KIT: Hobbycraft 1/100 Armed Robot 'Surge'
KIT #: 7103
PRICE: $19.96 MSRP ($17.96 at Squadron)
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: George Oh
NOTES:  

 

HISTORY

 Jap-animation is able to come-up with robots that are really chunky and functional-looking.  Then the model manufacturers manage to produce them in 3-D.   Which task do you reckon is harder?  This was one of a set of twelve robots(?) with computer-based names like Hard-drive, RAM and Firewall.   I don’t know if they come from a TV or comic series, but (according to the box) there are six robot heroes protecting the internet from six evil robots.  Surge’ is a one of the bad-guy robots.   I didn’t realise this till I’d completed the model. 

 I was impressed when my model club’s committee chose this as the subject for the Identical Kit category of our (year) 2000 annual club competition.  It showed that they hit on a subject that none of us knew a lot about.   The parts build into a 6”/150mm- tall model (toy, according to the instructions) armed with a long rifle/spear gun.   My high-tech robot was to be modelled about to hurl a low-tech boulder. 

THE KIT

Despite being a small, pretty-basic kit, it did not suffer from flash, sink marks or poorly-fitting parts.  Even the round bits were round.  Only one component wasn’t done well - the pair of hoses that went from his ‘belt buckle’ to his ‘back pack’ – so I left them off.  Perhaps I should have replaced them with guitar strings (or the like).

 The instructions break the construction into seven assembly stages and are relatively comprehensive.  The decal sheet is tiny – it contains only two eye decals.   But I dumped them and just painted the robot’s eye areas.   The instructions lacked a painting guide but I guess that a robot (like a car) can be produced, or repainted, in a variety of colours.   The alternative is to duplicate the red and blue scheme on the boxtop. 

CONSTRUCTION

Dry-fitting told me that some sub-assemblies (fore-arms and lower legs) required painting inside as they were virtually just tubes.  No problem – I’d brushed on some Testors flat black.   This gave me the colour scheme for the rest of my robot – an overall gloss black with a liberal dry-brushing with silver.  I cheated by spray-painting all of the parts in two sessions, then brushing-on the flat black as required.    

I was surprised that this model didn’t need much filler.  My squeezing a bead of plastic from each joint helped a lot.  I let this bead dry, scraped it off, and was rewarded with relatively smooth joints.  Naturally, I had to exercise a little care when trapping a moving part (feet, limbs, sleeves, head) between two halves, and again when filling the seam between the two halves.  For a little contrast, the ‘knee’ and ‘elbow’ areas were painted silver.

 I dumped the kit-supplied hands and manufactured a pair of my own from lengths of rod.  While they were still straight, I rolled them under a knife-blade, at appropriate intervals, to form the joints that allowed me to bend his fingers a little.  I gave the new hands a long ‘wrist’ rod so that I could glue them into the arms.  The robot’s boulder was fashioned from a piece of sponge painted with various shades of brown.  The underside is darker to replicate the portion of it that was in the ground.   I sewed both of the robot’s hands to the boulder with black thread.    

 I cut the long spear from the weapon – I didn’t like the look of it.  I still had to concoct a reason why the robot ‘aint using his weapon.  I ground-out a portion of the weapon, painted it silver, then glued a piece of foil over the area.   This foil was pierced with a U-shaped piece of fuse-wire.  Now, I painted the whole weapon gloss black.  When it had dried and was drybrushed, I pulled the wire to ripped-up the piece of foil.  This simulated a weapon destroyed by an explosion in the breech.

PRESENTATION

I now brought the sub-assemblies together – body & head, two arms & boulder, both legs and the gun.  The two thigh-plates were added and the robot was complete.  My only problem was that the boulder fouled the crest on top of his head.  OK, trim the underside of the boulder a bit.

 I grabbed a small piece of scrap wood, masked-off a border with tape, then spotted-on a liberal coat of contact cement.  Into this, I pressed some dark-coloured sand (several shades), then removed the masking.  I positioned the robot and the busted weapon, then added some more sponge/rocks.   The gun is glued to the base, but the robot is only held in place by a thick plastic peg in his foot that is dry-socketed into a hole I drilled in the base.  This means that I can dismantle it (a little) to transport it.              

CONCLUSIONS

As a simple kit it is aimed at younger modellers, and I reckon that it would suit them to a T. 

I found that robot’s right hand didn’t fit the weapon well, and this might frustrate younger modellers.

If I had to build another Surge, I’d definitely choose a better colour scheme.  I’d probably detail him with pushrods and hoses at his joints, and paint some/lots of panels and hatches on him.   I’d go to town on detailing that weapon, and I’d put something on the base to tell a viewer that Surge is a 50’-tall robot.   If Surge was un-scaled, I’d use something like a human figure, small car or a large ant.   Personally, since Surge is touted as an Internet attacker, I’d prefer the concept that he is a micro-robot (nanite) and place him inside a computer (which would explain why MY computer can’t spell).    However, I still like the low-tech boulder idea, and now, I have something different on my shelf. 

 OK, I was forced to build this one, but still enjoyed the job (and isn’t that the reason we build models?)   I only wish that I’d taken a photo(s) of the other models of Surge as entered by the other club members.   One of the juniors built his as an Olympic Torch carrier.  One robot had its head swapped for a human head - the (now) helmet was on the floor beside the wearer of the (now) suit of armour(?) who was drinking a beer.  The club’s President (Hi Sue) had hers emerging, fully armed, from a black egg. 

November 2004

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