Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing - Tatiana's Vanship and Fam’s Vespa
I like sci-fi and weird designs, so this Hasegawa Vanship, from their Creator Works series, was right up my alley. I had never heard of this model, however after a quick Google search, I found out that it’s the “fighter” ship for a hotshot pilot from the 2011 anime series Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing, a follow up to the 2003 anime series, Last Exile. I did find the series on Comcast’s Infinity and watched a couple episodes to try and get some context. Obviously, I need to see the rest of the series but the first few shows were good, so when I get time I’ll finish the rest.
Moving on to what is in the box, you get 82 parts for the Vanship in red, grey and clear plastic and 32 pieces for the Vespa in light grey and clear. The parts are cleanly molded with no visible ejector marks or sink marks. One of the first things I noticed was a nice insert with drawings of the crew members: Tatiana and her copilot, and Fam and Giselle. These are in the typical black and white manga style and are very nice. The other side of the insert has a neat drawing of a Vanship with the engine panel opened up (queue the detailed diorama makers) and another of a ship that is being recovered after suffering horrific damage. There are a couple other drawings and what looks like some info on building the models, but since it is all in Japanese, I’m just guessing here.
The instructions come with some lovely color profiles with five six-view options for the Vanship and four three-view options for the Vespa. I went with the hero versions, but decals are included for all of them. There is also a small color shot for detail painting the figures.
The options are limited to flying mode or sitting on the ground. There are some slight changes to depict them flying, and stands are included in clear plastic. One of the really neat options for the Vanship is that the stand connects to the tail wheel assembly in flying mode. The tail wheel assembly is provided twice, once molded in clear with a stand attachment protrusion for the flying version, and again in grey plastic without the stand protrusion for the landed option.
I decided immediately to go for the two hero options from the show, so I left the Vanship in its bare red plastic. This would come back to haunt me later, and I really should have primed the ship. This would be especially true if you were going with one of the other color options.
After some hemming and hawing, I decided to depict the Vanship landed and the Vespa flying. One reason for this choice was that the figures of Tatiana and her Vanship copilot have solid helmets, whereas the show has them in a full clear faceplate. The figures were probably a little small to try and do this in 1/72.
The Vanship builds up fairly quickly, and the fuselage parts have an overlap that hides the seam. I used no putty at all during construction. I tried to keep some of the parts as subassemblies to ease painting, but the design makes that a little awkward. The spats have a brace much like a biplane, and the Claudia propulsion units don’t have the strongest fit. I added the long engine parts after decaling to keep them out of the way, but I think I may need to go back and use some epoxy for a stronger fit.
The Vespa was a different story. There are only a few parts, but with a lot of them requiring insertion between the side halves the assembly was fun. This and the parts are tiny. The instructions show putting the two figures in after the bike is complete, but when I test fitted the Giselle figure did not want to slide past the sidewalls. So, I had a forced change of plans and made this one gear down as well. As a side note, the figures are small with multiple parts, especially Fam and Giselle.
With the relatively painless build out of the way, all I had left to do were the decals. As we’ve all heard, Hasegawa makes their decals a little too thick and that works just fine for most of the build. The white decals for the spats, and the stripe behind the engine, are pretty opaque. The problem was the stripe is in three pieces, each side and a small bit to wrap over the engine hinge. No matter what solvent I put on the stripe decals, I could not get them to cooperate and ended up just painting that bit white. It was the same with the decal that wraps around the rear, which I did get on but shows a few wrinkles. The Vespa also has decals that go along the sides, but there are just too many curves to the parts they are applied to. In the end, I took them off. There are also a lot of little decals with symbols and stencils that probably say “No Step,” but look like they are in Russian, so who knows. I only applied a few of these.
There you have it, a nice sci-fi kit of something you probably won’t see too much of outside Japan. And it is produced by Hasegawa no less. They have a couple other sci-fi kits in their Creator Works series that have caught my interests after this enjoyable build. The price is a bit steep, as seems to be the norm with Hasegawa kits now, but you can find it at a discount. If you want to add one to your collection, I say go for it.
Thanks to Hobbico and IPMS/USA for the review kit.