Jun 22

Its a Snap!

Time for some full disclosure. I rather resented this build to begin with, as I have all the Bandai Star Wars kits so far. I’m so used to handling more complex kits, which require actual glue, and paint and actual thought that I was rather sniffy at the thought of the thing…

After all, what was I doing fiddling around with a kid’s toy?

Well….. Since I collect toys as well, that’s perhaps not a fair thought in two ways, but that is beside the point. The moment I began the build the kit, its charms began to ooze out and infect me, as all the little Star Wars models have done so far.

It might be a bit of a Bandai ‘pile it high, sell it cheap’ thing, but when going through the parts I have to say… Not a single corner is cut, not a single part is shabbily molded, and not a single element is missing.

It’s gorgeous.




The first thing one notices from the outset is the chroming… Really well done.

For decades, companies have been plating some parts (especially car parts) in metalized compounds to give them a chrome finish.

Monogram, in my youth, were famous for this on their line of pre-coloured, snap-fit hotrods, and I loved the shine on the engine parts. It can be a hit and miss process, even at best, and even the decent compounds can make it hard for paints to stick properly when weathering them down.


Even today the process, know commonly as ‘vacuum deposition’ persists and reading into the Bandai data, it is clear that the company has raised the bar as far as the technology is concerned. Though there are several distinct methods used under this family of processes, the one used on Threepio, and the most common in general, lays down a micro layer of metal vapor to plastic sprues in a near vacuum.

I’ll be honest and say I know nothing about the technology, save what I got from Bandai and a quick scoot about the ‘net, but I’ve often wondered how this was done.

And I’ve certainly never seen it done better than on Old Golden Rod.


The kit comes with a number of options to assemble Threepio at different times in the trilogy. Two heads, restraining bolt and silvered right leg, for example.




Washing down the back panel with Citadel Badab Black to get a little contrast, I was surprised to see how well it stuck, even to the metalized surface.

This gave me an idea… See below.


The pipework under the chest is especially well done, even if rather simple.




Now we come to the idea… Once Threepio was built, I wanted to grub him up, full-on Tatooine style, but was puzzling on how to do it without ruining the shine fully.

Thanks to the success with the backpack, I loaded up an airbrush with Citadel’s badab black, thinned slightly with Tamiya X20 and did several light coats all over – letting each one dry between sprays. In the end, the whole figure was washed out, and all the nooks had been filled, as well.

I then took a lens cloth with some X20 applied and polished the figure, top to toe.

On the larger plates, after a few sessions, the metal underneath was shining once again – and had not been damaged by the thinner.

In the corners, against the seams and in all the nooks and crannies, the wash remained, giving the impression of dirt, wear and general ill use.

I suppose I could have lined it all in, but this way was such a snap…


All in all, a top kit, despite all my misgivings.

It goes together by itself and requires so little effort, yet looks so good.

I’m actually bowled over by how good it looks.

Bandai has certainly hit on something with this line and have emptied my pockets into the bargain.

Now… Gimme Bobba Fett, Dengar, IG88, Red Guards, Star Destroyers and The Falcon, kk?

Dr. Robodaz



  1. Oh, and how about that 1/12 scale TIE Advanced, Bandai?
    I’ll take two!

  2. Great sets, just started my 3-PO. Built Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper, they are awesome, though they do benefit from some painting. All other sets in the stash or on order, the y-wing detail looks great and will need painted for full effect. However as a break from more complex builds they are very refreshing.

    Ps can still remember lining up to see star wars back in 1977!

    • Aye, no doubt about it. Though clearly designed to be built as they are, all the series are really lifted by a little lick of paint. Simple kits, they may be, but I love them.

  3. Hey. I’m feeling inspired to do this after seeing what you’ve achieved! just a quick question. You mentioned you used Tamiya X20 to thin the citadel paint, despite the fact that X20 is for enamels and citadels are acrylics. Is this correct, or should it be X20A? Thanks.

    • You are right to question the matter, and the correct thinner is, of course X20A (code 81040). I think the Citadel washes are meant to be used with water, but I find that cutting them with the Tamiya thinner really helps them overcome the tension on finished surfaces like those of Threepio.

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