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Phil Lewis

Vintage MPC 1:42nd scale X-Wing (Original 1970's build)

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Far back in the mists of time an impressionable 14 year old was taken to the premier of a new movie that was to take the world by storm. From the opening scene where a gigantic ship looms menacingly over our heads chasing down the smaller blockade runner to the final triumphant victory ceremony this boy was hooked. Not for me the Kenner toys. I wanted accurate models. What I got in 1979 was something that looked fabulous in the box and, after assembly, I had something that at least looked the part.

Later I obtained the book 'The Art Of Star Wars' and found, within, my very first accurate reference. This was for Red 3. I proceeded to paint the visible panels and attempted to replicate the weathering. I also made some early scratch building efforts on the R2 unit to make it look more like the real ArToo giving it a rotating dome and better legs.

I also created a rudimentary cockpit canopy hinge from wire.

Having looked critically at it for a few years and ,after the success with the Snowspeeder, I feel it is time to breath new life into this old friend.

I'm fairly certain copyright prevents me from reproducing the original reference pic here but this was the result of my early efforts that has sat on various shelves and survived, mostly unscathed, a number of house moves.

The canopy has been removed, polished and dipped in Klear already. It is drying under cover out of shot.

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Gaps abound and the guns refuse to all point in the same direction

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Some missing parts should be easy to replicate

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R2 not looking too bad but needs a little refining and repainting. The pilot, on the other hand... well... never mind not looking like Biggs it doesn't look even remotely human.

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Seams filled with liquid plastic (plasticard melted in Tamiya Extra Thin), clamped and braces applied forcing parts to meet where they never met before.

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I recall that at some point the blaster barrels had departed the wings and had been braced internally with wire. As this left gaps the barrels were re-aligned and more liquid plastic applied.

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All four now point in generally the right direction.

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And the port side fuselage seam. There was a 1mm gap here but as there were blobs of old tube glue in it I was unable to bed it down so filled with more L.P.

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And finally today the seam around the nose cone was filled.

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Just need to let that all set properly and it'll be ready for sanding, more filling, more sanding........

 

Thanks for looking in. 

I'll introduce you all to Mr Canopy later.

 

Phil :)

 

Edited by Phil Lewis
correction

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Good job. In some regards restoring kits can be more interesting than building them. Will watch with interest. I built this kit many years ago but gave mine away to an enthusiastic friend who actually thought I’d done a good job with it. 😀

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"Impressive"

"The Force is strong with this one"

"May the Force be with You"

 

These words all spring to mind on this project and past life build - its always good to see a golden oldie being given a new lease of life. Looking forward to following along with this and to seeing the final restoration.

 

This was my first ever SW kit too, a Christmas present from my Uncle the very first year it was available in the UK - at the time this new kit amazed me and with so little access or reference to the ILM models, the empty box after the build was also treasured. Like you, as soon as Ralf M's artwork became available, the books soon became the holy grail in my collection.

 

Good luck - quite an exciting project

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Update - Wet Sanding, Gaps and missing bits

Thanks for the encouragement everyone:thumbsup:

Spent the evening sanding filler and then moved on to wet sanding over the surface to smooth out the lumpy paint work.

Not planning on going mad with it but I want to make it more presentable.

The results of the wet sanding revealing some of the original enamel paint work.

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Still considering replacing the blasters with brass tube versions keyed all the way through the mounts. If I end up knocking one off that'll be the way to go, otherwise I'll stick to the originals.

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Made up a replacement greeblie, for the back of one of the blaster cannon, using various sizes of plastic tube. Looks the part to me.

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I also glued the missing blaster nozzle back in place and drilled out the ends of all four barrels. The upper one in the picture looks like I may have repaired it at some point. Still in two minds.:hmmm:

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Thanks for looking in.

More to follow later in the Week

 

Phil:hobbyhorse:

Edited by Phil Lewis

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Nice saves there. 

To be brutally honest, for what little effort is required, I'd replace the blasters. The kit parts haven't aged too well, and if you don't do it you'll only regret it later. 

Just my mad ramblings, so feel free to ignore me. 

 

Matt

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2 hours ago, S5 modeller said:

Nice saves there. 

To be brutally honest, for what little effort is required, I'd replace the blasters. The kit parts haven't aged too well, and if you don't do it you'll only regret it later. 

Just my mad ramblings, so feel free to ignore me. 

 

Matt

Thanks Matt.

They say 'out of the mouths of babes and mad ramblers...' 

Actually the more I looked at the close-ups the less happy I was with the blasters. The crescent shaped 'deflectors' are also the wrong size so I'm pretty much decided that I'll replace them

I have all the tubes for the blasters but need something with the right diameter for the corrected deflectors, possibly brass rather than plastic... this puppy will make me pay in blood for any carelessness :viking:

 

Hopefully I'll make some more progress tomorrow

 

Phil

 

Edited by Phil Lewis

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Having a Blast(er)

Small update.

I went for it and fashioned some replacement blaster cannon from various sizes of plastic tube and brass tube down the center for strength.

Took most of the evening, measuring, cutting, measuring, swearing, re-measuring, cutting new pieces... you know how it goes.

Sanded and shaped the tapered rings that sit behind the curved emitters (they were built up of 3 different diameter rings cut from the same plastic tubes that made up the main cannon).

These are the resulting pieces. Top of picture shows two of the original pieces, next down are 3 of the assembled blasters and at the bottom I left one unassembled so you can see the components.

Diameters were selected by eyeball and chosen for the fact that they fit together nicely :)

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And the blasters dry fit to the wings. I'll leave them off for now to ease painting and fix them in place once painting mostly complete.

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Pretty happy with how they came out.

 

That's it for tonight folks

 

Thanks for looking in.

 

Phil :hobbyhorse:

Edited by Phil Lewis

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I'm certainly feeling the love you are putting into this - keep up the good work - looking forward to hopefully seeing more on Monday from you

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A Tale of Two Angles

Some years back the canopy had been drilled to accept a piece of copper wire that looped around the back forming a rudimentary hinge. This was not entirely successful.

It had also been crudely brush painted with Tamiya Clear Blue to represent a tint. This also was not entirely successful.

Blue tint (mostly) removed with Mr Hobby self levelling thinner and the canopy was polished where I could and dipped in clear.

Once dry the Hinge was removed, the remains of which can be seen to the right of the canopy.

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The MPC canopy is not truly accurate as it does not represent the change in angle under the last fifth of the front edge. Filed and sanded in a representation of the upturn, not massively accurate but certainly an improvement.

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The cockpit surround also needed to be modified to accept the new canopy shape so this was built up with assorted shapes and thicknesses of plasticard and sanded to shape.

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The slots in the canopy frame that had been originally filed to make room for the wire hinge were filled with plastruct square section rod and filled with dissolved plastic.

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Canopy test fitted to ensure everything lined up nicely

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That's all for tonight folks 

 

Thanks for looking in

 

Phil:hobbyhorse:

Edited by Phil Lewis

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Scribing, Sanding and Tinting

After a slightly later than expected start I checked the work so far and decided I really didn't like the look of the raised panel lines, especially as some had disappeared with sanding and needed to be restored anyway.

Spent the next few hours scribing the panel lines following the (admittedly inaccurate) provided panel lines. Corrected the slips with Mr Dissolved putty.

Left some of the less accessible lines and then gave the whole thing a wet sand to get rid of the unwanted raised lines.

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Also addressed some of the more prominent seam lines such as on the rear engine elements, again, not going for perfection, just tidying up.

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Tinted the interior of the canopy with Tamiya Smoke. Had a bad moment when it looked like it was going to be pretty much opaque and blotchy but I held fire and waited for it to dry properly and it dried evenly... phew!

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Cheated a bit and, to add detail to the cockpit, used the unused stickers from the BanDai 1/48th scale kit to give the console some interest. (I test fitted the canopy and it's all but invisible anyway... ah well)

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Airbrushed all the shaded and difficult to get to bits a nice shade of Rubber Black in preparation for temporarily attaching and masking the canopy.

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Next up will be masking, undercoat, chipping fluid.... lots to do :)

 

Thanks for looking in.

 

Phil :hobbyhorse:

Edited by Phil Lewis

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The Cunning Plan and the Astro Droid

 

Despite using brass tube down the center of the blasters running into the main blaster pods a couple were still a tiny bit loose and I was finding it difficult to keep them all lined up.

I struck upon the idea of finding some brass tube that would slot down the inside of the existing cannon tubes and, if drilled and glued in the exact center of the cannon pod rear extending proud of the front of the pods, would provide the perfect guide to slide the main rod over them and into the pod centering the rod at the aft end of the pod too.

Worked like a charm :D I love it when a plan comes together (where have I heard that before?)

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It now forces the blasters to sit correctly on the pods keeping them all in line.... as long as the pods are lined up correctly on the wings... which they are *phew*

Any misalignments are now due to the slightly rickety condition of the wings.. well it is an old kit

Whole thing now undercoated with German Grey ready for a blast over with hairspray in preparation for some chipping work.

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R2 unit also received some extra detail after a rub down in preparation for me to apply the correct colour scheme for Red 3's droid

Before..

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..and after

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That's it for tonight

 

Thanks for looking in.

 

Phil :hobbyhorse:

Edited by Phil Lewis

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Hairspray and Greeblies

Applied a nice coat of cheap hairspray which made the model and the room smell like a hairdressing boutique.

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After this had dried overnight I then airbrushed on a nice coat of the X-Wing /starship white mix consisting of an entire new jar of Tamiya XF-2 White with about twenty drops of Tamiya XF-55 Deck Tan.

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I then spotted that the cut-outs on the insides of the s-foils were completely devoid of detail and the inner ones even had cavernous voids revealing the bits of a model that shouldn't be seen :blush:.

Using references I had a fine time replicating the details (within reason)

Wings look much better now.

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That's enough for tonight

 

Thanks for looking in

 

Phil the incredibly tired :yawn:

Edited by Phil Lewis

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OMG is that the original stand I see there - that is a mega time warp back to when I first built this kit upon its UK market release ...... how many years must it now be..

 

Its all looking very nice - great to see all the added love and detailing you are affording this great and very original model. R2's looking a bit old and tired - have you considered dipping him in some isopropronol ? that will strip him down to the circuits good and proper.

 

Keep up the great restoration work - having seen what you can do to the snow speeder, I am sure this X wing is going to look quite brilliant once it leaves the restoration workshop

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Mask, Paint, Chip, Repeat

Not a massive amount to say other than the pictures say it all. Lots of masking, spraying, Chipping and so forth.

Masked for the lime green bits.

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Masked and painted the dark yellowy sand areas (uesd Tamiy XF-59 with some Flat yellow added)

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Light blue bits done.

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Wing markings masked (that was a bit more complicated than I expected)

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and the fuselage stripe (which wasn't complicated at all)

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Paint goes on...

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Masks come off... mostly... not the canopy... yet

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Need to chip the red bits now and then do a bit of detail and stencil painting.

Weathering rapidly looming.

 

That's yer lot fer now 

 

Thanks for looking in

 

Phil the Mask :ninja:

Edited by Phil Lewis

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And now it all comes together, and that's the reward for all that detail work.

 

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It's not over yet

Weathering proper began with a light dusting of Tamiya Rubber Black misted on in the areas indicated as having the greatest buildup of grime.

I also tried a new technique of masking individual panels and markings and misting the rubber black at the edges in an uneven patchy manner.

This gave me the following result.

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I then washed some Flory Grime and Black washes into the relevant spots that needed highlighting and also covered myself in fine glass fibres by using an fibreglass abrasive pen that's normally used for cleaning up circuit boards ready for soldering.

The effect is subtle but it tones back the airbrushed grime layer and helps to highlight some of the raised details. I'll use gloves and a bit of protective clothing next time though. That stuff gets itchy :(

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Attention turned to Biggs' astromech droid who's designation (according to references) is R2-Q2 and is Grey with white and black highlights.

Dome is partially airbrushed and masked for the white line but the details were hand-painted so don't stand up to the closest scrutiny. Macro is very unforgiving. I ran out of steam so the body detail will be done later.

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Flat clear applied, canopy masking removed and R2-Q2 nestled (temporarily) in his droid slot.

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So, aside from one semi painted droid and some details which I'll deal with as I notice them, this is almost, nearly, soon to be done

 

I'll do a final update when I'm happy with the finishing touches and then post some better pics in an RFI 

 

Thanks for looking in

 

Phil :thumbsup:

Edited by Phil Lewis
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Great work on bringing that one back to life :worthy:

 

The new blasters really are the business - do you remember what diameter brass rod you used?

 

Cheers,

Dermot

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13 minutes ago, Dermo245 said:

Great work on bringing that one back to life :worthy:

 

The new blasters really are the business - do you remember what diameter brass rod you used?

 

Cheers,

Dermot

Thanks Dermo

I used 1.4mm dia. brass tube for the core barrels and then matched up the plastic tubes by eye until everything looked about right. I also put additional smaller plastic centering tubes inside each end of the larger plastic tubes to hold the brass central.

The largest diameter plastic tubes are 5mm dia. and the ones that telescope inside are around 3.5mm dia.

 

Hope that helps :)

 

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