By John Lester - images & text © 2007
My other favorite model kit as a kid was Monogram's Cylon Raider. It was big. It shot rubberband-powered "torpedoes". It was easy to build and easy to paint (just two colors: grey and black). And there was plenty of room inside for a firecracker .....
Image: Parts, laid out
Image: Underside detail
Image: Engine parts
Image: Clear engine inserts
Image: New stand assembled
Image: Sample instructions
Like the rest of the Monogram (then Revell/Monogram, now just Revell) Battlestar Galactica kits, it was only reissued once, in the late 90's for the 20th anniversary of the show. Finally, for the 30th anniversary (am I really that old?!?!) it's back again - this time, with new parts.
What You Get
Inside the box is an old friend: two bags of grey plastic parts, another of clear, a decal sheet and instructions. The large bag contains all of the old parts (minus the original's stand and torpedo launcher bits). The other two bags are new - the four piece stand (same as in the reissued Viper) and two new clear engine inserts. Molding is good. There is no flash on my sample and only minor mold seams - it actually looks better in that regard than the 1998 reissue kit I have on the shelf. Detail consists of fine raised panel lines and various raised and inset details. These latter were pretty good back in the day but now look a tad soft. The clear inserts for the engines are a bit more crisply done. They are intended to nfacilitate lighting the model.
Decals are simple: some black stripes for the "wings" and hull, the dark green pentagon symbols for the upper wings and a decal for the nameplate on the stand. They are crisply printed, well-registered and have almost no visible carrier film. The black parts are fine, but the colored markings do suffer a bit from the "measles" (dots) that afflict all Revell (USA- the German decals don't have this problem) decals, especially for car and sci-fi subjects. This isn't a problem with the "dot-matrix" effect associated with ALPS and laser-printed decals; it appears to be an artifact of whatever is used to print the decals not blending the CMYK colors, but instead "approximating" them. The good news is that for the Raider, the only markings affected are the pentagon insignias, and it's not noticeable unless you get really close and look for it. (I've had Starfury decals on which you can see the measles from across the room). The pentagons do appear to be darker green than in the previous reissue - I'm not sure if that's accurate or not.
Instructions are typical for Revell (Monogram): clearly drawn and easily followed. Color callouts are provided throughout the assembly steps. Colors are generic ("grey", "satin black") and not tied to a particular manufacturer of color standard (FS, Pantone, RLM,etc).
Aside from the new stand and the clear engine inserts, this is the same kit as the 1979 issue. As such, it has some accuracy issues - at least when compared to the hero filming miniature. Proportions and shapes are generally pretty good. The "greeblies" and shapes that encrust the hull are simplified in places and generally "soft". The engine exhausts are not all that accurate to the filming miniatures, and though the clear parts look good they are not faithfull replicas either. (If you want to be faithfull to the "original", stick a big, bright lightbulb in there instead. If you want it to look "cool", carefully paint the clear parts and backlight them with LEDs). Some folks will not like the raised panel detail - but that's what scribing tools and label tape are for. The holes in the front "intakes" that let the torpedoes escape in the original issue are still there, and should be filled or plated over. The raised area on the bottom where the stand now fits (it was where the "trigger" was in the original release) should be carved down if you want to be completely faithful to the original. The detail in the "nose" piece that fits just below the "canopy" is pretty much conjectural; apparently Monogram never had good photos of that area and used some creative gizmology.
Now, all that said, the original kit was used for background shots in at least one episode of the original Battlestar Galactica, and in several of Galactica 1980 - so you could also argue that the model is completely accurate. Moreover, something very close appears in the new Galactica movie Razor (the wings are different but the main hull is almost spot on with the kit). So ... the decision is yours.
I've heard it said that the new parts are just lipstick for a pig. I'll argue against that. The model easily built and offers plenty of room for detailing - either fixing those accuracy nits that bug you, converting into the versions seen in Razor or the videogame, or just going crazy with greeblification (Yes, that's a word. Look it up.). I say it's a good value for the money, even if you build it straight from the box and strafe the cats with it. Revell's Cylon Raider, along with the reissued/upgraded Viper, are simple, straightforward kits that can be built by pretty much anyone (if my experience at make-n-takes is any guide).
Recommended for all skill levels.
Many thanks to Revell for providing the review samples. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ readers a day? Contact us!
This page copyright © 2008 Starship Modeler. First posted on 9 January 2008.