By Pat Amaral - images & text © 2003
A Bit of History
I can still remember the first time I saw the vast shape of the Imperial Star Destroyer come into view and pass overhead in the opening sequence of the first Star Wars movie. Literally, the first thought in my head was "I must have a model of that ship." Of course, I ended up saying that to myself every time a new vehicle zoomed onto the screen. Finally, around 1980, with the release of The Empire Strikes Back, MPC released a kit of the Star Destroyer. There were at least two re-issues of the kit under the ERTL and AMT names and one version that came with a fiber optics kit for lighting the model. All issues of the kit used the same molds. Although long out of production and increasingly rare, you can still find the Star Destroyer kit. You may have to look pretty hard though.
Most of the Star Wars models manufactured by MPC/AMT/ERTL suffer from various problems with accuracy and fit. The Star Destroyer kit is no exception. There are issues with the overall shape being incorrect, the sides are too tall for the scale and shaped incorrectly, and there is a general lack of detail throughout just to name a few. There are plenty of other problems but that's for another article.
Several years ago a garage company called Sublevel 3 produced some parts that addressed the problems with the side walls. I never saw these parts first hand but reviews I've read and comments from friends who purchased them led me to believe that while they were welcome enhancements to the SD kit, the parts suffered from poor quality and lack of detail. These parts are no longer in production and are next to impossible to find.
Odyssey Slipways to the Rescue
Until recently, there have been no other companies interested in tackling the problems that the Star Destroyer kit has. That all is changing with the introduction of a line of resin replacement parts manufactured by newcomer, Odyssey Slipways, a science fiction genre spin-off of Sub Accessories, a garage company based in Morrisville, PA. Proprietor, Chris Proctor has been casting replacement/enhancement parts for R/C Submarine models for about 5 years.
The first offering from Odyssey Slipways is a set of replacement main engine bells and supporting detail parts. A look at the original kit parts reveals that the walls of the bells are a little thick. There are some rib details on the inner surfaces (about half the number found on the actual ESB shooting model). The rest of the surfaces are devoid of any detail at all.
One of the first things I look for when ordering parts from any company is over all service. I must say that I am pleased with the service I've so far received from Odyssey Slipways. I received an email from Chris the day he sent the kit. He even included the tracking number so that we both could make sure of the progress of my package which arrived in my mailbox three days later.
The kit arrived in a US Postal Service Priority Mail container that was packed securely with paper towels to avoid damage during shipment. The parts came in a plastic bag stapled to a card with the label identifying the which kit I had (typical packaging for parts of this nature and quite adequate).
What You Get
The six parts in this kit are made with a tan colored resin that is looks to be consistent and easy to work with. The quality of the parts is good and will require only a minimum of clean-up (primarily just a good washing and shaving off what's left of the pour stubs). I only found two casting flaws and one area that was slightly chipped apparently from clipping too close when a pour stub was removed. The casting flaws are very minor; one small pin-hole that passes through wall of one of the bells and a barely noticeable thin spot in the edge detail on the same part. All three parts will be easy to fix and might not even be worth the trouble. It looks like they can be easily hidden once assembled.
Detail on the parts is good. The lines are crisp as should be expected with new molds. While the outside surface of the ERTL engine bell has no features at all, the replacement bell has six ribs and there is now a detailed extension on the bell's rim. This extension may be a little wide for the scale but I think it's a good simulation and all of the new features are much closer to those found on the model used during filming. The only real disappointment I have is that nothing was done with the details on the inside surface of the bells. They are the same as the ERTL parts. Although the detail should be fine in this scale, there should actually be twice as many ribs on the inside as there are. Maybe this is something Chris can fix in the future although it's not a serious issue.
As I mentioned before, there are six parts in the Complete Engine Kit which is intended to be used in conjunction with new engine area parts that are still in development. The Complete Engine Kit consist of three engine bells and three tubes or "collars" which act as extensions for the attachment points of the bells themselves. The collars also add details that again, closely match the shooting model. You'll have to wait and purchase the Engine Area Kit if you want to use the "collars" though as they will not look right if you use the existing ERTL tailpiece. You can purchase the engine bells by themselves by ordering the Standard Engine Kit.
I'm very pleased that these new replacement parts are available. They are a welcome enhancement that are a good start at giving a relatively poor quality kit a chance at being something worth building. I think Mr. Proctor is on to something here. He plans on offering additional replacement parts that, if they prove to be as good as this first kit, will really go a long way toward making the ERTL Star Destroyer a showpiece. I'm looking forward to seeing what he comes up with and I gladly recommended this initial product. Good luck Odyssey Slipways!
Many thanks to Odyssey Slipways for providing the review sample. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3000+ readers a day? Contact us!
This page copyright © 2003 Starship Modeler. Posted on 25 February 2003; Last updated on 26 February 2003.