mesh grilles to detail this area. Each circular grille is made up from a bottom hoop, a sheet of louvers, then a sheet of framework, with the top layer a frame around the outer edge with details etched in relief. Alignment is key, and there are two styles of top frame, with a distinct forward direction marked on the assembly diagrams. Four of the siz are identical, with the two leftmost (from behind) having a different pattern on the framing, all of which is explained on the last two instruction steps, as well as showing that "forward" in this context actually points toward the centre of the ship in a fan shape that matches the general shape of the engine deck area. Conclusion Another superb pair of sets to upgrade these Star Wars gems, just remember they're only suitable if you're planning on painting your model. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. I was asked last week to build a blaster prop for a friend. He's off to Secret Cinema's showing of Empire Strikes Back this weekend, and has been told he has to dress as a 'mercenary' - basically a Han Solo-type. He's got enough clothing to pull of the general look, but doesn't want to spend silly money on a prop on Etsy or eBay. "Pete, can you finish it in 10 days?" he asked me. Challenge accepted. A DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol. Not screen accurate, but more 'look and feel'. First job - I told him to order a toy Mauser from eBay. £4.99 and quick delivery It arrived last weekend, so I only got it Monday. Han Solo's gun came from a Mauser C96, and is quite distinctive. This thing makes a clicky noise when you pull the trigger. Cheap, plasticky rubbish. Let me give you a quick rundown of my schedule. 10 day turnaround was a pipedream. By the time this arrived, it was already 5 days after the initial conversation. He's going Sunday. I work from home on Fridays, which meant bringing in a finished prop on Thursday. Which means finishing it Wednesday. 3 day turnaround. First job on Monday night. Assemble the gun. On my way out of the office, I asked the IT department if they had a PC graveyard I could defile. I got a couple of heatsinks and a knackered GPU filled with capacitors and microchips. Win. I also found a toy sniper scope - my stepson broke the scope off his toy rifle, and it had been sitting around for 6 months. He said I could have it The batteries are flat, but I think there's a laser pointer (red light) in there. Next - shave the unnecessary bits off the pistol Glue the scope in place. JB Weld is strong, but takes a long time to set. Gaffa tape will help, and hide unwanted gaps. It's a prop, not a showpiece. 3 days, people - gimme some slack. I know, I know - gaffa tape. Add some capacitors and other greeblies to hide the tape, and give some visual interest, and we're nearly there. I even got some Warhammer on it. The problem was the muzzle - although not a replica/facsimile of Solo's weapon, I wanted it to look as part of the same custom-built family. There are at least 5 different versions used in the films - some of the early production photos don't even have a scope! What they all have in common, though, is the flared muzzle-end - a drilled I found the answer in the supermarket. A bottle of mouthwash had the perfect shape lid. Worth 65p, I think. I drilled the muzzle holes and found a couple of other bottle lids to glue it to, cut the main barrel and attached. This was Tuesday night. I ran out of JB Weld as well, so Araldite was found in the garage recesses. I gave it 24hrs to cure, and then set about painting. Mixed materials on the gun, so Alclad II lacquer primer and gloss black, and metals, and acrylic brown for the handle. A few touchups here and there where the silver oversprayed, and it's done. 1am tidy up, but 3 days from start to finish. Fun little build. Next one will be tidier, I reckon. I'll post a photo of this one in use after Sunday's event (if he send me one)
  4. Millennium Falcon and X-Wing Revell EasyKit Pocket The Falcon and Luke's X-Wing need no introduction, but if you're looking for a stocking filler for your son, daughter, nephew, niece or family friend that just happens to love Star Wars, look no further. The kits are ready to build, and purport to be snap together without glue – I do wonder however how long they'd last if you didn't glue them. That's an issue for the parent/impatient child though! Each kit is presented in a vacformed package with the major parts laid out within the pack in a vacformed tray. The smaller parts and instructions are held in bags within the lower part of the pack, hidden by the card insert. They're sold as "pocket", and you'd need pretty big pockets for the unbuilt box, and still fairly voluminous ones for the finished article by children's standards. It's probably more of a "pocket money" association however, so we'll let it slide. Inside each pack is a really rather nicely moulded little kit of these famous space craft from the Star Wars franchise, and they are immediately recognisable. The parts are moulded in that Star Wars chewing gum coloured styrene, and are detail painted with appropriate colours to give them extra realism. Clear parts are supplied for the cockpits and the exhaust of the Falcon, and the Falcon also has a gloss black stand supplied because it has no gear legs. The X-wing is Luke's Red 5, and is posed with its spoilers in attack position, living up to its name. A couple of lugs hold the wings open, and even when removed they still want to remain opened, but would glue together if you were minded. The kits take moments to put together, but some of the parts are tricky to get in place, such as the exhaust glazing on the Falcon, and the cockpit of the X-wing, and certain similar looking parts won't fit in the wrong places, which although that might be frustrating for a child, ensures the model goes together correctly. The parts are all numbered on the instructions, but it's anyone's guess why, because all the parts are loose and don't seem to have numbers moulded or painted on them. It's fairly easy to work out which is which though, and I would suggest that an adult is present during construction for the younger and less experienced builder. When complete, the kits are surprisingly faithful models of the "real" things. I grew up with Star Wars, and built many of the AMT kits, and have a whole bunch of the new Finemolds kits still to make, and I recognise the shapes of the details immediately, even though some of them are simplified for moulding considerations. I built them both in a few minutes, and found that they fitted better when the remains of the sprue-gates were removed. Whoever had cut mine off was clearly in a bit of a rush, so there were plenty of bits needing tidying up, and annoyingly, a small section of the Falcon's exhaust ripped off along with the sprue-gate. That won't matter one jot to a young'un though. I glued the parts in place, but they have clever friction posts that once installed should stay put unless you apply some serious pressure, and the fine parts of the Falcon's sides are held in place by tabs and the curve of the top and bottom parts, although I suspect that the two front parts of the loading jaws would have come off fairly quickly if not glued. Conclusion Marvellous! They're great little kits to occupy small fingers for a while, and possibly give them a taste for modelling without appearing too obvious. The newer films have given a whole new generation a taste of Star Wars, and they should sell well. I'm not entirely sure how long the slender prongs at the end of each wing of the X-Wing will last, and I suspect that won't really matter much either. Be aware of the small parts that might represent a choking hazard to younger children, such as the R2-D2 figure in the rear of the X-Wing, which could easily be removed if not glued in. For that reason they are marked as suitable for ages 6+. Highly recommended for stocking fillers. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit
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