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Questions About The Bandai Star Wars Kits

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Yesterday I had to go to Los Angeles for family business and after that was taken care of my daughter and I decided that we'd have lunch in Little Tokyo. While there we took my grandson to the Anime Jungle's model store to see if we could get him his first kit. Well, we didn't find anything for him but I was struck by the amount of Gundam and Star Wars kits they had for sale, nearly 70-80% of their stock but it got me thinking about the Bandai SW kits. 


I'd like to know the following, 


What is the quality of the parts? Are they in scale or are they like most of the snap kits I've seen over the years and have out of scale and clunky oversized parts, especially landing gear and canopies?


How are they put together? Do you use traditional methods with glue or do you just push parts together?

How is the fit? Most snap kits I've seen since they were introduced leave a model with gaping join lines because the pins are too thick and the sockets are not bored out enough so unless the sockets are drilled out slightly the parts always seem to never completely close.


How are these kits finished? Are they prepainted with stickers instead of decals or is paint actually needed to complete the kit and are stickers the only choice as I've seen that option mentioned on the box? 


It's my understanding that these are actually snap kits and if so are they better than the snap kits that are overall poor quality toys instead of actual models. To me, snap kits are a cheat and because of the poor quality of the finished product, they're not to be taken seriously. I have built a total of four over the years, the first was a 747 that I got by sending in two or three Cheeri-O's box tops and fifty cents to some PO Box. That was in 1969 or 70 but I do remember even though it was considered a toy it did fit quite well and so tightly once put together it wasn't falling apart. The last kit was a Y wing from MPC/Kenner that a girlfriend got me because I loved Star Wars so much. Just to shut her up I built the thing and was very disappointed in the end result and it soured me on these things for the longest time. I would be willing to give the Bandai kits a chance if I can be convinced that they're worth the time needed to work on them but after that last kit and the X wing before that, I'm going to need to know as much as I can about these kits. 


As for my grandson, we're still looking for something that he's interested in.

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I've bought two Bandai Star wars kit, the Snow Speeder and AT-ST. The Snow Speeder I've finished and the AT-ST is in the build queue (pics are here:

They are both fantastic and Tamiya could learn a thing or two from them about detail quality, engineering, and fit. They are both buildable as snap tight kits, but I used Tamiya Extra Thin to lock everything in place, just like a regular kit. I only have two somewhat negative things to say; 1) the decals have a "half-tone" type pattern on the solid colors, and 2) Bandai plastic is vulnerable to cracking using oil based washes. Otherwise I'm very impressed by the Bandai Star wars kits I have. 

Edited by modelingbob
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The parts are very good.  The overall level of detail is on par with the FM Star Wars kits, but Bandai's details are sharper.  Good in box review of the Y-wing here: http://www.themodellingnews.com/2015/08/review-bandai-172nd-scale-btl-a4-y-wing.html


Scale is difficult to answer.  The details are all 'in scale' - they're not clunky of oversized - but the actual kits are a different size than the FM or old Ertl kits.  As in, the 1/72 Bandai kit is physically larger than the 1/72 FM kit.  See a comparison of the Vader TIE here: http://s21.photobucket.com/user/IronChefMoFo/library/kits/SW  That said, the published, 'real' dimensions of the various vehicles have changed over the years, so it's hard to fault a kit's dimensions when the studio can't even keep things straight.  Even the original props used different relative sizes for the miniatures and full sized props, and the miniatures were built to one scale (externally) but used a different scale figure inside.  But basically, the Bandai kits are internally in-scale, and are in-scale to each other, but may look a little odd mixed in with another manufacturer's kits.


Landing gear and canopies are good.  They actually include two styles of canopy in most kits, both with and without glass.  The version with glass lets you build the ship as it would be if it were 'real'; the version without glass is accurate to the actual miniatures made for the movies (so they didn't get any reflections from the studio lights).


The parts are a press fit.  Think something along the lines of Tamiya kit, just with bigger locating pins.  Most snap together kits aren't crappy because they're snap together, they're just overall crappy kits.  Bandai produce some of the best kits on the market, that just happen to be press-fit.


The kits aren't pre-painted.  The parts are typically injected in a colour that's close to the right shade, so young or casual modellers won't need to paint them, but you can always paint as desired, obviously.  Bandai actually inject sprues in multiple colours, so even unpainted, they look surprisingly decent.  They also do quite a bit of overmolding; as you can see in the TIE pics above, they moulded the core of the wing panels in black, then moulded the grey framing on top of this, so out of the box you get a one piece, two-tone part.  


They come with both stickers and water-slide decals.  For casual modellers who don't want to paint, they include stickers.  For serious modellers who want to paint and weather their builds, they include water-slide decals.  Which kind of illustrates Bandai's overall philosophy, which is pretty similar to Tamiya's - they make it as easy as possible for the casual builder to enjoy and produce a decent result, while also giving experienced modellers an excellent starting point to take things as far as they want to go.

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To add to what Mofo says, I’ve built the X-Wing and Y-Wing. These were some of the best kits I’ve ever built. I needed a touch of cement here and there to secure some of the parts, but the overall engineering was impressive. A beginner or an advanced modeler would have a good time building these kits. The TIE fighter is the simplest one and the Y-Wing was pretty complex, due to all of the exposed piping. Even so, the fit of all of those tiny parts was excellent.



Edited by Ben Brown
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just to also add to what Mofo says said, I've heard that the plastic does not react well with enamels or oil based thinners.


Also with regards to scale, I wouldn't say there's a definite scale everything is sized to.  The X-wing and Y-wing have the sized pilot figures.  But the A-wing and B-wing have a larger and smaller pilot figure respectively than compared to the X-Wing pilot.


Anyway, I've built the X-Wing, Y-Wing, A-Wing, with the B-Wing in progress.  They're really nice kits, and I enjoyed painting / weathering them.

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The kits are great and there are plenty of reviews out there on the web.  Far better than the Fine Molds kits, which were the previous standard.  Their 1/72 kits have more detail than the 1/48 FM kits.  A more direct comparison is the FM 1/144 and 1/72 Millennium Falcon kits.  They are snap together, and they usually come in multicolored plastic.  For example their TIE fighters have the body molded in gray and the solar panels in black.


Scale accuracy is hard to assess.  The real models were built to a physical size for filming, not a constant scale.

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What everyone else has said is very true. Press to fit doesn't equal crap when it comes to Bandai. 

The only negative I've heard of is that the plastic on some kits can react badly to oils and subsequent thinners. But thats it really.

They're fantastic kits and they pay a lot of attention to detail. Well worth it IMHO

Edited by The Madhatter
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Mofo and everyone else nailed it right on the head. The kits that Bandai produces are brilliant with their engineering. Sprue nubs are almost always hidden away from the surface of the part so cleanup is easy. The detail and overall quality of the kits surpases most other kits out there. I'd recommend them any day. 


I'd also heard about the plastic reacting poorly to enamel paints......after I built my X Wing. I painted everything using Model Master enamel paints with no issue or reaction from the plastic. 



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In my case, the plastic became more brittle probably due to oil based washes. In my case, large amounts of wash wicked into the gun opening and the opening fractured when I press fit the guns into place. That's why the guns are mounted reversed fore and aft on my build indicated above. In the future I will make sure that oil based washes do not wick into any openings to solve the issue. I had no issues any place enamel products did not wick into any openings and the regular external surfaces showed no cracking or other ill effects from enamel products.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 2/14/2019 at 3:25 PM, Benner said:



Also with regards to scale, I wouldn't say there's a definite scale everything is sized to.  The X-wing and Y-wing have the sized pilot figures.  But the A-wing and B-wing have a larger and smaller pilot figure respectively than compared to the X-Wing pilot.




The B wing is beautiful, but it does seem  slightly undersize to me in 1/72. Either that, or I just imagined it as a much larger spacecraft.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The B-Wing is undersized for 1/72 based on the size of the included pilot figure (i.e. the pilot is closer to 1/87 scale)


Likewise, the A-Wing, based only on the size of pilot, is over-sized for 1/72 (i.e. the pilot is closer to 1/57 or so)


The problem is that what is considered the "official" size for ships is not consistent with some of the full size cockpit sets. So it seem Bandai basically used a compromise, and scaled the ship to 1/72 based on those numbers, however, they fudged the size of the pilots to look proportional to the full size cockpit sets


Fantasy Flight games has the same problem with their A-Wing and B-wing sizes compared to other ships in the X-Wing miniature game


Detail wise, shape wise and accuracy wise, Bandai has produced the best Star Wars kits to date and these "snap kits" are far superior to most traditional glue kits when it comes to fit.


The only downside I  can mention, is that their panel lines can sometimes be noticeably out of scale, particularly in places where they have engineered for different colored plastic parts. But those can be easily fixed


here are some comparison pics

1/48 Snowspeeder - Fine Molds on left, Bandai on the right




1/48 X-Wing Fine Molds on left, Bandai on the right




Bandi on top, Fine Molds on bottom




1/72 Y-Wing Bandai on the left, Fine Molds on the right






1/72 X-Wing Bandai on the left, Fine Molds on the right




Edited by blakeh1
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Bandai's been doing "snap together" kits for a long time - after all, most Gundam stuff is from them, and they've had a lot of experience (and can do some pretty interesting things with plastic.) The kits are worth a build if you've never put one of theirs together. They are molded "in color" but paint certainly helps.


Honestly, bring one and a set of sprue cutters on vacation to do some building, it'll be fun and the end result worthwhile.

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