But for giggles I chose to pick up a Star Wars model kit. The Y Wing Starfighter!
(As always, click on the picture for a larger one.)
It comes in a pretty hefty box with dimensions of the model, but no scale information. Its for ages 8 and up, and had an MSRP of 28 dollars US. With my 40% off I saved 11 and change. Pricey still, but what the hey?
As a Snap Tite kit it doesn't require glue and given modern people (like me!) being lazy and to ease people into the joys of kit building it even comes prepainted right out of the box.
However, after popping open the box I had a bit of a let down.
Oh dear. there is a giant bit of cardboard holding the box stable, and 5 plastic baggies containing the sprues, and 2 mini baggies containing the canopy and figurines.
Look at that. HALF THE BOX IS DEAD SPACE. It not only takes up a lot of room on a store or home shelf, its wasteful from an environmental standpoint. Look at all that needless cardboard. Plus for folks who don't pay much attention to the specs it is somewhat deceptive, making you think its this honking big kit when its full of air.
We see the sprues arrayed here. The main ship body is a pair of halves with a basic but nice paint job on 2 sprues, 1 mostly unpainted engine sprue, a piece sprue containing some painted bits like the cockpit, 2 of the long frame bit sprues, a baggie containing a simply painted pilot and R5 droid, and another baggie with the painted canopy. While some minor touch ups will be needed, most of the sprue gates aren't near something that was prepainted at the factory.
One thing to note is the main color is a form of very light beige or a light cream color. Painters need to keep this in mind. Thankfully when removed from the sprue the sanding and scraping don't really leave big scarring marks.
Overall, assembly and fit was pretty good. Shown here is an example page of the 3 actual pages of assembly (its only 31 pieces after all!) and the model built stock with the tools I used. A little Ogryn Flesh wash to the pilot's face, some black paint pen for the pilot's seat from the sprue gate, and the pliers & vise to hold down some parts. I did use model cement in a few spots to make things fit better and to fill in the few gaps there were. The only really heavy gap space though is the 2 large flat wing sections that connect to the engines, and the rear of the engines themselves. You may want to use model cement and then hold it down with some small vises like the one shown. A little putty could come in handy as well, but some cement or gap filling superglue does just as well.
I ended up chopping off most of the pins on the back of the engine pylons and just gluing the aft exhausts on the small nubs left. It makes for a tighter and smoother fit than pure pins.
You may also want to chop the pin off of the pilot's butt and just glue him in.
The instructions were pretty clear and simple, though a few pieces are numbered though they are but in a baggie. But with only 31 parts and mostly big obvious ones, these few were easy to suss out.
I kind of regret not using some clear nail polish on the Ion Cannon mount up on the top of the cockpit as it does spin around kind of easily, but not so easily as to make it constantly wobble unless you are flying it around the house.
While sadly the camera doesn't show it too well, I used a yellow Gundam Marker to spot fix the yellow on the front of the engines where the sprue gate interfered, and a panel inking Gundam Marker to do up the cockpit panels with some Q Tip wipedown. The file was used in the build up. I forgot that one to show in a previous picture.
Overall, to this easy point took me maybe 90 minutes, possibly a little longer as I was filing and sanding and using some cement. A kid or more casual builder could probably build it up and have it still look pretty good in around an hour or so.
But for the price you may as well take your time.
One disappointing thing is the fighter HAS NO LANDING GEAR. Not even removable ones. No display stand either. Thankfully its a pretty flat ship so it displays fine as well, but for the price its a real shame.
I chose to add in an extra step and give the whole model a paint wash using Badab Black Citadel Wash.
I lightly swabbed over it, then used the Q Tip to wipe things down a bit. Here we see it brings the front of the machine to life, and doesn't interfere with the panel inking at all. In the body, it really brings the machine to life. The reference picture I used for painting at Wookiepedia (a Star Wars wiki) had it being brown and dirty, something the "Holy Trilogy" ships usually all were. I have seen some Y Wing paint jobs at Starship Modeler that really get into making these ships look beaten down. For the front I brushed in one direction instead of wiping in every which way, making it feel like the ship has gotten dirty flying through smog or some volcanic planet.
It took a little bit more time to cover the engines, but they are done too, and the model is complete.
We can see the pilot inside, and the R5 unit removed from the ship, and sadly fallen over.
Next to them is a Star Wars Miniatures 30-32mm scale R2D2, an old West End Games era 25mm scale Boba Fett, and a Galoob Action Fleet scale figure.
Given these figures we can see the ship model can be used as a "good enough for government work" terrain piece for the current Star Wars Miniatures game. (Well its cancelled now but the figures and boosters are still available...) It may not work for a diorama to enter in a contest, but you would probably be using a higher grade model such as those by Fine Molds.
The R5 unit is about 10-11 millimeters tall, making it loosely a 25mm scale figure as an R5 unit is canonically (again according to Wookiepedia) .97 meters tall. R2 is a bit bigger and bulkier than him, but not by so much it would look too out of place in your miniatures gaming. The pilot on the other hand looks to be more of a 20mm scale figure. Maybe he is just kind of short.
A look from the side and a handy ruler in the shot. Officially the model is 8 5/8th inches long and almost 5 inches wide. I would say the ship is about 1:72 scale overall. But given some of my older non prepainted Snap Tite real world aircraft models, they aren't perfectly exact in scale either. (If I ever cover those kits I will compare pilot figures for the example.)
And finally a shot of the butt. You can't much see it in the photo, but the most visible gap in the model is on the rear of those engines. Its got a nice simple color prepainted in there, but it actually makes things more noticeable. I used some cement to seal things up and put some wash in there to hide any glue discoloration. Also make note of the rear engine exhausts in the back. The instructions aren't completely clear as to what the big panel orientation is supposed to be, horizontal or vertical. I just guessed based on how they showed the pieces displayed in the instructions as there was no clear shot of them on the box.
So overall the kit has nice detail, relatively easy assembly outside of a few minor gaps and those funny engine pylons, and in around 3 hours total work looks mighty good even for a casual model and paint guy like myself. Its large enough to be useful in miniatures gaming and RPG scenarios, and the prepainted bits do a good job of even giving an elementary school kid a fun kit to learn on as their first step past some of the modern easy models that just need a screwdriver.
However the price really hits this one down. This kit is SOOOO not worth 28 dollars. I would say 15 bucks is a better and more reasonable price for this.
If you want a quick build Y Wing with good detail, or a kit to bring someone into the modeling fold its pretty nice.
But given the price I can only give the kit an "Ok" rating overall. So wait for the price to drop to at least 20, and if you see it for 10 on a clearance rack snap it up!