Please Help Me Assemble This Star Wars: Rogue One Model Kit

Illustration for article titled Please Help Me Assemble This iStar Wars: Rogue One/i Model Kit em/em

Inspired by the space battles of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, I’ve decided to take a stab at model building. And though Bandai Hobby’s Red Squadron X-Wing Starfighter set is a simple snap and sticker affair, I’m really worried about screwing it up. Got any pointers?

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The folks at Bluefin started bringing over Bandai Hobby’s Rogue One kits over from Japan earlier this month, beginning with this combo 1/72 and 1/144 scale X-Wing set. I’ve been eyeing Bandai’s Dragonball Z stuff for ages, but imagining my large hands applying tiny stickers and fiddling with delicate parts gave me pause. If the Star Wars set goes well enough, they’re next.

But for now I need to make this:

Illustration for article titled Please Help Me Assemble This iStar Wars: Rogue One/i Model Kit em/em
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Look like this:

Illustration for article titled Please Help Me Assemble This iStar Wars: Rogue One/i Model Kit em/em

My biological father was big into putting together model planes and cars while I was growing up, spending hours assembling, gluing, sanding and painting. I came away from that experience having learned two things. First, simply snapping out and assembling the pieces from the starter models he would buy me resulted in a finished product that looked horrible, especially compared to his work. That, and accidentally breaking one of your father’s finished models was a very, very bad idea.

Illustration for article titled Please Help Me Assemble This iStar Wars: Rogue One/i Model Kit em/em
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And so I look to the model building gurus in the Toy Time audience for aid. How should I go about trimming the bits? How can my sausage-like fingers properly place delicate decals? What sort of equipment should I be using? Let me know in the comments, and next week we’ll see how well I put your knowledge to use.

Kotaku elder, lover of video games, keyboards, toys, snacks, and other unsavory things.

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DISCUSSION

aruisdante
Adam Panzica

So first, if it’s a Bandai snap-fit kit, it almost certainly won’t require glue, and you shouldn’t use it until you’re 100% sure you need it or you’ll invariably wind up gluing something that was actually supposed to actuate. And as others have said, use real nippers, don’t snap the parts out by hand or use scissors or you’ll have nubs for days and will need to file them down.

Second, yeah, the model on the box is most definitely painted. A straight build will get you something that will look ok, but not great. However, you don’t need to spend an enormous amount of time and effort painting to make a significant improvement to the quality of the final model.

The first thing you need to get yourself is some top-coat. One of the biggest reasons your model will look crappy compared to the box is that it will be made of smooth shiny plastic that doesn’t look very much like anything other than smooth shiny plastic. Mr. Top Coat Flat is really great:

but there are equivalent top coats from Testor and others. Importantly, you’ll want to make sure you get an acrylic top coat, not a lacquer based one. The later is primarily designed to go on oil paints and can melt your stickers and is harder to get an even coat with. Top coat is applied just like any other spray paint, and you simply cover the whole model with it. Though be sure not to get the clear parts or they’ll turn foggy.

Once you’ve applied the top coat, your model will already look 1000% better because it will no longer look like a lump of shiny plastic and the color separation will be much more obvious.

The next step is to do some basic panel lining. You can do this the cheap/easy way with a mechanical pencil, or the better way with some dedicated panel lining markers such as Bandai’s own Real Touch markers. You want to do the panel lining after the top coat, because the top coat will act like a primer and make the lining stick/flow better.

Just doing those two steps and applying the decals will make your model infinitely more cooler, and should only add another hour or two to the build depending on how intense you get with the panel lining.