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Star Wars AT-AT Imperial Walker (05680) 1:53 Revell I first saw a clip of the AT-AT Walkers from the new Star Wars film “The Empire Strikes Back”, on Clapperboard during lunchtime from school. They blew me away, and I still think they’re awesome. They are heavily armoured four-legged behemoths with powerful armament in a mobile “head”, where the crew of two and commander sit relatively safe from harm. They instil terror in their enemy, as Luke found out when his Snowspeeder was crushed by one at the height of the Hoth battle, although he soono got his revenge by throwing a thermal detonator in through an access hatch in the belly, blowing it to pieces. Top of the line stop-motion and go-motion animation from the team at ILM, led by the talented Phil Tippett, and it still holds up well to scrutiny today on the 40th anniversary of the film's release. The Kit This is a reboxing of Revell’s own 2007 vintage Easy Kit, but without the clumsy pre-painting that usually accompanied those offerings, so that you can do your own paint job and glue the parts together for extra rigidity. The kit is on the larger side at 1:53 and even though it’s a fairly simple design there are many large parts with raised and recessed detail. Some of the large panel lines have been rendered in reverse, raised instead of engraved. This would create some extra work for the serious modeller, but the plastic is thick enough to cope. The kit arrives in a top-opening box with four sprues and four separate parts in grey styrene that’s about the right colour already. There are no clear parts, just the instruction booklet and that annoying safety sheet, which hid the decals within on my sample, so be careful not to throw them out without checking like I did. This is a giftset boxing, so there are six thumb-sized acrylic paint pots, a #2 brush and a small bottle of Contacta Professional with fine applicator nozzle if you should need them. The last item in the box is an A3 film poster, which is folded to fit the box as can be seem below. Construction begins with the neck, which is made up of two halves and has a short axle at the head end for later use. The head it split horizontally into top and bottom halves, which has the two chin cannons fitted either side of the central raised portion, then the cheek guns are placed on either end of an axle and dropped into their socket with the neck fitted the same way. The top of the head is then fitted over the bottom trapping the neck and cheek guns in place, with careful gluing allowing them to pivot. The red glowing windscreen in the front is oddly provided with a black decal or you can paint it red for a little more authenticity if you like. The head is put to one side while the body is built up. The Snap-Tite heritage shows here, as the parts all clip together with large lugs, but before gluing you are incited to paint them grey with a margin around the inside also painted, and the small recesses in the sides painted a slightly darker grey for contrast. You might want to follow your references instead, especially if you are scribing out the panel lines and adding your own additional detail. The body is started with the top sloped section, to which you add the head, one side and the rear panel, then fit the other side to the lower hull and join the two sub-assemblies together, being careful not to get any glue around the neck joint. The underside is then detailed with the repurposed Rolls-Royce Pegasus engines that form the mechanisms for the legs, with axles to fit them later. The legs must be built first, with each one ostensibly similar but different enough to be made up in A, B, C & D variants due to the handing etc. It begins with the foot, which has a hollow sole plate, so that’s another thing you’ll have to make up if you plan to have the underside showing. The curved ankle slider sits on a groove in the top, and is trapped by a cap, taking care not to glue the slider as you go. The lower leg comprises two parts that fit either side of the slider, and each one has a steadying ram that slots into a socket on the foot without glue. The upper legs are also made of two halves, then attach to the lower with a clip-on pin that completes the knee joint, all of which is done four times in total. The leg mechanisms seat on two cradles each on the underside and their linkages slot into the axles, with the legs clipped on at the corners with similar pins as used in the knees. At that point you realise that this is a BIG model. Markings There aren’t many decals on the little sheet, and each one is either silver or black. The majority are applied to the rear of the body, with a few others on the top and underside, but the majority of the visual interest comes from the accent panels and the grime that is seen on just about every AT-AT that appears on screen in the franchise. Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion If you want a big AT-AT this is probably going to be your only choice in injection plastic since the 1:48 kit we were promised disappeared from Dragon’s forthcoming list a while back. For accuracy you will need to do a little detailing work, but as I found with Darth Maul’s Infiltrator Easy-Kit a few years ago, it’s not the hardest thing in the world. Recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
Kislev Winged Lancers. Recently I started painting my old Warhammer fantasy figures again and the first to be dusted off were these winged lancers from the old Empire army. They're probably the most eye catching of the Empire cavalry regiments so I wanted to give them a more interesting paint job than I had previously (though I stopped short of the crazy paint horse scheme). These models are clearly based on Polish winged hussars so red and white seemed the most appropriate choice for the main colours. The rounded lances were a good opportunity to use the spiral striped design that might look slightly awkward on the hexagonal lances of the heavy cavalry. An old Slavic design was chosen for the shields, and the animal capes I decided to paint as snow leopards despite fearing that it could end up looking slightly 'Cruella de Vil', but it seems to have worked out okay. For the next batch and the command group I'll add some different coloured horses into the mix to stop the unit from looking overly identical. Snotling and squig. This is a just-for-fun project that I cooked up from a couple of items that were sitting around in my bitz box, and some green stuff putty. The idea is a foolish snotling gets himself a pet and fancies navinga go at being one of those Squig Netter crews from the Orcs and Goblins army; he'll eventually end up as dinner. Thanks for looking in, Ross.
Star Wars Star Destroyer Update Sets (for Zvezda/Revell) 1:2700 GreenStrawberry The massive Star Destroyer kit popped out of Zvezda's marketing department with a flourish last year, and caused quite a stir because for a start it wasn't from the usual license holders (until Revell reboxed it), and that it was humongous! At that scale it is around 60cm long, which of course lends itself to super-detailing and of course lighting! The kit detail can be best described as adequate, but there are areas that really do need something extra. Along comes GreenStrawberry, who if you hadn't worked it out already really like Star Wars, with a couple of sets that will go a long way toward improving the detail. 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 PE set arrives 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. The resin/PE set is supplied in a box, with the contents encased in carbonite Ziplok bags for extra security. Both are designed to improve both detail, accuracy to the scale/CGI models, and add a scale-thickness to otherwise over-scale parts. Star Destroyer Upgrade Set (03517) Supplied on two frets, work starts with the blanked over garbage disposal port that is first seen in SW:TESB is folded up into a box, with an octagonal insert completing the shape, which then slides in through the aperture that the modeller must first remove. Two more small launch bays on the sides of the hull are also cut out and lined with a boxed out bay part, which has detail skins lid in on the ides. The returns on either side of the bay are also skinned with detail parts to complete the look. These "returns" are present in two other places in the trenches on side of the hull, and they too are skinned with new parts. The SD's most visible armament is found in rows on either sides of the superstructure, with re-used anti-aircraft emplacements from ship models playing the part. Two detail parts are supplied for all eight of these at the front and rear of the emplacements. Moving onto the superstructure, the central "array" sensor between the shield generator balls on the bridge is upgraded with additional detail parts to turn a rather bland part into one with much more visual interest, , while below it a little kit detail is removed from the bridge face at the centre to add a trapezoid bridge part with etched-out windows, as seen from the interior shots in the films. If you wanted to detail the interior however, that's down to you! Speaking of the shield generator orbs, all the kit supports and the little overscale antennae on the top are removed, and a new base is fabricated from a base with individual legs glued into marked pads on it, with new antennae on the top of the orb, and more straight supports added to the bottom. These fit over the top of the kit bases, and next to them small ladder-shaped parts are added to the bases of the sensor. The final act is to add a few missing parts to the grab in the main hangar bay, but if you're going for the excellent 3D printed main hangar bay off Shapeways, you may not need this. Resin Engine Bells (03417) The kit bells are a bit lacklustre if you're going to stare at them for any length of time, so it makes sense to busy-up this important area of the model with some more detailed parts. This set includes the three large sub-light engine bells (in three parts each with PE baffles), plus the four smaller light-speed engines that are positioned either side of the centre bell in pairs. Once liberated from their casting blocks the main bells have a cylindrical lip added, and a trio of baffles added to the lip in turn, which are formed from a double-layer baffle and two triple-layered actuators for each one, requiring nine in total. The light-speed engines are two parts fitted concentrically for maximum detail, and a scrap diagram at the bottom of the instructions show the correct orientation for each bell, as the details aren't symmetrical. Conclusion Given the sheer size of these kits, it seems churlish not to make the most of the build, and these two sets allow you to do just that in spades. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of