Saturday, 6 May 2017

Star Wars C-3PO - Bandai 1/12 Scale Model Kit [Unboxing and Pre-Assembly Review]

Any Star Wars fans' droid collection wouldn't be complete without C-3PO. More so with R2-D2 and BB-8 patiently awaiting the protocol droid to join them on the display shelf. And now is a better time than ever to start working on a C-3PO model kit. For the longest time now, the only versions worthy of a place in a discerning hobbyist's collection were from Sideshow Collectibles. And like most Star Wars fans out there, I could never justify expending a severely limited hobby budget on a Sideshow piece. But Bandai's foray into the Star Wars franchise has changed the market dynamics. Retailing at about ¥3780, the Bandai 1/12 scale C-3PO is a wonderfully detailed model kit with huge potential.   

Bandai Star Wars 1/12 scale plastic model kit of C-3PO, protocol droid
C-3PO box art as seen on the sides of the packaging

Potential is the key word here. It's mind blowing to see such high level of movie-accuracy being exhibited  that this model kit's plastic parts exhibit. To get the best out of this kit, it's essential to paint and weather C-3PO so that it reflects the signature Star Wars universe 'used-and-worn-look'. Even if assembled straight-out-of-the-box without any additional work done on it, C-3PO will still look good albeit in a toy action figure kind of way. So the model kit caters to hobbyists at different skill levels.

Bandai C-3PO assembly and decal instructions, front and back cover
Assembly instructions for C-3PO: while visually clear, a scan using Google Translate App is recommended

Most striking to the eye is the gold (and silver) chrome-like plated parts. This is advantageous to beginner hobbyists as well as budget conscious veterans in that no gold/silver paints will be required. The caveat being that if you choose to weather the assembled model kit then extra care will be required to prevent the gold/silver plating from stripping off. In the future, I'll be conducting tests to see how resistant the gold/silver plating is to weathering chemicals such as oils, enamels and acrylics.

Sprue A: Abdominal section plus innards, eyes, and miscellaneous parts
Sprue B1: Head, torso, arms, pelvic, thigh, etc.
Sprue B2, B4, B5, B6, B7, B8: Arms, hands, legs, feet, etc.
Sprue B3: Silver leg/foot, and exposed back panel

Another great thing about this model kit are the options available for building the specific version of C-3PO that you want to mimic from the movies. Among these optional parts are a dented or normal droid head; chest plates with or without a restraining bolt; and photo-receptors that fit normally into or dangle out from the eye sockets. In addition, the various arm/leg joints available from the sprues suggest that the Bandai C-3PO is going to be reasonably articulated. At least well enough for the protocol droid to move his arms and legs in the stiff robotic manner as seen in the movies. 

Sprue PCF-6AC: Internal joints to enable articulation of C-3PO
Sprue SWB3: A simple black base for C-3PO
Water decals (left) and stickers (right) for the C-3PO plastic model kit

Both the water decals and stickers available for this C-3PO plastic model kit conforms to Bandai's usual high standards. That being said, I feel for the most part it's still better to paint the parts than to use decals/stickers. There are times when decals would do the job perfectly - in C-3PO's case that would be the photo-receptor (eye) decals. However, areas like the wiring on his abdominal section and gold plating on his palms will be better off getting a paint job as it'll look far more realistic. All in all, this is a great kit from Bandai and one that does justice to C-3PO and the Star Wars franchise.


  1. Replies
    1. I agree. Bandai did yet another fantastic job with this Star Wars model kit.

  2. This will be another great project I am sure. :)

  3. What a model, what a project...What a pressure!

    1. Ha ha ... so true. It's a pressure to make Bandai's model kit to look good.

  4. another great model awaits for you!
    waiting to see more!

    1. Thanks Luca for following my progress on this new project!


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