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.

My Bandai Stormtrooper kitset build Part 2: The end is in sight

Here’s part two of my Stormtrooper kitset build, where I tackle things like the arms, legs and reveal the completed build. I’ve noticed a lack of photos for some stages: Blame my enthusiasm to get the project completed (Sorry).

Luckily, I managed to video building the arms and the finished product so it’s not a total loss. They’re at the end of the photos.

I’m keen to build another model so let me know what you thought of this one.

 

The right leg is complete. The steps are repeated for the left leg.

The right leg is complete. The steps are repeated for the left leg.

This shot shows the knee joint bending, meaning you can pose the Stormtrooper.

This shot shows the knee joint bending, meaning you can pose the Stormtrooper.

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Both legs are attached as is the utility belt and the holster, which is the black piece on his left hip. I could have put it on the right hip if I’d wanted.

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OK, this is out of sequence but here’s the right leg completed and ready to be snapped into the hip articulation point.

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OK, this one’s out of sequence, too, but it shows both legs completed. The eagle-eyed will note that there’s a piece of armour missing from the Stormtrooper’s right leg. I snapped it off trying to put it on. I managed to get some Gorilla Glue and glued it on. Phew.

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Here is the piece of knee armour that I broke while trying to fit it to the right knee. Thank goodness for Gorilla Glue!

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Another view of the completed body with legs attached and utility belt in place.

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These are the pieces for the right arm. The black piece between the shoulder plate and the smaller piece of armour is the elbow articulation point. The other black piece is one of the six different hands that came with the model.

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And, despite missing a few photos, the completed Stormtrooper, complete with blaster and slightly menacing pose.

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The next two shots show closeups of the finished kitset.

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A better shot of the finished kiset. I’m really impressed with the quality of the model and you can see the knee armour piece on the right left that I glued in place. There’s a slightly visible seam but it doesn’t look out-of-place. He’s currently sitting on my computer desk holding a pistol in his left hand and point at something (the droids he’s looking for, perhaps) with his left hand.

And now, the video:

Returning to my teenage years: My build of Bandai’s Stormtrooper kitset [Part 1]

I’m trying something new here at Gamejunkie and documenting my build of a Bandai kitset model. If you like it, it could be the first of many changes on the site where I venture into new territory for me a little.

It’s scary to admit it but 30 years ago, or so, when I was a teenager I saw the original Star Wars trilogy and it started a journey that I’m starting to get back into now, with the release of The Force Awakens.

I had so much Star Wars stuff: Comic books that my grandmother collected from a weekly women’s magazine, Marvel’s comic book adaption of The Empire Strikes Back, activity books, action figures, art books, cards from bubble gun, a beach towel, a duvet cover and pillow case … the list goes on.

Perhaps my favourite SW things, though, were the kitset models I had: A snowspeeder, a speeder bike, and my most loved, a model AT-AT that my father and I built. It was magnificent and we even made a base with plaster of paris snow to attach it to. It was awesome – but it got smashed by some half-wit removal company guys when we moved from Wellington to Christchurch.

I’d always had a love of SW kitset models and over the past few years I’d played with the idea of getting back into it but I never did – until now. I think the catalyst was the new SW movie, The Force Awakens. It just prompted me to get back into Star Wars kitset models again.

So when I got back from our Christmas holiday, a coupe of weeks ago I went on Trademe and bought a Bandai Stormtrooper kitset – and I couldn’t have been happier. I tossed up getting a vehicle (Snowspeeder or AT-ST) or Boba Fett, but I decided thta  the Boba Fett might be too advanced for me: It would need some painting skills to weather him up so he looked battle-worn, and I don’t have those skills. So, I decided on the Stormtrooper and I’m glad I did.

The Stormtrooper is perhaps one of the most iconic characters from the original Star Wars trilogy and they just look cool. Badass. So, yeah, the Stormtrooper it was. What I really liked about these Bandai kitsets is that there is no glue to join the parts together: Everything is snapped together, so it’s clean and there’s no mess. What I also liked is that all the black underneath the white armour is separate pieces, like a suit, so it makes for a more realistic look.

I also decided that I’d document the build process, which is something different for my site, but I thought if you’re considering buying one and doing what I did, I thought you might like to see the process. It’s not a step-by-step build, with photos of me making each piece, but it shows the progress as I go. I’ve also posted three of short videos of the head/helmet/body build before the photos. I’m thinking I’ll post the build process in two or three parts.

I’m really pleased with the finished product, which probably took me about 5 hours total over two days, and I’ve already decided that I want to expand my stormtrooper collection so am hunting for the next project.

I hope you like watching the process to build the kitset. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Here we go: First up, is part 1 that shows the box, the sprues the parts are attached to, building the head and chest & connecting the head to the body. Enjoy.

     

The box for the Bandai Stormtrooper kitset model. It's a nice box.

The box for the Bandai Stormtrooper kitset model. It’s a nice box.

All the pieces that make up the model. Those things are called sprues. I didn't know that until recently.

All the pieces that make up the model. Those things are called sprues. I didn’t know that until recently.

The instructions for the kitset model. Yep, they're all in Japanese - but there are pictures, so that was great.

The instructions for the kitset model. Yep, they’re all in Japanese – but there are pictures, so that was great.

All the sprues out of the box, ready for me to start. I don't know how many parts there are, but it looks a lot.

All the sprues out of the box, ready for me to start. I don’t know how many parts there are, but it looks a lot.

The storm trooper's head complete. It's actually about five or six parts, all snapped together to form the one piece.

The storm trooper’s head complete. It’s actually about five or six parts, all snapped together to form the one piece.

The next three images show the torso complete with the neck attached.

The next three images show the torso complete with the neck attached.

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So it seems I forgot to take some photos of building the groin area, which you can see attached to the torso. The head is now attached to the neck, which is on a balljoint, meaning it can be articulated.

So it seems I forgot to take some photos of building the groin area, which you can see attached to the torso. The head is now attached to the neck, which is on a ball joint, meaning it can be articulated.