Fine Molds 1/48 X-Wing

KIT: Fine Molds 1/48 X-Wing
KIT #: SW-8
PRICE: $50.00 MSRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Dan Lee
NOTES: Kit based on Lucas Films Studio Model

HISTORY

Aw Uncle Owen!

The X Wing fighter is one of the most unique spaceships to grace the screen as it first appeared in Star Wars and the other 1 2/3 good Star Wars movies.

 The X-Wing or Incom T-65 is the mainstay of the Rebel Alliance’s fighter squadrons.  It is the Rebel Alliance’s equivalent of the multirole F-15 as it has enough firepower, shields and speed to deal with the hordes of Imperial Tie Fighters (Rebel starfighter pilots are trained to deal with odds of 2:1 and more) as well as attacking capital ships and moon sized space stations.  It is armed with four laser cannon on each wing tip and a pair of missile launchers (which can fire concussion missiles or proton torpedoes) as well as strong shield generators for protection.  The X-Wing also carries a hyperspace generator which means that it can do hit and run attacks without a nearby capital ship.

 Most of the information gleaned from the instruction of X-Wing Alliance Flight Sim game and watching Star Wars.

THE KIT

See the earlier preview of the kit.

 One of the grumbling from the SF model peanut gallery is the shape and size of the nose (apparently a similar issue with the previous 1/72 model kit) and the cockpit/engine detail is not entirely correct.

CONSTRUCTION

Fine Molds has done a very good job of breaking down the parts so that the seams are located at the “actual” seams or hatches especially with their Y-Wing model.  The X-wing is no different for the most part.

 I started off painting the cockpit and detail painting the cockpit consoles.  As some Star Wars modelers have pointed out, it is not entirely accurate compared to the movie version (especially when you reference the photos from the movie models) but it is good enough for me.  Once the cockpit areas were complete then I began the process of construction.

 The kit is a snap tite kit, but not plagued with huge fit issues.  In fact, as long as you follow the instructions then you won’t have too many problems (any fiddly problems I had occurred when I didn’t follow instructions so the lesson is to follow instructions.)  This kit is a little unusual as one of the tools you will require is a Phillips screw driver to attach the parts together.  Just be careful not to crank the screws or you will crack the plastic (fortunately, I did not do this.) 

 As an added precaution, I put liquid glue into the seams to fill it and I needed a bit of Mr Surfacer around the nose piece and the underside of the nose where the proton torpedo launchers go and the rear of the X-Wing.  There are also seams along the leading and trailing edges of the x-wing wings that need filled and sanded (the only spot in the model that needed sanding from what I recall.)

I opted for in flight rather than resting on the landing gear so I used the parts with the doors closed using the poly caps provided.  

COLORS & MARKINGS

This is usually the best part of working on a Fine Molds Star Wars kit.  I began by masking the canopy and then preshading the entire model in flat black and whatever excess colors I had in my airbrush (various dark grays, greens and brown) as I usually paint several models at once.

I decided to paint the insides of the engine section (located in the X wing’s X wing) burnt iron.  I did not mask these parts off as the overspray added to the grittiness of the model.

 The entire model is FS36440 and I used part of my stock of Gunze H325.  The Rebel Alliance apparently did not like clean spaceships so I had to be careful not to over do the paint and make it appear clean.  I used some photos of Luke Skywalker’s X-wing to reproduce the markings as best I could.   The cockpit color is the same as the exterior color so I masked off the canopy with Tamiya tape and sprayed it at the same time.

 With my airbrush, I sprayed in light coats to allow enough of the preshaded sections to appear.  Depending on the paint, sometimes you have to spot just before it looks just right because the colors become more opaque when the paint cures (I have found that Gunze has this tendency.)  In some places I kept the FS36440 very thin as these sections were very dirty.  Some folks like to post shade with pastels or different shades instead, but I prefer the pre shading because I think I have a good eye for that.  It’s whatever works for you.

 Unfortunately, upon further review, I needed to make the X-Wing dirtier and took extra thinned German Black (2 parts thinner to 1 part paint) and sprayed certain sections (especially around the engines as they were particularly dirty.)

 I let the paint cure for a couple of days before I masked off the area around the cockpit and sprayed Poly Scale Light Ghost Grey all over it and the canopy as per instructions (note: Testors/Poly Scale paint do not react well to not completely cured Gunze which is the reason why there was a gap.)  Fine Molds does supply decals for it but I had problems using them when I build the 1/72 version of the X-wing so I decided to actually do the work to paint them.

 Once the paint was dry, I sprayed on Gunze gloss to prepare the surface for decals (the kit also contains stickers, but I didn’t use them as they are way thicker than the decals.)  Normally I wouldn’t as Gunze H325 is actually a semigloss paint but I also know that the coverage was deliberately spotty at best which is why I ended up adding the flat coat.  Part of me wanted to mask off the sections so that I could recreate the dirty areas of the red markings, but the much lazier side of me vetoed that idea on the basis that it was too much work.  Anyway, Fine Molds decals go on okay and settle down around using Micro Sol and Set.  Some of the other decals needed another go of MicroSol before they conformed over the detail.

 At this point, I used some a mix of very thinned red brown and red paints as a wash for the exposed parts of the interior of the wings as per photos of the Lucasfilm studio model.  Once done that I used a dark brown watercolor wash to highlight various portions of the panel lines including the canopy.  I wiped the excess off with a slightly wetted Q-Tip.

By this time I got the flu and stopped constructing as I felt it more important to curl up into a ball and cough my lungs out.  Several weeks later when I could actually move about, I sprayed on the flat coat over the model and I was done. 

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

As mentioned before, I don’t like figure painting (no interest in it) and don’t put figures in my airplane models except my Fine Molds Star Wars Models.  I painted Luke using international orange, flesh, tan, white, black and silver.  I used the decals for the markings on his helmet and used a water color wash to make the helmet look dirty (as it was supposed to be) and bring out Luke’s face.  I even took the effort to paint his eyes (not well, but at least he does not look like a bug eyed freak.)

 R2-D2 was easier to do.  I sprayed on a thin coat of Tamiya Aluminum and then used Hawkeye Talon Acrylic for the final coat.  This works a lot better than just using Talon by itself as the Tamiya Aluminum acts as a primer.  Once the paint was dry, I added the decals and when the decals were dry, I used a gloss coat.

 Both figures were glued in place and the canopy was removed off the canopy and glued on with Elmer’s white glue.

 The stand was assembled and my X-wing Red Five was done. 

CONCLUSIONS

I really do enjoy building these Fine Molds Star Wars Kits.  They are designed more for the Star Wars Fan Boys who don’t build models often, but with a lot of care and some weathering you can make a very good 1/48 scale X-wing fighter and pretend (to the dismay of your friends and loved ones) that you are down in the trench with Luke Skywalker fighting the Empire and taking a shot at a target two meters in length and no bigger than a womprat.

Dan Lee

July 2008

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