Reviews of two Star Wars Commemorative model kits:
the Darth Vader model kit and the All-Terain Scout Transport (also known as the
Chicken Walker) model kit
review by Archie Waugh
Models and Miniatures
Strange New Worlds Issue 11 - December 1993
With the fifteenth anniversary of Star Wars behind us and rumors of
new Star Wars movies ahead, ERTL/MPC has re-released several Star Wars model
kits. These "Commemorative Editions" are reproductions of the original kits with
the original packaging. The market value of sealed, original kits has soared, so these
affordable kits offer you the chance to actually build some of those valuable models you
have stored away!
Darth Vader Model Kit
Probably the most marketed character of Star Wars is arch-villain Darth VaderTM. He can
be found embodied as anything from a small action figure to a large doll, not to mention
posters, statuettes and table lamps! ERTL/MPCs version of Darth Vader (stock #8154)
is most pleasing. He is posed in action mode, not in the usual static, Oscar-like stance.
Clutching his lightsaberTM in his movable arm, Vader is lunges forward as if in
battle. The eleven-inch, black plastic figure is easy to assemble. As a special bonus, the
lightsaber and visor eyes are made of glow-in-the-dark plastic.
Painting this model is a little tricky. The box cover illustration is totally
incorrect, so you must consult stills or the movies for correct painting guides. Normally
I dislike unpainted plastic on models, but since much of Vaders costume in the films
is made of plastic, the natural color of the kit can be utilized. To achieve the
various shades and textures of black, paint as follows:
Gloss black - Darths helmet, raised ridges on the breast plate, boots, and
Flat black - Darths cape (inside and out) and the cloth-textured area of his
tunic (including the flaps that extend down and back below the belt)
Leave the head, groin, legs, gloves, lightsaber handle, and all quilted areas natural
The instrumentation panels on his chest and waist are incorrectly painted on the box.
Use the accompanying illustration as a guide. (Note: Vaders costume details on these
areas change slightly from movie to movie. I show them here as they appear in the first
The plastic of the lightsaber blade had bubbles visible inside; a light sanding will
obscure these and create a less shiny appearance. I debated whether to use the
glow-in-the-dark eyepiece, as it looks whitish-green. Darths eyes usually look
black, but you can occasionally spot them glowing a faint red. But I decided the novelty
value outweighed accuracy. As the instructions indicate, you may need to test-fit and trim
the eyepiece before cementing. After gluing the eyepiece in place and cementing the two
halves of the head together, paint the tips of the protrusions on either side of the
The finished model is quite dramatic. You should display your Vader figure in a
well-lit location to "charge" the glowing parts for night viewing.
All-Terrain Scout Transport Model Kit
The Star Wars AT-ST (All-Terrain Scout Transport) is featured in Return of
the Jedi; it also made a cameo appearance (in a more rounded form) in the Hoth battle
scene in The Empire Strikes Back. Popularly known as the "chicken-walker"
due to its back-jointed legs and fowl-like movements, the AT-ST model (stock #8734) is a
snap-together kit. A child can easily assemble this kit. Although the legs are unmovable,
the body swivels on the carriage. The body also has swiveling gun turrets and a
functioning hatch. Unfortunately, there is no tiny Chewbacca peeking out!
The spaceships and vehicles of the Star Wars universe were revolutionary; George
Lucas insisted everything in these movies must have a "lived-in look."
Theres none of the glossy Star Trek look here. To achieve the proper battered
texture, the use of an airbrush is almost essential.
Assemble the body as one unit, and the legs and carriage as another. Use cement except
where parts are supposed to move, such as the hatch. Do not attach the underbelly gun unit
until after painting.
For the body, start with a base coast of flat gray, then airbrush a translucent coat of
flat white over top. To add "dirtiness," lightly dust with flat black, adding a
little airbrush "splurt" here and there to simulate battle damage. Then spray
the entire leg and carriage assembly flat black, as well as the underbelly gun unit.
Give a final dusting of silver to all parts to give the model a slight metallic look,
then snap them together. To add color, I added a tiny dot of gloss orange to the tip of
each gun, then overcoated that with a dot of turn-signal amber metallic paint. The
finished model, at 6-1/2 inches tall, is tiny but ready for action! l
Shop online for Star Wars models:
Browse for Star Wars merchandise online:
|Star Wars Posters:
|Star Wars Store
at Amazon.com has vehicles, movie prop replicas, action figures, toys, games, costumes,
LEGO, DVDs, books, more |
Wars Comics from Things From Another Worlds, also has apparel models, toys,
books, DVDs and more. |