Friday 1 August 2014

Colonial Viper Mk II - Long live Dutch toy stores!

While on vacation in The Netherlands, I was pleasantly surprised to see some toy stores still carry a nice complement of modelling stuff, albeit mostly limited to Revell kits and paint.

When I was a kid, you could find at least SOME models in most toy stores or general stores with at least a toy department (Blokker, Christiaensen, even supermarkets like Colruyt!). I knew of only ONE specialty store that only had model trains, plastic kits and RC cars.

Right now - at least in Belgium - model kits and supplies are only found in specific hobby stores, the number of which is unfortunately dwindling fast and only large chains seem to survive (and the odd little shop blessed with a big fixed clientele, I guess). Webshops are the way of the future, or maybe just the only way to survive without the fixed cost of an expensive storefront in a city center.

Luckily, a visit to Sluis in Holland showed me that my childhood favourite occupation - browsing a toy store and picking up one after another model - is still a possibility. No webshop can give me that same feeling, browsing through the boxes, picking one up, turning it over, ... Ah, that cardboard smell!

I quickly found the kit I wasn't even looking for. I usually just pick up one after another until some outside force makes the decision for me. I already have the Moebius Battlestar Galactica and the Viper Mark VII, both bought online together to reduce shipping costs. I regretted afterwards not including the Mark II, but here it was, and now I have it.

Now, you may say "That's not the Moebius kit, it says Revell!". You would be right up to a point. If my information is correct (and I do believe it is), the Revell kits of this particular line (BSG) are the same kits from Moebius. Revell just got the manufacturing and distribution rights for Europe. The plastic is identical : same sprues, same parts.

The difference lies in the instructions and decal sheet. I don't know why Revell bothered to completely redo the instructions in their own style, but having now seen the Moebius instructions, I might understand why they considered them not up to their standard.
The decal sheet is very similar, but NOT identical. Revell has their own printing company, but this shouldn't pose a problem, as I don't recall ever having difficulties with Revell's decals.

A considerable advantage for this kit is having 2 completely independent instruction sheets, where one might be clearer than the other in some aspects of the build. Another is to have Revell's colour callout and Moebius's Testors matches. I use neither brand, but this might make it easier to find the right match.

So, with this kit added to the stash and the Chinook nearing completion, I can announce the next project on the bench : a side-by-side build of the Colonial Vipers, mark II and VII.

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