Kit preview of MMI's Colonial Viper Landing Gear.

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MMI Colonial Viper Landing Gear Preview

By Terry Miesle - images & text © 2002

Scale: 1/32
Parts: 29 resin
Instructions: 4 pages of instructions, diagrams and templates
Decals: N/A
Molding Quality: 10 - perfect
Detail: 9+ very, very well done
Accuracy: 9+ - looks spot on
MSRP: $50.00 USD (~$77.37 CAN/ Ä 52.87 EUR) available from Federation Models
Overall Rating: 10. It delivers on what it advertises, casting is perfect - I mean PERFECT! Engneering is very good.

[Box art]

[Click to enlarge]

^ What you get

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^ Closer look at the bays

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^ The plastic underside is replaced by a resin insert with the gear wells opened

My brother, Nick, and I grew up in the 1970s. We wore short shorts with long tube socks, had long hair and listened to Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin, and Uriah Heap. We also watched far too much television: The Dukes of Hazzard, Barney Miller, Fantasy Island, The A-Team and C.H.I.Ps, but it was science fiction which really caught our imagination. We watched reruns of Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Lost in Space and memorized episodes of Star Trek. We also watched the shows released after Star Wars, from shows we knew were awful like Buck Rogers (despite Erin Grey), to those nearly forgotten by time, like Quark and Salvage One.

Then there was Battlestar Galactica. It had characters which were a bit deeper than some other shows, from competent, capable characters who bore tremendous responsibility like Col. Tigh and Apollo, hotshots like Starbuck (who also recognized responsibility), average guys like Boomer, hot babes and comic relief. What more could boys want?

Cool spaceships and shiny metal bad guys, thatís what. Battlestar Galactica was among the most ambitious shows ever produced. A lot of money was spent on visual effects early in the series, and that footage was re-used throughout the series. Monogram released models of these ships, and we bought them. They even shot little plastic bolts with rubber bands!

The SciFi channel re-ran the entire BG series during Christmas 2000. We watched the run and re-learned something we knew as kids. The show started out well. The arc from the movie up to (but not including) the fire episode were very good, engaging TV. From there the show went downhill a bit, with derivitive episodes, but there were a few high points nonetheless.

We wonít discuss Galactica 1980.

Battlestar Galactica has seen something of a revival of late. Monogram re-released the kits a couple of years ago, and MMI has released a series of aftermarket detail and conversions supporting them. These include pilots, both seated and standing, male and female which allow you to make many recognizable pilots from the show. Also available is a cockpit set and custom bases. The newest set, number 1003 (out of sequence) is a landing gear detail set. The original kit had none of these features.

A quick aside, MMIís resin casting is outstanding. I have yet to see a serious flaw or any bubbles.

The landing gear seen on the Vipers was unusual but very versatile. They were wheeled skis, as seen on modern arctic aircraft. While interesting, these gear would make for a difficult scratchbuild. MMI has done justice to the gear frequently seen in the show. Included are retraction struts and oleo springs. Quite nicely done.

The detail set has a re-engineered ventral fuselage section, so you donít have to cut the gear wells out. Within that section a gear well is provided. It seems a bit deep, but is nicely detailed. The directions are straightforward, and this should be a simple conversion. Thereís not a whole lot to explain about this detail set, it should be self-evident.

If you want to build the ultimate Viper, youíll need this. If youíre concerned about getting your moneyís worth from this set, stop, you will. MMI is working on a two-seat Viper conversion, so itís just as well I wonít get to start on the kit for a little while.

Many thanks to Terry's wallet for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 2000+ readers a day? Contact us!

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This page copyright © 2002 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 14 June 2002.