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Reviews of two Star Wars Commemorative model kits:
the Darth Vader model kit and the All-Terain Scout Transport (also known as the Chicken Walker) model kit
review by Archie Waugh
Models and Miniatures
Strange New Worlds  Issue 11 - December 1993

With the fifteenth anniversary of Star Wars behind us and rumors of new Star Wars movies ahead, ERTL/MPC has re-released several Star Wars model kits. These "Commemorative Editions" are reproductions of the original kits with the original packaging. The market value of sealed, original kits has soared, so these affordable kits offer you the chance to actually build some of those valuable models you have stored away!

Darth Vader Model Kit

Probably the most marketed character of Star Wars is arch-villain Darth VaderTM. He can be found embodied as anything from a small action figure to a large doll, not to mention posters, statuettes and table lamps! ERTL/MPC’s version of Darth Vader (stock #8154) is most pleasing. He is posed in action mode, not in the usual static, Oscar-like stance. Clutching his lightsaberTM in his movable arm, Vader is lunges forward as if in battle. The eleven-inch, black plastic figure is easy to assemble. As a special bonus, the lightsaber and visor eyes are made of glow-in-the-dark plastic.

Painting this model is a little tricky. The box cover illustration is totally incorrect, so you must consult stills or the movies for correct painting guides. Normally I dislike unpainted plastic on models, but since much of Vader’s costume in the films is made of plastic, the natural color of the kit can be utilized. To achieve the various shades and textures of black, paint as follows:

Gloss black - Darth’s helmet, raised ridges on the breast plate, boots, and kneepads.

Flat black - Darth’s cape (inside and out) and the cloth-textured area of his tunic (including the flaps that extend down and back below the belt)

Leave the head, groin, legs, gloves, lightsaber handle, and all quilted areas natural plastic

The instrumentation panels on his chest and waist are incorrectly painted on the box. Use the accompanying illustration as a guide. (Note: Vader’s costume details on these areas change slightly from movie to movie. I show them here as they appear in the first film.)

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The plastic of the lightsaber blade had bubbles visible inside; a light sanding will obscure these and create a less shiny appearance. I debated whether to use the glow-in-the-dark eyepiece, as it looks whitish-green. Darth’s eyes usually look black, but you can occasionally spot them glowing a faint red. But I decided the novelty value outweighed accuracy. As the instructions indicate, you may need to test-fit and trim the eyepiece before cementing. After gluing the eyepiece in place and cementing the two halves of the head together, paint the tips of the protrusions on either side of the mouthpiece silver.

The finished model is quite dramatic. You should display your Vader figure in a well-lit location to "charge" the glowing parts for night viewing.

All-Terrain Scout Transport Model Kit

The Star Wars AT-ST (All-Terrain Scout Transport) is featured in Return of the Jedi; it also made a cameo appearance (in a more rounded form) in the Hoth battle scene in The Empire Strikes Back. Popularly known as the "chicken-walker" due to its back-jointed legs and fowl-like movements, the AT-ST model (stock #8734) is a snap-together kit. A child can easily assemble this kit. Although the legs are unmovable, the body swivels on the carriage. The body also has swiveling gun turrets and a functioning hatch. Unfortunately, there is no tiny Chewbacca peeking out!

The spaceships and vehicles of the Star Wars universe were revolutionary; George Lucas insisted everything in these movies must have a "lived-in look." There’s none of the glossy Star Trek look here. To achieve the proper battered texture, the use of an airbrush is almost essential.

Assemble the body as one unit, and the legs and carriage as another. Use cement except where parts are supposed to move, such as the hatch. Do not attach the underbelly gun unit until after painting.

For the body, start with a base coast of flat gray, then airbrush a translucent coat of flat white over top. To add "dirtiness," lightly dust with flat black, adding a little airbrush "splurt" here and there to simulate battle damage. Then spray the entire leg and carriage assembly flat black, as well as the underbelly gun unit.

Give a final dusting of silver to all parts to give the model a slight metallic look, then snap them together. To add color, I added a tiny dot of gloss orange to the tip of each gun, then overcoated that with a dot of turn-signal amber metallic paint. The finished model, at 6-1/2 inches tall, is tiny but ready for action! l

Shop online for Star Wars models:


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Browse for Star Wars merchandise online:

bulletAction Figures:
bulletNew Star Wars figures (
bulletStar Wars Posters:
bulletModel Kits:


bulletStar Wars Store at has vehicles, movie prop replicas, action figures, toys, games, costumes, LEGO, DVDs, books, more
bullet Star Wars Comics from Things From Another Worlds, also has apparel models, toys, books, DVDs and more.
In this issue:
We don't get no respect
History of Comics Industry
Elfquest, Indy Success Story
The Comics / SF Connection
Star Trek Comics
Comics by Star Trek Actors
Displaying your collectibles
Star Wars Models
Kids and the Fan Parent
Reviews : Alien Nation books
Review: History of SF Comics

Other back-issues:
SNW Issue 14
SNW Issue 13
SNW Issue 12
SNW Issue 11
SNW Issue 10
SNW Issue 09
SNW Issue 08
SNW Issue 04


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Classic Plastic
Model Kits:
& Value Guide

by Rick Polizzi


Issue 11 ã 1993 by Strange New Worlds. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior express written consent of the Publisher. All rights reserved. All materials are believed accurate, but we cannot assume responsibility for their accuracy or application. We do not endorse any products or services advertised in this publication.

STAR TREK TM & ã Paramount Pictures.

STAR WARS is a registered trademark of LucasFilms, Ltd. (LFL)


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