By John Lester - images & text © 2006
Revell's latest foray into sci-fi models are the pre-painted, snap fit ships from the original Star Wars trilogy. These include the Millenium Falcon, Darth Vader's TIE/Advanced, X-Wing and Lambda-class shuttle.
Image: Detail is nice enougfh, and the pre-painted sections cleanly executed
Image: Cockpit is well done, all things considered
Image: Right/front. Even just pressed lightly together the parts fit is good
Image: Starboard side
Image: Rear view
Image: Looks like a frog flashing peace signs from the front....
Image: From above
Image: It's a decent size
Image: The gear doors are far to thick, and un-detailed
Image: Blasters could stand a bit of detail
What You Get
The Lambda-class Shuttle consists of 31 injected styrene parts, 2 figures, and instructions. All the plastic sprues are individually bagged to protect the finish.
The plastic parts are pretty much free of any mold defects. Sprue attachments are thoughtfully engineered so that no painted areas should be damaged when the parts are removed from the sprue trees. Detail consists of finely scribed lines and crisply raised sections. Though several key sections are waaaaay oversimplified, the molding and minimal detail on them is nicely executed. Included is a pre-tinted windscreen that I particularly like - the finish looks like that on the back of a limousine, something I have a hard time replicating. You get a fairly well-detailed cockpit, plus two figures (pilot and Stormtrooper), but none of that will be seen through the tinted windshield. You have the option to build it with the landing gear raised or lowered, and the "wings" pivot for either in-flight or landed positions.
Instructions are clearly illustrated in a series of exploded assembly diagrams. They are easy to follow and don't leave anything out.
Is it accurate? Outline and proportions appear fine, and for the most part the model has everything it's supposed to have. Where it falls down is in areas which have been deliberately over-simplified to make them sturdier: the landing gear, gear doors and blaster cannon. No scale is given. If you go by the published length of 20 meters for the "real" vehicle and 165mm for the model you get 1/121 scale. The figures and cockpit are closer to 1/90, maybe even 1/87 (HO scale). Good thing you can't see them when it's built.....
Assembly and Finish
For the purposes of evaluation, I built this model straight from the box, armed with nothing but a sprue nipper. I sanded down none of the sprue attachment points (or anything else for that matter). Just snapped it together. Parts fit was pretty darn good. It would be improved with a bit of judicous sanding here and there, and the use of glue to hold everything together. I encountered no problems and the entire process took me just under 20 minutes. The instructions suggest you add ten grams of weight to the rear fuselage bulkhead, presumably to keep the model off it's nose. Mine sat on it's two landing feet esily enough; you could probably get the same result leaving the figures out of the cockpit as you could adding weight.
The kit is pre-finished, so in theory you should not need to paint it. The "pre-finishing" consists almost entirely of details highlighted with accent colors (blacks and light greys), plus the windscreen tinting and blue engine glow. The painted parts are nicely done, but the overall effect of all taht bare plastic is toylike.
Pros and Cons
On the plus side, the model appears accurate in outline and proportions, fits well, and is simply constructed. there is plenty of room for a serious modeler to paint, weather and detail it. It's also a size that won't hog a vast amount of shelf space like the old AMT kit. Compared to the AMT kit, the Revell is (in most places) more crisply detailed and it certainly fits together better.
On the minus side, the landing gear (and to a lesser extent the blasters) are hugely over-simplified.
No doubt this makes the model sturdier, enhancing "playability" and stability on the shelf, but it contributes quite a bit to the model's toy-like appearance straight from the box. The cockpit interior and figures are out of scale with the rest of the model. However ..... you won't see anything of the cockpit if you stick with the kit-supplied tinted canopy. The blasters can become acceptable with some minor surgery. Reconstructing the landing gear is about the toughest project - and even that should not be beyond the abilities of any but the most inexperienced of builders.
Price, at least here in North America where the kit is not being released (and thus must be imported from Europe), is certainly a drawback. You're paying for the nice pre-finishing - and outside Europe, shipping costs. So while the kit is clearly intended for kids and/or inexperienced model builders, the cost is a bit steep for them if they are not in Europe.
The basic model is decent enough, and I'm willing to bet it can be turned into a show-stopper with a modicum of old-fashioned modeling skills. Assembly and fit are good enough that anyone with basic hand-eye coordination can build it without problems. For more experienced model builders, the challenge will be in painting and weathering it.
This page copyright © 2006 Starship Modeler. First posted on 26 September 2006.