Some Random Build-ups
Model kits built recently for Round 2 LLC.
Here’s a quick-and-dirty edition of the newsletter. Just a few “lower profile” builds I’ve done recently as a freelancer (I am not an employee) for Round 2 that don’t really warrant their own pages. Pretty straightforward builds are done for publicity purposes and also for the kits’ box art. Full disclosure, yes, of course, they pay me for these build-ups.
Thanks for reading Small Art Works Newsletter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Let’s start with this “Snark” missile, which was the most involved of the builds in the sense that it has the most individually displayed components. This kit lends itself to creating a great diorama by modelers who love to build dioramas and comes with everything you see here (sans glue and paint, of course). Lots of movable and positionable features too. If you like this type of subject, this really is an excellent kit.
OK what shall we do next? How about this Batmobile from “Batman Forever”? This is a re-pop of the older kit which hasn’t been seen in some time. It’s a very subjective opinion on what Batmobile is the most outrageous, and this one likely qualifies. Say what you want about the insanely impractical design but it is interesting to look at, which no doubt is the whole idea.
Since we’re talking about insanely impractical and over-the-top designs, let’s try this next one, The “Batwing” from the same film as the one above, which must be the most ridiculous aircraft since… well, you fill in the blank. I can’t think of one right now. There is absolutely no way something like this could ever fly. It definitely represents a filmmaker’s desire to create form over function to be sure.
I didn’t need to shoot this one “officially” so it’s just shown here mounted on the stand sitting on my messy workbench.
Ok, let’s do a little Star Wars, beginning with one of the most iconic designs in Sci-Fi history, the TIE fighter. Most people (who bother to contemplate such trivia) think the name comes from “Twin Ion Engine”, but in reality, the name came from the VFX guys at the fledgling ILM who said it resembled a bow tie. The name stuck, and fandom (or maybe later the Lucasfilm, people… who can be sure?) created the “official” acronym’s definition.
This release is a vastly improved re-pop of the older ERTL kit. The body details were good but the wing proportions were WAY off. Round 2 had the wings totally re-tooled for this new version which is a massive improvement that builds into a much more accurate representation of the ship as seen on screen. BTW for those of you who want to know what colour the TIE is supposed to be, go ahead and buy spray cans of the Tamiya “TS-32 Haze Gray”. It’s as close to a perfect match to the original colour as you will find.
Next up is a build of an old snap-together kit originally released in 1983, showing that they really can look great if you take just a little more time and glue the parts together instead and sand down the seams. Some painting with grey primer and some simple wash weathering completes the look. Here’s an ATST from Return Of The Jedi, also known as the “chicken walker” by the ILM crew.
This next picture shows how some “cheat” photography is done. The background is unimportant, except for the general overall colour which represents the tone of a forested backdrop. A piece of glass with dabbled-on random shapes was set up between the model and the key light to simulate the shadows of tree leaves etcetera on the hull of the model, as if seen on a bright sunny day in a forest. (this is very close to how the studio miniatures were filmed as well.) The photograph would be used as a reference for the box art painting for the kit.
Let’s now jump down a few notches to a less-loved series from the Star Wars universe. The infamous prequels. The stories deservedly met with heavy criticism for what should be more-than-obvious reasons. Nevertheless, some interesting designs came from them. Let’s start with Li’l Orphan Anakin’s Podracer. This is a re-pop from the original kit not released since 1999 when the Phantom Menace came out. If you missed out on getting that kit back then, now’s your chance to rectify that situation.
Say what you want about the design and situation in the film which is an incredibly obvious rip-off from the famous Ben Hur chariot race, this kit is really well detailed and will present a reasonable challenge to even veteran kit builders. I highly recommend this one in fact. It builds into a beautifully accurate representation of the subject. One of the best kits to come from that series. I hope Round 2 releases the STAP and Federation Tank from that series as well someday, as those are also very well-done kits too.
OK, one more Star Wars buildup for today. This one is pretty simple and basic. Here is the Naboo Starfighter which was done in a diminutive 1/72 scale. Too bad. I’d have wanted it to be a lot bigger but this is what we got. But anyway, it is a well-done snap-together kit suitable for beginners and is molded with bright chrome parts. In the case of this build though, I had to strip off the chrome so that the mold parting lines could be dealt with. I ended up re-painting those parts with “Spaz-Stix” chrome paint which worked well. The pure chrome can look somewhat toy-like, especially at this scale so stripping the chrome actually worked better for this build. Weathering makes it look better too.
Last up, what’s a Small Art Works page without a Space: 1999 subject, eh? Let’s go.
Here is the now available 1/72 scale “Metamorph Eagle” with Lab Pod and Spine Booster that measures 14” long when built. It’s an excellent kit that is perfect for those on a budget and less display space compared to its larger brother, the 22” kit released some time ago shown alongside and accompanied by Zander the cat lurking on my workbench.
The smaller 14” model is nevertheless as accurate as its larger counterpart and even comes with a choice of extended or compressed oleo struts to represent the ship in a landed position or in flight with the included display stand (not shown here). Round 2 using the MPC brand has gone out of its way to produce the best commercially available Eagle models on the planet, hands down. Nobody else comes close.
Anyway, that should about do it for now.
I hope you enjoyed this little show and I also hope you will consider getting some of these kits if they interest you. They are all fun to build and don’t forget, if you are new to model building there are a ton of people in the hobby that are more than willing to assist you in developing your skills.
The biggest asset to modelmaking is patience, which is a skill in itself these days in a world of instant computerized “dumbphone” gratification!
Enjoy the world of plastic model kit building!