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Out of the Blue: Building The Drej Alien

By Jim James - images & text © 2000

Scale: 1/8 maybe? - about 9"/23cm tall
Parts: 34 injection molded styrene
Instructions: 6 - 1 page, foldout, pictorial.
Decals: N/A
Molding Quality: 8 - see review
Detail: 6 - see review
Accuracy: 6 - see review
Fit: 6 - see review
Ease: 6 - see review
MSRP: $20 USD, available from hobby shops everywhere
Overall Rating: 6

I happened to like "Titan A.E.," the cartoon flop from Fox that was released and disappeared from theaters during June and July of this year (2000). "Titan A.E." tells the story of the Drej invasion and destruction of Earth (hence A.E. - After Earth) and the survival of the human race.


[Left side -  click to enlarge]

[Head seam detail - click to enlarge]

^ Look, ma. No seam across the center of the head.

{Neck seam - you know what to do]

^ The seam where the head joins the back is the hardest to hide.

[Leg detail - click all you want, this is as big as it gets]

^ Leg detail.

[Rear view - click it. Click it good]

[See through - and yes, you can click this]

^ This view shows that the head is still translucent

[Clear through - ooo! ooo! click me!]

^ Another view where you can see the kit's translucency
One of the survivors is a guy named Cale, who holds his father's secret of the genesis of a new Earth in the palm of his hand (literally). Cale and his acquaintances must race the Drej to the site of this secret - the spaceship Titan.

On screen, the Drej look really good. They sort of glow bright blue. Polar Lights has tried to duplicate this look by molding this kit in clear blue plastic. To some extent they succeed.


Check the following link to the Titan A.E. site for a picture of the Drej ( and click on "Mission Briefing" and then on "Know Your Enemy). Compare them with this picture of the kit build-up on the Polar Lights site - note that this picture also appears on the box. As you can see, the PL kit bears more than a passing resemblance to the movie image.

On the front of the box, we find a confusing artsy pic of a Drej Alien. On the back (this is a clamshell box), is the same confusing artsy pic of a Drej Alien but with a few more words. The box illustration is not a good indication of what's inside.

Blue's Clues

The kit comes with 34 parts in clear blue plastic, free of flash. Test fitting looked good. Given that this is really simple kit, the typical Polar Lights instructions work fine. Even the sketchy painting tips are adequate since there is no painting really required (except the faceplate, base and gun tip).

Got Dem Cosmic Blues Again

The problem with clear plastic models is that you can see every injector pin mark, locator pin, seam and glue smear. This seriously detracts from the look of the finished model. There are ways around these problems. For example, the seams can be positioned along natural lines of the subject. Unfortunately, PL has opted to do the Drej just like a non-clear kit. The seams are in obvious places and the locator pins are huge.

You have two options. Meet the challenge of the clear plastic or paint the model and forget the clear blue stuff and just paint it. Call me difficult but I just couldn't resist the challenge of hiding the seams and keeping the model clear.

I experimented quite a bit as I built this kit and I went up a few dead end alleys. As a result, my Drej did not end up as clear as it could have been (too many coats of paint). However, everything described here will work and your Drej will end up clear (well, almost). But I get ahead of myself.

Blue Cross, Blue Shield

The first things that need to go are all those locator pins and holes. I gouged them out with a Dremel and sanded the finished surfaces. Be careful not to grind completely through the plastic!

All part insides were sanded and painted with future to remove the sanding marks.

I assembled all parts except the shoulder pads, leg spikes and torso piping with CA. I opted more for natural drying that using an accelerator. The finish is clearer. I sanded the seams with a flexi-file being careful to minimize the sanded areas around the seams. Any gaps were filled with Testor's White Putty and sanded until the gap was smooth.

The trick here is to keep the filling and sanding at a minimum and close to the seam. It's worth taking a little time on an original seam to ensure a smooth fit. Note that the seams at the arm and leg joints and the back of the neck need a lot of work.

Blue Light Special

OK, it's damn near impossible to hide a seam in clear plastic - so I cheated a little.

I airbrushed Humbrol Flat French Blue along each seam (the next time I'll use a darker blue - but not too dark) . You need just a thin line to hide the seam. Don't worry about a neat, straight line. The feathering at the edges of the airbrush lines and an untidy, varied width line help blend the line into the kit shape.

When the flat blue is dry and you are completely satisfied that all seams are smooth and covered, paint the entire model with Tamiya Clear Blue. I had trouble airbrushing the Clear Blue but brushing works fine. Make sure your paint is properly stirred and use two coats if needed. The effect you are looking for is to cover the French Blue so that it's almost invisible under the clear blue coat.

Paint the (only) detail - the gun and the face plate - flat black. When dry, spray the entire model with at least two coats of either Future or Testor's Glosscote. Note that I chose to paint the entire gun.

The stand plate can be painted flat black or as desired.

I'm Mr. Blue

It looks clear blue and hold it up to the light, it's transparent. But you'll have to look pretty closely for seams and locator pin marks.

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This page copyright © 2000 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 19 December 2000.