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monsterpartyhat

1:144 Custom U-Wing (and landing platform too)

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I've been meaning to post a build log for this model since I started it (not to mention the scads of ships I've built in the last 6 months), but I barely seem to have time to even grab photos in the brief windows I usually get to work on them right now. However, with the terrible air from wildfires in California forcing me indoors all the time, I got to start a project I've wanted to build for a long time and take more than a handful of pics. 

 

The U-Wing is my favorite Star Wars ship from modern times (possibly my favorite ever, actually), and from the moment I saw the two-engine, short-winged variant in the teaser trailer for Star Wars: Rebels Season 4, I knew I had to build one. 


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A while back I bought a couple of spare U-Wing kits on deep discount, then I just recently discovered this LEGO build, which inspired me to actually get started: https://www.flickr.com/photos/inthert/albums/72157696144766644

 

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I'm well into painting by now, but I'm going to do my best to document the steps, because this has been a super fun build so far, and is shaping up to be one of my favorite Star Wars builds. 

 

The build hinged on whether or not I could create the skeletonized wings or not in a manner that was sturdy enough. I started by marking off where I wanted to cut the wings, and carefully cutting through them with a chiseling blade. 

 

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Then I sketched out an outline to help with cutting wire. 

 

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I failed to get any photos of the next bit, but using a combination of tools, I dug out channels in the side of the wing - deepening the existing channels on the outside edge, and cutting new ones on the inside, to seat the steel wire in. I capped off the end of the wing with some styrene L angle. Lord, I *hate* CA gluing styrene to steel. 

 

That was a pretty promising start, though. I lightly assembled everything to check the proportions:

 

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Edited by monsterpartyhat

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In the show, the skeletal parts of the wings have some crossbars and stuff, and there's like one pipe going into them, but not a lot of extra greeble. I'm not really interested in replicating the version from the show, just making something similar. 

 

I've got a bunch of the Bandai Vehicle Model kits that I've been mining for 1:144 scale greeblies for kitbashing - the main wing cannons from the snowspeeder, it turns out, are a pretty good fit for a modified U-wing.  I played with a few different possible placements (including breaking things up and not using the whole cannon assembly as a whole), and landed on this:

 

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Yeah, that's going to work nicely, I think. Beef up the armament a little! The U-wings stock cannons look a little weak. All I had to do was remove the tabs on the bottom and sand it flat. 

 

The cannon is going to need a lot of power, right? So I snipped a piece of a wound guitar string to use as a power conduit, and a bit of plain steel guitar string for an additional wire/pipe/whatever, with a bit of 1mm aluminum tubing for additional complexity. 

 

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Another view:

 

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To balance that a bit, on the other wing I added the end cap from the tail of  Darth Vader's TIE Advanced X-1, with a bit of bent brass rod for a pipe running into the wing structure.  I briefly thought about putting the other snowspeeder cannon on the left wing, but asymmetry is a frequent hallmark of Star Wars ships, and keeping it different on each side fits the idea that this ship was salvaged and reconstructed. 

 

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Some great scratch building going on there, keep up the good work.

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Will be watching this with interest, it's a really great idea, i do love a bit of scratch building.  Great work so far by the way!

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Thanks! Continuing with the scratch building additions, I cut two of these from solid styrene

 

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They're holders for a couple of long antennae on the underside of the left wing. I CA glued a few more strips of L-bracket onto the metal rods, aligned so I could have surface to bond styrene cross-pieces to using Tamiya extra-thin. 

 

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The brackets hold more steel music wire with aluminum tubing sheaths. I wish I'd added some more detail with the tubing, but oh well - it's all done and encased in CA glue now :)

Added a partial housing on the underside:

 

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And the view from the top:

 

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Edited by monsterpartyhat

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I spent a lot of time considering how to fill in some detail within the skeletal portion of the wing - it shouldn't look too cluttered or busy, but neither should it remain nearly empty. Like most of my builds, I didn't really plan anything out, just take one hopefully-well-considered step at a time. 

 

First bit was the harpoon launcher from the snowspeeder, chopped up, with a little extra styrene bracing. 

 

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On the underside, I added the internal pivot rod from a 1:144 T-65 X-wing kit that I'd chopped the wings off of for an earlier kitbash. It's a radiator or something. 

 

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This next one is my favorite bit -- I didn't use the landing gear on my last U-wing build (nor am I using it on this one), and those landing gear struts are reasonably detailed. 

 

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Let's see - cut here, file there:

 

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Voila!

Edited by monsterpartyhat

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Now that, Sir, is mighty impressive work.

(I may have to copy a few of your ideas though).

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Please, steal anything you want :) - the more the merrier! I constantly get inspiration from all the amazing builds I see. 

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The other side I filled in in a very similar manner. Starting with another U-wing landing strut:

 

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Gratuitous workbench shot showing how small the 144-scale U-wing really is:

 

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The next piece you may recognize from the tiny Y-wing:

 

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The sides still weren't *quite* balanced, so one last piece went on -- I found the perfect piece after I remembered I still had some parts left over from the AFV Club Corsair F4U. The forward wing cannon piece was even exactly the right width to fit in the open space I needed to fill. Serendipity!

 

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And that completes the wings. I tried several possibilities for adding more detail to the forward section, but none of them felt like they added anything of value without cluttering things up, so the most forward wing sections remain minimalist. 

 

The AFV Club Corsair F4U, by the way, is a *FANTASTIC* kit if you're into 1:144 scale WW2 planes - I bought it for another Star Wars kitbash.

EDIT: There's some great sprue shots (where you can see the piece I used as greeble here) of the F4U kit here: 

 

Edited by monsterpartyhat
F4U thread link

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23 minutes ago, monsterpartyhat said:

The forward wing cannon piece was even exactly the right width to fit in the open space I needed to fill.

It often amazes me when scratchbuilding how a piece from one kit will fit another one exactly.

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Continuing to catch up - I love when the primer goes on:

 

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Then masking for base color (leaving part of the top side primer grey):

 

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With the engine parts primed in black (since they're getting metallic paints), and AS-20 on:

 

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The two underbelly sections are painted in different shades of grey - Light Gull Grey for the forward section, and Gunship Gray for the middle. This is a combination of light/warm and dark/cool that I really like. 

 

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Edited by monsterpartyhat

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A lot of nice scratching going on. The U-Wing was already a cool design, and you're just knocking it upwards now!

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I have this bad habit of painting metallic detail bits while I'm undecided about how to finish the main colors of a model - while still undecided about what accents to put on the top hull, I painted all the new greeble and weapons in various metallic shades. I recently picked up Citadel's Druchii Violet shade, which is beautiful for a bit of heat discoloration on cannon barrels. 

 

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I masked off and painted a bunch of panels on the top in a couple of shades of grey and tan:

 

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But, a few hours later I completely removed them -- the tan was too warm, and none of it really went with the Gunship Gray with Dull Red accents I did on the underside.  Oh yeah, I added a couple of vivid red accents against the grey on the bottom :)

 

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So the hand painted panels came off easily with Tamiya's acrylic thinner (they were all painted with Tamiya acrylics), and I instead I went about masking yet again to add some accents on the top that match the bottom.

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So, masking the rear ends of the hull off, with a sheet of printer paper to cover the rest of the model:

 

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Makes a good start:

 

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Yet more masking for the dark grey:

 

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Yields this:

 

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I think the light gray in the center should maybe be a *bit* darker, but I'm really pleased with this, and it keeps the top and bottom hulls coordinated. 

 

And there it is all together again:

 

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And that's all caught up to the current state of the build. 

Edited by monsterpartyhat

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1 minute ago, Tommygunn1972 said:

Looks great, is it going to get some weathering? 

 

Oh yes, quite a bit of it :)

 

 

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25 minutes ago, monsterpartyhat said:

 

Oh yes, quite a bit of it :)

 

 

Cool, I was getting worried, there ain't many rebel ships fresh out of the showroom 😂😂😂  cant wait to see this finished now :goodjob:

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I spent some time last night and this morning adding decals, which is the last step before weathering. I'm traveling this weekend, so there won't be any more updates until late Sunday or next week. 

 

I've been amassing a pretty significant stash of waterslide decals over the last year or two. This model is going to be detailed with a combination of Gundam decals (both Bandai and third-party) and the custom decal sets from Nicholas Sagan. 

 

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One of the cool things about the Bandai Gundam decal sets is that they have opaque white details, something you can't accomplish with laser printed decals. 

 

The underbody (with a bit of metallic paint chipping I also did already) - I think there's already a dozen here:

 

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Top side - 18 tiny decals so far. The idea is just to add a lot of the kind of warning label detail you find on real vehicles that unconsciously helps sell the scale in such a small model:

 

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Detail:

 

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