By Pat Amaral - images & text © 2003
The Imperial Star Destroyer from the original Star Wars trilogy has always been one of my favorite science fiction vehicles. Only one decent sized kit of this giant arrowhead in space has ever been released (by MPC/Ertl more than 20 years ago).
^ Dorsal Details kit parts - these parts are Ti - nee!
Image: The instructions are simple and clear.
Image: Another shot of Avenger at Magic of Myth.
Image: Comparison between Avenger filming model and Odyssey Slipways' parts
Image: Comparison between Ertl's and Odyssey Slipways' parts (penny for scale).
This kit, now long out of production, suffers from major innaccuracies and gross lack of detail. It represents the basic shape of a Star Destroyer but little more. In recent months, Odyssey Slipways has begun producing various replacement parts and detail enhancement kits aimed at addressing these shortcomings. This preview is of two of their latest releases.
What You Get: Dorsal Details Kit #1
Packaged in a small plastic bag that was shipped via US Priority Mail, securely packed in a sturdy cardboard box and protected by lots of shredded paper, are 11 of the tiniest cast resin pieces I have ever seen (along with one short strip of styreen). The resin is smooth and almost completely free of flaws. I found one bubble on the largest piece and it is so tiny that it will probably get hidden when the thing gets painted.
The parts in the Dorsal Detail kit are intended to enhance the details at the top of Star Destroyer's nose section. The existing surface details on the upper hull (Ertl kit part no. 1) will have to be removed prior to installing the details from the kit.
All of the pieces look like they'll clean up easily as the pour stubs are very small and only three of the pieces have any appreciable flash (which is really suprising considering how small the parts are). All of the detail is very crisp. The six tiniest pieces are connected to a spur of resin (three parts each on two spurs). Although experience with cleaning and working with tiny resin parts will be helpful, anyone with some patience should have no problems with this kit. Chris Proctor of Odyssey Slipways thoughtfully included a tip in the instructions for removing the parts from their spurs safely. I have yet to try this suggestion of dragging the spur across a piece of sand paper under your thumb though.
I compared the kit parts against pictures taken of the filming model used for The Empire Strikes Back when it was on display at The Magic of Myth exhibit. The parts are a little too thick for the scale but I can't see how Chris could pull this kit off if they were any thinner. One concern I have is that with all this cool detail getting added to the front of the ship, will that overshadow the lack of detail on the rest of the model? Thankfully, there are additional detail kits being planned.
What You Get: Secondary Engines
This is the second release of a line of replacement parts intended to "accuratize" the Ertl Star Destroyer kit. The first release was a kit that included parts to replace the main engines and was the topic of my first preview of Odyssey Slipways' products.
The parts are packaged in a small plastic bag stapled to a card. My sample arrived via U.S Mail in a study cardboard box along with some other samples to be previewed. Everything was protected by shredded paper. Nice choice of materials - there is little if anything there to hurt the environment and I appreciate that.
The kit is made up of four identical castings of the Star Destroyer's small (emergency) engines. Details are crisp and appear to match those of the ESB filming model quite well. The resin in my sample is smooth and free of surface flaws. One of the engine bells is slightly out of round but will not be a problem to fix with some warm water and gentle persuasion. The tiny pour stubs will be easy to remove with a file and sand paper but this may not be necessary depending on how one uses this kit.
There are basically two classes of Star Destroyers that the Ertl kit can represent. Without getting into too much detail, the ship we saw in A New Hope was known as Devastator and was one of the Imperial Class of Star Destroyers (some folks prefer to call it Imperator Class). In The Empire Strikes Back, we were introduced to a different ship, the Avenger, which belonged to what is sometimes referred to as Imperial II class.
Odyssey Slipways' Secondary Engines Kit is most accurately used on the Avenger although they could be made to portray Devastator's secondary engines after some modification. In my opinion, the parts in Ertl's kit have a more accurate basic shape for the Devastator but they do not have as much surface detail as the Odyssey Slipways kit. Perhaps Chris (owner of Odyssey Slipways) will decide to release a version of these parts specifically for the Devastator at a later date.
If you choose to model Avenger, you will still need to make some minor modifications to the Ertl kit in order to make things look right. If installed onto the engine area part ( Ertl kit part no. 4) as is, the replacement engines will extend too far aft to be accurate. I recommend carefully drilling a 3/8" hole in the center of each mounting pad. Then by cementing the replacement engines into these holes you should get a more accurate rendition of the Avenger's engine area. No further modification to the secondary engines should be required.
As I understand things right now, Chris plans to produce an more accurate Engine area kit to replace the part that comes with the Ertl kit. These new parts will be designed to accomadate the parts included in both of his replacement engine kits.
There are no instructions included with the Secondary Engines Kit and, frankly, none are really required. A little careful planning, however, along with some experience working with modifying resin parts might be needed depending on which ship you decide to portray.
I'm really pleased that these parts are availible now. Odyssey Slipways has been working very hard to create products that address the problems with the Star Destroyer kit. The Dorsal Detail Kit #1 is another welcome addition to what I hope will eventually be a complete line of enhancement parts for my favorite Star Wars ship. The Secondary Engines kit is also a winner in my book, although I think it would be nice if the manufacturer would produce two versions of the kit (one set of engines for Devestator and set one for Avenger). The price is right for anyone who wants to make a more accurate model of either Star Destroyer class without the need for scratchbuilding their own parts.
I can't wait to see what comes next!
Many thanks to Odyssey Slipways 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 © 2003 Starship Modeler. Last updated on 2 Spetember 2003.