I started this model with what I figured was enough time to finish and post it on my sight before Halloween. It wasn't long before I realized this model was going to take a lot of work. I was used to the fantastic job PL does on their repops of classic models, great fit and fine detail that matches the best work of the Aurora company. This was the first original design model from them I built.
The molding is just plain clunky and in many places lacking in detail. The fit was OK, although in about every case you needed to do some carving along the joint to shape the area. The cape was a thick, heavy hunk of plastic that weighs about as much as the rest of the model. I spent as much time with the dremel tool as paint brush on the model, grinding away and covering everything in sight with plastic dust. The neckline of the cape definitely needs resculpting. The spurs were way strange, designed so nobody could possibly walk while wearing them. I ground away and filled in with putty and redesigned where they attach to the boots. The inside back leg pieces of the horse were smooth, lacking any of the horsehair texture. I put that in.
I do like the design, and a bottom corner of the heavy cape does rest on the tree trunk to brace the whole thing. It's tricky getting the rider fit onto the horse, saddle and stirrups. I did this by only gluing on the left leg to the trunk of the body. I then set the rider in the saddle and positioning the left stirrup. Finally, I glued the right leg and stirrup on at the same time. I still had a small gap where the right leg joined the body, but a small amount of gap filling superglue took care of that.
For the paint job, I just couldn't take all that black, so I exercised a little creative licence and painted the horse dark brown. The embossing on the front halter of the horse was a real mess, totally useless, so I ended up sanding and filling it in with putty. I was going to put in my own detail, but decided I liked the plain black look better.
I'm not blaming PL for the problems with the model. This isn't the 60s, where a small company like PL can afford their own production factory, so the actual tooling and production are done in China by factories designed to put out clunky action figures. This means a little less quality control and the manufacturing can leave something to be desired compared to the skill of the old Aurora workers, who were masters of the craft. It just means you should expect to do more work putting a complicated plastic model like this together, or pay four times as much. It's a trade-off. Just be warned that putting this one together requires a lot of work and a good dremel tool.
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