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SMT's TIE/Avenger Kit Preview


By John Lester - images & text © 2002

Scale: 1/48 - about 10"/25.4 cm long when complete
Parts: 18 resin, 2 each styrene tube, copper wire and vlear vacuform
Instructions: 1 sheet, general tips & assembly diagrams, with generic paint guide
Decals: None
Molding Quality: 9 - very few flaws evident
Detail: 8 - well defined and plentiful
Accuracy: Not rated
MSRP: $50.00 USD (~$78.75 CAN/ 49.78 EUR) available from Scale Model Technologies
Overall Rating: 9 - very nicely done

[Box Art]

Scale Model Technolgies partnership with prolific pattern-maker Alfred Wong have resulted in a bonanza of models for fans of the Star Wars universe. Each release has been better than the last, as is evident with this latest TIE fighter variant.

[Click to enlarge]

^ Parts

[Click to enlarge]

^ Closer look at the main pieces

[Click to enlarge]

^ More detail parts

Image: The cockpit is nice out of the box; some extra detailing could make it truly stand out.

Image: Instructions are adequate

What You Get

Safely ensconsed in the sturdy box are 18 resin parts (one of them clear and the other a pilot), 2 styrene tubes, 2 copper rods and two clear vacuformed plastic canopies, plus a sheet of instructions and another with a painting guide.

At first glance, the parts look well-cast and well-detailed. Closer inspection confirms this, and indicates they'll fit well too. There was only a very little flash on my sample, as well as some bubbles in places where they won't be seen (the backs of the main hull, for instance). The resin used is apparently a different variety than previous kits I've seen from this manufacturer - harder and not as "chalky". Mold release is apparently less as well, though I'll definitely be soaking the parts in tire cleaner anyway, just to be sure (I thought the usual cleansers strong enough when used on my B-Wing, and found to my horror that neither paint nor superglue stuck!). The clear resin piece is devoid of bubbles and almost transparent.

The kit masters obviously relied upon ERTL's "Darth Vader's TIE" as a starting point - but there's quite a bit of extra detail added to that base, and of course the command pod is all-new. The new parts blend seamlessly with the "old". The cockpit/command pod is very well done, with nice detail inside. Since the inside will be quite visible through the front "glazing", this area will benefit from any extra detailing you want to through in there.

Two clear vacuformed canopies are provided, instead of the previous clear resin parts (as on the B-Wing). They're thick enough that cutting them from the backing shouldn't be an exercise in frustration (and you get 2 in case you do screw up), but thin enough as not to hamper viewing of the interior - especially after a dip in Future/Johnson's Kleer.

Instructions consist of a brief history of the type plus some generic tips for working with the various media. On the back of the sheet is a simple assembly sequence is diagrammed. There's not a lot of parts, or much confusion as to where they fit, so building this beast should be fairly straightforward.

No decals are provided, as the ships don't carry any markings. Those interested in cusomizing touches may want to investigate J-BOT Decals' Star Wars Kill Markings decals.

Assembly and Finish

I've taped the major components together and there appear to be few areas of concern - everything fits nicely. Based on previous experience, you'll want to make sure the kit is cleaned thoroughly before you start building, in order to make sure there's no mold release lurking on the surfaces. An old toothbrush and a non-abrasive cleanser like "Soft Scrub" should do the trick - but if not, get to a well ventilated area, grab some rubber gloves and a respirator, and break out the lacquer thinner or tire cleaner.

My only concern is that the mounting points for the solar panels (the four large fin-like parts) will not be strong enough to take much abuse. They're quite a bit thicker than on the TIE/Defender, so replacing them with brass or aluminum strip is probably unnecessary. However, you'll want to leave those panels off until all painting and detailing is complete.

Painting is dead simple. The ship is grey with black solar panels. Here's another area that will reward extra effort - pre- and post-shading, drybrushes and washes will make the ship come alive.

Conclusions

I'm quite pleased with this kit. It looks cool, it's reasonably priced for what you get, and it looks like it should be a hassle-free build (or as much of one as any model can be, given my innate clumsiness). I'd recommend this kit to anyone with some experience building models; it also should be a good first or second resin kit for those who've built naught but plastic up 'til now.


Many thanks to Scale Model Technologies for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3000+ readers a day? Contact us!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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This page copyright © 2002 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 14 November 2002.