Monday, August 28, 2006

Masking the hull panels.

The hull panels of the falcon vary in color. It looks to me like there's a faint greyish tan color, a dark cool grey that shifts to a medium blue-grey at the front of the ship, boxcar red (what I've heard it called), and a pale yellow. I've started with the lightest color:I cut masking tape to outline the patterns/panels I wanted to shade and sprayed them with a mist of the desaturated tan acrylic paint.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Here's a quick glimpse of the ship all base coated. I started darkening the recessed pits on the upper hull but felt under the weather this weekend. Hopefully during the week I'll get some more done.
As far as painting tools go, here's what I have at my disposal (from left to right): Iwata HP-C, Iwata Eclipse HP-BCS, Badger 150, and a Paasche H.
I purchased the Badger a few years back, but I wasn't happy with the trigger performance. I am absolutely thrilled with my Iwata HP-C. And the fact that it's a gravity feed (cup on top) means easier transitions between colors with less cleaning time. The Eclipse was given to me when I purchased a friend's compressor (more on that later). In all honesty, the HP-C and the cheap Paasche H get all the work done. Although it's a single action cheap airbrush, the paint flow control is smooth and extremely variable. It also has a fairly wide and even stroke.
My main compressor is that little blue Cyclone II (by badger). It's got a moisture trap, pressure regulator, and that little black box at the end is a manifold I built. It has two quick connects so that I can attach two airbrushes. Why you ask? This way I can load two brushes with different paints, hook them both up, and switch back and forth with no down time. Sometimes it comes in handy. Behind the Cyclone is the compressor I bought from a friend. I haven't gotten around to testing it. Supposedly it's one of those 'silent' compressors with a big air tank. It needs oil before I put it through some tests.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Painting the falcon.

This is a very exciting update for me. I've changed gears from 'building the falcon' to 'painting the falcon'. I started airbrushing some of the separate pieces with the base coat mix (again 1:1 mix of grime and reefer white). I'm shooting this un-thinned through my Iwata HP-C airbrush. Perhaps next update I'll show my painting equipment and give a little run down of how I go about doing what I do. Without further delay, here are the first pieces I base coated:
Rather than spending the time (and paint) to pre-shade the deep recessed areas, I decided to carefully control my base coat spray to allow some of the grey primer to show through areas where shadows would pool. I think it looks perfect for this scale.
Did I mention I'm excited?

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I know I said that the hull was done. Believe me...I wanted it to be done. But today we discovered a pretty big opportunity to improve the Fine Molds falcon. It started with a little box I noticed on the cockpit walkway that was missing. As it turns out, there was a pipe that ran between this box and a detail Fine Molds included.
I confirmed this via a Star Wars reference book and the Master Replicas studio-scale. To replicate the detail, I scratched the box part and used a thin styrene rod for the pipe. I used a pin vise to drill a tiny hole in the upper detail and the lower box-like piece. The small gap between the pipe and the walkway is accurate and probably the reason this detail got broken off the real model. Here's it is with primer:
At this point I decided to fix one more area that lacked some of the detail that the 32 inch falcon had. It may be difficult to see below (the sun was pretty bright) but I added six new bits here. They are also hard to describe. To the right of the custom brass hoses I added is a tiny cylinder oriented vertically. Next is some monofilament line (three pieces) used to recreate what looked like a cable or wire over the 'T' shaped ribbed piece. Moving to the right, there is a cylinder piece and a more complex piece with a small box attached to the side of a cylinder. Now this area has the right look.I did some test spraying of the base coat mix on a scrap piece primed with the same primer on my bird. It looks like the 50/50 mix of Floquil brand "Reefer White" and "Grime" will be perfect (thanks Dean Dymerski for the tip). Sadly, my goal of base coating the ship was put on hold because of the additional work listed above. Almost there...

Friday, August 18, 2006

What the hull?

The last piece of the hull is done. It's late, but I just finished snapping photos of the lower gun turret disc. It was missing many of the little styrene squares found on the original, some small raised circles, and a strange narrow block with rounded ends. Having done this type of work before on the upper turret, it was much easier. The difficult part is comparing what Fine Molds gives you with reference photos and temporarily drawing the missing details with a pen.After the glue set, I hit the new details with 400 grit sandpaper. I blow off any debris/dust with compressed air and head out to spray it with primer. A note on primer: when you get down to 25% left in the spray can, it may be best to start with a fresh can to ensure smooth coverage with no unwanted texture. Below is a nice example.
I am going to glue this one to the bottom of the ship permanently. There's no need to remove this one on my kit. Everything I need to get at will be accessible via the upper gun port. I won't be adding the rest of the parts for this assembly (window frame and gun) because the mounting point for my falcon is through this opening.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Cross off the cockpit walkway.

This is the last update for today. I finished the walkway from the hull to the cockpit. I just need to glue the halves together and then attach it to the ship. I ended up using a combiniation of dremel and heated tools to make the dent/blast mark on the corner of the lower piece (top piece in photo). Then I added a few more details that are present in reference photos.
Here's another photo of the underside where most of the custom work was done.

Progress report

I took the falcon outside this morning for some quick photos. It was a bit too bright (and hot I might add) so I apologize for the dark shadows. I'm moving on to the cockpit walkway next. I'll start by adding the dent to its underside.
I really liked this shot too:

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Sidewalls are go!

Today I attached all of the sidewall pieces to the ship. I chose to only glue the parts to the upper hull so I could separate the two halves later if necessary. It worked out great with the exception of one piece (near the cockpit) that wraps under the lower hull slightly. I will probably lightly tack this one with glue.
For the hoses below I recreated them by bending some brass rod. Fine Molds included some detail pipes that were too small and didn't have the right look to the bends.The magnetic escape pods worked great and with the small trapezoid-like sidewall panels installed on either side, they are snug and have perfect alignment.
Another sidewall piece glued into place. A note on construction: in order to ensure a strong bond, I scored the back of the sidewall sub assemblies with my trusty x-acto knife in a cross hatch pattern. I did the same for where the piece contacts the upper hull.
Here's the other side of the engine opening. On this sidewall, there are two small piping brackets (shaped like an 'H') that needed to be glued into place. I was able to glue them firmly to the sidewall without having to apply any glue to where they meet the lower hull.Scratch another item off the 'to-do' list. Did I mention the list is getting very short now?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The mysterious falcon fins

First, let me start out by saying that my upper hull is officially complete. Rob pointed out a part that I had forgotten to glue to my hull that was still on my 'A' parts tree. Thanks! And a fellow RPF member (toddski) inspired this next improvement. The rear access port, or mandible pit on the right side of the upper hull is missing two detail pieces (seen reproduced here in white resin).I molded them from elsewhere on the upper hull, cast them up, and while they were still warm I curved them to fit the mandible pit. Below is what it looks like re-installed with the parts primered.
The under side of the Millennium Falcon had two fins located on the raised landing gear area aft of the gun turret. They were thin strips that had angled ends toed in towards the turret. I say "had" because these fins no longer exist on the studio model. They have fallen off, or have been broken off since the filming of the original trilogy.
Current photos of the screen used model do reveal the parts' attachment points. Some old glue residue and the lack of paint where tell the story. Using photos of the original and the MR lower hull, I was able to attach my fins properly.
Here is another photo that better illustrates the fin placement.
There's only some minor details to be added to the gun turret disc for the lower hull. I plan to move on to attaching the hull sidewalls next. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Still building the falcon...

This week has been very busy and hectic and so the model building took a back seat to other obligations. However, I thought I should post photos of the upper hull front plate notching that was completed and coated in primer. I really like the additional lighting/shadow detail these create. Here's one side:And the other side:
I made the executive decision not to go with the PE brass grills and internal detailing. Despite how cool it looks, it really makes the rear deck look too different from the shooting miniature in my opinion. I really agonized over this decision for a few weeks and held off from working on the rear deck exhaust ports. However, I've gone forward and just need to glue on the 4 remaining missing bits of pipe leaning up on the port housings.
At least the above shot shows you how the extra detailing (ovals, piping, styrene squares, etc.) looks when the grey primer unifies all of the components. As a side note, I am really itching to get to painting the hull. This is where patience really comes in to play. I know there are things I need to do that will improve the finished product before I can paint. The more the falcon starts to look complete the harder it gets.