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Smiffy

Battlestar Galactica 1:4105 Scale Revell

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Battlestar Galactica

1:4105 Scale Revell



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It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 10 years since Ron Moore’s re-imagined Battlestar Galactica first appeared on our tv screens. The mini-series (which aired in 2003) followed the basic premise of the original show. After a devastating Cylon attack on their home-worlds (the 12 Colonies), the refugees form a caravan “rag-tag fleet” of civilian ships, led by (what is believed to be) the last surviving Battlestar, the Galactica and flee their solar system in search of a new home. Their planned destination is the mythical 13th tribe’s planet, Earth.

However, while the story outline was similar, the newer series dispensed with the original’s 70’s cheesiness and instead, offered up a much more realistic drama series that was darker in tone and very much, an adult orientated show. The series became a huge hit and drew much critical praise, also. The show won several Emmy Awards for it’s visual effects, as well as nominations for acting, writing and directing, while Time Magazine named Battlestar as one of the top 100 TV Shows of all time. The crowning glory came in 2006, when BSG recieved the coveted and prestigious Peabody Award for overall excellence, for its "revitalized sci-fi television, with its parallax considerations of politics, religion, sex, even what it means to be human."

Much as the two series are similar but different, the Galactica herself does bear more than a passing resemblance to the ship of the original show. She was heavily updated for the new series, however. The 70’s version was very much a product of the kit-bashing detailing process that became popular back then, thanks to Star Wars. It’s not really surprising, as many of the modellers who worked on Star Wars, went on to Galactica, afterwards. The surface of the newer ship is predominantly a series of external frame ribs, with sections of armour plating covering particular areas. At the rear end, there is a nod to the 70’s predecessor with a representation of the previous ship’s surface detail around the upper and lower engine deck. Speaking of propulsion, the Galactica gained a faster than light jump capability in the new series. This had an effect on the side mounted flight pods. On the old ship, they were fixed in place, but when the newer Galactica is required to make an FTL jump, the flight pods now retract into wells buried in the side of the hull. These wells are identifiable on screen, as there is some subtle, red illumination in there.

Of course, one of the other notable surface features was the battle damage. Whenever she took a beating, that damage didn’t just disappear, with the ship appearing all clean and shiny again the following week (as witnessed in countless other sci-fi series). On Nu BSG, those damaged areas would remain there for the entire series run, right up until the end. This is especially noticeable after the exodus from New Caprica, during season 3, when Galactica took a particularly bad pounding and lost one of her upper turrets, leaving a gaping hole in the armour. Like the ever dwindling human head-count displayed on the president’s wall, it’s one of the many little aspects that I always appreciated about the show.

It was a well written, intelligent, compelling, sometimes subversive drama series (with echoes of then current real world events), that also just happened to be set in outer space. On the acting front, there were some real top notch performances, with special mention going to Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell and James Callis. The visual effects were stunning and the score by Bear McCreary was outstanding. It also features what I consider to be one of the finest series finales in recent television history. Many TV shows go out with a whimper. Battlestar Galactica finished strong.

If you’ve never seen it, I urge you to seek it out.

The kit

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Moebius Models released their Galactica kit a couple of years ago. It is scaled to match the original (70’s) Battlestar Galactica model from Monogram, all those years ago. It has been generally available in Europe, although we have had to pay a little more for the kit than modellers from across the other side of the pond. Now though, Revell have a struck a deal with Moebius, which sees them re-boxing several of their Nu BSG kits specifically for the European market. The plastic components remain unchanged. The real bonus for us, is the reduction in the cost price.

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The kit arrives in the de riguer Revell end opening box, although it has a rather attractive black finish to it instead of the more familiar blue, with the box top featuring a picture of the built and painted kit. Inside the box are 63 parts moulded in grey styrene, with 5 pieces in clear plastic and a metal rod for the stand. The plastic pieces themselves are generally quite well moulded, with a mix of raised details, ribbing and armour plates and then recessed panel lines where appropriate. There are some signs of flash present, although the worst affected parts appear to be the actual sprues themselves. On the whole, the kit pieces should clean up quite easily, with the minimum of fuss. It looks as if some of the smaller parts will need careful attention, just because of their size. Nothing drastic, just take your time.

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The instructions are your traditional Revell fare and will be familiar in style to most modellers. The construction sequence is all laid out very clearly, with colour call-outs supplied along the way. As is typical for Revell, they supply numbers from their own paint range, with the required mixing ratios for the main shades. When it comes to sci-fi vessels like Galactica though, I feel it‘s more subjective and very much down to personal interpretation. I‘ve seen modellers paint the ship using metallic colours, but in this small scale, I think a variety of greys are more appropriate and give a much more authentic look. Again, that’s just my opinion, though.

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Construction commences with the main hull. The wells which the flight pods retract into are the first thing to tackle. They are fixed into place in the upper hull before it is joined to the lower hull half. The join where the well meets the hull looks like it will require some filling work to blend it in nicely. Now, the interior recess of these wells is entirely smooth and devoid of any detail. On the finished model, it does kind of stand out a bit. There is an aftermarket photo-etched set available to dress this area up, but Revell have included some decals to apply in these recesses, in an attempt to liven it up a tad. The decals are printed in a mid grey colour and have a lighter panelling pattern over the top. The effect is a little 2-dimensional, but should provide an improvement here. It is commendable that Revell have gone to the effort of trying to improve one of the weaker parts of the kit. They have also made an attempt to represent the lighting effect in this area by printing red bands over the panelling decals, although they do have a definite pinkish hue. It may be worth trying to overcoat the decals with clear red after they’ve been applied.

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Revell suggest adding the upper and lower turrets now, but being small and a little on the fragile side, they would be better left off until final finishing. The rear end of the hull has the centre engine panel added at this point. It is moulded in clear, which is advantageous to those modellers who wish to add some lighting effects. The four sub-light engines are also built up and cemented to the hull at this stage. Each power unit it assembled in an identical fashion, with the main part of each nacelle broken down into upper and lower halves. The exhaust end caps all have a separate clear insert added, before gluing them to the engine units.

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Attention then moves on to the forward head area. The main bulk is formed by a single piece upper moulding, which features some nice surface detail. There are some compromises here, simply because of the shape and the moulding limitations. Namely, the armour plates which come down over the sides of the head. Their lower edges have a bevel to them, rather than a straight cut edge. It’s a minor issue really and one that I think a little creative paintwork could help disguise. The head has a rear panel attached and then a lower plate. On the underside of this plate, the mid-ships box is fixed in place. Once again, Revell suggest adding the small forward turrets at this point, but as they are just a simple push in fit, they are better left until the end. The lower jaw section is knocked together from 2 halves, an upper and lower. It displays more of that lovely ribbing and greeble detail. Once the jaw is added to the underside, the completed head section can be attached to the main hull. There is a slight issue on the upper side, where the head joins the hull. There is a strange step or gap evident here, that is awkward to fill because of it’s location. I think it would be easier to use some plastic strip to help blend it in.

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The flight pods are next on the agenda. There are 4 arms which attach the pods to the hull (2 per side). Each arm is constructed from a 3 sided upper piece, to which you add a separate underside plate. The completed arms are then cemented to the upper part of the flight pods. The arms are moulded to display the pods in the extended position, so if you want them retracted, some modification work will be required to shorten them. The flight pods themselves are split horizontally, at the landing deck level. The deck of each pod is a separate panel which drops into the lower pod half. The interiors of the pods will need painting now, before the halves are stuck together. There are 2 large decals supplied, which run the length of the pod interior and represent all the landing deck markings. With that done, it is a matter of carefully joining the upper and lower halves of each pod, so as not too damage the interior paint and decals. The assembled pods then simply slot into the sides of the hull, although you could leave them off at this point, to ease painting in and around the main hull.

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The last part is the stand. The base has the name and logo of the Galactica moulded onto it, as well as the BSG 75 (Battlestar Group 75) legend. This looks quite smart and some careful painting should reward you with a sharp looking stand. If you are going to use it, I’d suggest adding it to a wooden plinth as it looks a little on the small side, compared to the size of Galactica and it might not take much to topple it, otherwise. The stand is completed by pushing the supplied solid metal rod into place. The rod then locates into a recessed hole on the lower hull of your Battlestar.

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Revell have supplied a rather nice decal sheet, which is larger and more extensive than the one found in the Moebius kit. Aside from the Galactica names and logos, we also have all the red striping for the hull plating, the aforementioned flight deck and hull recess markings and even 2 little triangular window decals. These are to simulate the framed windows that seal either end of the Starboard flight pod (which had been turned into a museum). Revell suggest simply laying these window decals over the ends of the pod, but I’m thinking a better result could be achieved by applying the decals to some clear styrene. Let them dry, cut them to shape and then fix them in place with some PVA glue. That should give the authentic appearance of framed glass. On the whole, the decal sheet appears well printed, with perfect register. The decals all have that matt sheen to them, that Revell seem to be fond off. It does say “Printed in Italy” on the edge of the sheet, so if it is the work of Cartograf, then there quality can pretty much be assured.

Conclusion

This new Revell boxing represents great value for money, in fact with some of the prices that I’ve seen it going for, it is an absolute bargain. It’s well moulded, very nicely detailed and builds up to a good size, without too much fuss. There are so many ways you could finish her, too. You could choose to do it from the box or use some of the excellent aftermarket items that are available from the likes of Paragrafix, Timeslip Creations and Acreation Models. Do her clean or with varying degrees of battle damage. You might decide to do an inter-war version or back dated to the first Cylon war, as seen in the new “Blood and Chrome” prequel web-series, or you could choose to do a completely different Battlestar. In fact, with the attractive price of this Revell boxing, there’s nothing to really stop you building a whole host of different versions.

Whether you are a die-hard BSG fan or just someone who enjoys building sci-fi ships in general, I can whole heartedly recommend this kit.

Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit logo-revell-2009.gif

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Great review, thank you. I'd been considering if this was worth a go, lighting it fully etc, and you've helped me make my mind up.

And yes. It's such a great series. One of the Sky channels is showing it , and I still find myself watching it. Again. :D

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>sigh< Decent TV: I remember that...!

I REALLY want this, but i seem to have been given a magnetic knife holder for xmas, so it's a post-crimbo purchase for this boy!

& i'll do it with the Paragrafix launchbay set, too, coz that looks stunning...

Thanks for the review, mate!

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Yeah this is going on the "I WANT I WANT I WANT I WANT!!!" list...

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10 12 12

Too many good bits: but the best for me for me, other than the jaw-dropping finale, was the Galactica dropping through the atmosphere of New Caprica to rescue the colonists.

Liam

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Great review Smiffy, thanks. Now added to the growing list of "must get" kits

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