Skyhook's Classic Sci-Fi Mini-dioramas.

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Skyhook's Classic Sci-Fi Mini-dioramas

By John Lester - images & text © 2002
Additional images © 2002 Terry Miesle

Scale: None stated
Parts: 5-10 resin and white metal
Instructions: Sinple diagram included in zip-loc bag
Decals: N/A
Molding Quality: 9 - Very good across all three kits
Detail: 7 - Acceptable for the tiny size
Accuracy: 8 - Pretty good, given size.
Fit: N/A
Ease: 9 - dead simple to build and paint, though be careful not to lose the tiny figures in the
MSRP: $ 17.95 USD (~ 20.30 EUR) available from Skyhook Models
Overall Rating: 9+ -- Fun little kits for an afternoon's modeling.

[Click to enlarge]


Skyhook Models have added to their line of classic sci-fi movie spaceships with four miniature dioramas. So far, these depict scenes from Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Forbidden Planet, The Day the Earth Stood Still and War of the Worlds.

What You Get

Image: Earth vs. the Flying Saucers

Image: Forbidden Planet

Image: Day the Earth Stood Still

[Day the Earth Sat Still]

Image: Overall, from above

Image: Looking from behind the soldiers

Image: From behind the saucer

[Click to enlarge]

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^ Compared to the other Skyhook C-57D kit.

Image: War of the Worlds diorama

Image: Closeup of the action

What You Get

Each of the three kits reviewed here come in a small ziploc baggie. There are few parts (The Day the Earth Stood Still) has the most with 8, which includes a white metal tank and several tiny infantry figures) and a very simple assembly diagram that doubles as "box art". Each kit includes a base.

The kits are all small - Earth vs. the Flying Saucers is the tallest with the monument measuring 4 ½ "/ 11.4cm tall while the spaceships in the other two are both 2 ¼"/ 5.7 cm in diameter. Detail is sufficient for such tiny scales, especially given the fact that the original subjects weren't overlly detailed themselves. Casting, as with all Skyhook products I've obtained, is flawless. There's minimal flash and mold seams to address, and I found no bubbles, pits or other flaws.

Assembly and Finish

I built and painted the Earth vs. the Flying Saucers kit and passed the other two on to other builders (so there's be a chance all three were finished in a reasonable time frame! - see below). Assembly was a no-brainer: glue monument to base. The saucer had two small stubs that needed removal before I could paint it with Krylon Chrome. While that was drying, I painted the monument black (damaged areas) and oversprayed it with white. I then masked off the sidewalk and painted it a light grey, followed by painting the grass area and finally the rim around the edge of the base. Washes and drybrushes brought out the damaged areas and added variety to the lawn. When all the paint was dry I glued the saucer in place.

Total time spent - ten minutes to prep and assemble the kit and a half hour to paint it. I spent more time masking areas for paint and letting the paint dry than I did building or painting it! Terry's story was similar, though he had a bit more detailing to do with the tiny soldiers and tank that came with the Day the Earth Stood Still kit.

Overall Impressions

These kits are simple enough for even my 6 year old niece to build and paint, though she might have trouble with the small parts. They're a great way to fight modleing burnout and are definitely a change of pace from the usual vehicle/hardware kits ... and they don't take up much space on the shelves. My only reservation is the price, though it's to be expected (and is certainly not out of line) for a low-volume, garage industry kit. Aside from that, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of the kits to those with an interest in the subject matter.

Another Look: additional text & images © 2002 Mark Stephenson

At a time when most SF films featured mutant monsters, giant insects and endangered teens, MGM's Forbidden Planet (1956) offered a taut, psychological drama exploring the nature of mind, guilt and redemption - all played out against a colorful, convincing alien setting.

For me, one of the most compelling characters was the Star Cruiser C57-D itself. Heavily influenced by the flying saucer mania of the 1950s, she was as simple and futuristic (in a Jetson's sort of way) as anything printed on the covers of Galaxy Magazine or Astounding Stories at the time.

Hence, it was no coincidence that the first resin kit I bought several years ago was Skyhook Model's C57-D.

Recently, Skyhook reissued this classic deep-spacer as one of a series of resin mini-dioramas based on 1950s SF films. It's a slick little kit - well cast and easy to assemble, which also makes it a good starter kit for those who haven't built resin kits before.

The Kit

The C57-D mini-diorama's five simple parts come packaged in a small ziplock bag with printed insert/instructions.

The saucer is one solid piece, as is the base. The remaining pieces are three small landing legs. Unlike my larger C57-D, none of the mini's landing legs features stairs. In addition, all three legs are a bit thicker than I would have preferred. Purists could easily sand them a bit thinner if desired.

The central landing piston, upon which the ship settled onto the surface of Altair IV, is cast into the base itself, making positioning the ship a foregone conclusion.

Aside from some easily trimmed flashing on the landing legs, the only flaw I could find was a tiny bubble at the edge of the saucer. After filling it with a tiny blob of putty and then doing some light sanding of all pieces, the kit was ready to finish.

Finishing

I used Testor's acrylic white primer white as a base coat. Next, I glued all three landing legs in position with cyanoacrylate, test fitting the saucer to the base long enough to allow the glue to set with the legs in proper position. I then zapped the little bugger with Testor's Model Master German metallic silver. Finally, I painted the outer rim of the saucer with Testor's steel.

Out of the bag, the base looks like a badly formed pancake. I dressed it up with some strategically placed rock talus used in HO railroad setups, making sure they would not conflict with the positioning of the ship. I then painted the base with a variety of acrylics, including dark tan, burnt umber and raw sienna, with a little light grey and white mixed in here and there to lighten things up.

Overall Impressions

A nice little kit for an afternoon's diversion. The longest span of time spent was waiting for the silver enamel to dry. I plan to round out the trio of mini-dioramas with the other two kits in the series - Klaatu's saucer from The Day the Earth Stood Still and the Harryhausen invader UFO crashing into the Washington Monument from Earth vs. The Flying Saucers.

One of these days I may even finish up my Polar Lights C57-D, once I have a room addition built to put it in.


Editor's Note: Many and sincere thanks to Skyhook Models for the review samples. Many apologies as well - I had originally intended to post in box reviews of these kits shortly after we received them last September..... and then came the events of September 11, 2001. Maybe it was over-reacting, but I thought it best to put a hold on that and do a later "build-up" review instead, given that one of the dioramas replicates a scene from a movie where a flying thing is crashed into the Washington Monument. Life goes on, and so have we - though I have not included pictures of the finished 'Earth vs. ..." kit out of respect for those who may still be sensitive to the subject.

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This page copyright © 2002 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 23 April 2002.