By James Daley - images & text © 2003
When I first saw this Jedi starfighter or Delta-7 and Hyperspace ring in Attack of the Clones, I knew it was destined to be on my display shelf. It had that hint of a couple of my favorite SW ships, the Stardestroyer and the A-Wing.
Apparently the resemblence to the Stardestroyer is intentional - Kuat Drive yards designed both.
As the articles on Fine Molds Jedi Starfighter started to come out I put it on the list of kits to have. When I came across it at a local store I closed my eyes to the price (it was well over the MSRP) and said "Oh heck, you only live once and I really want to build this kit". Starting today!
Upon opening the box the first things I notice were to two huge sheets of decals. Very impressive looking. The second was the good clean molding of the kit itself. The third was the fact that there was not one lick of English in the instructions. For the most part this really is not that much of a problem. The instructions have a high degree of graphic detail that make them easy enough to decipher. There is only one step where the lack of written instruction could cause you any grief. A couple of the decals must be applied to the engine nacelles of the hyper drive prior to assembly of the whole ring, or you will need to do some trimming later on down the line. I opted to just not use a few of them at all. You also may find that it would be easier to apply decal to the inside of the ring before assembling it.
I found the molding of the subject to be exceptional. During the dry fit stage I found all the parts fit together very well and with great ease. Not a thought of putty was ever considered.
The one disappointment I found with the “molding” was in the actual formula for the plastic itself. The plastic the model is cast from is very hard and brittle. Whether or not this was particular to my copy only, I do not know. Once the parts are snipped away from the sprue, I found that I had to be careful with my exacto knife in getting the last segment away from the part. In the case of the first few have-at-it's, the left over cracked away instead of being cut away. Following that I went a little slower with the knife and made a surface score at the limit of what I was removing. That way if it did crack away it cracked away at the relief point and not in the body of the piece I was cleaning up.
As I put this kit together I repeatedly found myself looking at the exceptional detail that was put into the parts making up the kit. Some care was put into the panel lines on all the parts. And in the case of where the Hyperspace rings join, the parts were made to accentuate the panel lines. Nice attention to detail.
The model itself is on the petite side. Myself I don't mind a small subject, even tend prefer the smaller scales, especially if they are as detailed as this model is. However it does take some patience and tweezer work to get through some of the assemble steps, most notably the cockpit, gun ports and landing gear. The rest of the model is pretty standard fare for anyone with medium level skills.
About the most exotic wares that could be helpful would be a jig to hold the upper and lower rings to their shape while the glue sets. I used a jig with one and one without the jig. You can't tell the difference.
A minimal amount of paint is requiring for this kit. Model Master Dark Ghost grey was used for the interior of the cockpit, along with Flat black and Flat Aluminum on the pilot couch. (The latter for a bit of detail). The pilot figure of Obi-Wan Kenobi was very simple. Earth tones were used for the clothing and a little bright silver for his Light saber and head piece, to get them to stand out.
The model itself was given a base coat of PollyS dirty white. That choice gave it a little bit of a used, dulled out, yellowish tinge that I liked, instead of the crisp white base coat shown on the box. The back of the Delta-7 fighter was given a wash if Model Master Gun Metal. The interior of the landing gear wells were given a bit of yellow zinc chromate since I wasn't sure at that point whether to finish the model with gear up or down. The engine nacelles were given a little model master flat black to the intakes and exhaust interiors. The exhaust ports were given an application of Model Master Engine Exhaust over a slapdash application flat black.
To fill in the those little spots where the decals didn't line up, or I had the problems (described in the next section), I used Delta Creamcoat Paints "Mendocino Red" -- it was the closet match without having to mix up a color.
I was very excited about to the decals at first. They are pretty sturdy and don't tend to tear while placing them. However, the shear number of them could seem a little daunting, and did once I started. This is where a beginning modeler would lose this kit.
As I progressed with the decals two thoughts came over me. One- they cover so much area, the base coat on the model will only be a hint. And two- they are covering up all that really cool detailing work. I decided that I would only apply what I really wanted to, to get the look I wanted. I also figured that I would fix that nasty hiding of the detailing later with a brushing of decal set. Unfortunately I discovered that these particular decals do not react very well with setting compounds. I nearly lost the whole ventral port side decal on the Delta-7. A little further experimentation found that this was the case everywhere. If you use a decal set be sure to cut it with whatever the manufacturer recommends, at least 50/50.
The Bottom line: this is a very sharp kit well worth the 20 bucks, plus shipping and handling, you can get it for online. The scale in my opinion is fine, and it looks good with the old AMT Slave1 on the shelf. My biggest disappointment was the decals. If I had this kit to do again, and I know I'll do another, I would scrap 85% of the decals and paint her up. I just really hated seeing all that fine etching and detail work covered up and lost.
Time wise, you only need a few hours to build the kit and get the good base coat down. The decals add some time. You will find that there are only so many you can put down before you have to let everything set up. It's the perfect project for doing at the coffee table during the course of the week.
So, have fun! It's a sharp looking kit in the end.
Click here to read another build review of this kit.
This page copyright © 2003 Starship Modeler. First published on 9 October 2003