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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.

bandai star destroyer - Copy

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

bandai star destroyer box.JPG

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).

bandai star destroyer instructions.JPG

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:

bandai star destroyer review

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

bandai star destroyer parts.JPG

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

bandai star destroyer hull.JPG

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:

bandai star destroyer sprues.JPG

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

IMG_9287.JPG

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.

bandai star destroyer manual.JPG

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.

bandai star destroyer tower.JPG

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.

bandai star destroyer built.JPG

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:

bandai star destroyer side.JPG

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!

bandai star destroyer details

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

bandai star destroyer rear.JPG

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:

bandai star destroyer titanium comparison.JPG

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

bandai star destroyer size.JPG

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.

bandai star destroyer painted.JPG

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

bandai star destroyer bottom.JPG

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.

Snafu

Every Saturday, we bring you snapshots of Stormtrooper Larry!

stormtrooper larry leave

“Noooooooooo!! I’ve been away for too long!!!!”

 


 

Don’t forget to check out Stormtrooper Larry’s heroic actions during the raid on Jakku!

The Jakku Incident


The whine of the sublight engines ceased, replaced by the throb of the repulsors. They were in atmosphere. One minute to deployment.
Onboard the squat transport, white-armored figures checked blaster rifles and power packs. On top, the dorsal gunner began blasting away at unseen targets.

Touch down. The ramp drops. Fires. Shouting. Brilliant beams of energy crisscrossing through the night. Moving as one, the stormtroopers rush out of the transport and into the fray.

z

Stormtrooper FU-1287, aka “Larry”, pays no attention to the firefight. He has more important things on his mind than some stupid battle.

Last night, the dreaded Internal Security Bureau discovered his hidden stash of smut holozines. It won’t be long before the ISB traced it back to him. In fact, he had volunteered for this mission in order to desert and preempt their inevitable dragnet.

According to the mission briefing, they were to raid an inhabited area of Jakku, a backwater planet. Never one to volunteer, Stormtrooper Larry jumped at the chance — he expected to find a dingy city of scum and villainy where he could disappear. Instead, what he found was a ramshackle group of huts in the middle of the desert.

He really should pay more attention to those mission briefings.

A disappointed Larry scanned his surroundings. Around him, white armored soldiers exchanged blasterfire with civilians. Flametroopers torched huts while the heavy gunners laid down withering covering fire to allow the squads to advance.

One stormtrooper smeared with blood stood motionless in the middle of the shootout. What the hell was this guy thinking? Larry tackled the idiot to the ground.

“Dammit man, don’t be a nerfbrain!” The dimwit didn’t respond. Larry could see the soldier was traumatized, his helmet still marked with a bloody handprint. It was probably the kid’s first combat deployment.

“Just stay low, okay? It’s gonna be alright.”

Screen-Shot-2015-04-16-at-2.50.47-PM.png“Keep your head down man! What are you, Boba Fett or something?”

With a pat on the back, he left the shellshocked idiot to find someplace where he could think. A war zone made a poor place for contemplation.

Crouching low, he made his way to the back of the village, skirting around the residents who were busy welcoming the intruders with blaster bolts. He couldn’t find even an old speeder or swoopbike to escape in. This place really was a dump, and he had been to many hell holes.

Larry broke into a tent, but found it occupied by an old man who was frantically burning some tattered books and ancient-looking stuff. “Oops. Sorry old timer!” Nope, he couldn’t stay here either. It was probably the village hoarder and his load of junk.

test“And no offense, but you gotta air this place out. It smells like a Hutt.”

At the edge of the village, he finally found an outcrop of rocks where he could sit and concentrate.

Ten full crates of Twi’lek Dancers Monthly were stashed in the main hold of a broken transport. Thanks to First Order bureaucracy, that transport ship sat neglected and unrepaired for over three years. This made it the ideal warehouse for Larry’s bootleg operation — smuggling sexy holozines for his captive (and very eager) market, the bored stormtrooper contingent of the Star Destroyer Finalizer.

What he didn’t count on was the unwelcome arrival of General Hux and some kind of space magician onboard the destroyer. Within a few days, all of the sloppy mess on the Finalizer was cleaned up… including Larry’s smut ship. After the crates were cracked open to reveal an avalanche of porn, the ISB was called in.

As Larry sat brooding, a yellow ball raced past him into the desert. He ignored the twittering droid and focused on his situation.

bb8 runIf only all his porn could fit in that droid, he wouldn’t be in trouble.

The good news is, he had the foresight to name the shipment after an old training sergeant that he hated. The bad news is, once the ISB unraveled the false trail, Larry only had three days before they caught on to him… perhaps five days at the most. Those ISB thugs may be mindless brutes, but they were ruthlessly efficient brutes.

A crackle in his commset interrupted his thoughts. “FU-1287, what’s your status? Get back here!”

Larry ran back to his squad, firing in the air for effect.

A pauldroned officer confonted him. “Where the hell were you?”

“Uh, I looped around back and shot a whole group trying to escape sir!”

“Yeah? Well get back in formation, space Rambo. We have visitors.”

A menacing command shuttle circled over the assembled troops and touched down. It was the magician from the Finalizer, followed by that bitchy stormtrooper in chrome, Captain Asthma or something. The battalion snapped to attention as the black figure strode dramatically down the ramp. These First Order bigwigs loved their grand entrances.

The old hoarder he encountered was taken before the magician, and the two began to talk. They were probably haggling over the old man’s wares. Larry tuned them out and looked around for ways to escape.

All of the civilians were being herded in the village square. Unless there was a mass breakout, there was no way he could disappear. He couldn’t even hide, since the whole area was surrounded by nothing. A white-clad stormtrooper in the middle of the desert would stand out like a nude Twi’lek dancer in a Jedi temple. Why does it always have to be a desert planet?

There was a commotion. The black magician stopped a blaster bolt in mid-air, seizing Larry’s attention back to the present. Wow, cool trick! It was probably magnets or something. He watched as a scruffy-looking civilian was brought before the space wizard, get beaten up, and then was hustled off into custody.

Larry gulped. That would be his own fate a few days from now.

stormtrooper larry jakku“Shit. I don’t even have a jacket like that.”

After a few minutes, Captain Asthma took over. “On my command.”

As one, the line of stormtroopers raised their rifles and aimed. Larry mimicked them.

“Fire.”

The troopers began shooting. Still distracted by his predicament and unsure what he should be firing at, Larry shot at the straw huts, the dirt barricades and some of the rocks. He also shot at a dead mynock, wishing it was the ISB agents who were at this moment hunting for him. Finally, the blasterfire ceased and the firing line dispersed.

Larry approached the magician. “Hey man, that was a neat trick! How’d you do it?”

The black-robed figure didn’t respond. He was staring intently somewhere else. All of a sudden, the frozen blaster bolt was released, impacting into a nearby post with a loud bang. Larry was stunned — this guy should have his own holonet show!

“Awesome dude! So where are the magnets??” But when he turned around, Mr. Magic was gone. He had already returned to his ship. Larry didn’t even get an autograph.

His headset crackled. “We captured a Resistance pilot. FU-1287, take a squad and search his ship for the map. Get moving.”

“Umm.. roger that!”

Accompanied by a handful of troopers, he trudged off to carry out the task. What map?

The ship turned out to be a damaged Incom T-70 snubfighter. Obsolete by galactic standards, the old X-wing was being phased out in favor of the newer T-75. While the others searched the hold and access panels, Larry climbed the ladder and plopped down into the cockpit.

It was a filthy mess. The tiny space was littered with empty ration bars, holo-selfies, a stained jumpsuit, hair gel, and a map of the D’Qar system. Was that their objective? Larry tried hard to remember. Oh yeah, they’re supposed to be looking for the Skywalker system. He tossed the map aside and rummaged behind the seat.

Just behind the headrest he found a couple of gay holozines and some empty water bottles, while he discovered dried gum stuck under the seat and even more discarded wrappers. Disgusted, he climbed out of the cockpit.

These Resistance scum probably lived in their ships full time. As much as he wanted to escape,  it would never be in this filthy craft, even if it wasn’t damaged and even if it was the last ship in the whole galaxy. As soon as he was shipboard, his gloves were going in the incinerator.

Larry signaled to the heavy gunners. “Nothing here, go ahead!”

poe x-wing destroyed“Filthy space hobos.”

He ran back to the lieutenant. “The enemy ship was uh, clean, sir.”

“Get back to your transport. We’re pulling out.”

As Larry walked dejectedly back to the dropship, he passed the shellshocked idiot he tackled earlier. He wasn’t sure if it was one of his porn buyers.

“Hey, what a mess right? We’ll get out of it somehow.”

The blood-smeared trooper stared blankly at him. Maybe not one of his customers then.

Stormtrooper Larry looked back at the burning village, as the first rays of dawn broke through the dark. He had less than a week to escape from the First Order and the merciless ISB, all because some pasty general and a space wizard ruined his sweet smut racket.

Yes, he would get out. Somehow.


 

Itching for the next part? Stormtrooper Larry will return in Escape from the Finalizer. Subscribe now so you don’t miss out!

In the meantime, check out this other stormtrooper who didn’t keep his head down.