Building the Renoke, Part 1

One of the oldest cardboard models my friends and I built when we began making SF movies in Super-8 as kids, was the Renoke. It was a Millennium Falcon type freighter piloted by a man on the run from the authorities for smuggling. Sounds familiar enough. We built the original model from poster board and bits of model kits we had on hand. It had six mount points including eyelets on the bottom for stringing thread. Our camera was mounted upside down, along with the model and then we slid it down the threads with a light underneath it to block the threads. Simple, effective special effects on a budget.

As I began to ponder the second trilogy of the Star Saga, I knew I'd be using the Renoke a bunch in both short stories and at least one novel. So it was clear I needed to build a better model with more details and better construction techniques. I opted to scale it up to 1/32 and build it out of wood and plastic with 1/2" plumber's pipe for a mount. The model will also feature a detailed bridge and lights.

The Frame and Mounts

I chose to go with a simple wood frame and the aforementioned pipe for the mount. It was just a matter of deciding how many mount points the frame could support, turns out only four. It all started with getting the proper scale with a paper blueprint.

From there I made my frame from 1/2" x 3" wood plank and glue/screwed it together.

The base was a simple wood plank that I had on hand.


Here you see the completed frame with holes for the front and back mount points. 


My original paper plane was about 1/2" smaller than my 3" planks, so I had to up-scale it.


The next step was to glue the plastic sheeting to the sides of the frame. I had to go through several kinds of glue to find one that worked - a super glue gel from Locktite. Then it was just a matter of cutting and gluing the plastic to the frame. Finally, I'm to the point of boxing in the unique shape of the head and the rear engine intakes. I have to slow down here as the bridge will have to include full interior details.


While the sides were drying, I worked on the main gun of the starship. It was taken from a military starship and bolted on by the owner. Detailing it became a matter of using on hand styrene and greeblies from Warhammer kits and a Russian T-34 model that I cannibalized. 


You can see how much more detail is possible with a larger scale and a more precise medium like plastic. The original model's gun was made from a spool of thread and straws.


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