The front cockpit “beak” of the Eagle Transporter has some nice detailing on the back wall, which will never really be seen when the kit is complete.However, the design of the beak is such that the back wall could be made detachable. I decided to put a magnet behind the back wall so that I can use that to secure the beak so that it doesn’t fall off. I got these small neodymium magnets in a kit from Lee Valley.I just glued the magnet in place, but to make sure it wouldn’t fall off, I packed in a layer of Milliput around the magnet. For the part the magnet will join to, I cut some plasticard to size, and put a magnet on the other side to mark the plastic with the right location. I want the magnet to just have to grip through one layer of plastic, so I cut a hole in my new plasticard piece, just the right size and in the correct location for the magnet.I built up the sides with more plasticard.I put a back piece on, and filled in the sides and magnet with Milliput. Just to keep this bit tidy (not that it will ever be seen) I covered the Milliput with a small piece of plasticard. With things going so well for the beak, I decided to see if the pod connection could be magnetized. On these pieces you can see the slot where a screw would go to attach the pod. This is accurate to the original Eagle model, but doesn’t look too good. I enlarged the holes to hold some tiny magnets and then filled in the gap and put a thin layer of plasticard top and bottom. On the beak, I started making the section where the magnet would join onto. Here’s the back wall just taped together for fitting. Meanwhile, I started gluing and finishing some of the other kit pieces. These parts are from the landing gear, but their base (see below) comes attached, has a nasty seam line and a diagonal pattern that I cannot see on photos of the original models. I snipped off the top section, and used a layer of filler to cover the diagonal lines and the seam line. When this section is sanded, it should look a lot closer to the sheet metal this part was made from on the original model. One of the most recognizable parts of the Eagle Transporter design is the framework spine along top of the spacecraft that holds all the sections – beak, pod, engines and landing gear together. The sides of the spine come in two pieces to be glued together. Once glued, it seems pretty strong. The inside of the framework is riddled with with ejector pin marks. No, they probably won’t be seen when the kit is complete, but they really should be fixed. Time for more filler…. Here’s the magnet in place next to the structure I built on the lower beak section. It’s all test fitted, so things should work when the kit all comes together…. Most of the kit is moulded in an off-white “white” colour, but some parts come moulded in grey plastic. These are the landing gear feet, and come in two pieces which you glue together. The under-side of the feet have a very visible join line that was still very visible after I airbrushed on a layer of grey primer. Time for more filler…
So far, the Eagle Transporter is a very interesting kit. It does seem very accurate to the original model (judging by the photos of the original in the nice book I got from the UK) but as a model kit, it really doesn’t meet the standards we’re used to from top manufactures like Bandai or Kotobukiya. The gates (and hence the nubs) are enormous, and all the pieces have needed some level of clean-up so far. Some parts have little sinks that needed to be sanded or filled, and of course, all those ejector pin marks on many of the pieces need filling. However, for the most part, the design is good so that most of these small defects won’t be visible.
The edges of the parts and their details are sharp, and so far, the fit of the pieces has been good. The only really problematic pieces so far are the landing gear details that I had to snip apart to allow me to remove the seam line.
This is a kit for the more skilled modeller, especially if you’re after a seamless finish.