Bandai 1/48 Snowspeeder
KIT #: 0217734
PRICE: $32.00. 2700 yen SRP
DECALS: One option. Also has stickers
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes a 1/144 kit

HISTORY

A T-47 airspeeder, better known as "snowspeeder", is a Rebel Alliance vehicle featured in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and several books, comics, and video games in the Star Wars Expanded Universe and also in Atari game cartridges in the 80's. Snowspeeder models and replicas have been merchandised by several companies.

Origin and design

During production of The Empire Strikes Back, designer Joe Johnston conceived a ship that combined the body of an X-wing and the cockpit of the Y-wing. However, this design was scrapped for the T-47, which featured no elements from previous craft. Johnston's designs for the Snowspeeders have influenced later Star Wars designers, such as Tommy Lee Edwards.

The models were built in three different scales by Steve Gawley, Charlie Bailey, and Mike Fulmer of ILM, with the smallest (20 inches) used for motion control photography, and the largest (2 feet) for hero and pyrotechnic shots. All models included motor-controlled flaps to imply maneuverability, and the largest version also possessed motor-articulated crew Several full-scale props were built in London for the hangar, cockpit, and speeder crash scenes.

In the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the First Order uses the Light Infantry Utility Vehicle, also known as "LIUV" or "First Order snowspeeder", a landspeeder-like speeder designed for troop transport on the icy Starkiller Base.

Depiction

In The Empire Strikes Back, Rogue Group, led by Commander Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), pilots snowspeeders against Imperial AT-ATwalkers during the Battle of Hoth. When their blasters prove ineffective the Rebel pilots turn to tripping the walkers with the snowspeeders' harpoons and tow cables.

The snowspeeders used on Hoth are modified Incom T-47 airspeeders initially used for civilians; they are modified to survive the "hostile environment of the ice planet Hoth". Expanded Universe material states that the Y-wing cockpit and other features were donated to the airspeeders. The two-man craft has an advanced power system and repulsorlift to compensate for additional armaments and armor, affording them a top speed of 1,000 km/h and combat speed of 600 km/h. The playable snowspeeder in Star Wars: Battlefront II is armed with concussion missiles and small tow-cable launcher.

THE KIT

Bandai sci-fi kits are, for all intents and purposes, snap kits. Their engineering is superb and the kits have a high level of detail. All the mounting surfaces are fairly large and quite positive.

As is the norm with these kinds of kits, decals or stickers need to be applied to the parts as construction progresses. Kit parts are molded in grey, black, orange or clear, the purpose being to obviate the need for painting. Those who plan to do a bit more detailed model will need to plan ahead when it comes to paint ans there are no painting references provided.

The cockpit is fairly well appointed and you are provided with a pair of crew members to place within. Since the kit had no landing gear and is designed to be stand displayed, including these figures would be a good idea. The kit also includes a clear pink sprue so you can duplicate the laser beams from the guns. Personally, I think this is pretty hokey, but Bandai does this with most of its Star Wars craft kits. You will not need to paint the clear bits as the decals/stickers take care of that.

Instructions are quite good with large, 3d construction steps. There are plenty of notes at the end of each step to ensure that you have the parts properly installed before moving along to the next one. The decals and the stickers are very nicely done. It is a toss-up as to which you should use. I'm sure that most of us will go the decal route and use the stickers as backups in case we screw something up. The decals do provide most of the color for the kit. Shown are the stickers.

The kit also includes a 1/144 Snowspeeder, which is a nice addition. It is considerably fewer parts, and should make a nice model in its own right.

CONCLUSIONS

If you are a modeler of the Star Wars universe, and there are a lot who are, this is a must have for your shelves.

REFERENCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Star_Wars_air,_aquatic,_and_ground_vehicles#T-47_Airspeeder

August 2019

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