Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper
Many stories have been told in science fiction of man’s development of artificial intelligence and the subsequent enslavement of man by the machines he created. One such story was Battlestar Galactica (BSG) which first aired on ABC television in 1978. Mankind had created an army of automatons known as Cylons to protect and serve them but the Cylons evolved a sense of purpose of their own, destroying the human civilization and chasing the last few thousand human survivors into deep space and forcing them to search for a new home - Earth. In 2004, a darker and more sinister Battlestar Galactica was reimagined as a miniseries on the SyFy Channel.
Over the last few years, Moebius Models has developed several great and accurate model kits devoted to the new Battlestar Galactica series but in late 2013, Moebius released a 1/32nd scale Colonial Viper kit, one of several new kits released to commemorate the 35th Anniversary of the original TV series.
I would like to thank Moebius for providing this original series BSG Colonial Viper kit to IPMS USA for review.
In the Box
Like all other model kit’s s from Moebius, the box is sturdy and colorful with pictures of the completed model on all sides along with a description of the part the Colonial Viper played in the original Battlestar Galactica TV series and a detailed description of the kit itself, on the bottom of the box. The box is sized appropriately to protect the contents during shipping. Inside the box were three sealed plastic bags of gray part sprues, one sealed bag containing the transparent parts, a detailed instruction booklet and a comprehensive decal set including decals for both the shooting miniatures used in the TV show and the full-sized Viper stage prop. Also included in the box is a 7” x 9” commemorative, conceptual print depicting the Viper and its pilot on an alien world.
In all, there are 38 gray parts and four transparent parts, two of which make up the display stand. The kit comes complete with detailed landing gear and a pilot figure. The instruction booklet is very clear, descriptive and easy to understand. The decals are robust and colorful and there is even a decal representing the sensor display for the cockpit.
This Colonial Viper kit is very well engineered and the level of detail is amazing, right down to the fasteners on the canopy frame. The engraved paneling lines are very sharp and precisely sized. The raised details of the engine components and tubing and the raised panels on wings are also very sharp and all details on this Viper are exactly as they were shown in the original TV series.
The precision in the engineering of this kit make the assembly and finishing relatively fast and easy. The engine assembly behind the cockpit uses rugged tab and slot construction and all the parts line up very precisely. The wings and vertical stabilizer are molded in halves and the wings are assembled around tabs on the engine assembly. After talking up the clarity of the instructions and the precision of the parts in this kit I am a little embarrassed to say that while I was dry-fitting the wing assemblies, I managed to install the wings upside down and on the wrong sides. I suppose that is an added feature of the precision in the engineering of this kit - that the wings are exactly symmetrical and can be assembled and installed backwards and still not detract from the finished model.
As long as you take care not to mar mating surfaces when separating the parts from the sprues, you will find that the forward fuselage halves, engine assembly and wing halves line up perfectly. The fit is so precise that the joint simply looks like any other panel line.
Clearly, the Colonial Viper kit was designed with lighting in mind. The engine turbine section is one of the transparent parts and it would be simple to light with cool blue LEDs. Another transparent part is the canopy. Moebius has mastered the formula for transparent parts. Their transparent plastic formula is somewhat softer than what I am accustomed to and as a result, the Viper canopy is very clear and presents almost no parallax problem - it is almost like looking through glass. The pilot figure that comes with the kit looks o.k. but does not have the same sharpness in detail as the rest of the kit which is evident when looking closely through the clear canopy.
Painting the Viper to match the Colonial scheme from the TV show is easy to do and requires just a little planning for when and what to paint during the assembly.
The decals are of excellent quality, strong and separate cleanly from the paper but they do have to soak for quite a while to loosen. The instruction booklet includes a complete explanation of which decals to use to build your Viper to represent either the full-scale mockup or the filming miniatures. Either way these decals nicely and accurately portray the ships seen in the show.
Final finishing, to show signs of usage, age and weathering can be added at your discretion. I chose to leave the finish of this Colonial Viper in its pristine condition as it appeared in the museum at the beginning of the new Battlestar Galactica series on the SyFy Channel in 2004.
Moebius’ molding processes and technologies are very impressive. This Colonial Viper from the original Battlestar Galactica TV series is an exact representation of the ship from the original TV series, 35 years ago. This kit was easy and quick to build and it would be almost difficult to make it look bad.
I highly recommend this Colonial Viper kit by Moebius for modelers of all experience levels. This kit would not be a difficult build for even new modelers and would be a very satisfying project for anyone, particularly science-fiction fans and fans of the original TV series or the newer, reimagined miniseries. This is simply a great kit. Please keep them coming, Moebius!
Thanks again to Moebius Models for providing this great kit for review and thanks also to IPMS/USA for giving me the chance to review it.