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Mike

Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Upgrade Set (02917 for Bandai 1:72)

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Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Upgrade Set (02917 for Bandai)

1:72 GreenStrawberry

 

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One of the first of the new range of Star Wars kits from Bandai, this and its 1:48 scale sibling set the spanner amongst the pigeons, mainly as it wasn't easily available in Europe.  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.  If you don't have one already, rectify that immediately!

 

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.

 

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Oddly, the set starts off with the construction of a crew ladder, which has separate tread-plated steps and platform, plus a hand-rail on the top section, which sets the theme of the upgrade, namely opening up areas for diorama purposes.  The cockpit has its moulded-in side console details and a portion of the instrument panel removed before being replaced by PE, and in the case of the instrument panel, a choice or two paper inserts that fit behind the panel and a decal for the instruments.  The canopy is completely replaced by a PE sandwich that holds the pre-printed acetate parts between the layers, with both the opening and fixed sections included.  It also has a pair of actuator rams that are made up of a triple lamination of parts each.

 

The nose cone is also affected, with a fine cut made at the first panel line, leaving the small curved section at the rear attached to the spaceframe.  The two cuts are given a rib-like skin to cover the edges, and a set of hinges and their actuators are added between them so that the nose cone can be folded up and over the fuselage.  When installed, the moulded-in greeblies (radar?) will show through the aperture, and the additional detail on the side panel will be visible.  A small drop-down panel on the side is also filled with a bay insert, with a ribbed door fitted to the top edge and folded up for access.  Underneath the fuselage there is a stowage bay that is seen briefly in Empire as Luke is packing to go to Bespin, which requires the modeller to remove the moulded-in panel.  Care must be taken here however, as the removed material will be reused as the door once the attachment points have been removed.  A bay is folded up and slotted into the new hole, with an extra skin in the roof for additional detail.  A framework takes up part of the rear of the bay, and an access ramp with triple-laminated actuator rams is attached to the bay floor that was cut out earlier, obtaining the correct angle by attaching the rams to the edges of the bay.  The final parts are used provide extra depth to the engine intakes, and to augment the detail in the gear bays, providing actuators for the gear bay doors that are missing from the kit.

 

 

Conclusion

If you're planning a Dagobah or Rebel Base diorama or vignette, this set will be hugely useful.  An in-flight model will leave some of the details in the bag, but the cockpit and engine details are still well-worth having, especially if you plan on lighting the cockpit, as the light will show through the instrument panels.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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