Thursday, December 16, 2010

Restoration Project: AMT Millennium Falcon (StarWars)

"What a piece of junk!" --- Luke Skywalker
"She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts." --- Han Solo

Story behind the kit:

I've got this kit from a fellow modeler back in my hometown few years back. The kit was half built and some of the parts were missing. He lost interest to complete the model and willingly he gave me the kit without asked for anything. I accepted without prejudiced :D I told myself that i would complete this kit when i have time to do it. 

After almost 13 years... i think now is the right time to do it (yup! after George Lucas complete all 6 episodes!!!). So after so many years kept in one of the boxes, i decided to restore and salvage the kit and sharpen my scratch-building skills and make this a respectable Millennium Falcon in the universe!!. (Han and Chewy will be proud off! ;)

prior to that... let's take a look what is inside the box and what it takes to revive this kit back to life...


What's inside the box... (note the plastic bag!) 

the top half

bottom half

previous sub assemblies... note the glue mark (in yellow)

The interior... which i don't intent to do...

the pink plastic bag contain all these parts.. the clear part for the cockpit and the whole radar is missing. Darn!

You really turn me on!!!!

Alright... after evaluating the damage, the kit was not in bad condition at all. Some important parts were missing, the clear parts for the cockpit, the radar, some small details parts, etc. The landing gear is about to break (I intend to scratch build a new one). But overall, its acceptable with minor work required.

This particular kit was a re-production of MPC kit. When AMT/ERTL took over the mold they added the interior and re-issue the kit. It was a hot selling items ever since with the announcement of continuation of the StarWars trilogy of course.
(The original Millennium Falcon model kit was first available in 1979, and was reissued for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. According to Tomart's Price Guide to Worldwide Star Wars Collectibles (Second Edition, Sansweet and Tumbusch, p. 122), the model has been available in four packages:
  • Ertl Star Wars Han Solo's Millennium Falcon (w/lights)
  • Ertl Return of the Jedi Millennium Falcon (w/o lights)
  • MPC/Ertl Return of the Jedi Millennium Falcon
  • AMT/Ertl Return of the Jedi Millennium Falcon

For the work, I opted the interior and decided to pose this "flying Hamburger" on rested position (believe it or not, the design of the Millennium Falcon was based from a Hamburger?!!). So I would focus more on scratch build the cockpit, the Quad Laser Canon (recreating the accesstube) and the entrance ramp door interior. Last but not least... the Sub-Light Engine. It's funny when ERTL just provide a clear window alike part for the engine grill!

So let's start to break some plastic!!! yeah!...      

Some of the earlier assemblies.. the Maintenance Access Bay 

I strengthen the joint by gluing triangle plastic rod 

the gap... the top half warped over the years and need a lot of super glue.. messy! :(

Parts were glued, strengthen and back into shape... 

Joint seams is not visible... yay!

with some extra attention, the joint gap  and the use of putty can be avoided

First released in 1979. ERTL re-produce when i was 14. This is a very old kit... but proven still one of the best Millennium Falcon in the market. 

Now the bottom half...

See the gap... i need to break this apart.. carefully...

The door ramp... thinking of recreating the interior... 

More gap... 

and more....

the parts that been dismantle...

Ok... let's refresh our mind now with a clip from Episode 5 before we continue for the next section... (mind the subtitles... this is the best i can find!)

After browsing the internet i found out interesting information about the MF. There's a lot of discrepancies and inaccuracies that are debate-able on the floor plan/ blueprints of MF. Of course, the advantage of building a sci-fi subject there's no right or wrong since these subject is fictional. However, it is interesting when there's people really look into details and functionality of a spacecraft itself to make this fictional subject to life. 

So, i would try my best to affix and adapt the modification as close and detail as possible. But as long as the project won't too long to complete ;) . There are few links that I include for references. (Thanks to link below) that now i have guide to correct my MF :

(Thanks to these guys for making an effort to discussed, research about the Falcon!!)

Friday, December 03, 2010

1/32 Kitech Blue Thunder

Since I have 5 of this kits minus 3 reserved for SA 341 Gazelle project I decided to built 1 straight from the box and maybe super detailing the other one for my next project. You can review the kit content on my Gazelle write up.  

Hmm... surprise surprise. Building this kit out of the box seems to be more difficult than converting it to a Gazelle. Seat cushion doesn't fit into the sea bucket, the pedals doesn't fit to the column, etc.. etc...

It seems Kitech kits actually longer than the actual Blue Thunder helo's. The cockpit need to be shortened. The skid should be lowered. I compare this from the drawing produce by Arthur and Andy above and the kit itself. The fuselage need to be cut by roughly about 0.5mm -1cm. this require major surgery and careful calculation before cutting the fuselage.

The other problems would be the clear part (canopy). Since the cockpit to be shortened therefore the canopy need to be cut to fit the new cockpit. I remembered an article on stretching a C-130 and maybe i could use the methodology of resizing a model.

Let's do some cutting...

Alright... there is old saying "measure twice, cut once" and to make sure my helo's is not looking too weird it's time for some measurement... first I enlarge the drawing above to desired scale (in this case 1/32th) and compare to the kits halves. The cockpit need to be shortened by 0.8mm in length. 

Top is the original kit and bottom is the shortened fuselage. I decided to cut at the highlighted area (bold line) to avoid extra work when joining the halves together later on. 

The cockpit - 0.8mm measured in between both lines. 

Cut and shortened...

As it goes along... it seems my itchy hands and thoughts pursue me to detail this chopper... as matter in fact, i already thinking to correct many defects on this kit compared to the real chopper... so more cutting and sanding to do...  

with both doors opened... in the movies only port side door is used. starboard only for maintenance purposes 

camera mounted... opss... only for filming purposes!

The office was simple... It was cramp in the real helo's but the kit was spacious and need to be corrected..

nice side view...