Scopedog Metal Spec
Review by Showapop
1/20 Votoms ATM-09-ST Scopedog Metal Spec Version
Review & Model by Leonardo Flores
This review sample of Bandai's 1/20 Scopedog Metal Spec Model Kit comes courtesy of Hobby Link Japan
If a nation was ever to invest into real robot armor technology for their military, I believe the end result would look something like Scopedog from Armored Trooper Votoms. Heralding from the beginning of the real robot craze of the 1980’s, Scopedog is perhaps one of the best examples of the genre. Turret rotating lens, a large caliber artillery rifle, heavy armor and realistic hydraulics and world weary common sense features makes Scopedog one of the most well thought out, and perhaps buildable, robot armors of the era.
Votoms model kits have always been popular with both Sci-fi and armor modelers over the years and even I built a few back in the 1980’s when I was kid. Lately I have been itching to build another and it was unexpected when we received a review sample of 1/20 Scopedog Metal Spec from Hobby Link Japan a few months ago.
With Bandai retailing Scopedog Metal Spec at nearly $70.00, is this kit equal to the asking price? I always say that to build a great model you need to build a great model kit. And I am here to say this is one of the best model kits I have ever built and finished.
First off, my first of only one complaint: This is a Bandai Master Grade style kit in all its beautiful, 17 Systeminjection multi-colored sprue, metal parts, snap on armor and ultra articulation glory. My big compliant with Bandai is that one of their most recognized brand names “Master Grade” is reserved for just Gundam model kits. “Master Grade” means “best of best” and many new non-Gundam Bandai model kits usually do not get noticed because they do not have that silver MG sticker stuck on the box.
Many times I have bypassed beautiful non-Gundam Bandai kits not realizing there is a well-produced Master Grade quality model kit in the box. This happened with the recent Shin Mazinger and Macross Frontier model kits and again with this Scopedog model kit. This kit should be known as a Master Grade Votoms Scopedog Metal Spec, but due to a marketing shortsightedness on Bandai’s part it might be seen as “just another model kit” by Bandai. And this is not “just another model kit” by Bandai.
Bandai’s Scopedog Metal Specs comes with: 17X sprue, 1x barrel, ix lens, 1x photo etch, 2x stickers sheet, 1x gel sticker sheet, 1x decal sheet, 1x instruction, 2x promo sheets.
Options: This is a special edition of the kit called Metal Spec because Bandai included a metal turned barrel for the Scopedog rifle; a spun metal Turret lens and a sheet of photo etch parts. Metal bolts are also included to bolt on the armor, where as the original kit only has plastic bolts. This kit is also available without the metal parts for $40.00. Extra custom decals are also included. The photo etch sheet also comes with stencils in Votoms world fonts and mission discs.
This kit is molded in color and snap together like your typical Master Grade kit. If one would like to paint the kit just find hobby paints that matches the colored plastic. If you are going to paint the kit, cut off, clean up and paint all the parts at this point. This step usually takes about a week or two especially if the kit had as many parts as this one. I used Tamiya Acrylics for the colors. The exception was the dark grey frame that all the armor plates snap onto. I used Florquil Enamel Model paint for those parts.
Most of the body frame parts are molded in ABS plastic, which has a vinyl feel to it and is very difficult for most paints to bond to. Tamiya paints do not usually want to bond with the ABS plastic and scratches off easily, which is not good for moveable parts. Having a few Master Grade kits under my belt and experiencing those issues before, I decided to paint those parts with Florquil paints. Florquil paints create a chemical reaction with the plastic and dries hard and virtually unremovable when properly cured. If you decide to use Florquil paints for these parts make sure you have proper ventilation in your area as its brutal stuff. Also make sure you get Florquil Railroad Enamels and not Florquil Railroad Acrylics.
The main feature of this model kit is the upper cockpit body frame, which is the centerpiece entire model kit. This is one of the most beautifully engineered molded plastic pieces I have ever seen. The cockpit detail is top notch; with a photo etch part for the screen for detail relief. The seat and side panels are also well detailed. With the figure sitting in the seat, it is an impressive looking cockpit and never ceases to get a couple of turned heads when it is open.
Two Chirco Cuvie figures are included. One figure is standing the other is in sitting position and can sit in the cockpit. Both heads are exchangeable if you do not glue the heads into the bodies. The figures are excellent quality although only the sitting Chirco has separate color molded belts, shoulder pads and boots. The standing Chirco is only molded in one color and the details need to be painted on. The helmet details are highly detailed, a clear lens is included for the faceplate and ads an extra dimension to the figure.
What is so great about this kit is the all the armor plating the modeler gets to attach to the frame. Each main assembly part is a skeleton frame that you have the build the armor around. Some of these parts are even bolted on with tiny bolts and Bandai included a small wrench to help you twist those parts on.
As stated before, this is a special Metal Spec edition of the Scopedog kit that includes metal parts. Accordingly I did not want to hide all these great metal parts under a coat of paint. Two parts I did not choose to paint are the lathed turned barrel and large scope lens. I justify those choices, as the barrel would always be changed out due to barrel fowling in combat. Also, the large lens is an important firing targeting lens and it is in the best interest of the pilot to always keep the lens clean. The lathing is beautiful and to hide those parts under paint would be a crime.
Photo etch skirt armor is also included that replaces the plastic armor. Again I did not want to hide the fact that these parts are made out of metal, so I used a weathering solution to taint the coloring of metal. This solution was also used to taint the coloring of the small metal bolts that are included with the kit.
Three scale wrenches, one plastic and two photo etch, are included to assist you in attaching the bolts and armor to the frame. Although this might work well with the plastic bolts, the metal bolts tore right through the plastic after a couple twists and I was getting severe thumb fatigue. I ended up using a thumb-sized sheet of scrap plastic to just push snap the bolts in place. I am not sure if the bolts are able to come off after I snapped them all in place but I do not plan to take the armor off. I attached the skirt armor this same way.
If you have built a Master Grade kit the assembly is straightforward and typical of MG kits. The inner skeleton frame is built in the arms and legs then the outer armor plating is snapped onto the frame. Some arm parts are a bit difficult to slide into place but I have had that problem with my other MG kits as well. Just scrape off extra paint build up and it should be a little easier. Otherwise most the parts assemble easily.
Once assembled there are a lot of cool features throughout. The head rotates and opens to see the pilot looking out. The eyes rotate and move sideways in both directions. The body also opens to reveal the pilot sitting the seat, which can be removed. The control handle also pivots so the figure can be pulled out. Another extra that the Metal Spec version includes is the red and green eye gem in the eye turret. The original kit includes only foil stickers but this version is two gel stickers that gives more depth to the eye and looks better that was originally included.
The arms feature full articulation, which also includes the power punch feature that reveals the hydraulics in the forearm. The armor plates can also be removed. The hands feature full finger articulation and the gun securely snaps into the hand and the finger can be put in the trigger hole. The leg plates can also be removed to reveal the hydraulics and vents underneath. The toe can be pivoted to reveal the wheel underneath the foot and the side peg can be pushed down to securely imbed the Scopedog into the ground. The Scopedog can be adjusted so the pilot can get into the cockpit as well.
The gun detail is excellent. Not only does it have a turned barrel but all the armor comes off the receiver and you can see the inner workings of the rifle. The cartridge box can also be taken off the rifle and put on the hip of the Scopedog.
As I stated before all the painting of the kit is done before it is put together, with only some high lighting I did after it was put together. After a gloss coat with Testors Gloss I applied the decals, which went on without any problems. They were thin enough to put on with setting solutions such as Micro Sol but thick enough that they did not fall apart in the water or curl up on the kit. I also painted the kit as a red shoulder for added color even though it is not correct for the markings provided for this kit. There is a red shoulder version of this kit that comes with all the red shoulder extras.
After the Testors flat coat was applied I weathered the kit with black and burnt umber oil paints and did some final metal scratches throughout with a silver pencil. This is a fun kit to weather as there is numerous armor plating, gnarly surface details and bolts throughout that you can just sit back and enjoy getting Scopedog all dirtied up with your paint brush.
Standing back this is the best model kit and finish I have ever done. That is a BIG statement from me but I am so impressed with this kit and the way it all turned out and the kit really accented my modeling skills that I have been working on for so many years.
On a side note, my good friend and CDX co-owner Dan Webber who recently passed away sent me this model kit to build for CDX. Building model kits is an art form. You can have 100 models and give them to 100 people and you will get 100 different variations of the same kit when they are through.
Being one of the main model builders here on CDX, it was always great when Shogundan would come on and affirm my modeling skills with his enthusiasm and good cheer and it was more than humbled when he offered the kit straight to me when it arrived from Hobby Link Japan.
Now that it is finished I hope somewhere he is looking down and seeing the great results of allowing me to build this. I will always keep and treasure this Scopedog as a remembrance to my friendship with Dan Webber.
By the way, this kit is in the odd 1/20 scale but is also in scale with 1/20 SF3D and Maschinen Krieger model kits. Many of the Scopedog extras, such as the wrenches and plastic bolts, could be used with those kits in dioramas and the kit itself can be displayed next to the Mak.K kits without any scale difference.
This is a $70.00 kit. One could purchase the standard Scopedog release for $40.00 and be more than blown away with the results but for $30.00 more you can get the way cool Metal Spec version. With aftermarket barrels usually selling for $20.00 and a good set of Photo etch selling for $13.00 you have already surpassed the $30.00 mark plus you are getting metal bolts, a spun metal eye barrel and the eye gel stickers so you are actually coming out cheaper if you bought all these parts in the Metal Spec set.
If you are a Scopedog fanatic or you only want the best from a model kit experience the Scopedog Metal Spec is without a doubt the best way to go and one will be more than satisfied with the results. I loved building this kit and I will be purchasing the Brutish Dog shortly to display along with the Scopedog Metal Spec. Highly Recommended!
This review sample of Bandai's 1/20 Scopedog Metal Spec Model Kit comes courtesy of Hobby Link Japan
©2010 Article and pictures by Leonardo Flores & CollectionDX
|Posted 24 November, 2010 - 14:48 by Showapop|