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Fine Molds' Slave One Built

By Jim James - images & text © 2005

Scale: 1/72 - about 10&&189;"/267mm long when built
Parts: Over 100 injection molded styrene ( 8 sprues of grey and one of clear); Enough to build a very detailed model with a few spares left over
Instructions: Detailed assembly diagrams in 16 steps, all in Japanese, with color pictures of completed model from all angles; color painting guide in Japanese (translation available on HLJ website)
Decals: Silk-screened waterslide; markings for Jango Fett's AotC version, mainly small panels, control panel and some writing
Molding Quality: 10 Ė perfect!
Detail: 10
Accuracy: 10 - Looks accurate to me and I trust FineMolds to do good research
MSRP: • 6800 JPY (~$ 65.10 USD/ $ 84.89 CAN/ Ä 52.93 EUR) available from HobbyLink Japan (shipping is about $17.10 from HLJ - it's a big box!)
Overall Rating: 10 Ė it doesnít get much better than this.

[Click to enlarge]

[Click to enlarge]

^ Where it all begins

Image: Paint chart

Building in sub-assemblies:

Image: Completed fuselage

Image: Skirt, top view

Image: Underneath

Image: Brass stand inserted

[Cockpit interior]

^ Driver's seat

[Click to enlarge]

Image: Completed underside

Image: Starboard side

Image: Jango figure lends a sense of scale

[Click to enlarge]

This is one of the nicest model kits Iíve ever built and suffers from only one challenge in that the instructions are in Japanese.

Building in Modules

It makes sense to build the model in separate modules Ė the cockpit, the fuselage, the skirt, the wings, the wing inserts and the underside. There are also several smaller modules that should be assembled separately Ė the gravimetric mine, the scanning disk (?), the rear guns and the engines, for example. These parts will be added during assembly but are easier to build and paint separately.

Painting

If youíre using Gunze Sangyo, all you need is the English conversion chart from HobbyLink Japan (look for a link in the body of the review). If youíre using Tamiya paints, you can probably make do with the kit instructions. If youíre limited to Testors and Humbrol paints, start by downloading the chart from HLJ, then get the paint translation charts from IPMS Stockholm's website. This will help you find color equivalent in Testors, Humbrol, etc.

Even though you can work out color equivalents, you still canít translate the painting tips scattered throughout the instructions and which generally relate the shades of weathering. However, if you study the weathered areas on the instructions, you can usually find numbers for two colors Ė one is applied over the other.

To keep it simple, keep two things in mind:

  • FineMolds built the model shown in the instructions and should know what the correct colors are Ė use the photos as a guide to matching colors
  • Some paint colors are used minimally (for figures, for example) so donít go searching for these colors Ė mix up a close approximation. Iíll never tell.

    The color equivalents are pretty straight forward but questions have been raised on the following:

  • 16 - Black Green (IJN Aircraft Color). The color and the equivalents just donít look right. Youíre matching the color of the dark green wing root covers. I ended up using Humbrol 52 Cockpit Green. Testors ModelMaster 1715 Interior Green is close too.
  • 32 - Battleship Gray (2) Thereís no match for that name. Since the color is used minimally, I used Humbrol 156 Satin Dark Camouflage Gray.
  • 34 - Sky Blue. This is only used on the figures. I used Humbrol 48, Gloss Mediterranean Blue
  • 110 - Character Blue. Another figure color. I used a mix of 50% Humbrol 48, Gloss Mediterranean Blue and 50% white
  • 132 - Earth Green (IJA Tank Color). I used Humbrol 10 Service brown Ė itís the color of the wing brace boot.

    Weathering

    The secret to making this model look really cool is weathering. Use the color photos that come with the kit to establish the unweathered color scheme and paint accordingly. You need to start with a clean ship. Donít assume that weathering will cover sloppy painting. Mask to create clean and sharp color demarcation lines. Note which areas are not heavily weathered (the yellow decaled areas for example). I used a sharp pencil to bring out the recessed panel lines.

    Weathering techniques are usually up to individual preferences. For this project I used washes with diluted India ink (mainly for the recessed detail in the cockpit and on the underside), black pastels (general dirt and streaks) and weathering in color as suggested by the instructions (darker gray over gray, for example) stippled on with a lightly loaded, stiff brush.

    Paint and weather the main modules before final assembly and donít over do it. Too much weathering makes your model look more like a model.

    Seams and Putty

    Thereís not a lot of puttying required on this model since

    • a) the joints are really good and ,
    • b) most of the joints are hidden.

  • The one thatís the most obvious is the center joint along the main fuselage top. Youíll need a little putty and light sanding to make sure itís hidden.

    Tips

  • Trim the decal panels close to the edge to remove excess carrier film
  • Itís easy to cut the mounting pins off the clear panels inside the cockpit Ė they look like part of the sprue. Cut carefully.
  • I did the detail on the gravimetric mines (yellow and red panels) with homemade decals printed on a color laser printer.
  • Cut the cockpit canopy from the sprue very carefully or youíll end up with notches in all four edges.
  • Make sure you sand the mold seams on the wing and gun axles so that they pivot smoothly.
  • If youíre leaving the mine bay open, paint the half mine thatís in the bay before gluing it in place.
  • I used metalizer paint on the engines nozzles and buffed them up before gluing them in place after the underside was sprayed with DullCote.

    Final Assembly

    The sub-assemblies go together very easily and very logically although I would suggest leaving the canopy until last to reduce glue mishaps. I used a bead of Testors canopy glue to secure it.

    Display

    The Fine Molds stand is pretty nice but a little clunky. I puttied in a piece of square brass tube on part E 14 so that I could mount the model on a wooden base.

    I didnít use any of the FineMolds base (including the name plate and name plate decal). However, I did place the standing Jango Fett figure in the corner of the base. Makes a nice instant scale reference.

    Conclusions

    I feel guilty not adding lots of tips and hints but apart from matching colors, this is one of those kits that builds itself. Itís really hard to mess it up. If youíre a Star Wars modeler, this is the one to have . . . and it can make a nice diorama partner for the Jedi Starfighter.

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  • Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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    This page copyright © 2005 Starship Modeler™. First posted on 28 March 2005.