|PRICE:||5400 yen SRP|
Scout troopers, also known as biker scouts, were specially trained soldiers of the Imperial Stormtrooper Corps. As light-armored variants of the Imperial stormtroopers, scout troopers were specifically trained for activities too complicated for regular infantry troopers. As such, they were exceptional additions to the Imperial Military as reconnaissance troops, spies and survivalists. They were especially excellent marksmen, and thus they were regarded as the finest snipers in service to the Galactic Empire. Hence, they were particularly useful as assassins.
Their wide-range of skills inevitably created feelings of pride and self-importance amongst the scout troopers. As a consequence of their bravado, they developed a fierce rivalry with their infantry counterparts, as well as everyone else in the military who was of equal or lower rank. Their most infamous activity was arguably in the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY. Although they were stationed in an environment most suited to their training, the scout troopers were unable to prevent a small team of Rebel soldiers from destroying the shield generator that protected the incomplete Death Star II. An entire legion of Emperor Palpatine's best soldiers, including many scout troopers, were annihilated by a few Rebels, assisted by the Ewoks, an indigenous species of Endor.
The Speeder Bike
The 74-Z Speeder Biker were capable of reaching speeds up to and beyond five hundred kilometers per hour, and had a flight ceiling of twenty-five meters. 74-Zs were the military variant of the civilian 74-Y. They were controlled by handlebars located towards the front of the vehicle, and foot pedals slung underneath adjusted speed and altitude.
The highly maneuverable vehicles were equipped with sensor and communications devices located between the handlebars, including a comlink and a comlink-jamming device. The speeder was equipped with terrain-following sensors that linked up with the HUD in the driver's helmet. They were armed with a forward rotating blaster cannon for combat.
They were also equipped with a very powerful boost that could propel them over vast distances in a shorter amount of time. In addition, the 74-Z was stripped down to just its fundamental components, namely the engine and steering vane, in order to increase its overall speed, and as such a single, scaled-down, forward-facing blaster cannon was fixed on the undercarriage. Rebel ace pilot Wedge Antilles admitted that he was uncomfortable piloting them due to being essentially an engine and a steering vane.
The Speeder bike and Scout Trooper could be considered two separate kits.
First up is the scout trooper. It consists of four different sprues of plastic (one sprue a mix of gloss white, clear dark, tan and flat white plastics, one gloss black plastic sprue, one flat black plastic sprue and one of polycaps for the figure joints.) The parts are well done with no visible flash but there are some mold marks than needed to be sanded away. Also included is a base if you don't want to put the Scout Trooper on the Speeder Bike.
The Speeder bike consists of three sprues: one of flexible dark grey parts, a sprue of earth brown body panels and the last sprue the dark grey undercarriage. It also comes with a stand that looks a lot like a tree. Again the parts are well detailed, no flash and minimal mold markings typical of Bandai's excellent work.
The instruction booklet provides a step by step guide in Japanese, but the pictures make it easy to follow if you don't know Japanese.
It also comes with waterslide decals (for the modeller or adventuresome fanboy/fangirl) and stickers who just want to slap it together.
I followed the instructions... sort of. I built each sub assembly (frame, underside, topside) around what seams I needed to deal with. The most challenging part about the Speeder bike was the frame which had some gaps that needed to be filled and sanded. Once that was done to my satisfaction, I assembled the entire frame sub assembly without the fins to ease painting because it is all the same color (RLM66) while the fins are close to earth brown.
The mechanical underside of the speeder bike took a fair amount of work. As I needed to sand and fill in all visible seams on the various subassemblies first because they would be impossible to sand/fill due to them being inaccessible (but very visible.) I did all them except directly underneath because I think outside of the completely anal no one would actually notice and I was feeling lazy after all that sanding/filling.
Meanwhile the topside brown parts were cut off the sprues, trimmed and then sanded. These parts were going to be added after painting.
I followed the instructions for the Scout Trooper more than I did for the Speeder Bike. The head and chest subassemblies were easy to build. I glued together the legs, feet, arms and torso then threw them in the box for a couple of weeks (a month actually) before filling/sanding those visible seams to remove the possibility of that much hated phantom seams.
I did not assemble the hands till I decided what I was going to do with the Scout Trooper.
The blaster was glued together, but unlike previous blasters did not require any filling/sanding.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
I preshaded the main sub assemblies flat black both the sub assemblies to be painted earth brown and dark grey. I then sprayed the dark grey sub assemblies with a couple of very thin coats of Tamiya's version of RLM66. The black did not show through as well as it should have.
Next I sprayed the upper body of the speeder bike and the fins with several thin coats of paint from my last remaining bottle of Gunze Earth Brown. This time the preshaded colors faintly came through.
The control lights and various switches were hand painted with Mission Models Red Primer. Bandai provides decals/stickers, but I preferred to hand paint them.
I ended up having to paint the parts that I filled and sanded. Portions of the legs and arms were sprayed semi-gloss black and the remaining parts were sprayed with gloss clear or flat white. The hand blaster was painted Model Master Acrylic gunmetal.
The stand (which is a tree and ground) was weathered with whatever browns, tans and greens I had left over from other painting.
Both the Scout Trooper and Speeder Bike has a small number (relative to a modern jet) of stencil decals to add. Bandai supplies both the decals and stickers. I used the decals and they weren't much of a trouble with the exception of the Scout Trooper mouth decal. I used Micro Set and Micro Sol on every decal except the Scout Trooper Mouth Piece Decal as I used a couple of applications of Solvaset.
The Scout Trooper was dirtied up like he had spent some time crawling in dirt. Sure white armor looks nice on the parade ground or on a movie screen, but would get pretty dirty pretty fast in the 'real life' field.
The Speeder bike was primarily weathered using the dot filter technique (watercolors instead of oil paints) and a dark brown water color wash. The pedals were weathered with Vallejo yellow ochre paint and Mig dark earth powder.
I covered everything up except the Scout Trooper's face with Xtracrylix Flat coat.
The Speeder Bike main sub assemblies were glued together after painting but before weathering. I added the pedals to the underside of the bike (but did not glue them in.) The various protrusions such as fins, handlebars and blaster were added to the bike. Lastly it was mounted to the painted stand by a clear piece provided with the kit (no glue.)
Next I added the hands, blaster and set the pose for the Scout Trooper on the bike then carefully mounted the Scout Trooper on the Speeder Bike.
The Speeder Bike and Scout Trooper kit is not as easy as the newer Bandai figure kits. It seemed to be more of a headache to build than the Deathtrooper kit I had just finished as there was a lot more filling and sanding than has become the norm for a Bandai kit. It looks okay assembled and unpainted but looks a lot better when painted and weathered.
Still a fun build but this kit maybe not for the beginner (unless they have a lot of patience), but the Bandai Speeder Bike and Scout Trooper kit is worth a build by the casual Star Wars fan and/or experienced modeller. Unlike the vehicle kits, the Bandai Star Wars figure kits still require a spice smuggler or friendly seller to purchase on this side of the Pacific.
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31 July 2017
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