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Polar Lights Wicked Witch of the West

RELATED TOPICS: REVIEW | DIORAMAS | MOVIES
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Polar Lights’ Wicked Witch of the West from “The Wizard of Oz” has been on my most-wanted kit list since I saw it at a hobby show a couple of years ago. At that time, the company planned to release it as a plastic kit. Instead, it went with resin, which proved a great choice for producing detail and ease of construction.

The kit’s quality is noticeable in the packaging, with a sturdy flip-top box decorated on the top and sides by stills from the movie to refer to during painting. Inside, the parts are cushioned by a die-cut foam liner, so there’s no worry about broken parts. The kit includes optional hands and a broom for an alternate display.

Cast in white resin the parts are nearly perfect straight from the box, showing only minor mold seams. A couple minutes of scraping and sanding and the parts are ready for painting. The sculpting is terrific; I held the finished model up to photos from the movie and the resemblance is spot-on.

The kit designers made life easy, keying the parts so alignment is a snap and making sure each assembly is snug. It also means you can paint the parts before assembly. I cleaned all of the resin parts with degreaser, then sprayed them with a light coat of primer.

I thought the base looked a little plain, so I pre-shaded the joins between the plates with flat black. A coat of light tan came next, followed by green and yellow washes.

The hardest part of the project turned out to be the vignette that fits inside the crystal ball. Highly detailed and roughly 1/48 scale, it’s the centerpiece of the scene — so a little extra effort here really pays off. I painted Dorothy and her companions with Vallejo acrylics.

I sprayed the crystal ball’s base and the display’s nameplate with aged bronze, then sponged on brass Rub ’n Buff for an antique metallic sheen.

I brush-painted the flying monkey with Vallejo gaming colors and washes. The little guy is complicated, but the part breakdown eases painting and assembly.

Finally, I was ready to paint the main attraction, the Wicked Witch. I started with a base coat of Humbrol yellow green on her face and hands, then added shading and detailing with artist’s oils and pastels. I sprayed her costume with dark gray primer, then darkened shadows with flat black. After some quick masking, I sprayed the cumberbund and hat band with semigloss black for contrast.

This is one of the best resin kits I’ve built. It will appeal to fans of “The Wizard of Oz” as well as to monster modelers. The scale and subject fit right into the pantheon of old Aurora figures.

I spent about 30 hours on it, most of that painting, and had a lot of fun. I’d love to build another and add a back wall to the scene and some fiber-optic lighting to the crystal ball.

A version of this review appeared in the March 2016 issue.

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