AMT/Ertl's Star Wars Episode 1 Armored Assault Tank (AAT)

(Page Two - Construction)



I decided ahead of time to build two AAT's simultaneously. I tend to do this often when building models, to try to maximize my airbrushing time, (although this never seems to work as planned).

After I had completely assembled both, for some reason I decided to convert one of them into something a bit different. (I'll expand on that in the second part of this review).

I began working on my tanks by removing the saucer parts and the main body of the tank from the sprue and dry-fitting them together. I quickly became disappointed with the average to poor fit that existed. In addition to fitting problems, numerous gaps were also prevalent.

These fitting problems are really strange, in light of AMT/Ertl's initial Star Wars Episode One (SWEO) Movie releases of the Naboo fighter and the Battle Droids. Those kits fit very well, despite being snap-tites.

Regardless of how much plastic was removed from the adjoining pieces, I was never able to completely eliminate noticeable gaps that were found on most of the connecting pieces. (This ultimately caused me to revisit my friend Mr. Zap-a-Gap).

The two major offenders of the fitting problems were a rear facing grille vent (that was divided in half with an intersecting seam line), along with the inverted 'T' region found at the front of the tank. Due to their design, correcting these flaws were going to be difficult.

To resolve the problem with the inverted ''T', I decided to use Modeling Rule #101: "If you canít clean up a seam, hide it!"

I traced the ''T' pattern onto a piece of paper, transferred this pattern onto a thin piece of Evergreen sheet styrene, cut the pattern out and glued it into place after the halves had been connected.



To fix the problem with the rear vent I visited Modeling Rule "102: "If you can't clean up a seam and you can't hide it, cut the sucker away and replace it with something better!"



Using my trusty-dusty X-acto knife, I carefully removed the grille sections from both halves of the tank's main body, measured the opening and transferred the dimensions onto a rectangular piece of sheet styrene. A section of etched brass mesh (by Special Shapes) was wrapped around it and super-glued in place at the rear. Then, the back of this grille replacement piece was glued onto a slightly larger rectangular "lip" piece of sheet styrene. (The new grille would be inserted through the hole from the inside, with the larger plastic "lip" glued onto the inner wall of the tank).



I air brushed the entire replacement grille contraption Model Master (M.M.) Flat Black and lightly dry-brushed Silver over the raised mesh areas after it was dry.

Ok, onto the sub-assemblies. I ended up using 2 different types of liquid cements on my construction: Plastruct, (which is thicker and stronger and takes longer to bond), along with the thinner and more rapidly evaporating Tenax-7R.

Instead of following the instructions step by step, I worked on all three major sub-assemblies simultaneously.

After putting a lot of work into cleaning up the seams, all subassemblies were finally complete. I finished the construction phase by very carefully drilling out the barrels of the four side and two front laser guns.



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Copyright © 2012 by Anthony I. Wootson Sr. No material may be reproduced without permission. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.