By Tyler Robbins - images & text © 2008
"There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the universe, with humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians. Or the Toltecs. Or the Mayans. Some believe there may be brothers of man who even now fight to survive . . . somewhere beyond the heavens."
Image: Hull halves
Image: Head and engine side pieces
Image: Landing bay upper halves
Image: Landing bay lower halves
Image: Engine nozzels, base, and rear plates for the head
Image: Empty landing bays need something on the inside
Image: Sparse detailing on the hull. Greebles would definitely help here
Image: "Transmission" in the center of the hull needs to be separated from the upper support arms
With these words the TV show "Battlestar Galactica" began, promising another episode full of fun, adventure, and a bit of cheesy drama every Saturday morning. The series was one of the more successful Sci-Fi TV shows of the 70s, and despite the cardboard characters and linear plots, it was enjoyed by children and adults alike. Most of the episodes were full of fast-paced action, from fire-fights in the corridors of the character's base-ship Galactica and in the ice-cold vacuum of space between the Colonial Viper starfighters and the Cylon's deadly Raiders to plots revolving around such things as fires near the fuel cells and life-support failures. All in all it was a good show, but the centerpiece was clearly the huge, nautical-mile-long battlestar named Galactica.
In the years since the show aired the model company Revell-Monogram produced a line of four ships from the series: the Cylon Raider, the Cylon Basestar, the Colonial Viper, and the Colonial battlestar "Galactica". The Galactica herself is one of the most sought-after kits and is also one of the least accurate, if not the least accurate of the bunch. However, that doesn't stop collector prices shooting through the roof on eBay and at estate sales and model shows.
When I opened the box the first thing I noticed was the empty space surrounding the parts. There is literally half the space used by nothing more than air. The reason for this is that model companies used to put smaller kits in bigger boxes in order to make sure they were the only ones on the shelves of toy and dime stores. The majority of the space occupied by the model itself is taken by the ship's two main hull halves. The remainder is devided between the sprues, decals, and instructions.
Overall the proportions are not quite right for Galactica or Pegasus, though if you built the kit as one of the other battlestars you might be able to pass it off as a modified battlestar or a battlestar of a different class.
The two halves of the hull are not very well detailed, and if one recieves this kit one should be prepared to either purchase a bunch of tank and warship kits to detail the hull with or buy the Galactica detail set available on the internet. This lack of detailing is most apparent on the sides of the hull, though this is compensated somewhat by the two detail pieces on the back of the command head.
The biggest flaw though is that the large cross-member on he underside is completely solid when it should be seperate from the middle support strut, and it will require major surgery to correct.
The two landing bay modules are better-detailed than the rest of the hull, but they can stand some improvement. Their launch tubes are solid and need to be cut open. Then the builder could probably construct a launch tube close to the filming set by putting a strip of styrene stock inside a square tube made of styrene sheet. One major flaw in the bays is the utter lack of an interior despite a hole cut into the front and back for one. The front of the launch bay shouldn't even have a hole in the first place, being a greebled plate instead of a landing bay.
The instructions are adequate for the job, and I can't find any major complaints, though there are some minor inconsistancies between the diagrams and the kit itself. The paint guide could definitely be revised, though, as it lists nothing more than grey and black as the primary colors, and what's worse, it states that the hull is already molded in color. The plastic used is too dark compared to the studio model, so a light neutral or cool grey would be a good choice as the base color.
The decals are good, but aren't complete. They are missing several markings and names of battlestars. The names Galactica, Pegasus, Atlantia, Pacifica, Triton, Rycon, and Columbia are included. Other possible names, official or otherwise, are Acropolis, Solaria, Cerberus, Bellerephon, Bellephon, Argo, Olympia, Posiedon, Prometheus, and Valiant. To compound the problem, the nameplates are not in the correct font.
Included in the model is a small micro-poster with a random painting or photo on the front (mine was a Ralph McQuarrie painting of a Viper landed on a planetary surface). The other side contains some information and an interesting concept painting of a destroyer- or frigate-type ship.
Despite this model's flaws, it is really not too bad, and with enough elbow grease and TLC (not to mention a healthy supply of greebles), this model can be turned from a toy to a representation of humanity's last chance for survival: the Colonial Nova-class Battlestar Galactica.
Many thanks to Tyler's wallet for providing the review samples. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ readers a day? Contact us!
This page copyright © 2008 Starship Modeler. First posted on 15 January 2008.