Model Kit Review: Revell Monogram's Babylon 5 Starfury MK 1 (Kit #3621)
There are 28 SA-23E Mitchell-Hyundyne Starfurys composing the Babylon 5 Space Station’s primary defensive force. The Starfury is also used for other numerous functions of the Earth Alliance. These fighters are single pilot "zero-gravity" spacecraft. The pilot flies the craft from a standing position, enabling the great acceleration forces encountered to be better withstood. With fore, aft, top, and bottom thrusters located on all sides, the Starfury is a highly maneuverable space fighter.
(Initial Analysis - Look at a glance)
I finally obtained my Babylon 5 Starfury after its Fall 1997 release date had been repeatedly delayed. With the continuation of the Babylon 5 TV series, my interest in this kit had definitely been piqued.
Upon analyzing it, my first impression was that it looked good. There are 48 parts that make up the model. All but the clear canopy are molded in light gray. A pilot figure is included, along with a two piece stand.
The panel lines on the fighter are raised, but they are done nicely. There is very little flash to the kit. The decal sheet is impressive, with four different very good looking markings included for constructing one of six different Starfurys – (I had decided to build the ominous looking "Black Omega").
Most ejection pin marks are located on the inside of the parts, where they are hidden after construction is complete. One exception to this is the spaceship's eight vanes, of which both the outer and inner sides are visible once the model is built. These pin marks are not deep, though and are easily removed with a bit of light sanding.
In addition, some thought was put into the kit with respect to the design of the thrusters. First, since they are separate pieces, they can be painted a color different from the rest of the spacecraft and attached last, after the rest of the model has been painted. Next, again with them being separate pieces, they end up covering some of the most pronounced gap areas on the kit.
A good job was also done on designing a kit that has few sub-assemblies, making construction very straightforward. This is apparent with the 2 one-piece top and bottom wing parts, (which require the attachment of inner wing panels and inner wing halves), along with the simplistic five piece cockpit sub-assembly.
A major disappointment I got when first looking at the kit is its small size. The kit scales at 1:72, which matches up nicely with 1:72 scale models of actual aircraft. However, the Starfury's wing span (minus vanes) is only just over five inches, which is somewhat small. I personally think it would have been nicer if the Starfury was a larger model, maybe in 1:48 scale, (closer to the Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica single seat fighters currently out). Oh well, enough complaining - it's time to build.
(Construction and Painting)
I pretty much stuck with the steps found in the instructions. The two side and rear walls of the cockpit area were attached, along with the wing panels inserted into the insides of the top and bottom main wings. The cockpit went together pretty well with no surprises, other than it taking me a bit to finally figure out how the rear wall attached to the sides.
The wing sub-assemblies were another matter all together. Very noticeable gaps existed around all four inner wing pieces. All told, I ended up spending many, many hours removing these very annoying gaps. (It is a shame that R/M didn't put more work into getting a cleaner fit with these parts).
After the three sub-assemblies looked presentable, they were washed and airbrushed with a coat of Model Master’s Metalizer Gunmetal. The "suggested" paint color for the "Black Omega" is PROMODELER'S Anthracite Gray Metallic. Unfortunately, I was never able to locate this very elusive paint. Instead, the Gunmetal Metalizer was used. (Later, I discovered that the Gunmetal is actually a closer approximation of the actual “Black Omega” color).
With most of the exposed surface areas of the wing panel inserts being covered with the remaining four wing halves when construction is complete, I decided to now paint Gunmetal onto this area.
The "cockpit bucket" and "instrument panel" were painted Gunship Gray, (straying away from the suggested color of Light Sea Gray). In addition, various cockpit details were picked out by painting by brush Silver, Flat Black, and Blue. A nice thing about the "cockpit bucket" is it slides into the cockpit sub-assembly from the front, covering the rear portion (and hiding the connection tabs). When dry, the bucket was inserted into the cockpit sub-assembly.
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