How the COVID pandemic reignited my love for Bandai Star Wars models

Last year, before New Zealand went into lock down due to the COVID 19 pandemic sweeping the world, I bought a Bandai kitset model of Boba Fett’s Slave 1. My intention was to build it during lockdown. For those unfamiliar with Bandai’s kitsets, they are meticulously detailed and snap together – no glue required – and really are top-notch replicas of Star Wars vehicles.

Anyway, best laid plans and all, I ended up working all through lock down so didn’t find the time to build the model. It sat in my study, forlornly until July this year when I decided to build it and it has rekindled my love of building kitset models.

I’ve always been fond of Star Wars models: As a teenager who grew up on Star Wars I built a kitset X-Wing, Snowspeeder and All Terrain Armoured Transport (AT-AT), the Imperial army’s tank-like troop transporters used on the snow planet of Hoth. With my father’s help, I constructed a plywood base and we shaped plaster of paris into snowy hills, positioning the walker and the scale sized snowspeeder that came with the kit into a diorama.

I adored that kitset but, sadly, when we moved from Wellington to Christchurch, the less-than-careful removal company managed to damage it, meaning it had to be tossed out.

I’ve also always been a long time fan of Boba Fett, the galaxy’s most feared bounty hunter, despite his scant few minutes across the entire original Star Wars trilogy. It seemed fitting then to buy a Slave 1 kitset and set about building it.

This is my journey of the build using pictures I took as I progressed. As I mentioned earlier, it has rekindled my love of kitset models and my dear wife, seeing the enjoyment I had from building Slave 1, bought me my cherished AT-AT for my recent birthday, along with Lando Carlrissian’s Millennium Falcon from the movie Solo.

I’m watching YouTube videos to learning better weathering techniques and I’ve already started the AT-AT – but I’ll show that (if you’re interested) in a future post.

So, here we go …

The build

A tiny Boba Fett inside the main cockpit. I decided not to paint the figure as frankly my eyesight wasn’t good enough to do it. I also didn’t paint the interior of the cockpit. I have since bought a hobby magnifying set that will make painting fine details much easier.
The underside coming together nicely. Bandai’s kits are incredibly detailed with intricate pieces. I had to glue a couple of pieces on as they wouldn’t snap in place properly.
The underside complete, with the stabilisers in place.
I wasn’t entirely happy with the “weathering” effect here, so I eventually ended up covering it with Tamiya nato brown to hide the grey. My weather is improving but still has a long way to go.
The final model painted and weathered so it appears battered and worn after years of hardship.
My painting needs improvement but I’m generally happy with it as a first crack after so many years of not building kitset models.
I used a mixture of Tamiya cockpit green & olive green for the paint weathering, with Tamiya nato brown for the underside. I used Tamiya yellow green for the stabilisers. I dirtied up the paint work using Mig Ammo’s starship streaking wash.

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