Saturday, 7 April 2018

Star Wars AT-ST [WIP - Pilots / Drivers]

What was Bandai thinking, molding a rigid looking pair of AT-ST pilots/drivers to accompany their 1/48 scale AT-ST model kit. Any form of dynamic pose - e.g. having one of them reach for a side control panel - would've made a lot more sense. The alternative was to use a Chewie figurine provided in the kit but I wanted this version to resemble one under the control of the Galactic Empire as opposed to the walker co-opted by Ewoks and the Wookie in Return of the Jedi. So I proceeded to paint them with gritted teeth in the hope it will all come good ... eventually.

AT-ST pilot/driver (to be seated on the right) work-in-progress
AT-ST pilot/driver (to be seated on the left) work-in-progress

Apart from the pilots' face, visor and helmet strap, everything else was painted using lacquer paints. This I usually wouldn't do. But with Bandai's color guide referencing only GSI Creos Mr Color lacquer paints, combined with the fact I'm itching to use my new airbrush setup - something I'm doing only with lacquer paints for now - I used Mr Color paints on the figurines.   

Visually there isn't any distinguishing feature between either pilots/drivers
Figures received a combination of lacquer and acrylic paints via airbrush and hand brush

Because the pilots will largely be hidden from view in the final build, I kept things simple with any depth provided only by a wash which was applied after a protective clear coat had been applied over the basecoat of colors. Essentially this is what I did:
  (a) Helmet - Mr Color Khaki Green (054), airbrushed;
  (b) Visor and helmet strep - Vallejo Model Color Black (169), hand painted;
  (c) Skin - Vallejo Model Color Rose Brown (038), Light Flesh (006), flesh wash, hand painted;
  (d) Seat belt straps - Mr Color Dark Green 2 (023), airbrushed;
  (e) Uniform - Mr Color White (001):RLM75 Grey Violet (1:1), a pinch of Black (002), airbrushed;
  (f) Boots and gloves - Mr Color Black (002), hand painted;
  (g) Vallejo Polyurethane Satin Varnish, hand painted;
  (h) Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color - Black:Grey (2:1), hand painted.

Pilots' back weren't well defined paint-wise because they aren't going to be visible in the final build

To give you an idea of how small these 1/48 scale AT-ST pilots/drivers, they were placed next to the same old, same old i.e. a paperclip and a five sen coin. Anyway, do permit me one final rant about these figurines. In addition to how stiff both pilots looked, their proportions were not very good too. Rant over. I'm just hoping they won't look so bad once seated in the assembled cockpit interior. 

Scale comparison using the good old paperclip and five sen coin

There was one other detail that needed sorting out. AT-ST pilots wore uniforms with Galactic Empire insignia patches on both shoulders. Initially I thought I could use the decals provided on the pilots. However, the decals turned out to be too big so I'm guessing these are meant for other uses. As to what those are I have no idea because no visual guide was provided and I can't read the Japanese instructions. In the end I simply doodled an unintelligible design using a 0.05 mm copic multiliner. At this scale and partially hidden from view, I figured that drawing an actual insignia wasn't worth it. 

Choices were to either use decals or doodle the Galactic Empire insignia on the pilots' uniform
But all decals of the Galactic Empire insignia were to big for the uniform's shoulder patch
In the end the 'insignia' was nothing more than a rough doddle with the copic liner

Isolated as they are in the photos above, both pilots are visually boring in the extreme. In theory, they should look much better once seated inside a fully assembled and painted cockpit interior (which you can see in a previous post). That will be determined for sure in the next work-in-progress update post. Until then, thanks so much for taking the time to read this post and enjoy the weekend. Cheers!


  1. That was a brave choice with the insignia, but the right one - great job!

    1. I guess it's a case of letting go. :) Doodling a nonsensical insignia wasn't ideal but it was certainly better than wasting time on something that wasn't going to be very visible.

  2. Nice, very nice! Objective Space now!

  3. Great work Kuan ! Looking forward to more progress !

  4. I feel your pain, but your painting is amazing as always. I‘m looking forward to the completed piece.

    1. You're too kind Moiterei ... thank you, much appreciated.

  5. Those are pretty lackluster figures, but you have done a great job with them.

  6. Wow. Amazing. It's just incredible that you get so much out of them! Bravo!!

    1. Thank you very much Suber. Initially I had ambitious plans for their skin tones but after some time had passed I was like ... meh ... and just painted the bare necessities. :)


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