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Painted AMT/ERTL Rancor Model Kit

January 23, 2011

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may recall me posting about the AMT/ERTL Rancor model kit last March. It’s a vinyl model kit that came out in 1998. When you open the box, it looks something like this:

It took me quite a while to even attempt assembling it. since I had never made a kit like this before. It was a little daunting because there are a lot of parts, many of which have “collars” of extraneous vinyl around the edges that need to be trimmed away before assembly. And even after you’ve done that, you’re likely to find that they don’t fit together all that well because the vinyl gets slightly misshapen after it is removed from the molds.

But one of the nice things about vinyl is that it’s easy to cut and also easy to reshape. You just need to put the part in some hot water to soften it, then put it in cold water to get it to stick in its new shape. I did that when assembling the various pieces so that the joins would be tight, and even bent his right arm a bit, since it turned out to be too low to allow his feet to sit flat on the ground. If you don’t do this, I don’t think you’re going to be able to get the pieces to fit together well enough to glue them (you just use regular superglue, by the way). Even with the hot water trick, there were still some gaps, which I had to fill using epoxy putty. I tried to sculpt the putty to match the surrounding area, and I’m happy to say that you really can’t see any seams at all on the finished model.

Once everything was assembled, I gave the whole thing a white undercoat and then painted it with a combination of Games Workshop and Vallejo acrylic paints. Working with something this size always takes me a long time. Maybe it’s because I started painting 25mm miniatures. I’m always impressed that companies like Gentle Giant or Sideshow can create a good looking paint job in a factory atmosphere. I don’t know how long it takes them to paint something this size (about 11″ high) but I’m sure they’re many many times faster than me.

I didn’t try too hard to replicate the exact on-screen look of the Rancor, instead just using a color scheme that I thought looked good and that wouldn’t be too hard to accomplish with the tools I had at hand. I don’t use an airbrush, for example.

I used a little 5-minute epoxy glue to recreate his drool, and also added a metal ring for his earring. The model has a sculpted earring, but it doesn’t look as realistic in my opinion.

I’ve seen a number of built up versions of this model, and for some reason a lot of people just leave it the way it is, without any sort of base. I don’t understand this, since it looks unfinished and isn’t particularly stable, either. For my base, I bought a wooden oval at Hobby Lobby, and then created the floor of the Rancor pit using a mixture of white glue, sand, and pebbles. The bones came from an old Pirates of the Caribbean skeleton figure that I had lying around. (I think this is the one, although my skull looks less textured than the one in the picture. I dremelled out the eyeballs that were there, so it would just be a plain skull.)

I’m quite pleased with how this turned out. It’s impressive that a 15-year-old model kit can still hold its own against entries from Gentle Giant and Sideshow.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2011 4:41 am

    Very nice job icruise. 🙂

  2. John permalink
    October 8, 2011 11:41 am

    That’s awesome. I have the same kit (un-opened) What would I get for this kit on e-bay?
    Email me if you are interested.

  3. xavier correro permalink
    June 10, 2014 6:31 am

    what colors did you use?

    • icruise permalink*
      June 10, 2014 11:32 am

      It’s been several years, so I’m afraid I don’t remember specifically.

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