Over the last year or so I got into building Gundam models or Gunpla as it’s called. What I really liked about them is that they’re engineered in a really cool way so building them is kind of like building a Lego model and when you’re done you have a really posable action figure. Even better is that you don’t have to do a ton of painting work to make them look good. All you have to do is use some paint markers and after a little while you’ve got one great looking model.
While at c2e2 I finally got to see Bandai’s Star Wars models and I was impressed as hell. They looked like they leaped out of the screen. Knowing that it didn’t take a ton of work to make a Gundam look good, I figured that it would be a similar experience with Star Wars models.
First up, Bandai gives you a good amount of stuff for the 20 ish bucks you spend on this model. In addition to the ship you get landing gear for it, a pilot, an alternate cockpit, both water slide and normal sticker decals, a base, and a small Death Star turret. That’s a lot for one model. Bandai is going all out with these things.
I could see the mini Death Star turret being a hit with people who play the X-Wing minis game. I’m thinking about getting a second A-Wing kit and selling off the A-Wing part so I have two of these things.
The build for the A-Wing went pretty smooth, as I expected… almost as good as a Gundam. I say almost because a few of the parts failed to live up my expectations I’ve gotten from Gundam models. In particular, the cock pit fits in pretty oddly with this arch that touches it.
Another problem with the cockpit is the way it was mounted on the plastic tree. They had one of the plastic pieces holding the cockpit not on an edge, but on the surface of the cockpit. This means after cutting the plastic piece you’re left with an ugly spot on the cockpit.
The Touch Ups
Once I had finished the build, I realized just how off the model looks from the ones that Bandai had displayed at c2e2 and on the box and in the instructions. I knew that it would need work, yet I feel like the gap between the model they provide out of the box and the one they advertise is huge. It seems like a much smaller gap on Gundam models where it really requires minimum effort to get from model on the box to model you build.
I then spent some time with a grey Gundam panel line marker on the white spots and a black on on the red spots. I also used a yellow paint marker on the inside of the engine housing. This resulted (in my opinion) in a much improved A-Wing.
Finally, I added water slide decals. When I messed up with them (because it was my first time working with them) I relied on the back up regular stickers. Man, it was super awesome that it came with both types of stickers so I had a back up. This was the stage where I also added some blaster effects and a bit of dirt.
The Final Verdict
Overall, this is a great model. The fact it comes with a bunch of extras really helps put it over the top. However, set your expectations a lot lower if you’re planning on having a model that looks like the one on the box, unless you’re a really talented model maker who likes to do a full paint job on their models. I’d recommend getting some panel line markers and some Gundam “Real Touch” markers (for the weathering/blaster scorches) at the very least before attempting to build one of these Bandai Star Wars kits.