By Leelan Lampkins - images & text © 2000
I am a bad person. I have had Howling Wolf's Shadow kits for years and haven't written a review yet! What is worse is that I promised to do so. Here are the fruits of my repentence (delayed for months by an overworked editor - Bad OneZero! No biscuit - Ed.)These kits looked so cool and had such potential that I ordered several!
This is what I got - three sets of the Shadow Fighter kit and two sets of the Battlecrab and smaller fighters (more on the BC in a later review.) I figured that I might like them so much that I would want extras. They were gorgeous! The shapes could not be better. And the vein work must have put Kip in for quite a few counselling sessions - it would have driven me nuts! Each kit is molded in a pale beige to white resin and consists of the ship itself and two peices to form the base.
There is only a little bit of effort needed to complete this kit. First, take your Dremel and shape the mouth. You can get the images you need from the B5 Reference page here. Next, clean up the mold lines and pinholes. This is not really that hard, it is just time consuming. The "armpit" areas are the toughest parts to work. But, be patient and careful and you can do it. I used Squadron Green Putty and had no problems.
Special note! You may damage some of the vein work while puttying and sanding. It is unavoidable. Rebuild the veins with a two-part putty like Milliput rolled very thin.
As for the base, I would take some brass rod and pin it together. And also use a brass rod to pin the ship to the base.
Now to painting. Kip suggests using Black Metallic as the basecoat and Anthracite Gray Metallic for the veins. I couldn't find these colors. I used black and a personally mixed gray, very dark with a touch of silver. The veins could be drybrushed or carefully wetbrushed. Weather to taste or not. Seal it and you are done.
You can do the above and have a great kit. I chose to go the extra mile to make it my own.
I ground and sanded the vein work off two kits. (Kip reacted in horror, "You sanded them SMOOTH???") [I don't think I would do this again - especially after rewatching "Revelations" again which contains the fighters first appearance.] But I wanted two Fighters with individual vein patterns, not identical twins. And I loosened up the pattern a bit in anticipation of reproducing the pattern on the mini versions which come with the Battlecrab.
I did not use the kit base. I went for the look of Hyperspace as seen in Babylon 5. An oval wooden base, some brass rod and two plastic champagne glasses are the materials I chose. (I took no pictures but here is a drawing to give you the idea). I trimmed the bells of the glasses to flow more smoothly into the wooden base. Then I filled them with plaster and stuck the rods through them into the wood. I made two cones out of drawing paper to add height to the champagne glasses. Then I used more Squadron Green to fill the cones and smooth the bells into the base.
After a long sanding session, I sealed the base with primer. Then I hit the structure with two or three coats of Krylon Triple-Thick Crystal Clear Glaze. (The fumes are MURDER. Open a window or do this outside!) Another coat of primer revealed the smooth shape that I was after.
To paint the clouds of Hyperspace, I used a basecoat of pink and sponged on three darker shades of red. I then sponged on some black and retouched with red. A few coats of Crystal Clear (regular) and a semi-gloss clear and it was done.
I am pretty happy with the result. But there are some things that I would do differently today. In fact, I was about to change the veins again after entering the finished model in the Atlant Model Expo/SciFi Model Con II. I took it there to show some StarshipModeler's who were coming to the show and entered it as an afterthought. I won two First prizes. Coulda knocked me over with a feather (- ask Phule.)
Verdict: Buy this kit. If you are a fan of B5 and the Shadows, you have got to get all of the kits from Howling Wolf Productions. The sculpting is excellent and the shapes are perfect. Aside from the clean-up all you need worry about are your own crazy ideas.
This page copyright © 2000 Starship Modeler. Last updated on 1 December 2000.