by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Writing for ModelGeek certainly provides the perfect opportunity to review some kits that wouldn't normally cross my desk at Aeroscale. a case in point is Revell's EasyKit Snowspeeder.
I have to admit that price and sheer curiosity made me choose the kit as much as anything else. While the Snowspeeders' famous cinematic battle against the AT-ATs has stayed in my memory since seeing the movie in my college days, it was the 1/2-price sticker that really made the kit stand on the shelves at my LHS! Looking closer, I was also intrigued as to what the kit would actually be like - I could see it was snap-together and the no painting was needed, but what did the latter mean in practice? Was it moulded in multiple colours like Matchbox kits of old? Getting the kit home, the answer was a resounding "no" - the kit doesn't need painting (in theory, at least) because Revell have already done the job for you!
The Snowspeeder has been available for a couple of years now and arrives in a colourful end-opening box. These usually aren't my favourite style boxes, because they're not very useful to keep the parts together during assembly, but that was hardly going to be an issue this time. The kit comprises:
24 x grey styrene parts
2 x soft plastic figures
2 x clear parts
The moulding is good and crisp with very little sign of flash, and ejector pin marks are all tucked out of sight. The parts are quite thick and solid (this kit definitely seems designed to survive a few battles round the house and garden in the hands of youngsters) but, despite this, I didn't find any problems with sink marks. Detail is simple but effective, comprising engraved lines and a few raised panels. Some of the parts have been ready-separated from the sprues to allow painting and these are bagged separately. There are still a few small sprue stubs to clean up, but getting the kit ready to assemble is literally just a few minutes work.
No scale is shown on the packaging, but the full-sized Snowspeeder is quoted as being 5.3m long, while the kit measures 186mm. That gives a scale of around 1:28, but the figures look far smaller than that, maybe 1:35 or a little less.
ConstructionThis being a snap-together kit, the only fair way to judge it is to assemble it. It's accompanied by an attractive colour-printed contruction guide, and the first thing you find out is that you do need to follow the sequence shown surprisingly closely; most of the parts are interocking and if you stray too far from the sequence they are very awkward to fit. The parts have substantial locating pins and tabs, and these clip together good and tightly and are mostly hidden after assembly. The only exception to this is a rather clumsy hinge for the canopy. It is possible to prise the parts apart after assembly, but the end construction is very solid.
So, does pre-painting work? Well, yes and no. While it won't really bear close inspection, it's ideal for kids who want an instant "used" look for their model. The basic colour of the finished model is the bare grey plastic, and on this the painting takes three forms: firstly, hand-painted details like the engine areas and cockpit (some sprayed, some brushed); secondly, external markings that appear to be applied with stencils; and, thirdly, rather roughly applied weathering. There's no doubt that most modellers could do better, but it's actually not bad - especially considering that it must have been quite a rushed job on a production line. The cockpit is painted overall dark grey with some details picked out in red, black and silver. The crew figures are quite neatly done, although their helmets are moulded without the visors seen in the film. The canopy frames are masked and the solid areas have been painted to match the grey of the bodywork, while some of the exterior panels are picked out in a darker grey. A problem is that any exposed edges, or spots where you've cleaned off sprue attachments show up and need repainting, and the weathering really looks more like misted on grey paint than anything else and is applied to the parts before they are assembled so it doesn't follow the final forms. But kids will love it and the dirty appearance is much more in keeping with the Snowspeeders in the film than a squeeky clean model.
But the real stumbling block is going to come if you want to build the kit conventionally. Assembly should be no problem - it's really just a matter of trimming off the locating pins and maybe doing a little simple surgery to alllow you to set your own assembly sequence to fill and hide joints better - but appling your own paint-job to the beast could be trickier; with no decals provided, finding a way to replace the pre-painted stencil markings will mean printing your decals or finding an aftermarket source.
ConclusionRevell's Snowspeeder seems targeted at youngsters and works well on that level, both for its obvious play value and as a good "taster" for constructing models. The pre-painting is quite good quality, but it cuts both ways - while making for an attractive and quick build OOB, it actually makes life much harder for anyone who's not satisfied with it and wants to paint the kit themselves. Nevertheless, the kit is fun to build and will also form a good basis onto which to go to town adding detail.
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