Droid Fighter (Snapfast) Kit Preview.

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ERTL Droid Fighter (Snapfast) Kit Preview


By John Ulshafer

Surprising the sci-fi modeling community, ERTL's Phantom Menace kits crept onto retail shelves (against ERTL wishes of a simultaneous release date of 5/3) over a month before release of the actual film. The first four releases include two "Snapfast" kits and one "Die Cast Model", with more releases due to follow in October 1999. Any new Star Wars-related kit is poised to jump to instant classic fame. Do the new releases make the grade? Read on and see what you think.

Let me start out by saying these ships are small! Very cool looking, but small none the less. I guess that's why they give you three in the kit. The box lists the scale as 1/48. Since the Naboo starfighter is also in 1/48 scale, the droid fighters would appear to be about as large as your average golf cart! I guess this is acceptable since they're droids, therefore they don't require pilots or life support.


Each fighter consists of four parts on a single tree (three trees) molded in a light grey. A circular base molded in black, and three support struts for the base.


All panel lines are recessed and crisp, save the "eyes" on the "cockpit(?)". There is some minimal flash on the "wings" and the detail on the interior of the wings appears a little rough. The detail on the guns does not match that on the box art box, though it's unclear which is correct. If it's an issue, it looks to be easily correctable with some x-acto knife etching. On my kit there was some warping on one of the struts for the stand.

Painting and Instructions

Instructions are pretty simple and straight forward - two steps: step one for the fighters and step two mounting....that's it! As far as painting goes.... NO instructions are given!! ( I can just see the arguments now!) From the photos on the box, the primary color seems to be a green-grey (similar to a bird of prey) with certain panels painted a darker green almost an olive drab. Also the "machinery" inside the wings appears to be painted gunmetal washed with rust. The entire ship appears weathered with a flat black and all the leading edges have been flecked with silver to simulate "paint chipping". Lastly, the "eyes" appear to be watermelon pink to simulate a glowing red...


I have always enjoyed building sci-fi fighters, and this design is unique to say the least. The ships themselves are very cool and are very detailed for their size, however they are small (three inches long!). Personally I feel ERTL let me down on this kit. In conclusion I'll just say: "Cool ships! , but if only they were a little bit bigger....."

the whole deal

^ The whole kit laid out.

individual ship

^ A look at an individual ship's parts.


^ A close up, showing the etched panel detail.


^ Interior surface of the "wing".


^ An assembled fighter - about 2" wide x 3" long.

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