AMT/Ertl’s Star Wars Episode 1 STAP with improved Battle Droid
(STAPs’ initial assembly and pre-painting)
Now that the Droids were finished, I turned my attention to the STAPs. As I mentioned earlier, due to the different colors found on the STAPs, I decided it would be easier to paint them first before assembling them.
There were several exceptions to this, however. The first were the STAPs’ handle bar assemblies. The two halves of each handlebar were glued together, with the associated seams cleaned up.
The second exception was the wing of the STAPs. There were two panels that fit into two indentions on the top of each wing. For some reason or another, these wings had not just been molded as one piece. I re-visited my friend Mr. Zap-A-Gap, using him to fill in these seams. In addition, I again used the Kicker to speed up the process. (Much later, I realized that this may have been unnecessary, since these indentions may indeed been correct….Oh well!)
The pedals - (I mean the tops of the “footlocks”) - were then worked on. The 3 pin-ejection marks found on each one was filled in (again with Zap-A-Gap) and sanded smooth.
Ok, onto the painting. All parts that needed to be painted Gunmetal were done so. (Again, M. M. enamel was used). This included the lower portion of the footlocks along with the 4 swivel mechanism parts.
The 2 halves of the gun barrels were then worked on. First, I carefully removed the alignment pins and holes found at the openings of the guns.
Then, I moved onto painting their interiors. I wanted to try to simulate a bluish hue glow inside these guns. To do this, M. M. Silver was first air brushed onto the inner halves, followed by air brushing Tamiya Clear Blue (X-23) on.
When the Tamiya paint had dried, the two halves of the gun barrels were glued together using the liquid cement. The seams were then cleaned up.
Next, I moved onto the painting the main color of the STAPs. According to the instructions, the STAPs were to be painted Rust. I decided to try to lighten up M. M.’s Rust a bit, since it appeared to be too dark when compared to reference material I had obtained. I started with M. M.’s Rust as a base, adding varying amounts of M. M. Radome Tan (FS 33613) and Yellow until I came up with a nice, chocolaty color.
The STAPs’ upper assembly, the assembled guns, the footlocks, the wings, the halves of the STAPs’ main body and several other miscellaneous parts were all painted my custom Rust/Radome Tan/Yellow color.
When dry, the ridge area found on the very top of the STAP was masked off and air brushed M. M. Gun Metal, followed by lightly dry-brushing Silver on. In addition, the parts which had previously been painted Gunmetal were dry-brushed M. M. Silver. Silver was also air brushed onto the four handle bar attachments.
Next, the middle ring of the guns were masked off and painted Silver, followed by lightly air brushing the guns’ openings Flat Black.
The ends of the handlebars were masked off and painted M. M. Gunship Gray, (deviating from the suggested Flat Black color). Afterwards, M. M. Silver was very carefully hand painted onto the handle bar’s “break levers.” Next, the Silver painted pieces were attached to the inner portion of the handle bar sub-assemblies.
Construction then moved over to the engines, (or maybe I should say the “drive turbines”). The 2 end attachments were glued in place.
I wanted to try to simulate a realistic “flame” look on their openings. I started off by masking the center and edges of the engin….uh, “drive turbine” openings. Silver was carefully air brushed onto the middle unmasked areas. Following this, Tamiya Clear Yellow (X-24) was carefully air brushed over the silver, followed by air brushing Tamiya Clear Red (X-27) on. The masking tape was removed when the paint had dried.
(STAPs’ final construction and weathering)
Once the individual parts composing the STAP were painted, I went on to their final assembly. First, the guns were glued onto the upper portion of the STAP. Next, the handle bar sub-assemblies were glued to the same upper STAP assembly. Due to the way the kit was designed, it was very hard to determine the correct position and downward tilt of the hand bars before gluing them in place. As it turned out, I ended up gluing them too high, which later prevented the top of the STAP from fitting down snugly over the lower portion. Also, the handlebars were tilted too far downward, which later made it very difficult attaching the Droids’ hands on. (Oh well, again….)
The 2 upper STAP parts were then glued together, sandwiching the guns and handlebars found in between them. Following this, the 2 pivot pieces (Parts 62 and 63) were attached to the bottom of the upper STAP assembly. The 4 swivel mechanism parts (58 through 61) were then placed in their correct positions. They didn’t need to be glued in place. These parts are “functional,” allowing the top portion of the STAP to move up and down, (which is good). However, the associated rubbing of the parts ended up scraping off much of the paint, (which was bad).
The sandwiching right and left halves of the middle STAP were then glued together. I was a bit disappointed with the resulting fit. Seams were detectable. Because these parts were so large, it was difficult applying the liquid cement to all connecting surface areas and attaching them together before a lot of the glue had dried. I ended up filling in the seams with some Zap-A-Gap - (what else?) - after the glue had set. Afterwards, the two “drive turbines” were glued in place.
Bringing up the rear - (or maybe I should say “bottom”) - was the attachment and gluing of the lower STAP “wing.” Since there existed a noticeable gap at the wing’s root and since this seam was pretty large, I decided to use Milliput to fill it.
Milliput is a two-part “cold setting” epoxy putty. When mixed together, it hardens in a matter of hours. A nice characteristic of Milliput is that before it cures, it is water-soluble. This makes it convenient for removing excess putty, along with making it easy to mold the putty in place. After sanding the hardened putty, I was satisfied with the result.
I decided to leave the attachment of the footlocks until last. I did some Rust paint touch ups on the STAPs, along with masking off the lower indented area found on the front of each STAP and air brushed M. M. Flat Black on. M. M. Silver was lightly dry-brushed onto the swivel parts, covering the paint that had been scraped off. I mixed some M. M. Random Tan into my Rust base coat and came up with a lighter highlight color. I air brushed this color onto the middle panel areas on the STAPs.
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