Glenn Calvin builds the Bandai Swordfish..

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Building BanDai's Swordfish

By Glenn Calvin - images & text © 2001

Scale: 1/72 - approx. 8"/19cm assembled
Parts: 80 styrene (red, black, clear), 17 PVC, plus polycaps
Instructions: Fold-out pictoral assembly diagrams, plus color refernce photos and paint guide - all text in Japanese
Decals: There are no decals as the original ship is without markings
Molding Quality: 8 - Great quality modeling and casting with very little flash to contend with.
Detail: 6 - The surface detail is good, but in order to make it look as it does on the box, a lot of skill is required
Accuracy: 9 - A faithful reproduction from the Anime.
Fit: 8 - Very good fit. Seams are almost non-visible and they fill nicely with a medium viscosity CA glue
Ease: 5 - The kit can be a quick build by merely snapping together and not painting. However, there is much that can be done to enhance the kit and make it look more like the Anime.
Cost: Hard to find. I purchased the kit for $24 on eBay.
Overall Rating: 8 - A very good and fun kit that was easy to assemble, but had lots of potential for "FUN" modifications.

[Click to enlarge]

I have to say that this is actually a pretty good, simple little plastic kit! Design and fit were all very good, and aside from some minor problems (the main one being that I can't read Japanese), it went together very well for me, taking a little over 10 hours worth of work.

All in all, I used 5 colors on this kit, all Tamiya acrylics thined 1 to 1 with isopropyl alcohol.








I went with the isopropyl this time because it tends to make the flat colors look very "weathered" when they dry. The specific colors I used were:

  • Red XF-7
  • Black XF-1
  • Dark Sea Grey XF-54
  • Black X-1
  • Chrome Silver X-11
  • Smoke X-19 (for the tinted canopy)

In addition, I used several of the above colors to make a very thin color wash that turned out being a very reddish brown that was just a bit darker than the base color of flat red. I applied the wash AFTER using the Gundam marker on the panel lines (simply smearing off the excess for that "dirty" look) and AFTER battle damaging the hull. This allowed the wash to settle into the scars. I simply wiped the excess wash of with my fingers (again for that "dirty" look).

After the wash had dried, the flat red color coat was sprayed onto the various hull surfaces. This toned down the "dirtyness" to make it look a little more realistic, I think.

I tinted a clear plastic canopy for the first time with this kit. I used Tamiya Smoke X-19 through the airbrush on the INSIDE surfaces of the canopy. It turned out pretty darned good for my first time. Next time, thinning the smoke 1 to 1 with denatured alcohol might make it come out a bit clearer. It really didn't turn out as dark as I thought it would, but it's a nice touch that adds a little bit of realism to any project.

The main problem that I ran into during this project was that the diagram that shows the wing hinges (for the ship's folding wings) DOES NOT SHOW that they are slightly different lengths. It probably tells you that in JAPANESE. Oh well. I installed the long one into the wrong wing and vice-versa, so when I went to attach the wings to the fuselage, the fit was off by about 1/4". I ended up having to cut the hinges and permanently glue the wings in the extended position. I only made one other (dumb) mistake with the kit in that I forgot to install the landing gear prior to gluing the two fuselage halves together (D'oh!). A little trimming to the landing gear struts and some glue fixed that problem.

This is a fun kit that should be okay for the beginning to intermediate sci-fi kit builder. However, it has excellent potential to become a fantastic looking completed kit in the hands of the expert builder as well (with a little bit of extra attention).

A kit preview by John Lester is also available here.

Additional Images:

  • Image: Closer look at weathering on portside fin
  • Image: Cockpit area
  • Image: Another front view
  • Image: Starboard side
  • Image: Cockpit tub, from the rear
  • Image: Big ol' engine
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    This page copyright © 2001 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 28 September 2001.