REVIEW:AMT CORPORATE ALLIANCE DROID from SFMuk Admin's blog



I don't know who runs the world per se, (as opposed to bacteria). But one look at the annual Forbes 100 often gives you a small insight at the diverse groups of power and influence to ideologies and industry regions. Okay, that's probably a heavy opening for a meagre model review, but as we know, life has an all important eco system, and the tampering of which can spell chaos to all, that, as one wide eyed young film-maker once wrote, binds the galaxy together.


Of the many public faces on the rich list, it's interesting to note that said film-maker is in a much higher placing than, say, Steven Spielberg. Curious, when considering that the latter has a huge body of work under his belt, and the former has directed only 6 films in 35 years.


The second interesting facet to note is a quote one can find in the Art of Episode II book. Concept modeller John Goodson's anecdote of - "Its strange to work on a model and later see it as a model kit or toy. On Episode I, we talked about getting ready to see our stuff everywhere, and it was".


I find so much intended in this little quote. Think, a talanted artist, inspired in childhood by the excellence of craftsmanship that went into the design of the original trilogy, and the classic modelling coming of age story it entails. See Star Wars, be amazed, go to shop, buy first sci-fi model, build it, never look back.... and then the eco system of such experiences.


Hit movie, equating to model kits, equating to thousands of kids getting into the hobby and supporting the industry. Most definitely, this second generation of Star Wars designers and artists felt their work would have the same impact and influence their predecessors once had on them, (and us). Even I was expecting a sci-fi modelling explosion as a result.


But, thirty years on, that wide eyed film-maker in charge is a lot different. Less idealistic, more dictatorial and exerting influence on design, tools and industry. It seems he would rather do anything in his power to wreck this eco system...


I am not a fan of 95% of the prequels hardware and look. The choices made by their director should be addressed in such circumstances solely. Sticking two fingers at the intellect of his audience, and deciding that everything in the prequels should be designated basic characteristics, such as Emperor Ming tache and cackle makes a bad guy. Spacehsips and robots too would follow similar parameters. Were we to see life through his own philosophy, one could picture the person responsible as some gluttonous bug eyed morally bankrupt Hutt?


Lastly, judging by the lack of kits from Episode II, (only Fine Molds Jedi starfighter being produced), one can only assume that the contractual obligation AMT signed for Episode I's licence damaged them (and the industry) immensely. And I imagine that the current climate of a barren sci-fi kit world has been influenced fully by that initial deal.


Now, I am in a bit of confusion. A few years back, we were informed AMT were finished with sci-fi, having been taken over by some other corporation, yet with EIII, sundry old Star Wars, and Batman and Trek kits were re-released by AMT. So, AMT are briefly back in the game, but not satisfied with just bringing their sci fi range to near extinction, for EIII, the Hutt threw a new rule into the equation too. AMT were prohibited from selling any of their Star Wars range outside America. And Revell (who also made a line of EIII kits) are prohibited from selling their range in America, which happens to be the biggest single sci-fi market on the globe. Don't even ask me why, because I haven't the foggiest.


As a result, AMT produced four products from EIII for the US market. Two model kits, this Alliance Droid and the EIII Jedi Starfighter, and two Die-Cast vehicles, the Droid Tri-Fighter and I don't know which other. Probably the Jedi Starfighter once more. So regardless of where they are dictated to be sold, we are hardly talking a range here.


The Kit


The Corporate Alliance Droid made its brief 0.2 second appearance in the stinking turd fest that is EIII.


So significant is this vehicle then, that it does not even appear in the Art of EIII book, (more than likely its in the EII book) so why AMT produced it, instead of say, the more interesting Naboo Skiff or Greivois' fighter ship is another behind closed doors unknown.




Being a bad guy ship then, it's a snail on a tank track. Not one to find Snails particularly frightening even once in my life...forgive me if I don't get the point of this. At least put the eyes in a more insectoid location on the body and make them red or evil looking, but nope, it's a snail, and judging by the Hutts sore winner psyche, no doubt if he were to ever catch a re-run of the Magic Roundabout he'd go out of his way to launch a writ against Serge Danot, claiming plagiarism of his ideas for the representation of Brian the Snail, or even more in par with his ways, probably claim that Florence's make-up was ripped off Amidala's EI look... Anyway...




Despite the fact that it's a Droid, the movie depicts this as more of a gunboat piloted by those useless Roger Roger robots, except for the scene where the Wookies attack it, making Tarzan noises, (ooops, did I say Tarzan, writ against Johnny Weismuller's estate also), where it is conveniently droidless so the CGI furballs can blow it up with ease to make a nice trailer spot and pretend to fool the numerous folk that EIII actually had some action in it.




What you get upon opening the box are two kit bags and an instruction sheet. One bag contains the actual track wheel of the vehicle, which is moulded and produced brilliantly and with no flash at all. Only the pins on the inside need to be removed.




The remaining bag contains all the remaining body parts. These too are produced to a superb finish. The side panels, side wheel tracks, sensors and guns all are highly detailed and pleasing in their detail and overall finish.






The cartoony Mr. Magoo eyes of course leave a nasty taste in the mouth, but this is nothing to do with AMT.




Construction is pretty much a breeze. Sadly, one small part busted (this was in transit, and my own fault, and not to do with any outside influence). But this was easily fixed.




There was some small flash in the side wheel holders, but these are easily removable to allot a nice fit.


The part fit of the rest of the model was very easy going.




Once construction was complete, it was off to the paint booth. Although the box art represents something akin to a green tint (possibly camouflage for the Wookie world of Kashyyk?) I went for a dirty white and blue motif much like all Alliance colours. I played around a little with some gunmetal for the weapons and made the eyes a red colour and that felt pretty much complete.






Conclusions


This machine is then a good metaphor to the prequels that spawned it. Stupid, functionless and pointless. Both in design and content. But that's solely down to its creation base.


But as for AMT. This kit represents a lot of what other modellers have stated about their last Trek kits. That they were getting better. The quality of the actual model is of a very high standard. No ill fitting parts, glue suffices nicely and you don't need to hire a welder to stick the parts together, and considering the asymmetrics of the design, nothing goes wrong. I built a similar AMT kit a while ago, with tracks and other similar parts and it was a terrible fit and kit. The quality here is far superior.


From a Star Wars front, I do have affection to AMT's range. I do have a fondness for their quality of plastic over (currently) Revell's line. Revell's Star Wars snap kits (with the exception of the Republic Star Destroyer) are much tougher, and thicker and more toy like, and AMT's kits have always lent themselves to painting much better than the others. It's more workable, and no matter what, I always felt excitement when opening the box for the first time with their kits. This event was no different. I felt sheer joy upon opening the box and taking in the feel and look of the kit parts.


Yes, there are technical battlefronts from all modellers, and that's fine, we are all individuals after all, but at the end of the day, it is the end product that counts. If it looks like what it is supposed to, then that's what matters.


I could not tell you if this kit is 100% accurate, and I don't really care, it does the job.


My point to writing all this is that at the end of the day, I totally love sci fi modelling. Even if I think the subject matter to a particular kit sucks, it does not stop me from supporting my interest, which in turn I hope supports the industry. So even when the biggest name in sci fi flicks tries to strangle the industry with its vile corporate grip, I tend to overlook my personal feelings and just be at one with the model.


My wish is that this is not the end, and that AMT will continue their sci fi line, and not just with re-releases but go further and produce new and more diverse kits. If this kit is any example, then they have the potential to go further and better than before.


On a one to one with it, this kit was very fun, and built nicely, and bypassing any major references, was pleasant to paint and work with. And that's what it's all about, may it long continue.


Thank you for looking and many thanks to ‘BM' for her assistance in obtaining this kit.


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By SFMuk Admin
Added Nov 22 '13

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