|There are very few sci-fi modelers
who don't know about Fine Molds' (or Finemolds as some say) Star Wars models.
After the disaster that was the fallout of AMT/ERTL there was a void in
the mass produced Star Wars model kit market. There was no one but small
garage companies making models. That all changed when Fine Molds' out of
Japan burst onto the scene with a new line of styrene Star Wars models.
They were rumored to be absolute top of the line and filled with delicious
detail. Well they certainly came through with their first release, the Incom
T-65B X-wing Space Superiority Fighter. Fine Molds' made engineering an
art form with their X-wing. The kit comes in a beautiful box with several
trees of gray parts. The detail is fine, crisp and accurate. They supposedly
had access to Lucasfilm Archives material, and, if true, it shows.
Assembly on the X-wing was a dream. This is a kit
that you can really sit back and relax to do. Some kits are a struggle
for the beginning and require hard, tedious work that can become "unfun".
This defeats the purpose of model building in my opinion. But there were
no problems with Fine Molds' The parts fit exactly, and there were practically
no seams to fill. The kit is made so you can assemble and paint the whole
fuselage and wing assemblies separately. This makes the building and painting
very easy. I've done four of these kits and I'd love to do a million more.
The second (actually the fourth one I built) X-wing you see above was done on commission as Wedge Antilles' Red 2 from the Battle of Yavin at the first Death Star. This kit was painted slightly differently than the Red 5 models. I started by correcting some paneling and detailing that was missing; much like I did with the second Red 5. After this was done, I airbrushed a base coat on everything in flat black from Polly Scale. Then, I airbrushed the next layer on top of that in white; also from Polly Scale. I did this so I could wear away the white with steel wool to show some gray or even black from underneath. I also airbrushed all of the markings on the ship instead of using decals with Polly Scale Caboose Red. This makes for a much more realistic look, as the decals tend to have a toyish feel. Various panels were airbrushed in different colors like Polly Scale Bar Gray, Model Master Sand, and others.
The third and fourth were also done on commission and built as Red 5 as flown by Luke Skywalker against the first Death Star. I put a ton of research into digging up photos of the original model. I was lucky enough to have a good friend send me some pictures of the model taken by Revell in the late 70s that have not surfaced in any publication. These were a big help. Since then they have spread around the Internet so all can enjoy them. I started the painting by basing the model in Camo Gray by Model Master. I then added the red insignia markings by using the kit supplied decals. The kit also comes with some other decals that are supposed to go over some panels to make then discolored. Just get rid of them. They aren't accurate and aren't the right colors. I just painted the panels with my airbrush. There are a ton of different colors in this kit. There is Gull Gray, Gunship Gray, Neutral Gray, Light Sea Gray, Rust, etc. etc. etc. There are a lot! You'll need to custom mix the colors to match reference pictures. I also noticed that the kit is missing some small details present on the studio models. Small rectangles along the sides of the main fuselage were missing so I made them from some styrene stock for the second Red 5 I did.
For weathering on all of my X-wings, I started with
a wash to bring out the detail. I then hand painted streaks, marks and
various other scuffs in different dirty colors. Usually a dark gray, black
or brown. After that I airbrushed some of the darker weather marks with
some more similar dirty colors. I also like to take a stick of charcoal
(usually medium or soft) and make a little mark on the ship where I want
weathering. I then smear it with my finger to make a nice little streak.
You can also grind the charcoal up and apply it with a brush.
These kits are available the cheapest from Hobbylink Japan for about $30 total. They are also available domestically for a bit more at places like the Starship Modeler Store and eBay.
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