AMT Naboo Starfighter snap kit

KIT #

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PRICE:

$ Cheap just about anywhere

DECALS:

`

REVIEWER:

Jim Baker

NOTES:

Now it is 1/48 Scale

BACKGROUND

 

Those who know me personally know Iím one for weird and unusual paint schemes.  So what to do with a model of an incredibly ugly vehicle with only one possible paint job?  This is why I will never build a Ju-388 or one of those goofy little Lippisch paper-project non-existent lawn darts.

 I built this model for a build-the-same-kit contest we had in our IPMS-Phoenix Craig Hewitt Chapter sometime last year, and I am embarrassed to say that it was about the only model I finished last year (not really, but darn close).  But the problem is this:

Even though I am a serious Star Wars fan, I absolutely hated Episode I.  It was shallow, cheap, and poorly developed.  I could have written a better story on a manual typewriter. As a showcase for CGI graphics, it was ok.  As a story, it was weak.  Queen Amidala was kinda cute, though, but the individual who conceptualized Jar-Jar Binks should be shot without trial for creating the single most annoying movie character in the history of cinematography.

The Naboo Starfighter is about the ugliest thing in any of the movies, except for Slave I.  And even Slave I has its charm, in much the way the Ju-87 Stuka or the Blackburn Skua have their charm. 

 So the question again: what to do with the thing?  I stripped off the chrome using Easy-Off oven cleaner and thought.   In fondling the plastic, I hit upon an idea ó Navy aggressor!  Folded wings and tail!  Landing gear!

CONSTRUCTION

 And so I began the surgery.  The kit really has only about fifteen pieces, more or less.  The fit is poor, because itís a snap-kit and is made to be slammed together with the modeling equivalent of a nine-pound railway hammer.  I dug out my trusty-rusty Dremel (which really is rusty from many years in Hawaii) and ground out all the internal fittings to make room for the fun stuff.

 I started out with wheels.  The kit comes with only a stand, so I cut a couple of convenient panels out of the bottom of the ship and, test-fitting and test-fitting, grafted in wheel wells made from half of a wading snorkel of an Academy Patton tank, bits of scrap card plastic, plastic rod for piping and wires, the landing gear from a dearly departed Monogram Su-25 Frogfoot attached to the wheels of an old Otaki FW-190A.  The tail wheel is a Monogram A-10 nose wheel glued to an Otaki F4U-1D tail wheel strut/arrestor hook assembly, and the gear doors are merely scrap sheet stock.  Even though it doesnít look like it, there really is room for the wheels in the wheel wells. 

 After test-fitting the landing gear and setting them aside to dry and then paint, I went to town on the cockpit.  The seat and consoles are from an old Academy F-14 Tomcat, as befitting the Nabooís newly-acquired Naval heritage, and the stick is from a ProModeler Ju-88A-4 (I believe).  Boy, let me tell you, it took a LOT of shoving and cursing to get the entire cockpit into that shallow little area, but I did manage it.  Just donít get too close to it with a flashlight.

 Basic construction, otherwise, went as well as can be expected, meaning you can successfully build anything with enough methyl-ethyl-ketone.  First, I assembled the wings and filled and sanded the join, and then I cut them apart to make the wingfolds.  Discovering there are huge locating holes in the fuselage, I filled those with bits and bobs from the scrap box, including bomb racks from a Monogram B-17G.  I glued the fuselage halves (top and bottom) together and set it aside with a prodigious amount of tape on it to dry, and then went about creating the wingfolds.  I faired them in with rod plastic, shaving a bit off here and there to make it mate up as well as I could (remember, Iím not trying to build a real model here) and then attached the whole kit and caboodle to the lower fuselage. I even gave it guns.

 I filled and sanded, attached the engines and engine tail boom thingies (Iím sure someone who actually thought that movie was good can tell me what those things are supposed to be), and then cut off the tail.  I had intended to make the tail fold sideways, like the Sea King helicopters, and attached it that way originally.  But BOY did it look dumb.  So I notched it on top for a hinge, added a couple of bulkheads and made it fold upwards.  Itís a little poky-looking on top but I think it looks much better.  

CAMOUFLAGE & MARKINGS

Paint was straightforward.  The lighter grey is standard Polly-Scale Light Gull Grey, the blue is, I believe, Navy Non-Spec Intermediate Blue, and the darker grey is Dark Ghost Grey.  I wasnít trying to be particularly accurate; I was using what I had in my paint drawer.  Decals are from an old Superscale F-14 subdued sheet, mixed with aggressor numbers from deep in the dark recesses of my decal dungeon. 

CONCLUSIONS

 It won the Build-the-Same-Kit contest.  I thought that that was the funniest part of the whole deal.

 Overall, this project was a hoot.  I will never build a Naboo in its ďauthenticĒ garb, because as I said before I think itís hideous.  But this way it makes for an interesting conversation piece, and I can look at my model shelves and giggle at it occasionally.

Jim Baker

June 2003

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