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Moebius Models 1/4105 scale Battlestar Galactica

Kit:942 // Scale:1/4105 // Price:$69.99
Moebius Models
Great surface detail; solid construction; blows old Monogram kit out of the stars; bonus Ralph McQuarrie print
Nose and bridge not quite right; minor fit issues
Injection-molded, 90 parts, decals
In 1978, I longed for anything that would sate the science-fiction hunger brought on by “Star Wars.” Enter TV’s “Battlestar Galactica.” Yeah, it was campy and silly (and having watched it again recently, it definitely doesn’t stand the test of time), but the ships were cool — especially the titular vessel. The long reptilian lines, the massive size, and the surface festooned with detail — I had to build one.

Unfortunately, Monogram’s kit proved a letdown, marked by poor shapes and an overall lack of detail.
Turn the clock forward 36 years and I finally have a Galactica worthy of the name. Molded in white plastic, Moebius’ 1/4105 scale offering — the odd number matches Monogram’s box-scale kit — looks like the filming miniature.

The surface is covered in lumps, bumps, and lines, and is sharp enough that you can recognize components of the kits the model makers used to build the original. There are a couple of inaccuracies, most notably the bridge and the raised area in front of it. Both look wider on screen, and the raised protrusion should slope down at about the same angle as the surrounding hull rather than running parallel to the centerline.

The thick parts fit together with large posts inside that make for solid assemblies. But I found it helpful to clean up the inside of the locator holes for easier fits. Worried about the heavy parts staying together, I used Testors Liquid Cement, the kind with the precision applicator, for most of the construction. I squeezed it along the mating surfaces as well as the interior posts and holes. Rubber bands held everything tight as the glue set.

Assembly moves quickly through the subassemblies — bow, center hull, keel, engines section, and flight bays — but keep an eye on alignment and dry-fit everything before committing glue.

I had trouble getting the bow rear bulkhead (Part 29) to fit, and it sits a fraction too low. Awkward filling and sanding is required to clean up the sides.

The hull sides (parts 6 and 7) wanted to bow out. I trimmed the notches on the hull top (Part 4) until they fit flush.

Where the four parts of the landing bays come together to form the entrance, they refused to meet at the corners. I aligned the edges on the taper, then filled the gaps with scraps of styrene and putty. The matte paintings to detail the landing bays are a nice touch, especially since the openings — barely 1/4" — make the interior well nigh impossible to see.

I filled gaps under the bow, on the landing bay arms, around the engine-detail panels, and along the hull edges, with super glue or putty. None are major, but even the thinnest gaps will be obvious under white paint.

I assembled the ship but left the clear engine insert (Part 87) and the engine panel (Part 10) loose for painting.
I was skeptical of the kit’s painting instruction — spray the entire ship with gray primer, then mist on white — which is designed to replicate the show’s lighting effects. But it worked well, making the detail pop.

The thin decals stuck well over a coat of clear gloss, but you’ll definitely need setting solution to get them to lay down over the lumpy detail. Also, the hull striping is referred to by a single number, but the stripes are broken into individual stripes on the decal sheet. Besides Galactica, the sheet covers seven battlestars mentioned in the original series.

I spent about 15 fun hours building this blast of a kit. The result is the scaled-down Galactica I’ve been looking forward to since 1978. Challenges easy to overcome make this a kit novices can tackle. For advanced builders, it’s a great platform for superdetailing and lighting.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the January 2015 FineScale Modeler.
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