Monday, March 24, 2008

NEW CAPTAIN ACTION MODEL FROM MOEBIUS

Moebius Models, in conjunction with Captain Action Enterprises, has finally released their long-awaited Captain Action model, a reproduction of the original Aurora model issued in the late 60s. The model kit mimics the original in every detail possible, from the box art to the instruction sheet provided inside, but Moebius also provides some added options for those Captain Action fans who were never quite happy with the original.

When Captain Action Enterprises first announced that the kit was in development, one issue that was discussed on the Yahoo! Captain Action list was the fact that the face on the original model did not look like the action figure or the artwork on the box. In fact, it didn't look like much of anything with its bland, simplistic features more at home on a totem pole than a figurine. In response to this criticism, Moebius Models enlisted Terry Beatty to create an alternative face sculpt which looked more like the actual artwork on the box.

A second alternative element was the creation of a nameplate for the base which used the familiar Captain Action logo. The nameplate provided with the original model used a rather bland font, perhaps to suggest a hand-chiseled design like an actual stone sculpture. At any rate, the modeler has the option of building the model with the original face and nameplate, or use the alternative elements.

I pre-ordered two kits since I wasn't sure whether I wanted to build the original version, the alternative version, or both. Due to production delays, I waited almost a full year before finally receiving my two kits, but I think it was well worth the wait. After opening one of the kits and examining the pieces, I chose to build the alternative version. While I'm not entirely convinced that the new face looks exactly like the box art (and it's certainly nothing like the action figure), it's still a much more interesting face than the dead-behind-the-eyes original.

These kits are limited editions with only 1,000 being made, so the price was far higher than your usual hobby shop kit. Therefore, I was determined to take my time and build the thing properly. Mind you, I've built many a model kit over the years and I think I'm pretty competent at it, but I can also make some messy mistakes when I get over eager and rush along in a mad dash to get it completed. The kit comes with an instruction sheet, designed by CA fan Jim Alexander, which looks remarkably like the old Aurora instruction sheets while incorporating details about the new elements. The sheet tells you to follow their point-by-point instructions to assemble the model correctly, but I have one word of advice there:

The instructions tell you to assemble the upper body section, then the lower body section, and glue the two assembled sections together. Trouble is, the bottom part of the upper body assembly has pegs which fit into holes along the top of the lower body assembly. If you allow your two assembled body pieces to thoroughly dry before fitting them together, you can't fit the pegs into the holes. I would suggest instead to assemble the lower body section first. Next, glue the face piece to the back part of the upper body, and then glue the front and back pieces of the upper body assembly together while simultaneously fitting the two halves to the assembled lower section. Otherwise, you'll have to pry the two sections apart again to glue them to the lower section. I was lucky and was able to fix the problem without damaging the pieces, but not everyone may be so lucky, so you have been warned!

Other than that small quibble, the model came together fairly easily and was a fun project. Although there are relatively few pieces, it is a big model and will require some time to paint and assemble. Be sure that you make sure pieces are securely glued together before moving on with assembly as the sheer weight of these large sections can cause them to fall out of position.

So, after 40 years of lamenting the fact that I would never have a Captain Action model to build, I finally have one to call my own, and I think it's a big improvement over the original. I'm so grateful to Moebius Models and Captain Action Enterprises for making this rare model kit accessible to those with modest budgets!

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