By Terry Miesle - images & text © 1999
The Pathfinder Exo-Armor unit is an older piece of equipment during the period depicted in Jovian Chronicles. It is widely fielded throughout the system, and is an easy unit to pilot. While it does not have the maneuverability or firepower of the Syreen, it does have multi-terrain functioning and space capability. For these reasons, the Pathfinder is a popular unit, and will continue service for a long time to come.
Its primary weapons are a pair of beam lances stored in the armor’s thighs. In addition to that are a pair of missiles and one big plasma rifle. In scale, the rifle is larger than a modern F-15 Eagle! The Pathfinder also sports an AWACS-style radar dish, making it a useful member of a hunter-killer team with Syreens.What You Get
Fusion Models is one of several manufacturers of resin kits serving the SF genre. The similarity to numerous other manufacturers ends there, though. Upon opening the Pathfinder box I felt like I had entered the big league after languishing in Triple-A ball. This is hands-down the best resin casting I have ever seen – and no, I'm not gushing.
The kit is a knockout. All the pieces are attached to sprues, and lovingly protected in bubble-wrap. Boy, are there are a lot of pieces. The resin is soft, and feels almost like styrene. Be careful, though – it is quite a bit softer than styrene but still brittle like polyurethane resin. In addition to the resin armor parts, a hexagonal base with a nifty raised Jovian symbol and a bit of brass rod for mounting the model. The instructions are straightforward and the sturdy cardboard box features pictures of the built-up model for further reference.Construction I
I decided to use a slightly different method for building this kit. I painted the parts first, then assembled it. I was able to separate many parts from the sprue with a spruecutter. I then drilled small holes in most of the pieces (in an unobtrusive area) for a bit of plastic-coated wire. This way I could paint each item separately . All the parts were thoroughly washed with dishsoap, then painted with two coats of Testors Acryl (TA)Gloss White.
A word of warning: this is very soft resin with very fine detail. It can easily be damaged when sanding off attachment sprue or the use of a knife. I had to use putty to repair some sanding damage.Painting
I thought about color schemes for a while. I wanted something in slightly bad taste, but cool colors. My concept was a military unit which decided on colors without outside input. I settled on Tamiya Sea Green and Gunze Sangyo (GS) Cobalt Blue and white. These are really great colors, but unfashionable together. The Green and Blue were given a Testors Enamel (TE) Black wash, then drybrushed. I used TE Blue Angel Blue followed by TE Duck Egg Blue to weather the blue. The green was weathered with TE Interior green and TE Light Gull Grey tinted with TE Interior Green. The white paint was streaked with TE Light Gull Grey to dirty it a bit.Detail Painting
TA Medium grey was used on the joints and interior areas, to give a mechanical appearance. Atop this layer details of TE Gunmetal, Aluminum, Gunship grey and probably several others paints were used. The thrusters were given an outer layer of TE Medium Gray and Gunmetal interior. The sensor front of the missiles and gunsight were painted with Tamiya Gloss Black to give that nice glass lens look.
An interesting quick wash technique is using clear colors, like Tamiya Smoke. This can be brushed into recesses or panel lines, and the excess quickly wiped away. Look for this technique on the Pathfinder’s head, gun, shins and rear thruster areas. Bear in mind this is a gloss paint and will benefit from a dose of dullcoat to tone it down.Assembly
After painting was done, the model was assembled. This was most straightforward. No problems or tricks are noted. Construction consists of ball-and-socket and hinge joints, allowing a free range of poses. The joints must be glued though, and you won't be able to change the pose later, not like Gundam poly-cap joints.
I used some spare decals to finish the model. The numbers and scimitar emblems came from a 1/48 Macchi 200 Aeromaster sheet, and the yellow stripes from the spare decal ziploc bag – who knows what they were from initially. The model was mounted on the provided brass wire into a hole drilled into one foot. The base was painted by hand, with a stylized Jupiter as a background.Conclusions
This is outstanding work by Fusion. If I’m forced to say anything negative, I’ll harp on the scale. A lot of accessories are available in 1/144 scale, which would have been useful for dioramas. This is a minor complaint, though.
I can’t recommend this kit enough. It is money well-spent by anyone who wants one of these fine mecha kits. We’ve all seen kits for over $50, which turn out to be disappointing (at best). Not this one - this is a good value for the cost.
This page copyright © 2000 Starship Modeler. Last updated on 17 January 2000.