I wanted to take some time and post a review of the Samurai Monkey Atmospheric Booster display base kit. Despite my involvement in the Booster itself (I cast some of them) I was no more involved in this kit then any of you were, so when the postings went up I ordered and waited with baited breath. This base is supposed to be a display piece for the booster and a later add on for the launch vehicle. My kit arrived last week, and I was thrilled…thrilled enough that I wanted to share my thoughts.
John has a knack for realism. He must spend a lot of time around real mechanical equipment, because he just seems to have a way of making something unreal look feasible. I first saw this skill in the Legioss. Lots of people loved the kit for lots of reasons, but what struck me most was how it suddenly looked like something based on reality instead of a cartoon. John again uses that knack on the base. In fact, when I first heard he was doing the base for the launch vehicle separately I was under whelmed. I’m impatient by nature and it was the big truck I wanted. While I still want the truck, it was seeing this baby with so many tiny details that soothed my impatience. You see…the base isn’t just a stand now…its something that enhances the VF1 booster…and to me, makes it look real. They say the devil is in the details…well…then John got devilish with this baby!
Take for example the base. Its fairly simple..and only visible in a couple grainy cells in the cartoon…and a couple bad line arts. Obviously the time was put into the mecha…not the arm in the art books. So…if it had been up to me I would have slapped a simple base together and called it a day. Not John. (Note…mine would have also been shapped similarly to a piece of 2X4 cut on a band saw! J ) John went and added weld lines to all the joints. His lines are really cool, and I’m not exactly sure how attained….but I can already see how just this little detail will make the kit come to life. Now, a little oil wash, some well placed rust marks and this base turns into a well used piece of equipment. Less technical then the Valkyrie it supports, it’s meant to be functional and last….what a cool little detail that came from that devilish mind!
These details continue throughout the kit. My next favorite is the “nose” or end of the ramp. To my knowledge this isn’t visible anywhere. Again, I would have slapped a beam in place and called it a day…not John. His mind brought to life a functional piece of equipment. This base has to launch a rocket…it needs to move, adjust the rockets angle, and then drop out of the way…so he added a separation point into the end of the ramp, and then detailed the hinged tip that I can just picture adjusting the angle of the Booster, then dropping away as it launches. Other items of note range from the rivet markings across the arms and barrels, the very functional design and explanation for the whole base rotation and the incredibly detailed angle actuators. (these babies go all the way down to the collared swivel connector with three heavy attachment points! Wow! I would have glued to pieces of PVC together and called it a day! ) All in all..the design that went into the kit is another John masterpiece. Every angle seems accurate, so piece out of place.
So…what have I forgotten…oh yeah, how about the kit itself. I spent so much time ogling the design I forgot about the quality of the kit. Here is where John ticks me off. I have learned to cast over the past 3+ years. I like to think I learn something new every time I do a project. Well…I just learned from this kit that John knows a hell of a lot more about casting then I do! The pieces are, well perfect. Seam lines are invisible. Bubbles are non-existent. The pieces are sharp, and impressive. I really don’t think it’s fair that all this talent gets hoarded in one source! J
The kit comes with 12 pieces; some wires and some screws in a nice box with cover art and a well-done set of instructions. Assembly seems straightforward with lots of room for customization. The resin used in the kit is a heavy dense blue resin. Some sanding revealed it to be very dense with no internal air bubbles that I sanded into. (This is great news for model buildup speed) The resin itself, John tells me, is a special mixture meant to hold up the weight of the booster without bending… SUPER COOL! ) I can only imagine how he was able to work so well with this stuff…I have to imagine it’s a real goo compared to the viscous stuff I use! I am very happy with this purchase…so much so that I decided to start building mine now. Stay tuned for my buildup…and please wish me luck!
Hope this review is helpful.
First...a finished product (John Mosacto's demonstrator)
Edited by Myersjessee, 05 December 2004 - 12:22 AM.