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Lastexile Vanship w/Steam Torpedo Hasegawa 1:72 Last Exile is a Japanese animated television series created by Gonzo. It featured a production team led by director Koichi Chigira, character designer Range Murata, and production designer Mahiro Maeda. The three had previously worked together in Blue Submarine No. 6, one of the first CG anime series. Last Exile premiered on TV Tokyo on April 7, 2003 and ran for twenty-six episodes until its conclusion on September 29, 2003. The story is set on the fictional world of Prester, where its inhabitants use aerial vehicles known as vanships as a means of transportation. On this world which is divided in eternal conflict between the nations of Anatoray and Disith, sky couriers Claus Valca and Lavie Head must deliver a girl who holds the key to uniting the two factions. Although Prester itself is not a representation of Earth; it features technology reminiscent of nineteenth-century Europe at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Many of its designs were also inspired by Germany's technological advances during the interwar period. The Model Sometimes when reviewing it’s quite nice to receive something completely off your radar and this kit is certainly one of those. It’s neither my normal scale nor genre, but it is interesting. The top opening box with some very nice stylistic artwork of the silver Vanship in the air, along with a couple of side views show the silver craft and a camouflaged version. Inside there is one sprue of light grey styrene, one of dark grey and two clear sprues and what looks like two small addendum sprue of resin for the optional crews, the separate steam torpedo and quite a large decal sheet for the size of model. As is usual with Hasegawa kits the parts are very nicely moulded with no signs of flash or moulding faults and only a few moulding pips. The light grey sprue is quite glossy on the external surfaces whereas the dark grey parts are quite matt, so I’d imagine that a good primer will be required to give the top coat an even finish. The build begins with the assembly of the resin pilots and this has to be the first time that this reviewer has come across named pilots. The first option is for Claus Valca and what looks like a droid, although is in fact a woman with a different style helmet named Dio Eraclea, whilst the second paring is Tatiana Wisla and Alister Agrew. Each pilot consists of upper and lower torsos and separate arms. With the pilots assembled it’s onto the cockpit which consist of the main floor, pilot and co-pilots seats, two bulkheads pilots rudder pedals and joystick. The pilots are then placed into their respective seats. The two upper fuselage halves are joined together and the two instrument panels are glued into position before the cockpit assembly is fitted from the opening on the underside. The single piece lower fuselage is fitted with two radiator housings, (well that’s what they look like), before the lower wing sections are attached. The upper and lower fuselage sections are then glued together and the radiator grille/nose assembly is fitted. This is made up of the main housing, internal detail part, what look like two machine gun barrels , clear light lenses and a couple of side fittings. There are also a couple of wingtips also fitted at this point. Then it’s on to the balance tube assembly, consisting of two halves and fitted with two turbine looking items which are then covered four cowling covers and an end piece. The two Claudia units, also consisting of two halves and an end piece, which are then attached to the turbines of the balance tubes and then fitted with the two egg whisk style parts. Turning the model over onto its back the undercarriage assemblies are attached. The two units are made up of inner and outer spats with the single piece wheels dropped into the opening and finished off with a clear lens for the lights. Each undercarriage is then fitted with a large brace that is attached between the spat and balancer tube. Under the bow of the craft the modeller has the option of fitting the two part styrene outrigger or the single resin part that is the steam driven torpedo. Under the centre section there is a landing skate that’s just clipped into place allowing the model to sit on its undercarriage. Alternatively Hasegawa have provided a clear stand and a different skate part that then clips into the spigot on the stand for in flight display. The model is finished off with the addition of alternate hood ornaments, depending on the craft being modelled and the two cockpit windscreens. Decals The decals, printed/designed for Hasegawa by GONZO/Flying Dog are really well produced. The carrier film is very thin and the design of the markings beautifully rendered. Along with the various stencils that are common to each option there are individual markings for each of the following four colourful Vanships:- Claus’s Vanship, (military vanship equipped in Silvana), in over silver with burnt iron and steel accents. Tatiana’s Vanship, (when equipped in Silvana), in overall red with similar burnt iron and steel accents. General Vanship, (when equipped in Silvana), in over light green, burnt iron and steel. Vanship affiliated with the aerial battleship Yamato, in overall dark grey. Conclusion As I said in the introduction, this is a complete departure for me, requiring a new learning curve structure on a subject I now only a little about. But, that said this is a great little model and should allow any modeller to have a bit of fun against the more serious issues of accuracy and colour schemes. It will certainly stand out from the crowd in whatever scheme you choose. Very highly recommended. Amerang – Hasegawa Review sample courtesy of UK distributors for