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Studio Scale Model Observations

Kate Donaldson via Compfight

I’ve been scrutinizing pictures of the studio models of Star Destroyers that ILM built for the original Star Wars trilogy and some other famous Studio Scale starship models. Some observations follow. If you’re not into modeling, you can just ignore this little geek out moment.

1. The original 3 ft long model used in A New Hope, is not near as awesome as the six foot model built for Empire. Its details are less integrated into the whole and more easily identified as battleship and tank parts. Still, the opening to E4 remains epic and iconic. Imagine how long that shot would have been had they used the Avenger model?

2. The six foot Avenger model is a masterpiece. The greeblies are more disguised and purposeful. I also think the the model is better covered by such details.

3. Both models are not very weathered. I realize, space and all, but basically, they are just painted a light gray. No streaking, meteor hits or battle damage. Also, no repairs under progress, like the new Galactica implied so well.

4. The original Galactica model was and still is, awesome! I also like that it used colored panel lines in odd places and was “weathered” a bit.

5. People actually try to guess the model parts on these studio builds so they can reproduce them. Crazy. And kinda cool, I’ll admit. Although personally, I have too many original designs to keep me building until I die. No need to recreate what someone else did. But I would imagine that the original modelers are flattered.

6. Someone needs to do a forum with pictures that describes how all these studio models were mounted and the internal structure of them. How do they use metal tubes and keep the model from spinning around? I’m just not getting that from the older pics. This guy’s reproduction is the best documented mounting system I’ve seen so far.

7. I’d also like to know more about how fiber optics are used inside these models. It looks like a nightmare to thread a six foot model with fiber. Perhaps there is a how-to out there on the internet that I should look at.

8. Some kit bashed greeblies are cool as is, but when the modeler takes the time to make it look like it has a purpose, they look even better. Personally, if I can see that you just glued a Panzer top to your model, I consider that a bit of a fail. Make it look like it was shaped that way for a reason. Disguise it with other parts and make it blend into a whole.

9. This guy’s Tantive IV model is amazing. Also, the original was extremely well done in regards to number eight above. In many ways it reminds me of the Discovery from 2001 A Space Odyssey.

10. After looking at all these fantastic models, I can’t wait to get back to my GCU Sokol build.


1 thought on “Studio Scale Model Observations”

  1. I really appreciate the links while at the same time wishing you hadn’t pointed me to the Tantive IV model. Those pictures got me back into thinking about the submarine I want to build…RC, tethered, or programmable with sensors with at least a camera in the nose. The scale of the Tantive IV model looks awesomely perfect for this, and it’s got a great shape for a sub, too. So do a lot of starships, for that matter.

    You know, I’ve mentioned being interested in getting a 3D printer kit now that they’re reasonably priced. Such a printer would be perfect for scratchbuilding starships and such. Design the part to fit exactly the way you want, print it, and glue it on.

    Now I might have to revisit this sub next year. Curse you, amigo! ;-)

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