Anakin Skywalker’s Jedi Starfighter review by Jim James

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AMT-ERTL-RC2 Die-Cast Anakin Skywalker’s Jedi Starfighter

 

I’m beginning to really understand what a Jedi Starfighter really looks like now, this being the third kit of the Starfighter I’ve looked at. Unfortunately, I’m still looking for that perfect out-of-the-box model.

So what do you get?

There are eighteen plus parts – some parts are already assembled so I’m not sure if they should be counted. In spite of this being a die-cast metal kit, only two of the parts are metal but since they are the hull top and bottom, well over 50% of the kit is (heavy) metal. There are rods and screws to hold the model together and we’ll talk about these later. Instructions are OK although arranged strangely (page 1, page 3, page 4, page 2) and the key to the screws is inconveniently printed on the back of the page which shows which screw goes where.

The kit is nicely pre-painted but unfortunately the term weathering has been interpreted as “dust the entire model with dark gray.” This “weathering” mutes the colors and gives the whole model a dark, dull gray color. AMT-ERTL-RC2 might have been better off leaving the weathering to the modeler and produced a clean and much more attractive and saleable model.

So what’s good about this kit?

  • It does assemble into a solid, good looking model
  • Cockpit detail is good
  • The beginner model can assemble it and have it on the shelf or zooming around the room in 30 minutes

And the negatives?

  • The weathering (as mentioned) – although, I must confess, this bugs me more as a modeler – a young toy builder will have no problem with the finish.
  • Fiddly assembly – more on this later
  • Seams – you expect gaps with die-cast kits but the crack down the middle of R2-D2 is hideous

Assembly

Start by laying out a lot of parts on the lower hull half. Disregard (or combine) steps 1 and 2 and begin with the engine cones. You’ll have to play with these some since the design implies that they only go in one way. Unfortunately, the exact orientation isn’t clear on the instructions. However, there is only one way that lets you place the cockpit tub flush with the floor. Add the cockpit tub and the front window next. The guns do not snap into place and have a tendency to fall out when the hull bottom is moved. You might want to glue these in place to ease assembly.

Snap the R2 unit in the fuselage top. Leave remaining fins until last – in fact you might find it easier to remove the fins that come already assembled to the port wing.

Carefully place the top hull on the lower part, lining it up as you do this. Starting at the front, press the hull parts so they snap together. You have to do this carefully so the guns don’t fall out (the main reason for the glue suggestion).

The screw guide is not very clear considering there are three very different types of screw (descriptions and pictures would have worked better than sizes and the same picture for each screw). Screw A is the short flat head, screw B is the longer round head and screw C is the short round head. The provided screwdriver is adequate but will probably not end up in your tool box. The model screws together well, once the top and bottom have been pressed and snapped together.

I did have a problem with the canopy scuffing. The weathering is applied to everything – including the canopy that comes pre-assembled to the hull top. As a result, the canopy is not clear. During assembly and the struggle to get the screws in place without dislodging the guns, I scuffed the top of the canopy and now have clear patches. I’m still looking for a way to remove the remaining weathering from the clear canopy but would suspect that a little paint thinner followed up with a little Future might take care of it. Otherwise, I’d use a soft cloth under the model when screwing it together.

Summary

It’s a nice, chunky kit. Great project for a kid with help from dad (or mom). Makes a better toy to play with than the R-G pre-painted snap kit. Could be built up into a nice model with work.

Choices

For the more serious modeler who‘s making the choice of which Jedi Starfighter kit to build here’s your choices:

If you want to build a nice model, you’ll have need to paint regardless of which kit you start with but for the serious modeler, go with the AMT-ERTL-RC2 Jedi Starfighter Model Kit:

  • Easy build for the beginner
  • Builds into a nice model with good detail
  • Nice stand, no landing gear, no pilot
  • Needs serious painting to build up into a nice model
  • Good price

If this is a parent/child modeling project and the model will need to stand up to play after the ship is built, go for the AMT-ERTL-RC2 Jedi Starfighter Die-cast Model Kit:

  • Easy build for the beginner
  • Builds into a nice model
  • Nice stand, no landing gear, no pilot
  • Needs serious painting and seam filling to build up into a nice model; weathering on canopy might be a problem
  • Good price for type of kit

If the child in the parent/child project is old enough to understand that models go on shelves, try the Revell-Germany Jedi Starfighter Pre-painted Snap Kit:

  • Fairly easy out-of-the-box build
  • Builds into a nice model
  • No stand, no landing gear, rubber pilot
  • Needs serious re-painting to build up into a nice model

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