By Jesse Myers - images & text © 2003
Battlestar Galactica holds a special place in my heart. A childhood favorite, the recent mini-series reminded me how much it meant to me. Paramount amongst the Galactica spaceships was the Viper fighter. A hardy, maneuverable fighter, the Viper's lines and look are considered a sci-fi classic.
Well, I started browsing eBay to get an un-built model kit, and was surprised by a couple of things. First, the price; the original kits are very expensive, often peaking at $75.
The next surprising thing was that the kits were really not that accurate. They feature a solid canopy, and raised panel lines amongst other problems. Well, I was determined now to find an affordable kit that I could overcome those problems with.
A quick search of the Starship Modeler site revealed to me the MMI detail kits, that I would need to get...now my model was up over $100...and the MMI kits are not readily available right now. Just when I was getting discouraged I stumbled on Scifi Models.com. I had not done any business with them previously, but the $40 price point was too good to pass up...so I snagged one up...and I could not be happier!
What You Get
The kit consists of 15 resin pieces, a vacuum formed canopy and instructions. The main body is three pieces, and all panel lines have been etched in cleanly. The pieces fit together fairly well right from the box, and only minimal flash was present. There is only one tiny imperfection I can find, a slight indention on the right side of the nose, but it will be easy to putty and sand.
The first thing I noticed about the kit was the sharpness. The viper is covered in cables, wires, and other tiny details...and they are brilliantly clear on this kit. Often times with resin kits some of these details are "smoothed" out...this is not the case on this kit. In fact, it looks as share as the most recent Hasegawa kits I have purchased, very impressive. The cockpit comes pre-opened, with a seat, and control console details. I am told that the MMI pilots will fit inside, so I am still on the lookout for one of them! I do wish there was more cockpit detail, but it is such a small space there is not really a whole lot more that could be seen and it certainly far exceeds the solid cockpit of the plastic model.
The wings fit in their slots right out of the box with no cleanup, and the angles look precise to the naked eye. I noticed the same to be true of the laser cannons and other detail parts for the kit. The kit also comes with a solid canopy plug that could be used on the kit, or to vacuum-form another canopy if the one with the kit gets damaged during installation.
The instructions are simply and accurate. The kit itself is fairly simple, so I did not expect much (if anything) in the way of instructions, so I got a lot more then expected.
Assembly & Finish
I believe this kit should be a breeze to assemble and paint up. Considering the mold seam lines are almost non-existent, and the way everything fits together I expect to be able to have a great looking model fairly quickly.
Unfortunately, no decals are included, which would speed prep and completion of the kit. Still, the Viper decals are simple, and there are 1/32 sets available...so I have not decided if I will mask it and paint the details, or buy a decal set. (Editor's Note: The product description on SciFi Models' site indicates decals are included (now?) - though as of this writing the kit is out of stock.)
I am honestly as happy with this purchase as I could have hoped. I feel like I ended up with a model with many details added over the original plastic kit, yet with a price point that was lower. The simplicity the resin kit puts it ahead of the plastic one (less seam matching and sanding/sealing just adds to my appreciation). It seems cliché, but I don't think I could be happier with the kit. Thanks SciFi Models!
This page copyright © 2004 Starship Modeler. First posted on 5 April 2004.