|NOTES:||A weathering fan's dream|
Desert stormtroopers, also referred to as sandtroopers, were Imperial stormtroopers equipped with modified armor and equipment to withstand the harsh climates of desert planets like Tatooine.
They were nearly identical to standard stormtroopers, but had additional training in specialized areas and advanced cooling systems in both their helmets and suits that offered them protection from the relentless heat. They also were designed specifically to take into account elements in desert worlds that can clog breathing filters and jam machinery, such as sandstorms, ash storms, or other particles. Visual differences in armor included a distinctive diamond-shaped left knee plate, non-ribbed chest and back plate connectors as well as reinforced abdominal plating. It was typical for non-commissioned officers (white and orange pauldrons) and above to remove the “drop boxes” on the waist; a redundant and unnecessary accessory given the upgraded load-bearing kit requirements for sustained operations with minimal resupply. Additionally, the usual thermal detonator worn by normal Stormtroopers on the lower back was not present, as its wear and access would be impeded by the typical SD-48 survival backpack. The SD-48s were necessary for them to complete extended missions in unrelenting heat, and contains several liters of purified water, a miniaturized vaporator for condensing water from the atmosphere, a long-range comlink, and a collapsible reflective shelter.
Their armor consisted of an 18-piece anti-blaster cocoon shell like that of a stormtrooper, but also had a heat-reflective coating worn over a temperature-control body glove, as well as cooling recirculators. The sandtrooper helmet featured automatic polarized lenses, a built-in comlink, and breathing filters. The purpose behind the polarized lenses was to eliminate dune glare.
All desert sandtroopers carried E-11 blaster rifles, DLT-19 heavy blaster rifles, T-21 light repeating blasters, or RT-97C heavy blaster rifles, long-range comlinks, food, and water packs. Sandtroopers wore colored pauldrons as a designation of rank. A sandtrooper sergeant's pauldron was white, while an enlisted trooper's pauldron was all black. Squad leaders, who led units of seven troopers, wore orange shoulder pauldrons.
Is based on the original Stormtrooper kit. It comes with three sprues of white, black and multicolored parts that are molded so well and with fine details. Aside from mold markings, there aren't any noticeable flaws with the plastic. The original Stormtrooper kit came with two sprues and the Sandtrooper kit adds an additional sprue for the sandtrooper parts due to the subtle differences between the Stormtrooper and Sandtrooper unifroms and the very obvious difference with equipment including the survival backpack and the T-21 (aka Lewis gun) blaster.
There is actually a clear part as the eye pieces come in a dark green clear plastic similar in color to sunglasses but it is barely noticeable on the finished model.
The kit also comes with a choice of decals or stickers.
The sandtrooper can be assembled as various body sub assemblies which can be glued together if they were the same color (arms, legs and joints) while the various parts of the torso and head were to be painted first then assembled.
Fortunately most of the Sandtrooper's body seams are along panel lines or hidden. A couple of the joints (hip to leg in particular) needed to have some filling with CA glue and sanding. I needed to use Vallejo plastic putty to fill a couple of seams running down the limbs of the sandtrooper (still wet excess filler removed with damp Q-Tips.)
You have a choice of four different weapons. Three are common with the Bandai Imperial Stormtrooper kit which are the ubiquitous E-11 Blaster Rifle (based on the Sterling SMG), the DLT-19 Heavy Blaster Rifle (a German MG34 machine gun with minor mods) and the not common SE-14C Blaster pistol (based on the Rexim Favor Mk5 SMG) which was only seen in the Star Wars Cantina scene on the ground in the amputated (werewolf?) hand/arm of Ben Kenobi's victim, the walrus like Ponda Baba. The fourth weapon is the T-21 Repeating Heavy Blaster Rifle based on the Lewis machine gun. I decided that my sandtrooper carry the T-21. The gun is well detailed, but it has some pretty obvious seams that need to be dealt with including seams in the hand grip ribbing. It took some careful application of gap filling CA glue to fill the seams and then some even more careful sanding to remove the excess. I added some plastic card strips to cover up seams I couldn't fill/sand.
Lastly the backpack was assembled based on one of three possible options. I selected option A. There is two piece part at the bottom of the backpack that needed sanding and filling. The part has some details that will be lost via sanding unless one is very careful.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
A stormtrooper is very easy to paint as it is literally black and white. I painted the white parts with a base coat of Tamiya flat white and then sprayed on Tamiya gloss white. The sandtrooper's black body parts were painted Tamiya gloss black.
I decided to paint the black parts of the backpack and the pauldron flat black for contrast. Once the pauldron was dry, I masked off the outer part and sprayed on a thin coat of Tamiya flat white and then Tamiya orange to denote this as a squad leader who is a higher rank than white pauldron painted sergeant... (Imperial rankings rarely made sense.) There is decal for the pauldron color, but I didn't use it because I think it looks better painted.
The only other color used was Tamiya XF-18 Medium Blue which was used for the various blue parts of the backpack and the sandtrooper helmet.
Lastly, the T-21 blaster rifle was painted flat black (metal portions), Tamiya Red Brown XF-64 for the sling, gloss black for the pistol grip, butt stock and barrel hand guard.
I used the decals and stickers (because two of the decals decals broke up when I used setting solution) for the helmet and that was pretty much it.
Weathering is where the fun was. I first went with a thin brown watercolor wash to make everything dirty and this was gently removed with damp Q-Tips. Next up was the use of Q-Tips dipped into Mig Beach Sand powder to dirty up everything as any who has been to the beach knows first hand that sand gets everywhere. Finally, I used Vallejo ochre yellow and brown sand to dirty up the legs and feet more to get the grimy look I wanted. It is much easier to write than do because this step took me over an hour to do.
I later reviewed some photos of some “reel” Sandtroopers and they had mud (at least I hope it was mud and not Bantha poop thrown at them by angry rebellious types) on them so I brushed on some Tamiya Red Brown and Desert Yellow to make them more dirty.
I added a final coat of Xtracrylix Flat and I was done. The Sandtrooper was mounted onto the stand and that was it.
The Bandai Star Wars 1/12 series of figures is one impressive line. Very easy to build (maybe not paint) and extremely detailed.
31 October 2016
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