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MMI's Scarlet Viper Conversion In-Box Preview


By Sal Bravo - images & text © 2002

Scale: 1/32 (in scale with Revell-Monogram's Viper kit)
Parts: 32 urethane resin
Instructions: 1 double-sided b/w page with photos and English text.
Decals: N/A
Molding Quality: 8 - thin flash on some parts, a few pinholes and small bubbles
Detail: 9 - nice and crisp surface detail
Accuracy: 10 - looks right on to me
MSRP: $45.00 USD (~$66.56 CAN/ 42.37 EUR) available from Federation Models
Overall Rating: 10 - MMI has scored another hit. Well worth the money!

[Boxart]

The Colonial Viper from Battlestar Galactica has been, and still is, one of my favorite space fighters. Its design was updated (after 20 yahrens) by Steve Parady into the Scarlet-Class Viper, Mark II.

[Click to enlarge]

^ What you get

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^ Engine details and nose scoop

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^ Weaponry

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^ Wings and things

Image: Engine intakes and afterburners

Image: "Warts"

Image: Instructions, page 1

Image: Instructions, page 2

Richard Hatch describes a newly upgraded Viper he calls the Scarlet-Class Viper in his book, Battlestar Galactica: Armageddon. A CG version of the Scarlet Viper was featured in his Battlestar Galactica revival trailer film. It is a heavily armed advanced-technology variant of the standard Colonial Viper. It features upgraded engines and weaponry, advanced computer systems, better maneuverability and increased range, as well as other improvements.

This improved version of the venerable Colonial Viper includes the latest and greatest advancements that a "rag-tag" fleet is able to manufacture with their limited resources. As Steve Parady mentions, the Colonials have a very limited production capability in the fleet, so they would logically want to use as much existing materials and tooling as possible. It wouldn't be practical to create an entirely new space fighter, especially when they have something as good as the Viper already. So the Scarlet Viper is an evolutionary design, not a revolutionary one.

The most visible upgrades on the Scarlet Viper include 5 turbo-laser cannons and engines with "gimbaled" exhaust nozzles for thrust vectoring and augmented maneuverability. The turbo-lasers on the wings are detachable and can be replaced with a variety of weapons and modules (missiles, bombs, ECM and surveillance pods, extra fuel cells, etc.), making the Scarlet Viper a flexible multi-purpose combat spacecraft.

What You Get

The kit consists of 32 urethane resin parts and the instruction sheet. Included are:

  • 3 replacement wings (dorsal, left & right),
  • 3 wingtip turbo-lasers,
  • 2 laser cannons,
  • 1 trio of main atmospheric scoops,
  • 3 gaseous matter intakes,
  • 3 turbo thruster exhaust inserts,
  • 3 turbo thruster nozzle extensions,
  • 2 side scoops,
  • 2 sensor pods,
  • 1 forward atmospheric scoop,
  • 1 filler plug and
  • 8 optional detail parts

The resin parts are reasonably strong and appear clean at first glance, with some easily removed flash on most of them. Upon closer inspection, a few of the parts have tiny pinholes, which should disappear with a coat or two of primer. I also found a smallish bubble where one of the wingtip turbo-lasers joins the wing, which will simply be filled with little epoxy putty.

The instructions are short, clear and to the point. However, I think they need a couple more illustrations on some steps for clarification purposes. The assembly instructions consist of 13 steps plus painting instructions and 2 paint schemes. The box art features three amazing shots of a completed Scarlet Viper, which can also be used as a painting reference.

There are no decals with this modification kit. You can use the ones that came with your Viper kit, or you can use a different color set of decals, like the ones available from STModeler via Federation Models.

Assembly & Finish

You will need a Monogram (kit #6027) or Revell/Monogram (kit #85-3917) Colonial Viper model kit and this conversion kit to create a Scarlet Viper. The discarded styrene parts should make great additions to your parts/kit-bashing box.

Assembly is pretty straightforward if you follow the instructions. Most of the flash on the resin parts is easily removed by hand or with a good hobby knife. There are a few parts that need to be removed from sprues or larger mold extensions, and a couple will need little trimming, sanding and possibly priming to cover any pinholes before final assembly.

The painting instructions are simple, with one of the painting schemes specific to the Scarlet Viper and it features 1/16 wide black strips alongside blue wedges.

As mentioned earlier, the directions are clear-cut so this should be a simple conversion. Although I recommend it for intermediate modelers, it should make a good first resin project for beginner modelers as well.

Conclusions

Classics like the original Colonial Viper never die, but there is something about the mean, kick-Cylon-butt, take-no-prisoners look of the Scarlet Viper that really gets my blood going.

If you're a detail fanatic and want your Scarlet Viper to be as detailed as possible, the Scarlet Viper Conversion Kit is compatible with MMI's other offerings, like the cockpit detail set and the landing gear detail set. Personally, I've been waiting 3 yahrens to build the ultimate Scarlet Viper, so I'll be getting all 3 sets.

If, like me, you are a big BSG fan, then this conversion kit is a must. It is affordable, has MMI's quality and assembles like a dream. What more do you need? So go get one!


Many thanks to Sal's wallet for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ readers a day? Contact us!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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