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Building the Bandai Star Wars AT-ST 1/48 scale

By David Guardia  

The idea of assembling and painting this model was swirling around in my head since some time ago. It’s one of the vehicles of the saga I like best and besides, Bandai, the brand that introduced it on the market, is a very recognized one for manufacturing excellent models with “snap” perfect fit without the need of glue and highly detailed.

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Building the Bandai Star Wars AT-ST 1/48 scale

by David Guardia González  © Modeler Site

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The idea of assembling and painting this model was swirling around in my head since some time ago. It’s one of the vehicles of the saga I like best and besides, Bandai, the brand that introduced it on the market, is a very recognized one for manufacturing excellent models with “snap” perfect fit without the need of glue and highly detailed. 


If my project had been delayed, it was by the absence of colourful schemes. Or I painted it grey or grey, and the web was full of them. But one day, a friend of mine sent me a lot of profiles with a large amount of very colourful camouflages. They were not based in any of films and were imagined by its author. So suddenly I realized that being a Sci Fi thing model; I could paint it to my liking!

It would not be difficult to imagine a AT-ST abandoned by the Galactic empire and used by the rebels for its cause and thus decorated in some colourful way...

The camouflage represented here, is based in one of this profiles, and the paint, besides was thought to show the Gamers who use this scale, that, with little work, may get a colourful piece that stands out from the rest on their tabletop.


As I told you, assembly doesn’t offer more difficulty than to carefully follow the instructions and join the parts together just by exerting some pressure. This doesn’t mean it’s a toy and in fact, going “back”, this means to dissemble the part is a hard work due to the precision everything fits. There are a couple of steps that concerns to creature legs you should pay a special attention to so as not to assemble them wrongly, but furthermore, in one session, you can leave it ready for paint.

I only have achieved a couple of “improvements” for instance perforating the laser cannons. Though they come supplied with an own hole. I thought that it was aesthetically better.

In the interior, there’s room to place a Chewbacca figure, ideal to give your mascot (if you have one) to play with, since contrary to the kit, it’s really bad…

I used a piece of clear plastic to cover all the opening in such a way that the interior will not be visible from outside. The fact that it was clear plastic helped at the time of tracing the shape and cutting.


The parts that comprise the interior were left without snapping completely to be able to remove them easily and paint them with more comfort.
The fact that the legs are workable allows to place it in the position we like.
I always give a primer coat to my models, to assure a good base for later painting and prepare the surface for weathering without worrying the paint removes. I mostly use Tamiya grey spray, but in this case, as I want a black background to take advantage of, like shades, the best option is the Citadel black spray. As any spray paint, you should have in mind to shake the can properly and don’t overload the surface giving slight coats at 25cm distance.

Once the priming cured, it was time to give the parts highlights using pure white. This is not an effect which I looked for to highlight as if light came from the top, but from all the parts, giving light tones and shades. I tired to make degraded white starting from an edge, with much white and finishing in the black base.
Don’t be afraid in this step, since then the base colour will be used to equalize the whole.

In the panel lines areas, you may use masking tape to get an interesting effect.

It was time to apply the base colors. There are two lateral plates of the ATST which were painted, unlike the rest, imitating a rusty surface. One of them, also received chipped paint using the hair spray technique. In both cases you should give first the orange color.
The paint has to be very well diluted when airbrushing , avoiding to cover the effect of shades and lights previously got. It’s better to give more lighter ones than to cover the surface all at a time.
I’ve used a mix brown, yellow sand and orange.

In the following image you may appreciate what happens when a great amount of paint is applied. On the left the paint correctly applied reveals the shades. On the right the paint has covered the effect completely. Though I have made this for you to see it; if happens, you may use black very diluted and shade the area you need again.
For the rest of parts, which will be the predominant model colour, I’ve used Tamiya XF-21 Sky, a greenish grey.

With the help of AK interactive chipping, It’s really easy to get a convincing chipped paint. The product is applied with airbrush. It’s allowed to dry (at least during the time spent to clean the airbrush) then color is applied again, in a couple of minutes, using a brush and water, the liquid activates and paint starts chipping. Here, it’s our decision the amount of chips and area to accomplish them.

I put some marks like white lines to identify the unit. After masking, I followed the same steps for chipping but this time, I chose to hide the lines almost completely.

For the camouflage, I’ve perforated a template with help of a paper punch. Once again the used of clear plastic will be a good help at the time of applying the camouflage.

Once I chose the place where the stain would be applied, I keep it with a piece of tape and airbrush with a slight coat of red brown without overloading, trying the shades are still visible.

For the white stains, I made another hole of less diameter. You may use the drill you want, the round point of a solder or a punch of the proper size, if you have.
The white, as you see in the pictures, also was airbrushed without overloading what allows revealing the colors underneath .
It seems that in the real world, this kind of camouflage is used to imitate the light passing through the leaves of the trees…

As base for weathering, the entire model received a dark wash. This highlight the details and gives volume. I used AK “Paneliner” that though it’s ready to use from the bottle, I always dilute a little more with white spirit. It’s important to wet the surface before applying, since as it’s the matt base color, could leave stains, besides of being more difficult//complicated to apply it on a dry surface.


The interiors were painted in the right way. I mean here each one may express to his liking up to reaching a grade of painting that goes from a very basic to a great work. In my case, that don’t like to paint interiors too much, I’ve decorated some details so that if you look from the hatch, it may appreciate that al least some detailing was achieved . Have in mind that the intention was to create a showy piece with little work.

Some chips were created using a sponge and brush. I catch a small amount of the paint chosen on a piece of sponge (in this case a mix of burnt sienna and a bit of black), and after tapping lightly in order to get rid of excess paint, it is applied on the corners by touches . It’s a very simple technique but at times it is somewhat “addictive” and may ruin our model. So, proceed slowly and choosing very well where to achieve chips and go adding them.
To end up, at the same time, using a thin brush, you give shape and add scratches etc.

The weathering started in the area I thought should have to be more dirty. So in the area, I can decide which tones can be proper for the rest. There are many products and brands, any of them are valid. It’s a question of adding effects without fear, but on the condition that not loading the brush with the product and paste the entire model. The point is to go slowly, giving an effect here and there on certain areas and trying to get in this way something colourful to avoid monotony.

In the following images you may appreciate three examples of application. See how I tried not to overdo but stand certain areas out by applying different tones. It’s a very quick process, since it’s not necessary to allow drying between colors.

Splashes increase the sensation of weathering. A simple way to do them is using a brush and very thinned acrylic paint and after removing the excess on a piece of paper with the help of toothpick, then sprinkle all over the surface. I used green and brown tones. If you find a large drop or you’re not satisfied with the result, you may use a clean brush to remove it if you work without delay.

To dust, the most straightforward and simple way is to choose a couple of sand tones and airbrush them. But once again, you should avoid at all cost, to leave the model as it was in a sandstorm. I insisted on the lower and side plates of the vehicle. I tried not use dry pigments so as to be able to remove the model position without fearing to leave my fingerprints marked on it.

Once dusted, I added stains using fresh oil and grease. AK Mig Productions have a product called “Oíl and Grease” which is perfect for the purpose.

The base the kit supplies, is very good to display our model finished.

I’ve masked the footmarks with clear adhesive tape and after “painting” with white glue and water, I splashed plaster powder and sand. Once dry, abundant brown filter was applied to highlight and placed with Green Stuff.
If it wasn’t because the idea is to be able to “play” with it, this is an area where to enjoy and fill it with vegetation and details. But in my case, I choose not to do this to avoid damages when handling.
I took advantage of a cheap picture frame which was cut and adapted to the base, making the whole more attractive.

For those who just look for a pretty model to place on a warhammer, this is an easy way to get it. But for the rest of the modelers , that wish an AT-ST to display in their showcases, it’ll be a good base to start.
Also add pigments, plus vegetation, a tree and some figure, more grease , more…
I think I’ll do another one with the aim of detailing it much more…

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