Kit preview of MMI's Viper detail sets..

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MMI's Colonial Viper Detail Sets

By John Lester - images & text © 1999

Value: 10
Molding Quality: 9
Detail: 9
Accuracy: 9
Instructions: 10
Overall Rating: 10 - well worth the investment.

[Box of bits: cockpit]

Monogram's Colonial Viper kit, first released in 1978 and again in 1997, is surprisingly good. It's well detailed and mostly accurate, with only one major flaw: no cockpit. In the past, modelers wanting something more than black decal film representing the windows were forced to scratchbuild an interior. With the lack of generally available references, most of these efforts were ... creative, by necessity.

All that changed when Millenia Models International (MMI), a garage kitter based in Ontario, Canada released it's first detail set. The original set, consisting of resin, photoetched brass and chunks of styrene, enabled the modeler to make an accurate cockpit. Over the past several years, MMI has upgraded the set, making it easier to use.

The current cockpit set consists of six resin parts, 26 photoetched brass pieces on two frets, a clear, vacuformed canopy, three pieces of styrene stock, and extremely detailed instructions. The resin pieces are crisp and well molded, with no surface flaws or apparent internal voids. Aside from some paper-thin flash, there's very little cleanup needed. Unlike the first set, the cockpit tub is only two pieces (sidewall and floor); instrument panels are no longer molded in, but on the separate PE fret. This not only results in sharper detail, it makes assembly easier. One will still have to do some surgery on the model to get everything to fit properly, however, since the MMI canopy is narrower than the kit opening. The canopy is admirably clear, with sharply defined framing. It's definitely a whole lot easier to construct than the first set, which required one to cut each window out of clear styrene, then laminate on the photoetched canopy framing. The set also now includes a PE grille to cover the hole in the forward fuselage ram scoop (where the missile once fired out on the original Monogram issue). The only thing missing - which may not be missing, is a seatbelt/ flight harness for the pilot, which can easily be made from tape or paper.

The instructions are especially noteworthy. They are extremely detailed, not only with step-by-step assembly instructions, but with detailed templates and painting instructions, plus detail and paint tips for making the model more accurate to the original filming models.

Not content to stop with just the cockpit interior, MMI have developed a line of figures to place in (or around) the Viper model as well. The first in this series is the "Seated Male Viper Pilot" (MMI-1007). This consists of a 1/32 resin figure torso and legs, with a choice of three heads (one in the distinctive "Egyptian" helmet), two arms and two hands gripping the stick (for either left- or right-handed pilots), plus blaster pistols (again, right or left handed) and flight computer, and a PE fret with twenty buckles and insignia for detailing the figure.

Again, the resin is first rate. Though my sample is a pre-production cast of the prototype, the detail is sharp (though more cleanup will be necessary on these parts). The un-helmeted heads are supposed to represent Apollo and Starbuck - and are actually pretty decent likenesses. The only flaw I found in either set was a pinhole at the tip of Apollo's nose (which could be either "plugged" with putty or a battle scar, depending on my mood!). As with the cockpit set, the instructions are also first rate.

All-in-all, I am very impressed with quality of these pieces, and highly recommend them to modelers wishing to spruce up Monogram's Viper. And, in the very near future, MMI will be releasing more figures: a seated female pilot, standing male and female pilots, and a pilot in "firing stance" - so you'll have even more options. At $20 CDN (cockpit) and $10CDN (pilot) they're relatively easy on the wallet as well - so how can you lose?

These sets are currently available in the US from Q's Continuum and Tangents. Check the MMI website for other retailers, and for new product release info.

Many thanks to John Fleming and MMI for providing the review sample. Look for a build up of the Viper using these parts in an upcoming issue of Starship Modeler.

[What you get]

[Cockpit instruments]

[Cockpit parts]


[Box o' Bits: pilot]


[Brass fret: buckles & insignia]

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