Changing things up

My Blue Leader project was never intended to be any Blue Leader in particular. It’s a mix of Project 504, Red 2 and Blue Leader (Rogue One).

Blue Leader

With that, it was never my intention of using a Rebel pilot in this build. I wanted the ILM style pilot. Unfortunately, that pilot figure wasn’t available for the Revell kit.

That is until now. I found a 3D file of the ILM pilot that I could print on my SLA printer.

ILM style pilot figure

I didn’t like the position of the arms or the head. So, once the figure was printed, I cut off the arms and head. I repositioned them to a more natural position.

I primed the figure with Tamiya Gray Fine Surface Primer. Once dry, I painted the flightsuit Model Master Cobalt Blue. Using a custom mix of colors of lighter and darker shades for highlights and shadows. I painted the helmet white with gunmetal visor. The gloves and boots were painted flat black. The stairs and house are painted neutral gray.

The helmet was decorated with various decals from the spares box.

I sealed the figure with a light coat of dull coat.

ILM Pilot in his office
“Pickup your visual scanning”

Engines are on!

The engines are finally attached to Blue Leader! Now, it’s looking like an X-Wing. I still need to weather the engines to match the rest of the build, but this X-Wing is turning out better than I had expected.

It was totally worth the wait on these replacements. I want to send out a BIG thank you to the person who made these available to me.

Engines in place
It’s looking like an X-Wing!

I went back and forth on using the kit engines versus a replacement. I’m especially happy with these results. it really puts this build over the top.

New Engines!

I decided to go with a set of one-off engines that we’re 3D printed by a friend of mine. These engines are scaled down from a 1/18 scale X-Wing kit.

The detail on these engines is outstanding! I really appreciate him printing these for me.

I removed all the parts from their supports and clean them up. Doing the usual process of Tamaya gray primer, flat black and reefer white (WOB) process I painted the engines.

I decided to change things up a bit and paint the interior of the exhaust nozzles copper instead of the normal painting process.

Next up, I will start the weather in process and then attach them to the Blue Leader X-Wing.

Working on the cannons

After a short hiatus, it was time to work Blue Leader again. The cannon main bodies were attached to the s-foils using MA310 adhesive.

The cannon main bodies are Falcon3DParts as are the the forward heat sinks and collars.

The cannons themselves are the kit cannons modified. I removed the tips and replaced them with brass tube. I drilled out the the cannon and inserted brass tube to reinforce it and extended into the main body.

The entire assembly fits into a 5/16 styrene tube that runs the entire length of the cannon main body.

A Better Adhesive

I don’t know what everyone is using to attach resin parts together. You may be using CA, Gorilla glue or some other adhesive. I have been told by a well known member of the Star Wars model replica community about a better adhesive: Plexus MA310.

This stuff is strong…I mean STRONG! You’ll break the model apart before the bond breaks. It does have a working time and sets up in about 8 minutes. Once it’s set, it’s set.

This was perfect for the cannon bodies. On my last X-Wing, I did a bunch of measuring, drilling holes and pinning the cannons. It was a pain. This was a much easier and better solution.

Dave Goldberg Y-Wing build

DaveG Y-Wing

Progress so far.

This Y-Wing is a tad different. This is the DaveG model, but resized to complement the Revell large scale X-Wing model kit.

While the scale of the Revell X-Wing has been stated as 1/29 scale, using the accepted dimensions of a Studio Scale (1/24) X-Wing and applying that to the Revell kit, it actually works out to 1/31 scale. Using this logic applied to the DaveG stl files requires a reduction of 22.8%. The key to making all of this work out is the droid figure. The droid canister is 15mm. The opening on the X-Wing is 15.1mm. The opening on the resized DaveG file with the 22.8% reduction is exactly 15.1mm. So, the math works out.

The real challenge will be finding greeblies to apply to the model. Since this isn’t the standard studio scale model, kit bashing with the correct parts will be near impossible. The only option for 100% accuracy is asking Falcon3DParts to resize there current line of DaveG greeblie sets to the size I need.

As of now, I have the the ship mocked up. The armature and supports are styrene with either smaller styrene tubing or brass tubing installed for rigidity. The “wing”, as of now, is stacked styrene sheets. This will probably change to eithe all metal or a single ply of aluminum with styrene sheets laminated to it.

Intakes, Chipping and a little Grime

Moving on to one of more fun aspects of creating these models, chipping the paint. To create this effect, I use Humbrol Maskol. I mask of the area to be painted and then apply the Maskol randomly to the area to be painted.

Note the chipping around the intakes.

Once the paint has dried, I remove the paint and gently rub the area and the Maskol will peel off. This effect looks great.

Once I was done with the intakes, I cleaned up my airbrush and mixed up some Grime. I sprayed he recesses of the S-Fiols, the engine area, the droid strip and some streaking. Grime gives the X-Wing a bit of a dirty look. I didn’t want to heavy with it as Blue Leader really wasn’t that dirty of a miniature. Actually, it was pretty clean when compared to the later Red 2 version of itself.

Recessed areas painted with Grime.

Additionally, I painted the areas aft of the nacelles Grime as well. I did this because painting under them will be difficult once the engines are installed.

Right side of Blue Leader

Finally, A little color

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Making my way through the journey that is X-Wing building, it was time to start working on what makes these kits look like ILM inspired miniatures. I was time to tackle other colors other than shades of gray.

The original Blue Leader had these yellow looking areas on the S-Foils. The color that is applied here isn’t a shade of yellow, but it’s called “Trench Olive”.  Archive X has this color in their line of paints. My only problem is that I didn’t have any. So, Model Master to the rescue. Model Master reintroduced some of the old Floquil colors as acrylics. I had Flat Earth and Olive Drab. Using my skewed logic, earth is in trenches and olive is, well, olive. I mixed up a batch that looked the part and airbrushed it on the fuselage and the S-Foils. When I applied, it was bright. Once dry, I lightly sanded it and the applied a misting coat of Light Ghost Gray to match what I did to the fuselage. That really toned it down.

Next was adding some random, differentiating panels. I used light gray and light ghost gray on some random panels. Next up was a part I was dreading…the Blue Squadron markings. You may think, “Why is he dreading that?” They look good in the picture. Let me explain…

I decided that I was going to use Vallejo Dark Blue for my blue stripe. I have never used Vallejo paint. This is most due to the horror stories I have heard about this brand of paint. I had a hard time getting that blue stripe down both sides of the fuselage. The paint didn’t want to spray out of my airbrush right. Once dry it was susceptible to being scratch off easily and hard to mask over. Honestly, I really didn’t like it. But, at this point, I felt I was stuck with it. So, when it came time to do the blue squadron markings, I cringed. There’s an old saying, when all else fails, read the instructions. So, that’s what I did. I learned a valuable lesson when it comes to Vallejo paint. Use the Vallejo system and everything will work like it’s supposed to. Following the instructions of 5 parts paint to 2 parts thinner and 1 part retarder works wonders! To achieve that, you must use the Vallejo system, Nothing else works right. Lesson learned. It really airbrushed great! So, before, I wouldn’t touch Vallejo with a 10 foot pole. Now, it’s not that bad.

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Snowspeeder early stages

MPC Snowspeeder with Falcon3DParts cockpit upgrade.

I’m in the process of relocating my workbench setup from the garage to inside the house where the air is conditioned and lower humidity.

I decided to pick this up and start the early steps of getting it ready for building.

I started by inserting the support tubing at the rear of the Snowspeeder. I used 5/16” evergreen styrene tubing. The support is a 1/4” brass tube with a 3/16” steel rod insert for rigidity.

I’ve also test fit the aftermarket cockpit set. I’m going to have to do some sanding to the seats in order for the pilots to sit at the proper high to ensure the canopy closes properly.

Even at this early stage, I’m really happy with the overall presentation.