Bandai: Star Wars Model Kits

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What amazing models! So well done.
Cheers redxavier!

I've been a bit absent until recent, a relief to finally have the completed models together on display at long last. The Falcon has seen perhaps fittingly several modifications along the way before arriving at this point. I've got the bug now and the finished product really is worth the effort. I turn on my display every morning while I have breakfast and it really does put a smile on your dial seeing all the pretty lights.
 
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So, I found 1 Gamestop in my area that had a B-wing kit for $21. I did the online "hold for pickup" thing, and got my confirmation that it was ready. On my lunch break I get there and the guy says that an online order came in after my request where he already purchased it online and had it set for store pick up at another store. He told me he shipped it out. Sounded kind of fishy, but I suppose it's plausible. What's weird is that when I looked at the web listing there was no option to buy it at all. I mean I wasn't going to argue with the guy. It was just disappointing and a waste of my time. I did the same thing last week when they had the McFarlane Picard figure on clearance and the process worked that time. Ended up being $5. I guess you win some and lose some.
 
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i checked a few stores physically in my area but had no luck. Such a bummer but I did snag a b wing online when they were avail so I got at least one.

Nevermind.

Dear Jesse,

Due to an unforeseen inventory issue, we will be unable to ship your order. Your order has been cancelled, and you will not be charged. We truly appreciate your business and want you to know how sorry we are for our mistake.

We hope to see you back soon. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to let us know. You can respond to this email, or if you prefer to speak to someone directly you can call 1 (800) 883-8895. Our team is available 7 days a week from 8 AM to 8 PM CST.

Have a wonderful day,

Your friends at GameStop.com
 
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Finally got my first R4 droid finished in the standard R4-I9 colors. Another one is on the way as soon as I can figure out what color scheme to use.

 
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That's a great paint job, TK. What paint color did you use, or is that a custom mix?
 
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Thanks a bunch guys!

That's a great paint job, TK. What paint color did you use, or is that a custom mix?
It's Dupli-Color Perfect Match spray paint from the auto parts store. The color is Patriot Blue Metallic #BCC0409. The paint is not very glossy on it's own so I added a clear coat using the same brand of paint.
 
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With the recent release of the Hasbro General Grievous I thought I would repost my original review of the model kit since the images got lost to the internet gods (pic hosting problem). Sorry for the repost but I'm getting messages about where my review went so hope this helps some folks understand the difference between the two 6" scale Grievous options available.

Bandai 1/12 General Grievous




Introductory Comments


And here it finally is. This is going to be very pic heavy and detailed review. So I'm splitting it up into five posts. Let’s face it, one of the best parts of the Prequel Trilogy was General Grievous. Just an awesome character and back story. This character has been wanted for a long time by 6” scale collectors and Bandai finally made in happen. General Grievous was destined to be immortalized in model kit form and this kit does the job well IMO.

Box Contents

The kit has a lot of parts. The box comes with eight main racks (nine with the stand). Main racks are cast in cream/light beige and gun metal. Lightsaber blades are neon green and blue but the hilts are cast in black. You get enough parts to create both four-arm and two-arm configuration. I was expecting this kit to have a lot of preassembled articulated joints off the rack like the Battle Droid kits do. But nope, that was not the case.

And some pics of the box contents...



There is one small sticker (green) or water decal (blue) sheet. This kit also comes with a felt cape, very similar to the one that came in the Captain Phasma model kit. There is an included enhanced stand as well. A great surprise was they used their book-style instructions for this kit, instead of the usual pamphlet style.




The Build

This set is a bit intimidating when you look at all the odd pieces on the racks. But Bandai, overall, makes it a fun build…EXCEPT for one particular part, the neck! The amount of wiring and tubing and the need to feed it through the collar and then attach it is very challenging, and a bit dangerous. Dangerous enough that you could break parts if you are not careful. In particular, step 2 (top of page 5) requires you to insert three tubes in the collar holes and then into the chest. The middle tube is super hard to align with the chest hole. JUST BE CAREFUL. I was surprised the parts didn’t break on me considering how rough I was with it. Once all the neck bits are in, it’s very solid.

Other than that, the rest of the build is pure genius and extremely satisfying. Seeing the General come to life was surreal. The detailing and how parts are pieced together is pure perfection (except for above).

Be aware there is one step when you build your legs that requires you to repeat the steps a second time (step 4, top of page 6). Problem is the instructions don’t show you how to build it for the other leg so the orientation of the parts is not the same as the instructions so very easy to mess up. I had to use the built right leg as a visual reference to envision how the left leg parts would piece together. Edit: I have been using a touch of silicone grease on the ankle hinges since they are very tight.

Here are some work in progress pics...






Paint and Weathering

Like the Boba Fett model kit, this General Grievous kit is dying for some weathering. Sure you can build this kit without applying any extra paint but the included stickers just don’t cut it IMO. The two main areas that really benefit from extra attention were the boney parts and the fleshy innards and eyes. For me, the eyes and bones are so important to do the Cyborg General justice. It was not so easy but I’ll try to explain what I did.

For the bone exoskeleton, I scribed/etched dots and scratches before using Vallejo Black Shade wash. I would submerge (or rub) each part with the wash and then rub off the excess with a Q-tip or paper towel (sometimes soaked in thinner). This added so much realism to his bony armor. So glad I did it. Most of the etching and shading was done right on the rack.




And for comparison. Here is the rack untouched.


Side by side comparison


Vallejo Black Shade Wash. Magic in a bottle.


Next challenge. The eyes were very important to nail down. The fleshy tissue around his eyes was achieved by using various tones of pink, red, clear red, hull red, smoke, crimson paints and washes. After I was happy with the paint, I added some Tamiya clear acrylic to seal it and give the flesh (and eyes) that wet look. And boy did it ever bring him to life.






The inner organs were fun to paint. Unfortunately, they are hidden and not visible in the final build so really, you don’t need to paint these at all. I wish Bandai had designed the chest in a way that it can be pulled apart like Obi-Wan did to Grievous to expose his heart and other pitiful organs.



Here are comparison pics of unpainted vs painted eyes and inner organs.



The neon green capsule that the organs sit in was too bright so I added some Citadel Nuln Oil Shade to tone it down. Various other highlights were added using metallic grey, gun metal and flat aluminum.



One thing I noticed was the felt cape black was a lot darker than the shoulder part you insert the cape into. So I decided to apply flat black paint for a closer match. I also added black paint for the knuckle joints.



The cape was a bit of a pain to insert but it finally went in. It looks really good and is very easy to place on and off of Grievous. He can only wear it in two-arm configuration.



The four lightsabers are awesome, but cast in black. Had to use some chrome silver and added some highlights using titanium gold, Nuln Oil, dark copper, metallic brown and black. The sabers turned out really nice. Does anyone know whose lightsabers they are, especially the two new ones they casted.




I’d say at this point my model is done but I do want to add a few more highlights to the rib cage black parts to add a little contrast. Maybe some other minor touches to add some more battle damage.


Articulation and Posing

Articulation-wise, pretty good, given he has a robot frame. His articulation makes sense for what he is. His head has limited upward range. Fingers are not articulated. Initially I thought there is no lower bicep swivel. I thought it was a hinge joint only. But after playing with it more they are actually tiny ball joints. This makes the arm posing much more dynamic. I would be cautious though. They are small ball joints so don’t be rough. If you start twisting the arms too roughly, you risk breakage or stretching out the very tiny ball jointed elbow. Be very gentle and cognizant of this while posing.

Edit: just a clarification. The two-arm configuration arms have hinged joints. They only bend in one direction. Do not twist! The four-arm configuration is the one with ball joints that can move in all directions.

The legs do not have any thigh swivel. But I don’t think it is necessary. There is plenty of range when posing. The feet/claws are on a ball joint and can be angled a bit.

Posing the General is fun. He looks really good. This is where a light weight model has its advantages. It allows more practical poses on bulky figures. I appreciate how you can swap out the two-arm and four-arm configuration easily. The lightsabers are not as easy to remove and insert. You need to split the fists to get them in there.

And some more picture fodder...



















Your lightsabers will make a fine addition to my collection.


So I did up another cape. Made it slightly longer and added pockets for the sabers. No more glue marks. Had to superglue the cape holder bracket in place because the cape is a bit thicker than the factory felt cape they have so it doesn't slips off. No problems now.

This kit is so awesome. So happy I went the extra mile B)




Final Thoughts

This model kit isn’t perfect but it’s awesome. It is a challenge to build, paint and weather but so rewarding in the end.

Size-wise, I guess he could have been a little taller or if each part was about 5% larger, he’d be more accurate. But considering he towers over everyone regardless, I can live with it. If you extend the legs and make him straighter he is crazy tall. So now that I think of it, it’s not really a height thing. In a crouched position, he seems to be a tad underweight if you know what I mean.

The cape does look good. Unlike the Captain Phasma felt cape, this cape actually suits this figure but this guy is screaming for a custom cape to get the folds more natural. But really, it doesn’t bother me as much as the Phasma felt cape. I’m quite happy with it. If I had to request Bandai for some extra part it would have been nice if they included a set of closed fists for the two-arm configuration, but whatever.

I’d rate this kit 9.0/10. But remember, I had to put in a lot of effort to rate it this high. I suspect if you add a basic black wash to the boney parts, this will add loads of realism for minimal effort. In the end, this model kit fills a huge gap in everyone’s 6” collection.

And here are the final pics…
















 
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A great looking Grievous kit Barf, you did a great job on that. I still haven't decided on whether to get one of those or the Hasbro figure for my display. I don't like the plastic top on the cape for the Bandai kit, but I feel like the model probably has better detail and scaling. It would be nice to see both side by side for a good comparison of size and details.
 
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Thanks, TK. I just saw the Hasbro Grievous and it is not as impressive as the promo pics made it look. Nothing will beat the model kit with a little paint and weathering IMO.

More official droids coming...

 
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Q2!! I'm surprised they decided to do him because of the significant amount of decals that will be required. Seems like Bandai is taking a bit of artistic license here. If you notice, they've made the dome standard 'Artoo' silver, with the dome panels matching the gray color of the body. I think we can all agree that Q2's dome in ANH was painted the same gray color as the body. I'm already a proud owner of one of BARF's beautiful Q2s, so it's not too big a deal for me that Bandai has diverted from the established color scheme. I'll just make this one my TFA version of Q2. BARF, did the place you found this image confirm if this was another single droid kit? Really hoping they go back to 2-packs eventually....

 
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That is a good eye you have there, palps. Quite a big oversight by Bandai on the dome colour. Not sure about this being a two pack.
 
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That is a good eye you have there, palps. Quite a big oversight by Bandai on the dome colour. Not sure about this being a two pack.
Bandai does seem to be slipping a bit of late. They got the color scheme way off on their painted example of the R4-I9 and not only that but they didn't include the proper legs. If you look at both shoulders of the movie prop you can see that it actually has two right legs, and the model does not.
 
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Bandai does seem to be slipping a bit of late. They got the color scheme way off on their painted example of the R4-I9 and not only that but they didn't include the proper legs. If you look at both shoulders of the movie prop you can see that it actually has two right legs, and the model does not.
Can you share those pictures please. I'm going to be doing up an I9 soon and am looking for all the reference pics.
 
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Received my Amazon pre-ordered Shadow Stormtrooper & R2-Q5 last week. Already ordered 3 more of R2-Q5 as he is less than $20 (prime) right now. Now if I could only order more time that I could use to build them.
 
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Sorry it's a bit blurry but this is from Celebration. R4-M9 and a cryptic message "More than just droids...stay tuned...". Maybe some new character figures like troopers finally.



Also 0-0-0 Celebration exclusive

 
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Thanks for that release info, BARF. It's cool they're doing R4-M9, but I don't possibly see how the green stripes that go down his body can be done in a satisfying way with just decals. There's too many ridges and nooks and crannies that the stripes have to go over. I don't even thing a water decal would work.
 
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Water slide decals can conform to almost any nook or cranny you can imagine. You have to use a solvent such as Micro Sol to soften it up after you apply it. As the solvent works it effectively melts the decal which then kinda sucks down into the crevices and such as the solvent evaporates. It feels a bit like sorcery the first time you try it because the results are amazing! I always used to wonder how guys painted such fine details, and now I know they aren’t painted at all! They’re decals applied with solvent!

check around 15:30:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=axgf8NNRh7M
 
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Really? No water slide decals? That’s really lame! I hope other Bandai kits don’t go that way. I’m just starting but I had plans to really get into these over the next few years!
 
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