Category Archives: Misc. Reviews

Review: Bandai Star Destroyer Model Kit

If there’s anything Stormtrooper Larry loves about Star Wars, it’s the ships. And we’re not talking the tiny snubfighters and their little dogfights. We’re talking about the big dogs of space battles: the capital ships.

Ever since the Star Destroyer crawled on top of the screen in A New Hope, its imposing wedge shape became part of popular culture. And Bandai seeks to capture that massive presence in a compact, budget-friendly model kit with their new Vehicle Line series, which only costs around $8-10.

Background

Famous for their Gundam model kits, Japanese kit maker Bandai expanded into the Star Wars universe last year with their wave of OT and TFA vehicles.

The models ranged from 1/48 to 1/72 scale, and were “snap-kits”, requiring no glue or cement. They were highly praised for their fine detailing and large size, rivaling much pricier brands like Fine Molds.

With their matchbox-sized Vehicle Line, Bandai seeks to replicate that success in a tinier scale that’s accessible for children, budget- and skill-wise. In fact, we got this kit for US$8.50!

Packaging

Enough with the chitchat. Let’s get down to business.

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The kit comes in a small box, roughly 6 x 3 inches, small enough to be grasped with one palm.

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Most of the box labels is in Japanese with English translations. To date there are two models in the series, the Star Destroyer (001) and the classic T-65 X-wing (002).

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Rather than a traditional leaflet, the instructions are printed inside the box lids to drive down cost. Unlike the larger models, instructions for the Vehicle Series come with English translations. The simple build process and straightforward photos make such translations unnecessary.

Contents

Inside, the kit comes with 5 sprues trees:

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A1 holds the uppermost parts for the bridge, as well as the rear section:

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A2 is the dorsal half of the hull, the communications array, and the two sides of the conning tower:

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A3 completes the top details, containing the the upper decks, hull sides and engine nozzles:

bandai star destroyer contents

A4 is the bottom half of the hull, along with the shield generators:

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Finally, A5 holds the stand. This is the only part of the kit that has slight discoloration, noticeable because its black:

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Assembly

True to Bandai form, all pieces were crisp and snapped off without a hitch. Often all you have to do is a snip a single sprue, and you can snap off the part from the remaining sprues.

The only pieces we don’t recommend snapping by hand are the hull sides, since these long parts might break in half.

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The ship is divided into 4 parts: the main hull, upper deck, conning tower, and finally the bridge superstructure. As a snapkit model, all the pieces locked into place without modeling cement.

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Total assembly time was a leisurely 10-15 minutes, including the time spent taking pictures for you freeloaders.

Impressions

And here’s the finished product: the fearsome mile-long Imperator-class Star Destroyer., the backbone of the Imperial Navy.

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Details are crisp enough to pick out the individual ridges, portholes and armor plates that dot the surface of the ship.

The model rests on a ball joint so you can pose the destroyer any way you please:

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A closer look at the conning tower. You can make out the bridge windows as well as myriad details on the raised decks above the hull!

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Same story for the rear, with exceptional detailing on the hull, engine nozzles, and even the area where they eject space trash:

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Size

The most amazing thing about the Bandai Star Destroyer is the size. All of these excellent details are packed in a ship only slightly larger than a Titanium:

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In fact, this tiny terror measures just shy of 4 inches long, only one inch bigger than its Titanium cousin.

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Painting and weathering

Since stormtroopers have poor aim, we decided to leave the model unpainted lest we turn it into a psychedelic art ship crewed by hippies.

However, Stormtrooper Larry knows one poor man’s weathering trick: we simply took a pencil and rubbed the lead all over the surface.

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While not as good as a “model wash”, it helped bring out the surface details while giving the ship a metallic look.

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And that’s it for our review! Now go buy your own model while we make humming noises for our ship.

The Imperial Star Destroyer Fornicator has planets to subdue.

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Rogue One: Fallout from the KeepR1Dark “Leak”

A couple of days ago, Star Wars fans on Reddit woke up to a massive “leak”, supposedly from a production member of Rogue One. Calling himself KeepR1Dark, he painted a picture of a gritty war film being sundered by Disney’s corporate meddling. And KRD was the Rogue One “film crew” gone rogue.

After KRD failed to produce the promised credentials, the Reddit mods locked the thread and labeled it “Fake – No verification”.

Today, the fallout from the most compelling “leak” yet continues. Bobby Roberts, an editor with the Portland, OR daily Portland Mercury posted these on Twitter:

So what does this have to do with the majority of Star Wars fans? Well, they were retweeted by none other than Lucasfilm lorekeeper Pablo Hidalgo.

While Hidalgo did not address the KRD plot directly, this appears to be his low-key commentary regarding the authenticity of the supposed “leak”.

In addition, multiple Redditors and our own readers have chimed in to poke holes in KRD’s tale. These include:

Reshoots

According to KeepR1Dark, the reason for going his rogue was Disney’s watering down of the film. He specifically cited changes to “Darth Vader’s nighttime massacre scene” and the ending where the entire Rogue crew, except for K-2SO, die.

In reality, Entertainment Weekly broke the news that rather than replace scenes, the reshoot will add new scenes for character development. Contrary to KRD’s allegations, the reshoots will actually involve more “talking in cockpits”:

“The changes have everything to do with clarity and character development and all take place [as inserts] within scenes we’ve already shot,” said one source on the project.

In other words, the changes involve more intimate moments – not redoing entire battle sequences or plot lines. “It’s a lot of talking in cockpits,” as one insider described the new footage.

Bacta tank scene

KRD claims the bacta tank scene is actually the Death Star’s power core, and the one kneeling is Mad Mikkelsen’s character, a key Death Star engineer, in a “What have I done” moment.

However:

  • The Death Star power core is too compact, compared to the size of the DS-II’s enormous power core
  • Why were the Royal Guards, Emperor Palpatine’s personal guard, in the room?

rogue one death star core comparisonMaybe they shouldn’t have killed Mad Mikkelsen. The Death Star 2’s replacement designer was inefficient as fuck.

The AT-ATs

According to KRD, the Rebellion’s concern with the “major weapons test” mentioned in the trailer turned out to be the AT-ACTs. The Death Star itself was only discovered by accident after Jyn escaped from the battle to find her father, who is supposed to be chief designer behind the battlestation.

However, based on the Star Wars: Rebels animated series, the fledgling Rebellion was already well-aware of the Imperial walkers, having encountered them in battle several years before the events of A New Hope.


So while KeepR1Dark painted a compelling war movie with a tragic bittersweet ending, it seems the story is about as truthful as Obi-wan Kenobi.

obiwan funny

So yes, from a certain point of view, KeepR1Dark did get one thing right.

And while Reddit-bashing seems to be fashionable lately, remember that historically, the site has been the source of several accurate leaks in the run-up to The Force Awakens.

And we’d still watch the shit out of KRD’s movie.

 

Size Matters Not: A Review of the Black Series Stormtrooper

Welcome to the first ever review in StormtrooperLarry.com!

One of our biggest stars is none other than Stormtrooper Larry himself, in the form of Hasbro’s Black Series 6-inch figure! So it’s only fitting that our first review will be of tiny Larry.

Packaging:

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The contents consist of a no-frills window box, the figure, a blaster rifle, and a blaster pistol. The only difference between this and the SDCC-exclusive stormtrooper was that the latter came in a fancier packaging and included a mini booklet of the stormtrooper’s evolution. Otherwise, both figures are the same.

Interestingly, the stormtrooper is packaged holding the blaster rifle in his right hand. This has led to some warping issues, where the rifle becomes slightly bent if not packed properly in the cutout. Stormtrooper Larry is one such victim of this warping issue. Perhaps his bent gun is the reason he can’t hit anything.

Sculpt

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No complaints here — Hasbro did a wonderful job capturing the stormtrooper’s many details, from the greeblies on the helmet to the small latches on the chest. However, there ARE two flaws:

  • The nose area is too recessed. While it looks okay from the front, it becomes apparent when looking at the figure straight on.
  • The boxes on the front of the belt should be three separate pieces. Here, they are molded as one and painted with black lines to simulate separation.

Paintwise, the helmet and chestpiece get the most accurate treatment. The painting accuracy degrades slightly at the belt and the bottom of the thigh armor, but not too much. The worst paint application is on the thermal detonator, which looks like it was painted by a half-blind 3-year old with cerebral palsy. Thankfully, since it’s in the back it won’t get noticed too much.

Accessories

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The Black Series figures come with two accessories. For the First Order trooper, they are the standard F-11D blaster rifle and the Sonn-Blas SE-44C pistol.

Both firearms come with pegs that slot neatly into the thigh armor. However, the pistol has a tendency to fall off and could easily get lost.

In terms of accuracy, both are molded clearly enough to make out fine details like the backwards scope on the rifle and the AR sight on the pistol. The rifle is even painted in three tones, including the silver accents on the scope holder and eyepieces.

As mentioned previously, the rifle has a tendency to warp at the muzzle tip if it is not packaged properly. This can be fixed by immersing it in hot water and straightening the bent before it cools.

Poseability

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According to Hasbro, the FO stormtrooper has 27 points of articulation, which is impressive given its small size. Since I’m too lazy to list them all down, we’ll just focus on the shortcomings.

The most glaring one is the lack of double-jointed elbows, something which the original trilogy trooper has. This means the First Order version has limited flexibility when it comes to holding his rifle and aiming:

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While that pose above looks natural from the front, Larry is actually holding the rifle away from his body just so it lines up properly in his hands. Honestly, this is an accurate representation of the real thing: the actors who played First Order troopers in the film reportedly can’t move their elbows much because of the gaskets.

Finally, the figure also can’t sit down properly. This is due to the belt pieces getting in the way of the thigh armor. The best you can do is make him squat:

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So is the Black Series FO stormtrooper worth it? The answer is: YES.

The Bandai 6-inch figure may be more poseable, and the similarly sized Revoltech may be more accurate. However, both of them are plastic model kits that are more fragile and can easily come loose. The Black series trooper is tougher, made of more resilient materials and can easily withstand the weekly abuse of doing ridiculous poses for his Saturday snapshots.

Just make sure you get the ones without the warped guns, to help them shoot Resistance scum more reliably.


Make sure you read about Stormtrooper Larry’s adventure in the raid on Jakku!