By John Lester - images & text © 2004
Fine Molds have been methodically working their way through the spaceships seen in the 5 (to date) Star Wars movies, with the same committment to excellence and accuracy displayed in their aircraft lines. The latest release is also the biggest model they've done to date: Slave 1, as she was flown by Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones.
Image: The "A" sprue is mostly "wing" parts
Image: The "C" sprue - detail structures
Image: One of the two "D" sprues, containing more details
Image: The "E" sprue - interior and underneath parts
Image: Decals provide markings for Jango's ship
Image: Instructions are easy to follow - at least for construction steps. My copy appears to be a pre-production printout, as it's not nearly as sharp as the ones in all my other FM kits.
Thanks to the fine folks at HobbyLink Japan, I was able to get a pre-release copy of the kit a full week before hit hits the shelves in Japan.
What You Get
The kit consistes of over 100 parts of injection-molded styrene, in grey and clear on 9 sprues, plus instructions and decals. Actually, it's ten sprues - this review kit did not include the stand.
We've come to expect the highest quality from Fine Molds, and their X-Wing, TIE Fighters and Jedi Starfighter have set the bar pretty high. The Slave 1 kit does not disappoint. Panel lines are finely engraved. Raised and inset detail is sharp, and details that are supposed to be symetrical - are. Despite the size of several of the parts, I found no sink marks. Ejector pin marks are faint and (as far as I can tell) all in places where they won't be seen when the model is completed. Only the barest hint of mold seams could be found. In fact, the only mold flaws I found was flash and mold seams on the three figures. The clear parts are crystal clear and should look phenomenal with a dip in Future (acrylic floor polish). Mine were double-packed in a plastic bag that was then wrapped in bubble wrap.
The kit provides a full cockpit with two seated figures (Jango and the young Boba). You also get a standing figure in full armor. You'll have to amputate Jango's legs below the knees to get him in his chair though. The wings and blasters can swivel between the landing and flight positions; it does not appear that the cockpit does (which is true to the filming model and to what we see in the movies - its cockpit does not swivel). In addition to the clear cockpit canopy, you get clear engine inserts and what appear to be two navigation lights - and wth the amount of room inside the hull, you should easily be able to light the model. Most of the detail parts are separate, which will definitely ease painting and weathering. Test fitting of the major parts does not indicate any fit issues; in fact, the tolerances are pretty tight and with carefull attention, you may even escape the need for putty. I haven't looked closely enough to determine what differences, other than paint scheme, exist between this ship and her later incarnation as Boba Fett's ride as seen in ESB, but I don't imagine the conversion would be overly difficult (and I'm sure that if I'm wrong, a whole lot of people will let me know).
Waterslide decals are provided to mark the ship as seen in AotC. You have to mask and paint the blue and green sections, then lay down the chipped yellow paint decals. Most of the markings are for the yellow painted sections, though you also get some cockpit displays. All appear perfectly registered, and thick enough to be opaque (so the underlying hull color doesn't bleed through).
Instructions consist of the usual exploded assembly diagrams, interlaced with paint call-outs. Unfortunately, all the text is in Japanese, and there was no paint chart provided. I'm told a paint guide will be included in the release version of the kit - it was not ready at sample shipment time (the perils of being the first kid on the block to get the new kit, I guess). The sides of the box have color drawings and photos of a completed model, which will help getting the exterior right. Unless you read Japanese, you'll have a hard time with the interior, the figures and the underside ... at least until someone posts a translation. As they have with previous kits, HobbyLink Japan will provide an English guide to the Gunze paint numbers in the all-Japanese instructions after release.
It's big, it's beautiful and it beats the old ERTL offering hands down (not that that's saying a lot). The only drawback I can think of is the price - which is less than a resin kit with this level of detail and accuracy would run you. For ease of assembly, accuracy, detail and being in the same scale as all their other Star Wars ships (and a popular aircraft scale at that), this is the kit to save your pennies for. Those looking for a stiff challenge can take on the ERTL, if they can find it anymore. For those of us who want a good model that can be built by someone with average skills inside their own lifetime, the Fine Molds kit is highly recommended.
For an encore, Fine Molds, may I suggest a 72d scale B-Wing?
Many thanks to HobbyLink Japan 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!
This page copyright © 2004 Starship Modeler. First posted 12 April 2004. Last updated on 13 April 2004.