It’s a customization of the 1/72 scale plastic Star Wars Bandai A-Wing Starfighter model kit on this installment of the Retrozap Artist Series.
After 40 years, my love for models has returned thanks, in part, to the Japanese company, Bandai. A toy company specializing in plastic model kits, Bandai recently began manufacturing a new line of Star Wars models like the Millennium Falcon, the X-Wing, Y-Wing, and A-Wing. Most noteworthy is a model I never had as a kid, the A-Wing. This month, I’ll be building the Bandai A-Wing Starfighter model kit.
Walking into this writer’s bedroom back in the late 70s, one would think they were under an air attack. Because, hanging from the ceiling are models of all sorts. Vintage airplanes and spaceships like Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing, the U.S.S. Enterprise, and the Red Barron are poised in mid-air. They seem to pause their attack as soon as anyone enters. Also, around the room are other models taking part in the action. C-3PO and R2-D2 are there. Even Maximilian and V.I.N.CENT from the Disney movie The Black Hole make an appearance. This is a magical part of my childhood.
Especially relevant is that the a-wing appears in the second season of Star Wars Rebels and rumors are that the speedy little ship will fly again in The Last Jedi. As a result, the A-Wing is a hot topic.
Originally only available in Japan, I found the Bandai A-Wing Starfighter 1/72 scale plastic model kit on Amazon for a very respectable price of $22. It was in my hands in no time and, eagerly, I dove right in.
The kit is nicely packaged with a beautifully colored scene of an A-Wing in battle on the front. Inside are 5 individually wrapped sprues separated by color. Immediately, I could see why Bandai has become one of the premier model makers today. The detail and quality build of the parts is impeccable. The model comes ready to be assembled following the color pattern of the A-Wing from the Return of the Jedi. All I have to do is snap it together. However, I am excited to put my own artistic touch to it.
The guide booklet for the Bandai kit includes an English translation as well as a color guide for custom paint application. Water decals and stickers are provided as options for customization. I don’t own an air brush and don’t have a hobby shop nearby, so I opt for spray paint. I remember using the enamel paint set on my model kits when I was younger, however I feel a spray paint application will mimic the air brush and provide a similar effect.
On one hand, I love Return of the Jedi with all my heart. On the other, I want to represent the original color of the A-Wing. The amazing visual concept artist, Ralph McQuarrie, designed the a-wing for Jedi to be blue. Unfortunately, the blue-screen technology back in the 80s prohibited the production team from using that color. Therefore, the reddish design is what we see in the film.
Dave Filoni’s animated Star Wars Rebels recently brings back McQuarrie’s original color scheme for the a-wing and we see the Phoenix Squadron take over the controls. Sabine Wren and Hera Syndulla each pilot these quick ships in one episode. Now, the A-Wing is making a return to the big screen in The Last Jedi, and in it’s original blue coloring. For an in depth review of The Last Jedi A-Wing toy and resistance pilot, check out Chris Salton’s The Collector’s Hutt review here.
Therefore, there is only one decision for me. I will use the same original color, blue, for my color scheme. The spray paint, a traditional Rust-oleum Ultra Cover Oasis Blue, provides an even coat over the red, no second coat is needed. I paint the Death Star gun turret and the remaining pieces with Granite. The main body, after the granite undercoat is dry, receives a over dusting of Satin White. After approximately 30-minutes, I am ready to snip the pieces free from their sprues and begin assembling.
First, I construct the Death Star gun turret. Another enticing aspect of the Bandai sets is that many of their Star Wars model kits include sections of the Death Star, making it easy to create a larger diorama. The remainder of the kit is smooth sailing, until I get to the pilot. The very tiny pilot. Despite its size, Bandai provides a nicely detailed model. I know that I have to use a small brush for this next step.
Knowing that the original Return of the Jedi A-Wing pilots are from Green Squadron, the pilot’s jumpsuit has to be green. I apply an acrylic Hunter’s Green paint to the pilot and add a little detail to the cockpit controls. As an alternative, the stickers and decals in the kit can be used, however I opt to paint the cockpit.
Next, once the pieces have paint and are dry, I begin snapping the cockpit and tail fins to the main body. Finally, she’s ready for display. Well, almost.
From the very beginning, the Star Wars universe has a lived-in look and aesthetic. Hence, this A-Wing needs that same look. I add weathering for just the right effect. Applying a watered-down acrylic black paint with a wider brush helps create that Star Wars feel.
In conclusion, a few minor details and the A-Wing Starfighter from Bandai is ready for display. My reference drawing and featured image is an ink drawing of the A-Wing that I will use for my first submission for my Star Wars themed Inktober. Furthermore, it feels good to move away from the digital medium and get my hands dirty.
Building the Bandai Star Wars A-Wing Starfighter model kit made me fall in love all over again with model-making. I am excited to add more to my collection.
Kendall Schroeder saw the original Star Wars in a small theater in the summer of his 10th birthday and immediately fell in love with the Far Away Galaxy. Pretending to be either Jedi Luke Skywalker or Colonel Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man, Kendall always believed he had special powers. Maybe that’s why he truly believes there is good in all people. And, he will stop at nothing to help rid the world of evil. When Kendall is not creating art, he is leading educators as the head of an online school. Kendall lives in West Michigan with his wife and two kids.