and Deanna Rash
Thanks for commenting on my Flash and Star Wars stuff...much appreciated.
Now, in the spirit of the discussion regarding styrene, I figured I'd post my latest insane project:X-Wing
The X-Wing is, for me, an iconic toy from my childhood. The version that I had when I was really young was from a yard sale or a flea market, and as such was missing the plastic canopy. But that really didn’t matter…I still loved it. I did manage to get a complete X-Wing when I was ten (thanks Brad), but it still sort of stands as a very significant toy in my childhood memories.
Which leads me to this project.
I found a place called Industrial Plastics that sells large sheets of styrene for the same price that I was paying for a tiny piece at the model shop...which of course drove me absolutely insane. As is the first order of business when a new avenue opens to me, I started to think how this discovery could be used for customizing purposes. Now, I've been kind of burnt out on figure customizing, so I thought it might be cool to branch out from my juice bottle rocket ship experiment and tackle something more...involved. My first thought was to make a Batmobile (which I still intend to do, by the way), but then I realized that Star Wars provided an equally compelling wellspring of inspiration. Thusly, I decided to make a "toy" X-Wing in the same vane as the original (but perhaps a bit more detailed and grittier).
I'd like to state that the finished product is very inaccurate to the source material, and that I, in many respects, cut corners with regard to recreating the models as they actually appeared in the film. I'm also mimicking the proportions of the original Kenner X-Wing toy, but scaled up to 1/12 scale. In the former case, I'm claiming "artistic license"...in the latter case I'm claiming homage to that beloved toy of my childhood. Do you buy it?
The basic structure is large pieces of styrene with some support struts used in back half. I basically worked out the size I wanted, drew the pattern on the styrene, cut the first shape, and traced it to create the opposite side. Lots of cutting and fitting followed, since I had no set plan for what I was doing.
I used ordinary Testor’s model cement, since its designed to fuse model kits which are made from styrene that has been molded...the thickness of the sheet is 1/16", which is a great size for both stability and for cutting purposes. I've worked with thicker pieces, and its just way too difficult and dangerous to use. The basic structure that you see above turned out a lot sturdier than I could have ever hoped for.
The engine nacelles are some PVC plumbers parts that I eyed at a hardware store...the plumbing aisle is a treasure trove for this sort of thing (I also picked up the parts I'm using for the laser cannons there too). I built support struts to attach the nacelles to the wings and the side of the fuselage. I'd like to mention that I wasted several nights trying to engineer a functional "s-foil" mechanism that would allow the wings to open and close. After a lot of frustration, I gave up and decided to just have the wings permanently "open."
The wings are hinged, but as I just wrote, are permanently set in the attack position. The placement of the wings and nacelles are a little too delicate for my liking, but have stood up pretty well to handling.
For the surface detail, I"etched" the panels into the styrene with an exacto knife, and sanded down the surface. These lines did get lost during the priming stage in some cases, but they provided at least some guidance for my final paint job.
Artoo had to be removable (since it always annoyed me that he wasn’t in the original toy), and I may still do some interior detailing to the back section. When I was a kid, I used the battery compartment of the Kenner toy as a place for Luke to store his accessories, so I may try to make some sort of hatch along those lines later on.
Here's some further progress on the X-Wing...this kind of project is a helluva lot more time consuming than a custom figure!
Basic structure complete:
The seat is a professor X wheelchair, and the surrounding structure is a wierd X-Files figure accessory. I was sweating about doing the c-o-c-kpit, but I think is provides a decent looking base for further details.
And a patchwork of panels:
Whether its too extreme a variance of color or not, I'm not sure, but I kind of like the way the varying shades look for the panels.
The finished product:
This was by far the most time-consuming and expensive project I’ve ever attempted. It took over two and a half weeks to complete, and I spent about $50 in supplies for this monstrosity. Its 27 ˝” long and 24 ˝” wide, and is actually surprisingly light considering its size. While the wings are a bit wobbly, they are relatively sturdy, and the main body/structure seems to be pretty solid.
Sorry for the crappy pictures, but the size of this thing is sort of beyond the proportions of my photo set-up.
The section on the top of the fuselage behind Artoo was decorated with odds and ends. The back panel remains unfinished, simply because I wanted this thing to be able to rest on the back and the engine nacelles.
The targeting computer is an articulated arm from an Animated Avengers figure accessory and the doodad that was attached to the X3 Magneto figure. This section went together much more easily than I initially anticipated.
And here’s a couple of shots that fellow customizer Magnuz doctored for me…he did an awesome job. Thanks man!
Let me know what you think, and thanks for looking.