Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Star Wars BB-8 & R2-D2 - Bandai 1/12 Scale Model Kit [Unboxing and Pre-Assembly Review]

Known for its impressive details, the Bandai Star Wars product line did not disappoint in this regard when producing the BB-8 and R2-D2 model kits. Strangely enough, despite being a fan since the very beginning I've never owned any of collectible of the franchise's most iconic droids i.e. R2-D2 and C-3PO (and now BB-8 for the younger generation). They were either badly detailed or when done well, extremely expensive. It has taken me 40 years to get my hands on a R2-D2 model that is both appropriately priced and detailed. Granted I'll have to assemble and paint him but that's just gives me better control over the final piece. And then there is BB-8 ... pure icing on the cake. 

Bandai 1/12 scale plastic model kits of BB-8 and R2-D2
Box art and photos found on the sides of the packaging

Photos on the sides of the box packaging give a hint of the tremendous potential inherent in both model kits. It's so detailed that Bandai has even included arm extensions for BB-8 (e.g. the mini-blow torch arm and slot for memory drive) and R2-D2 (e.g. the computer interface arm, grasping arm, power charge arm, lubricant application arm, scanner antenna, buzz-saw arm and extendible auxiliary visual imaging system). This allows for numerous pose variations for those seeking to build a diorama. For now, I'll build vanilla versions of both droids that excludes the arm extensions.  

Bandai BB-8 and R2-D2 assembly and decal instructions, front and back cover
Part of the Japanese instructions for BB-8 and ...
... R2-D2 (both of which can be reasonably translated using the Google Translate app)

Both droids come with 'colour-moulded' parts for those of you who do not want to go through the trouble of painting them. That is okay if you are fine with a plasticky toy-like look as your end result. However if you are looking for a more realistic finish there is no avoiding weathering/painting the parts or at the very least coat them with a layer of semi-gloss or flat clear coat. 

Sprue A: R2-D2's blue and gold bits plus his all important primary photoreceptor lens
Sprue B1: R2-D2's main body and appendages
Sprue C1: R2-D2's metal parts and mini-gadgets

I could go on and on about the movie-accurate parts but actually one minor detail is what truly made this model kit's potential come alive as it were, i.e. the tinted plastic photoreceptor lenses. Bandai's own little touch of genius goes to show they have put serious thought into handing modellers the necessary building blocks from which to create a movie-accurate mini version of the real thing.      

Sprue E: BB-8's core and metal parts
Sprue D: BB-8's orange and white body shell, base, photoreceptor lens as well as mini-gadgets
Sprue SWB3: Bases for both BB-8 and R2-D2
Stickers (left) and water decals (right) for both BB-8 and R2-D2

Once finished, BB-8 is heading for the missus's office cubicle while R2-D2 will likely be destined for my personal collection. My first Star Wars droids. Can't wait to get started.



  1. Replies
    1. BB-8 certainly has the potential to become an iconic legend in the Star Wars canon.

  2. Really looking forward to these.

  3. I'm looking forward to seeing you build these droids!

    1. Thanks Thomas ... I'm always getting inspired by your own Star Wars masterpieces.

  4. You are on fire! Looking forward to these!

  5. These look cool. Will be nice when they are done.

    1. They are cool especially with Bandai's level of detail. Let's hope they will turn out nicely in the end.


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