By Johnny Worthen - images & text © 2001
Image: Color/Marking guide
I knew things were getting better when I received an e-mail from Federation Models who, having read my last pathetic heart-rending review of Roger Young, was overcome with pity and offered to lend me a new kit from IFactory/Erasmus Designs to review or give me a break on the purchase of a new one. Who says begging doesn't pay? Feeling flush with newly acquired cash and crazed from excess caffeine, I sent for the model.
Life is Good
I ordered the kit and it arrived promptly just before Wonderfest, helping to make me forget that I couldn't make it to Kentucky. Maybe it's the exhaustion of working again, the thrill of getting 3 squares a day or possibly it's just the glue fumes from my workbench, but I'm going to be hard pressed to make this an objective review, because I just adore this kit.
First the obvious comparison. This kit makes the HOTO Model look like a booger. IFactory is a first class garage kit manufacturer. They seem to have my personal satisfaction in mind and, I ask you, who doesn't?
The box is a correctly sized sturdy box with clear and beautiful cover art. This kit would sell on a store shelf faster than a reduced price out of print Geometric Ymir (how's that for a reference). There's also a little sticker on the box that says "Made in Canada" - (insert your favorite Canada joke here).
The title on the box is "Galactic Intruder." Uhm, okay. I don't know why they don't call it Roger Young, but I suspect that they'd get in some kind of hellish legal snare if they did. (Good thing they have an alias). I'm sure a "Starship Troopers" reference would also be out of the question. Ain't it great how the big companies encourage the fans?
As an extra super surprise bonus, the model comes ready to assemble in one of three different variants. There's the most recognizable troop carrier version with the scaffolding transom, a TAC Fighter carrier complete with little fighters and there's also a cargo version. The variants differ only in how they use the mid deck of the ship, but the differences are significant enough to make for three very different ships.
This casting of this kit is as close to perfect as I've seen. Each piece is cast in crisp detail with minimum - and I mean minimum - flash. As for the unavoidable air bubbles we see an all resin kits, they were avoided in this one. It's the cleanest kit I've seen, and I've ordered from every resin dripping stamper on the planet!
I need to say something about the resin of the kit. It's just wonderful. It's soft and supple like a hardened jelly-fish crown. Er, I mean, it's not brittle. It's milky and firm, heavy yet suggests sensual malleability. It's solid, but has a teasing and pleasing texture when caressed against your cheek. Its weight and consistency makes a modeler blush. Touching the plastic makes you just want to work with it. I think I need a cigarette.
The detail on this kit is extraordinary. Beyond being well cast, there's lots and lots of intricate shapes and patterns. Every surface is interesting and begs for washes and dry brushing to bring out the layers of detail.
Originally, I thought that some of the pieces should have been photo-etched or metal, but these guys know resin better than I know lawn care or drinking responsibly. They made all the pieces from resin and did a nice job. From the highly detailed large chunks, to the tiny highly detailed little bits, all the parts blossom with detail and texture.
As for accuracy, my kids found my Starship Troopers DVD a month ago, and against my wife's objections, have played it continuously ever since. As such, I can say that this kit is as accurate a representation of the Roger Young as the original models. The instructions claim that the kit is a "restored studio casting" of the original model. I believe it.
In keeping with the fabulousness of this kit, the instructions are just fabulous. They couldn't be any better if Picasso had penned them (actually, they'd probably be significantly worse if he had. Van Gogh wouldn't have made good instructions either. Monet too would have sucked. Come to think of it, it's a good thing that the minimalists and cubists didn't make model instructions. But I digress.)
The 5-page instruction sheet is clear and useful. It's prefaced by a welcome from the IFactory (a.k.a Erasmus Design). It includes a few tips such as pinning the kit (always a good idea when dealing with big kits or when wrestling). When completed, the kit should be about 18 inches long. A nice size model.
The last page of the instructions is a full color painting guide which shows all three variants of the ship assembled. The painting schemes are green and I'm not sure they're accurate from the movie, but I've never been able to accurately tell the color of a ship from a film. I'm easily distracted by bright lights and shiny wrappers. The greens are attractive, but I suspect I'll go for gray/blue when I build it.
In the spirit of objective journalism I have compiled a list of stupid trivial criticisms I've found with the kit - prior to building it, that is -who knows how my modeling ineptness will play out.
The kit comes with a sheet of decals which allow you to make one of 14 different ships; 2 decals per designation. The decals are really great and add to the value of the kit. However, the instructions don't show where to place them, nor are they shown on the color build up page. Having studied the movie and having established links to several very cool Sci-Fi Modeling sites on the web, this isn't a big deal. (Oh, by the way, JT Graphics sells the decals separately for use on other kits.)
There's no base included. However, there is an impression on the underside of the ship to suggest the placement of a support pylon.
Another problem with this kit is that the styrofoam peanuts that ship with it are nearly the same color as the resin pieces. Okay, now I'm really reaching to find something wrong with this awesome kit.
I'm really looking forward to building this kit. I want three of these so I can make all the variations. If you like this subject and like good models, I think you'll be as giddy as a little school girl loping down a Swiss hillside with a basket of chocolate under her arm and a happy song in her heart. Kits like this are what garage kit manufacturers strive to produce. I don't care if they call themselves Erasmus Design, IFactory or Frau Bleuker - this is a great kit and if they continue to make kits of this quality, I'm going to continue to beg my wife to buy them.
I'd like to thank Federation Models for the help in acquiring this kit.
Many thanks to Johnny's wallet for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 2000+ readers a day? Contact us!
This page copyright © 2001 Starship Modeler. Last updated on 11 October 2001.