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.
Like the Trade Federation Droid Fighters kit the Naboo Starfighter is also in 1/48 scale and is a snap together kit. The kit consists of twenty parts (including stand), and a decal sheet with eleven markings.
The actual ship consists eighteen parts (including pilot), eleven of which are molded in a very bright yellow, and the canopy is molded in clear. The remaining six parts (including the R2 unit) are chromed. This may disappoint some of us hardcore modelers.
As with the Droid Fighter panel lines are recessed (a little too recessed - break out the putty, Boys!). Cockpit detail is spartan at best (no instrumentation or controls).
Very little flash is present, just on the pilot and the rear of the antenna-like structures on the rear of the engines. No warping is present (whew!!!). The pilot (presumably Anakin?) is wearing what appears to be the correct head gear and is dressed like a young Luke (wrap around tunic, bloused pants, and leggings). The R2 unit's head (two pieces) appears to be very accurate.
Painting and Instructions
The painting guide is pretty simple. It makes no mention of "yellow" anywhere, so I guess they assume since it's a snap kit molded in yellow so you don't need any yellow paint. The colors listed are: grey, brown, black,flesh,tan,white,dark blue, and red. Instructions consist of four steps with painting directions printed along the way.
A decent kit - not great, but decent. Judging from the skill level one rating, plainness of the instructions, simple pieces, and the pre-chromed parts, this kit seems to be targeted at younger modelers, not adult hobbists. However with a little work and some patience I'm sure a skilled modeler can shape this kit into a detailed and accurate model worthy of sophisticated standards. Now where's that forum post on how to de-chrome parts?
^ The decal sheet.
^ Close up of the chromed parts.
^ Yellow bits - the rest of the hull.
^ The pilot figure.
^ The front half of the R2 unit's head.
This page copyright © 1997-9 Starship Modeler. Last updated on 16 April 1999