Review by Showapop
For my Part 1 review of the 1/100 Arii Destroid Defender Click Here.
For my Part 2 review of the 1/100 Imai Missile Phalanx Click Here.
For my Part 3 review of the 1/100 Imai Attack Tomahawk Click Here.
For my Part 4 review of the 1/100 Arii Spartan Click Here.
For my Part 5 review of the 1/100 Arii Spartan Metalize Custom Click Here.
A few years ago I embarked on a journey to build and review all four original Arii/Imai 1982-83 Macross 1/100 Destroid kits here for CollectionDX. With the completion of the Arii Spartan I have finally come to a close with this series. Sit back and enjoy reading the Spartan review with a summery of the four kits at the end.
When the original Macross kits were licensed back in the 80’s two companies produced the bulk of the Macross kits that hit the market, Arii and Imai. Imai produced two Destroid kits The Missile Phalanx and Tomahawk, while Arii produced the other two Destroid kits, The Defender and Spartan. While I believe Imai produced the better of the four kits, the Spartan is a reasonable kit that can be built into a nice representation of the Spartan.
The Spartan was one of the five ground attack armored robot vehicles used in Macross. While the other three Destroids were built off the same base, the Spartan has a completely different look than the others. Accordingly The Spartan does not often get produced as a toy or model kit as the others as it needs a completely brand new tooling in order to be produced. Arii’s Spartan was one of the first of its type to be produced when the original Macross series was produced in the 1980’s. Also it is the only other Mecha that series lead Hikaru uses to fight the enemy as seen in one episode.
With the lackluster build of Arii’s Defender kit, how does the Spartan hold up after all the years? Let’s open up a kit and build it to find out.
Upon inspecting the sprue of this kit I tend to look at the kit like a limited produced plastic model kit, the shape is there but a lot of work needs to be done to it in order to bring it up to today’s standards. I generally build out of the box on my reviews for CDX but this kit has a lot of modifications that is required in order of kit to be of an acceptable quality.
One thing that you will notice is that much of the sprue is thick and is actually used on the parts and construction of the kit. The rear laser and joint pins are all sprue integrated into the parts, which makes for an unusual looking sprue tree. Careful when cutting as you might just cut off an important part. One feature I do like about the Arii kits is that all the joints are polycaped and you can easily take the Spartan apart to paint and build. With the Imai kits you are very much committed when you assemble the parts.
Because of the technology of the early 1980’s, many of the surface features of the Spartan line drawings could not be reproduced in kit form. I did not even realize the distinctive raised ribbed armor was not produced on the kit until I saw a picture online of a modeler building a Nichimo Spartan and he added the ribbed armor. I looked at the Arii kit and realized that feature was missing. This was easily done with precut plastic strips. Careful with measuring and gluing the strips so they are all even.
Having built and reviewed the Chrome Version of this kit for CDX, I knew what I was up against in terms of the build quality of this kit. It is rough to say the least but overall the parts look reasonably good when assembled. The most difficult part is the upper chest area, it is a three part component and the missile shoulder launchers have a seam that go right down the middle that is incredibly difficult to smooth out without destroying the raised red squares. Keep in mind you will have to paint the red cannon door at this point, as it will be difficult to paint if you wait until the end of construction.
The upper body and the leg joints are the weakest points of this kit. The middle pilot capsule is shaped wrong; making the angles of the red cannon hatch sticks out to high and long. The back of the pilot capsule is not shaped anything like the original line art, more square than pointy and no surface features. Although there is a cannon hatch that opens, a cannon barrel is not included although one can easily be scratched built for the body.
The most infamous feature of this kit is the upper leg joints that connect to the lower hips. When put together the legs have an overly bow look to them, and stick out wider and taller than they need to be. It interesting how modelers deal with this unfortunate feature. I decided to use scrap sprue with polycaps glued on the end of them and then cover the sprue with rubber tubing from ink pens I bought at Walmart. Although the idea was good and still looks better than the original part, it is flimsy as heck and the rubber tubing slides down. I believe the sprue idea is a good idea for getting the proper measurements, but perhaps next time to use Sculpty or epoxy putty to build up the “rubber” around the legs. To be honest anything is better than what comes with the kit.
The other modification that goes a long way is the anti-aircraft cannon on the back. It is essentially a sprue with a two part gun attached to it, looking nothing like the original line art. First I squared out the round sprue with an X-acto blade. I added a round base to where the gun mount attaches to the body. Finally I sandwiched the part where the two guns meet with some small sheet plastic and added the recess line like the line art. The result was great and one of the better modifications of the kit.
The hand palms also needed some recess lines added for the fingers and hand joints.
Many joint disks and holders are included with the kit but it seems they have no purpose and over designed making them useless in construction, especially the hand joint holders. Use what works for you. Finally I added some rear vent details from some spare parts to improve the look of the sparse vents. At this point it was ready for paint.
I already painted the red cannon hatch before I assembled the body and was taped up before I applied the Tamiya green to the kit. I painted the grey missile hatches as well and they were taped off before I applied the green. I do not pre-shade my kits but I do post shade the panels with a lighter green to get more depth with a light coating of the base color to even out the overall color.
After a gloss coat I applied the decals, they were a little frosty and the decals were not sharp but the decals went great onto the kit. The best feature of both Arii kit decals is they come with “Nose Art” pinup type art for the kit, this one named "Red Hot Ridenh". I wish the Imai kits came with nose art but they did not.
After a final flat-coat to seal in the decals, I weathered the kit with my usual weathering kit of oil paints washes and a silver pencil for various scratches bumps and bruises.
While not the best Macross kit in the world, there is enough here to build a reasonable representation of the 1/100 Spartan and with some simple yet effective modifications can build this kit into a looker. Since this is the only representation of the Spartan in 1/100 scale this is the only choice you have if you want to build the Spartan, so it is best to make do with it. I will be quick to point out that it would be great if WAVES released a newly tooled series of 1/100 Destroid kits for us Macross Modelers, especially in light of them finishing the 1/72 Destroid kits and 1/100 Valkyries.
1/100 Destroid Overview
After finally finishing all four kits here is my overview of the Destroids from my favorite to worst:
A nice and very modern looking kit, does not have much posebility but neither did the original mecha. Looks great in that neutral pose. The cannons are a bit tricky to build but over all still a very fun and fresh kit with some very nice tooling that holds up. Overall it is the best Destroid kit of the bunch.
The easiest and fastest of the four Destroids to build, but due to the lack of poseability and a tooling design that now looks blocky, it is the second best. But if you're a Tomahawk fan there should be no reason not to buy and build this kit as it is great for beginners and advanced alike and very inexpensive on the second hand market. Lots of modification opportunity here.
Recommended for the advanced modeler due to the parts being below current quality of todays kits. With some work it actually builds into a decent kit but still has some scaling and sculpting issues in the cockpit area. Caveat Emptor!
The worst kit of the bunch, none of the parts fit together well and the scaling issues abound especially in the legs and feet area. It is a dog of a kit that obviously looks of lesser quality when you have it displayed next to the other three. Build if you must but you are not going to enjoy it.
Now let's move on to those 1/72 Destroid Kits!
©2013 Review and Photos by Leonardo Flores and CollectionDX
|Posted 9 January, 2013 - 12:36 by Showapop|