Kit review of Halycon's Dropship .

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Starship Modeler: Dropship from Aliens™

By Greg 'Krigh' Bachmann

Scale: 1/72
Size: Small (13" x 8" x 6" when assembled - not much bigger than a Starfury)
Cost: $25-50 USD (1999)
Ease: 8 (Not hard, but to make it shine you'll need to do some scratchbuilding)
Accuracy: 7 (Close enough on the outside)
Overall Rating: 9 (You can make a decent model from this kit without too much pain)

[Beauty shot]

[Bigger pictures are just a click away ....]

[...except for this one.]

[Look at all them bits]

^ The kit comes with around 100 pieces. Tskuda's box is different, but the parts are the same.

[Looks like it was beat with the whole darn ugly forest, doesn't she?]

[The business end - with little guys]

[Backside - with the same lil guys]

[Close-up of the lethal end]

If you saw this dropship in the movie you probably laughed and said "who would build those ugly things?" Well the truth is I didn't even think about getting one until I picked up a book call "ALIENS: Colonial Marines Technical Manual" This was a book put out years after the movie and is based on all the neat Marine gear you saw in the move (and some you didn't). So after reading the chapter on the UD-4L, I decided that I had to pick up the model. I found it at a local hobby shop and picked it up for about $50 (Canadian). Mine is the original Halycon issue from the late '80's. Halycon has since gone out of business, but Tskuda (in Japan) bought their molds and re-released various kits from the line.

It comes in a nice box with a painting of it flying away from a nuclear explosion. The kit comes in a forest green, with clear parts for the canopy and head lights. It is accurate and as I'll describe below it can be assembled with not much work. The weapons pods, landing pads, bay door, and stairs can be displayed open or closed. Unfortunately the one main downfall to this model was that is was made so small that it is almost impossible to hinge the parts. So once you make up your mind, it's stuck that way.

Now since most people aren't at the same level of modeling, I'll describe certain aspects in more detail. This is a good model and has potential to be very well done. So as for the overall model, if you just want a cool model to build and you don't have much experience, than go right ahead. This one isn't that hard to make, and the more detailed work can be over looked.

Here are a few things you might want to think about before starting:

  • Color: The model is a forest green when it comes out of the box. If you want to make it more accurate, I would suggest a olive-drab paint scheme. This is the same color of the one in the movie.
  • Weapons pods: The weapons pods can be either deployed or tucked away. If you are going to have them out, there is one thing you should notice. The designers of the model didn't fill in the arms of the main pods on the underside. This means that if the arms are out (and therefore upside down) these empty spaces show. For the more experienced modeler, I would suggest filling them with putty. Just be careful because the arms will weight a lot more and make glueing tougher.
  • Weapons: The small individual missiles that are on the front weapons pods are easy to paint and attach. I suggest a white coat with silver or yellow tips. The missiles on the main or rear pods are a lot tougher to paint. They are simply bumps on flat pieces of plastic. I began by painting the white missiles and then painting the black on the spaces in between them. Use a very fine brush for this.
  • Airbrush Finish: This craft looks best if done with an airbrush. First for the overall coat, and secondly for detail. The craft has two main engines and four VTOL nozzles like the Harrier Fighter. With an airbrush spray a light stream of Gunmetal across the air brakes in the back and under the nozzles. This will give the appearance of darkening from jet exhaust. With the nozzles make sure the spray is concentrated two direction. First down (for vertical flight) and to the rear (for forward flight).

  • Foot soldiers: Now since the APC model is too big for displaying with the Dropship, I suggest a collection of foot soldiers. For about $10 you can buy a 50 pack of 1:72 scale soldiers. They may not be colonial marines, but at the scale, it's hard to tell.
  • Cockpit: The cockpit they give you with the kit consists of two chairs. Yup, that's it and they're not very good seats anyway. So for a better look, I used the cockpit parts from an F-15 Strike Eagle (it had one too many run-ins with the cat). This doesn't exactly match the real set - but again, at this scale (and through the cockpit windows) it's hard to tell. With a little filing I managed to get the seats in and a pilot too.
  • The Internal Bay: Now if I was to redo this model there is one thing I would have done differently. The actually model comes with no opening on the bottom where the APC would go. So if you think you got what it takes cut out the space above the ramp and build your own bay. It wouldn't be that hard and there is plenty of room inside.
  • Decals: For the finishing touches you put on the decals. All of them went on fine for me except one by the rear nozzles fell apart. There are two versions include with the kit: the "01" and the "02." "01" was the one in the beginning of the movie (the one that crashed) and the "02" was the one Bishop brought down.

Well that's about it. The only other thing I would warn is that this is a very delicate model with the pods deployed. I suggest a display case if you want to keep it in one piece. And if you want to get really accurate with it rent the movie and take a look as the book I mentioned.

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Last updated on 16 May 1999.