Review by Rob
I can say for myself that I’ve had my share of skepticism of what has happened to the franchise over the years, but Star Wars still holds some endearing value to me from the original films to John Williams’ legendary music…. and then Bandai went and made model kits.
Yet, I still want 1313.
Bandai’s 1:48 scale AT-ST (short for All Terrain Scout Transport) is one of Bandai’s first new models based on the vehicles from the Galaxy Far Far Away.
The AT-ST Imperial Walker was one of the Galactic Empire’s ground assault vehicles designed for scouting and hit-and-run attacks in tight quarters combat compared to the colossal AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport). In the original trilogy, it appeared briefly during the Battle of Hoth in “Empire Strikes Back” but its first major onscreen role was in “Return of the Jedi” during the Battle of Endor.
One of the things I liked about these machines was they started as models that came to life as stop-motion animation, long before the Galaxy was over engulfed in CGI.
Out of the box, the AT-ST is molded in six plastic runners.
Compared to the 1:12 scale Astromech Droids that Josh reviewed, the AT-ST’s colors are limited to a single shade of dull gray plastic that sort of matches how the machine looked on film.
The model’s “A” runner however uses Bandai’s multi-colored gate injection and contains parts molded in brown plastic such as its display base and two clear pink laser beams for the Walker’s front chin blasters.
There are no polycaps with this model, but the free hanging cables, railing, and the connecting sockets for the AT-ST’s legs are molded in durable soft plastic.
It comes with optional clear back and wet-transfer decals of the Imperial symbols, and there is also the ‘burn scar’ for making this the AT-ST commandeered by the Rebellion’s Favorite Wookie who makes his Bandai debut in 1:48 scale with this model kit as well!
There was one “Unofficial” piece that caught me by surprise with the AT-ST.
Hidden in the mold injection frame of the “D” runners is what looks like a post but there is no part number for it nor is it shown anywhere in the instructions.
With the open port on the bottom of the AT-ST’s lower half meant to connect with one of Bandai’s Action Bases, one could assume this is a support for displaying the model free standing but it didn’t really do anything to help the model.
For a model its size, the AT-ST uses many of Bandai’s breakthrough mold injection techniques to capture many of the finite details and fully shaped parts.
Even though it is a snap-together model, I felt using a little glue was necessary when it came to handling the smaller and more delicate pieces such as the weapons on the left side of the face.
Detailing this kit, I went with a washing technique using a GM-02 Gray Gundammarker.
By rubbing the ink into the armor folds and bolt marks rather than traditional sharp black panel lining, it makes the model look clean and a little weathered around the edges.
Since it was molded in only one color of gray plastic, I painted some of the smaller details with “Gunship Gray” to add more depth to the finished model, before coating the kit with a flat top coat.
I even went further with adding more color to the cockpit’s interior.
Typical of Imperial troop deployment, there are two pilots with the AT-ST that both need to be painted from bucket helmet to boot heel.
What I really enjoyed with this model was painting Chewbacca, because seriously it’s Chewie! In 1:48 scale!
The 1:48 scale Peter Mayhew in his Walking Carpet suit is molded in the kit’s brown plastic that looks just too shiny for a Wookie.
I started by filling in the details of his fur with Gundammarker ink and then lightly painting his whole body with Testors Model Master Acrylic “Leather” and “Flat Black” in thin washing coats before painting the bandolier with silver acrylic.
Chewie has no articulation and is posed to rest inside the open hatch of the AT-ST…
…Perfect for chasing after and stomping Lego Storm Troopers.
Since the brown plastic display base was too pristine to look like dirt, I got creative with some of my Rapidoliner ink.
I sanded the surface of the base and then poured some ink over it, wiping away the excess ink with a damp towel.
Building the AT-ST isn’t very difficult even though I felt the construction manual’s layout was a bit scattered compared to Bandai’s usual format in Gunpla.
The body of the AT-ST is built in bulk sections with smaller detailed pieces added onto it such as the micro-scale ‘caps’ on the legs.
These would be lost forever if not for a little glue too.
I like the way some of the parts mask the seams, and any visible part separation appears natural to the AT-ST.
Fully built, the AT-ST stands at 7 inches tall and is very well proportioned.
The weapons on the AT-ST are impressively built with small parts that stack up and don’t look cluttered.
One of the design features I really like is how the top section of the AT-ST is removable to show the full interior of the cockpit inside!
The finished model is somewhat limited with its mobility.
The legs are designed to have only so much range of motion in each joint which stops them from bending too far in the wrong direction.
The legs are compensated with the wide range of movement in the pelvic joint assembly.
One thing I discovered when I finished building the model was the stem that connects the legs to the main body of the AT-ST has a key tab at the end that fits into two different locking points.
This can raise or lower the body of the AT-ST from a downward stance or natural walking position.
Using both keyholes at the same time can create the better illusion as if it were on the march, maybe to step on a few Ewoks!
Even though the AT-ST is rather top heavy, it can hold its balance well when the legs are positioned properly or when the model is connected to its display base.
Its head can pivot and turn on its ball and socket joint and the weapons can swivel slightly.
The Chin blasters have the most range of movement, better for aiming in any direction.
For a self contained model, the AT-ST has interchangeable parts for the top hatch and ‘eyelid’ view ports to either have them sealed shut or open.
There are also a set of alternate joint covers for the knees that lock the joints and keep the AT-ST at a static standing pose, but I really didn’t feel like they were necessary.
I am very impressed with this model and I’m even more sold on the 1:48 scale Chewbacca.
Overall, the AT-ST is a fine example of Bandai’s efforts to break out of their ‘Gundam dominated’ model kit collection and successfully branch into another well known series with excellent results.
Even with its limited mobility, the one thing that I didn’t like about it was how Bandai limited it to only a single color of gray plastic but in this case, a little paint can really go a long way.
The model is outstanding with simple construction that still captures the AT-ST’s amazing details.
After countless deaths, the Ewoks have finally developed Mobile Suit Technology and deployed their own mobile weapon!
Behold Mega Mecha Wicket, aka "Project: Cinnamon!" Let the battle of the ages begin!
“Arrghh rurh Rughh.. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrgghh…”
You said it, Chewie.
|Posted 30 July, 2015 - 11:46 by Rob|