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Alliance Earth Directorate Starfighter Preview


By John Lester - images & text © 2003

Scale: 1/35 - about 9"/22.9cm long assembled
Parts: 19 resin
Instructions: 2 pages, with painting/marking instructions
Decals: ALPS printed waterslide
Molding Quality: 10 - excellent all around.
Detail: 9 - nice raised details, consistent engraved panels
Accuracy: 9+ - looks spot on from the images I can find.
MSRP: $85 USD (~$130.33 CAN/ 80.07 EUR) available from Federation Models
Overall Rating: 8 - Looks like an excellent kit, even though the price is a bit steep.

[Click to enlarge]

I'll leave my thoughts on the late 70's TV incarnation of Buck Rogers to my review on this fighter's main opponent.

[Click to enlarge]

^ Top of the fuselage

Image: Underneath the fuselage

[Click to enlarge]

^ The rest of the parts

[Decals]

^ Your basic markings

Image: Instructions are clearly illustrated

Monogram made two kits of ships from the series in an attempt to capitalize on the perceived post-Star Wars sci-fi craze. The Marauder was the more accurate; the Earth Directorate Starfighter had a number of errors and ommissions - but that kit was all that was available ... until now.

What You Get

Alliance's new kit comes ins a sturdy box jammed with resin. There is a large, one-piece fuselage, 18 other detail pieces, ALPS-printed decals and one sheet of instructions (printed front and back).

The resin is perfectly cast, with no obvious flaws in my sample - no pits, no bubbles under the surface (that I could see), and very fine mold seams. Clean-up should take no time. The resin is the hard, off-white stuff favored by Alliance - easy to sand, but not so soft as to pick up scratches and dings from normal handling. Detail overall is quite nice. The scribing in particular is worth mentioning - it's consistent in width and depth over the entire surface, something you don't always see on a garge kit. Taping the parts together indicates there will be few, if any, fit issues.

Instructions are much better than previous Alliance efforts. The exploded assembly diagram is large and clear, with color images of a model under construction included as visual aids. The painting and marking guide on the back of the sheet is equally good.

Markings are provided only for the Earth Directorate insignia and the rainbow band on the engine. They're crisp, in register and wholly adequate. If you want something different, the J-BOT sheet for the Monogram kit should fit this one.

Accuracy

So, it's a nice looking kit, but is it all that much better than the Monogram?

In a word - yes. For those wondering, Alliance's kit is not simply a recast of the Monogram. For starters, the hull between the engine/gun booms has been lowered a full 1/8" to bring it in line with the filming miniature. The engines are more detailed, as is the canopy - and both are far better replicas of the original. The Alliance model has positionable flaps as well as the nose gear missing from the other kit. About the only thing this kit does not have is an interior - but that part is in the works.

Conclusions

About the only flaw I can find with this kit is the price. It seems a bit steep to me ... but considering the amount of effort poured into making it as good as it is, I wouldn't say the price is exhorbiant. Since the long out-of-production Monogram offering runs $50-75 most places these days, Alliance's price is competitive, considering the quality of the product.

If you like the subject, you'll like this kit. It's simple enough to be your first resin project, as long as you've built a plastic model or two. Recommended.


Many thanks to Federation Models for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ 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 © 2003 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 16 January 2003.