Sunday, November 11

Build Guide: Andy Moore's 1/72nd scale B-Wing Starfighter from Bandai

Well, Andy Moore beat us to it! Today his excellent build of Bandai's new B-Wing Starfighter in 72nd scale. The result is an amazing kit that is a lit up edition of the standard kit. Andy included a great painting guide to show you how to get the most out of your own model...

Build Guide: B-Wing Starfighter
From: Bandai  
1/72nd scale
Plastic Injection moulded kit
Clear parts included
Waterslide decals and stickers included.
Price: 4,000¥/ $50AUD/ $36USD/ £28GBP from the Tokyo Model Detective
Product Link on the Bandai Website
Previous Stories on this kit:

A while back TMN looked through the box of Bandai's new 72nd scale B-Wing Starfighter and, predictably for a Bandai Star Wars model, the contents didn't disappoint. The expected super-high quality moulding and detail were present, along with Bandai's standard highly engineered snap-fit construction. I've recently finished my own build of this kit, so in today's review, we'll see if the finished thing is as good as the box contents promised.
As these kits really do just fall together, I won't dwell on the construction, but I'll start by showing a few modifications I made to the kit, before moving on the painting stages. The build begins with the cockpit section, and here I replaced the two smaller blaster barrels with fine aluminium tube, while the main cannon barrel had its end drilled out.
The small half-round intake that sits above the blasters had its leading edge thinned down to look more in scale. This section then clips on to the underside of the instrument panel, with the whole assembly then slotting on to the main cockpit tub. The detailing in the cockpit is exceptionally well done, and will really respond to some creative painting and a few washes.
I pulled the instrument panel and main tub apart again for painting to make access easier for detail painting. The beauty of the snap-fit construction is that you don't need to worry about glue damaging any pre-painted parts when attaching sub-assemblies. Simply clip them together and you're done. I used the kit's painting guide, together with a little artistic licence, when it came to the cockpit colours. There are some decals provided for some of the instruments but, given the raised nature of the details, they'll look much better painted, as here.
For Ten Numb, the pilot, you've got an option for painting, as early reference material for the film showed him wearing a white flight suit, but on screen, he was wearing a red suit. You could go either way here, as both versions have been used subsequently in the Star Wars expanded universe and both could be considered canon. I went with the red on the simple basis that I preferred that version.
With Ten installed in the pilot's seat, and the main cockpit fairing slid into place, the detail in the cockpit is more than ample for what you'll eventually see through the canopy. Sadly, there isn't an option to have the canopy displayed open from the box, but it wouldn't require much modification to do so.
The bulk of the rest of the kit went together straight from the box but, as with the blaster barrels on the cockpit, I replaced some of the barrels on the main wing-tip cannon pod with metal tube. This area also features a couple of moulded pipes and to add a little strength and avoid the need to remove the slight mould line on the parts, I swapped these for brass wire. This was simply a matter of drilling holes at each end, bending the wire to roughly the correct shape, and gluing it into the holes with a small drop of cyanoacrylate.
One final modification was made to the main wing where it joined to the fuselage. This was done to make the painting stages a little easier. I modified the connection tab on the fuselage side by cutting off the highlighted area shown below. This allowed the wing to be slid into place after painting, rather than having to be attached during the main construction.
The engine section has been cleverly designed to accommodate an LED lighting unit which is available separately from Bandai (or included if you get one of the limited edition Comics Con boxings). A holder for the light unit connects to a four-pronged light guide. These prongs work like fibre optics, guiding the light to their tips which sit inside the engine nozzles. The complete unit then slides into the fuselage, but can be easily removed to switch the light on and off or change the battery. I didn't get a lighting unit with my standard release kit but, as you'll see later, I found a third party lighting unit which worked equally well.
That pretty much wraps up the construction, so let's get on to the painting. For this, I kept the cockpit, fuselage and wings as separate units to make handling easier. The first step was to lay down a base coat, and for this, I used a dark grey, in this case, Gunze H333 Extra Dark Sea Grey. The way this was applied was half way between a primer/base coat and a pre-shade. The assemblies received an over-all light coat, followed by a heavier application over the panel lines and surface details.
The main colour of the B-Wing is a very pale grey. Rather than go straight to that tone, I decided to build up to it with successive grey coats, the first of which is a 50/50 mix of Light Gull Grey and White, both from the Mr Color lacquer range. This mix was heavily thinned to allow the previous pre-shade layer to show through and bring some variation to the finish.
The next grey layer was much paler, this time mixed from Gunze H334 Barley Grey and AMMO Matt White. A little Tamiya X-22 Clear was added to the mix, partly to add more transparency to the colour, and also to leave a smoother, glossier finish. This mix too was heavily thinned and built up in a patchy fashion, with some panels getting a heavier coat while others got a subtler, mottled application.
Next, a warmer pale grey tone was mixed from Tamiya Deck Tan and AMMO White, again with a little X-22 added. For this stage, I masked off a few random panels which then received a more solid coat of the warm grey. With the masking removed, the rest of the airframe got a lighter application to lessen the contrast to the masked panels.
At this point, I wanted to add more grunginess to the finish. The pre-shade had helped give it some variation, but it looked a little too soft. To give it a bit more sharpness and random variation, I put down the airbrush and switched to a fine paintbrush, using Vallejo Dark Rubber mixed with retarder medium to slow the drying time. The dark grey was painted around the edge of panels then blended to soften the effect. I was careful not to over blend it though, so as not to lose the definition the grey had given.
The resulting effect is a little hard to see in the above shot, but shows up better here in this close-up of the wings. In some areas, I used the dark grey like an oil paint to add streaks to the surface. This is quite easy to do with acrylics, as long as you add the retarder to extend the drying time.
The final stage for the main finish was to lightly blend all the previous steps together. This was done with a very pale grey, really more of an off-white. This had a healthy dollop of X-22 added to increase the transparency of the paint, was heavily thinned, then lightly misted over the whole airframe.
If done subtly, this mist layer will unify the finish, while still allowing the variation from the previous steps to show through. I find that this multi-layered shade/highlight method leaves a far more natural and interesting result than traditional one-step pre-shading.
With the main grey coats finished, the next step was to mask and spray the darker blue/grey sections. These are supplied as decals but getting them to lay down over all the raided details, especially on the wing tips, would test anyone's patience. Painting the markings will always look better anyway, and the masking is very straight forward. Having said that, the stripes on the rear cockpit section did take some careful measuring and tweaking of masking tape to get them evenly spaced and straight.
A second, lighter blue/grey was mixed up to add some fading to the previous step. This was applied quite randomly to break up the starkness of the darker panels. This was done after the masking had been removed, as any over-spray onto the base grey doesn't really show.
The only remaining things to add before the weathering got underway were the orange roundels that are so iconic of this particular B-Wing. Again, these are provided as decals, but I wasn't very impressed with the colour, as they looked far too yellow to my eye. They should be a much deeper orangey-red, so these were also sprayed. Circular masks are very easy to create using a compass cutter, so spraying them wasn't in any way a problem. A little masking fluid was sponged on first to create some paint chips, then the orange mix was applied. Before the masks were removed, I added a little Gunze Radome to the remaining orange paint, and sprayed this in a patchy fashion to fade the roundels.
The engine nozzles were painted in a dark grey then had a metallic pigment rubbed over the rims. After a few washes and filters to give them a used, stained appearance, they were ready to install in the fuselage. Before that though, I added the third party light unit to the back of the engine module. This is an exact copy of the Bandai unit, and fits in place perfectly.
These lighting units can be sourced very easily and cheaply from Ebay; just search for Gundam lighting unit. The LEDs come in a variety of colours, with yellow used here. Later on, for the finished shots, I switched to a red unit. They work well enough, but only really show up under subdued lighting, and for most of the final shots I left the unit switched off.
The final step of the build was the weathering, and here I used a combination of AMMO enamel washes to accentuate the panel lines and add dirt and grime around the raised details. You can go as far as you want with this stage, either keeping it on the clean side or having a heavily weathered finish.
I also used some acrylic washes from Citadel to tint and discolour some of the panels. Like the main painting stages, the weathering was a matter of building up successive subtle layers, rather than trying to achieve a weathered look in a single, heavily-applied step.
All that was left was to connect the various sub-assemblies, leaving a finished B-Wing ready to be placed on the supplied stand. You'll need to use the stand as no landing gear is included which is a shame. The stand works very well though, and although it looks a little ungainly, it is at least moulded in clear plastic, so you don't really notice it all that much.

This release is definitely right up there with the best of Bandai's Star Wars kits to date. The detailing and fit is as good as always and, although the price is a little on the high side compared to the previous fighter releases, you do get a fantastic kit for your money. 

You can see the result in the image gallery of the constructed kit below...
If you've already built the X, Y and A-Wings, then it goes without saying that you'll need to get this one to complete the set of Original Trilogy starfighters. All in all, very highly recommended.

Andy Moore

You can get this kit from The Tokyo Model Detective - he has some of the best prices and earliest availability for these kits anywhere online. ( he also has the premium versions of this kit in his website if you are interested!