Jim James’ Anakin’s Pod Racer

AMT-ERTL’s Anakin’s Pod Racer a review by Jim James

from “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace

Number of parts: Trust me, you won’t be disappointed

Quality: Nicely molded with very little flash. Nice decals.

Instructions: Poor. A great example of how pictorial instructions don’t work. Painting and decaling instructions a little vague. For example, you need to start with decals 2 and 8 before applying 1 and 9 (1 and 9 overlap 2 and 8). Great subject for weathering.

Overall: Great potential for an interesting subject, even when built out of the box.

ERTL’s stand is uninteresting (as are most ERTL stands). I discarded the kit base and planned on a desert base with a single mounting point. After careful consideration and weighing all the pros and cons, I decided to mount the kit under the rear of the port engine. This meant the pod would be kept aloft on the plastic kit cables (which each came in two parts) and the starboard engine weight would be carried by the clear purple energy binders.

I used square brass tube for the main support.

I puttied a square brass ‘sleeve’ inside the port engine (see Fig. A) and the support was made from the next size down square brass tube and hammered it into the wood base (it’s easier if you drill a round hole first). The support tube then just slips into the ‘sleeve.’ By the way, I always use square tube to fix the model in position.

Basic Construction

Assemble the pod first. It goes together well with little gap filling. I airbrushed my pod with Testors Stainless Steel Buffing Metalizer and polished it up.

Assemble the cable assembly slowly and take time to see what fits together. The cable stuff was painted steel and silver and weathered with pastels.

The windshield is really nice and snaps in place with no glue needed.

More about Mounting

The kit cables are too flexible to support the pod so, after much research, I replaced them with lengths of zinc threaded screw rod (3 foot, Home Depot, about $4 – choose the thinnest available). After cutting the rod to the right length, I drilled quarter inch holes in each end (it’s as difficult as it sounds but can be done) and superglued a length of wire in one end and the smallest screw eyes I could find in the other. Using the kit part as a guide, I bent the new cables to fit the pod cable gear.

The engine cable mounts are very unclear so I placed a thin brass tube inside the engine with an open end to accommodate the wire I had glued on to the end of the screw rod. Note that the brass rod must be slanted towards the engine front (see fig. A).

Supporting the Starboard Engine

To support the starboard engine, I drilled and placed a small piece of brass tube that replaced the hole where the energy binders were to go. I then took a piece of stiff brass wire (approximately the same diameter as the threads on the clear plastic part) and twisted it to resemble a binder thread with about ¾” of straight wire at each end. I painted the wire white and purple then wove the wire into the kit part, cutting the kit part to make it fit at each end of the wire thread.

The Engines

After assembling the main engine parts, I airbrushed them with Testors Magnesium Buffing Metalizer and used a soft cloth to bring out the detail. I painted the yellow, red and blue parts and completed all remaining assembly. I touched up the pipes with bright silver and a dry brush of copper. I then weathered the entire engine with a black wash and rust and black pastels.

Final Assembly

I mounted the port engine on the stand (see photo for info on the stand). I superglued the energy binders to the starboard and let cure. I then attached the starboard engine and supported it until cured.

I threaded the cable wire ends to the brass tubes in the top of the engines but did not glue them to allow easier transport of the finished model.

The screw eye cable ends were glued to the pod and I did some final paint touch ups.

All finished. Watch out Sebulba!

Jim James

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