Revell Colonial Viper Mk.II

Beautiful Sci-Fi “what-if” Scale Model Viper by Steve Evans


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Battlestar Galactica is an American military science fiction television series, and part of the Battlestar Galactica franchise. The show was developed by Ronald D. Moore and executive produced by Moore and David Eick as a re-imagining of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica television series created by Glen A. Larson. The pilot for the series first aired as a three-hour miniseries (comprising four broadcast hours in two parts) in December 2003 on the Sci-Fi Channel, which was then followed by four regular seasons, ending its run on March 20, 2009. This model represents one of the defenders of Battlestar Galactica in U.S. Navy colors.


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Image: Steve Evans, the author

U.S. Navy Battlestar Galactica Viper: Sometimes it’s good to do something just for fun. This hobby can be very serious at times, with accuracy issues and getting exactly the right shade of paint and wondering if that row of rivets is in the right place. This can make it all a bit less than the relaxing pastime it’s supposed to be.

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The world of “What-If?” is probably something we have all dabbled in every now and then so why not go back to it once in a while to re-charge those overworked batteries and forget about any kind of accuracy for a bit?

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In this case, it’s a kind of double what if, not only with the Galactica theme of the Viper but backdating it to a U.S. Navy idea as well. Talking of ideas, I have to admit that this isn’t an original idea from me but from a chap called B.J Olejnik who does some wonderful artwork of just this kind of glorious madness. Linked with the ideas and excellent art of Bill Clave for even more inspiration, then once I had the Viper kit in my hands I knew just what I was going to do.

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Image: the author
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Talking about the kit, what do you get in the chunky-looking box? Well, there are 6 sprues of white plastic, one of transparent parts, including the stand, a very nice looking decal sheet, and the 12-page instruction book.

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The plastic is reasonably well-formed, with a bit of flash to take care of and the surface detail is limited to a few deep panel lines. The cockpit interior is ok, although it’s a bit basic you get lots of decals to put in there to brighten it up. You also get two pilot figure torsos, one for Apollo and one for Starbuck.

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The clear parts are very clear indeed, which is good because the canopy is quite large on this one, whilst the detail on the stand is good too, with the Galactica-type moldings.

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The instruction book has 5 pages of construction diagrams spread over 25 stages. Each had the usual Revell paint indicators and scrap views pointing out important bits along the way. As you can imagine, with only 59 parts in the whole box it’s never going to get that complicated, which is, of course, the whole point of this kind of kit which is probably aimed at the younger end of the market.

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The decal sheet has all you need for two versions of the Viper, with lots of stencils and interior dials and things as well as the stripes for the wings and fuselage. The matching painting guide in the instructions is also very well drawn and is quite precise as to what goes where.

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The interior is surprisingly spacious for a spaceship fighter-type thing and there are some neat-looking consoles, with a control column and throttle lever. However, as I had plans to do a strange backdated version, I opted to retro-fit the cockpit.

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Hunting about in the spares box soon turned up the perfect addition in the shape of an Eduard 1/32 F-86F pre-painted cockpit set, or most of it anyway. The main instrument panel and the side consoles were all there and with the addition of a WWII-style seat harness and some careful painting, it really looked the part.

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As mentioned, in the box the decal is sheet is a comprehensive collection of markings and stencils, allowing one of two machines to be built. I used a lot of the stencil data ones, but the rest went into the spares box. Which is where, of course, the rest of the markings came from. A quick hunt about in the stash had a workable set of decals, most of which came from the Fightertown decals sheet for the F-14 Tomcat #48049 “VF-84 Victory In The Storm”.

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These decals are thin and slightly glossy, with good register and colors. They work very nicely with Microscale decal solutions and there are 5 machines on the sheet to choose from, each with its own character and a good spread of the colors and markings, as worn by this iconic and utterly gorgeous aircraft.

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Revell give this kit a 3 on their skill rating scale. This means it’s a little more complicated than some but it’s still pretty easy. That just about sums it up as far as the casual builder goes but that simple breakdown actually makes it more involved for the serious builder because we like to finish things to a much higher level.  It needs some tender loving care around the joints and the rather plain exterior benefits a great deal from having the extra detail added.

All in all, I really enjoyed the whole, rather different, experience and I would like to refer you to my opening sentence: sometimes it’s good to do something just for fun.

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