Bandai 1/12 AT-ST

KIT #: 149869
PRICE: @$25.00
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Dan Lee
NOTES:
HISTORY

The AT-ST (All Terrain-Scout Transport) was colloquially known as a "chicken walker" because of its shape and walking motion, the AT-ST was a light, heavily-armed, ground combat vehicle, and able to trek various environments. The stock model was equipped with a medium, chin-mounted, double blaster cannon, a blaster cannon on the port side, a concussion grenade launcher on the starboard side of its head, two clawed feet, and was encased with 9095-T8511 grade durasteel.

The AT-ST was designed to be a recon, hit-and-run vehicle. It was lighter than its bigger brother, the AT-AT, and could withstand standard blaster fire, but was vulnerable to heavy laser fire and missiles, as well as physical attacks to the legs and the side of the head. The latter weakness was witnessed during the Battle of Endor, when the Ewok tribal warriors destroyed an AT-ST by using logs to ram the sides of the walker's head. The AT-ST could also be infiltrated by species with great physical strength. At Endor, the Wookiee, Chewbacca, forced his way through the top hatch and took control of the walker in this manner.

The AT-ST's chin blasters had an effective range of two kilometers and were used for anti-vehicle attacks, while the armor-shielded blaster cannon and grenade launcher provided close-range protection against infantry and light emplacements. Like the AT-AT, the AT-ST utilized a holographic targeting system, allowing a 360-degree view of its position. The armor was not sufficient to withstand blasts from starship cannons, but was impervious to small-arms fire.

The 8.6-meter-tall walkers were piloted by a crew of two Imperial Army pilots and carried 200 kilograms of cargo. The bipedal propulsion system was one of the primary weaknesses of the AT-ST. On even terrain, the walker could achieve over 90 kilometers per hour, but on uneven or shifting terrain, a walker could quickly become unbalanced enough to fall over. An advanced gyro system, located beneath the command module, provided the balance needed, but could be easily damaged. Following the Battle of Hoth, Rebel tacticians learned to ambush and immobilize AT-ST's; once trapped, a well-placed rifle shot could destroy the walker's gyro system.

Lifted directly from Wookipedia

A trivia note: the crew of the AT-ST that was captured by the Ewoks and Chewbacca was named Major Marquand and Lt. Watts. They were played respectively by Return of the Jedi director Richard Marquand and producer Robert Watts.

Unless you happen to live in Asia, you may have a hard time getting one because the legal rights holders (Disney aka the Mouse aka The Empire) has put a stop to 3rd party resellers like Hobby Link Japan selling Bandai kits outside of the licensing agreement zone as of Sept 2015.

THE KIT

It consists of 136 different parts on six different sprues including five grey plastic sprue plus one multicolor sprue containing grey, red clear and brown parts (a Bandai trademark.) The parts are very well done with little or no flash. The detail is amazingly done on all parts including both sides of the interior components and the blaster cannon barrels are hollow (showing off the slide molding used.) I have never had a kit floor me with all the detail here. My understanding is that this is what Bandai does well, but Iíve never made any of their Gundam kits so this is all new to me.

From the looks of the parts, you donít need to glue much but from what Iíve read you have to be careful attaching as the parts so tight that sometimes they will break from the stress. I personally think the red clear lasers pieces are useless, but thatís just my opinion and others will probably think it is really cool and I should just shut my mouth.

The kit comes with markings consisting of waterslide decals (for advanced modelers) and stickers (for kids or adults who canít be bothered.) Your choice of what to use. The instruction booklet is in Japanese (not surprising as this kit is strictly for the Japanese/Asian market.) However, the color scheme is not complicated so it will not be hard to paint.

 

CONSTRUCTION

I followed most of the kit instructions for the most part. Really hard to go wrong assembling it. I built the AT-ST by assembling the major sub assemblies (legs, forward portion of the head, the rear of the head, the armored sides and main body) so as to allow for ease of painting including the interior.

About the only issue I had was with the side weapons. I was careful to cut away any sprue gate material to make for a snug but not too snug fit to prevent the starboard side grenade launcher plastic from cracking as I read in an earlier review.

The main pivot was the only part of the kit that required filling/sanding. I used CA glue to fill it and then sanded it smooth and the main guns had a noticeable gap (my bad) that I covered up using a cut sheet of 5 thou thick plastic card. I left off the hoses and various leg parts for ease of painting.

Chewie was a two piece figure that required a bit of filler for the seams and for join between the arms and torso. I didn't sand much and only filled in what was visible (above the waist.)

COLORS & MARKINGS

The interior was painted based on details seen in the Return of the Jedi screen shots. One thing I was worried about was losing my brush painting skills after a long layoff. I didn't have an issue with painting as I had fun painting the detail. The crew figures were painted at the same time using approximate colors based on screen shots (light grey uniforms, flat black helmets, flesh tone and gloss black goggles.) Chewie was brush painted with Tamiya Red Brown XF-64 for the base color. Next he required the most precision and careful dry brushing using Tamiya Deck Tan XF-55, flat black, silver and Model Master Burnt Sienna to emphasize the various shades of fur, his facial features and his ammo bandoleer.

My approach to the AT-ST was the same as a tank. I initially sprayed all the exterior parts with flat black and then approached it with thin coats of Tamiya Royal Grey XF-80. I sprayed on each coat in a random squiggle pattern to produce an slightly distorted uneven coat that looks like worn blotchy paint. It took several fine coats to end up with the effect I was looking for. The leg hoses were hand painted with Tamiya Burnt Iron XF-84.

After the paint was cured, I sprayed on a thin coat of Pledge (aka Future) for the single decal I was going to add. The scorch marking was added to the front of the AT-ST and that was it for the decals. Bandai decals are pretty good, but a touch thick.

Next I added the various washes and stains using Vallejo Ochre Yellow and Earth Brown paints and black/brown water colors. This took a fair amount of time as I started from the base of the feet and moved to the top of the AT-ST while using lesser and lesser amounts as I got to the top. Once the excess wash was removed using damp Q-Tips, I sprayed on the final coat of flat clear. The base was painted various greens and that was it.

I glued the main hull together with the hatch and windows open while the rest of the parts were added together without gluing. The completed AT-ST was mounted onto the base without gluing. I was dismayed to discover that I could barely see the interior I had painted. All that decent painting almost disappeared. 

CONCLUSIONS

This kit was the easiest and least hassle free kit (science fiction or otherwise) I have ever had the pleasure to assemble/build. Highly recommended for Star Wars fans or someone who just wants a hassle free weekend build but it could be a one day build if you don't want to paint most of the interior like I did.

Dan Lee

12 September 2016

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