[COMPLETED] SW Squadrons Vanguard X-Wing (FM 1:48)

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StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I have a few of the old Fine Molds 1:48 X-Wings in the stash, and I got hooked to SW Squadrons recently. I love the default look of the Vanguard X-Wing, and so, while my Bandai A-Wing was drying from the oil and terpenoid bath a week ago (here's a quick pic from yesterday),

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I broke out this kit. It's just meant to be a quickie. I know there are a lot of inaccuracies compared to the studio models, and the form is not quite right, but I thought what the heck. So here we go.

This is the paint scheme I'm talking about:

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There are some discrepancies with the above schemes and this one below:

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I love that photo though, and I am going to try and recreate it when this build is done. I like the heavily weathered bottom of the fuselage in that last pic as well.

So I started with the wings, as usual, after the cockpit was roughed in:

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It was only after I had the bottom engine can pieces together did I realize FM gives you full can pieces (instead of 3 per side) if you choose choose to have the landing gear up. Oh well.

Next up was the mounting issue. Since this X-Wing is going to be used mainly for photography purposes (You can check out some of my photos on my IG here), I needed a solution where I could mount the model from different points so that I could shoot from different angles. I read through a few of the studio scale modeler's threads and found that many favor the 883-T mount from Panavise. So I bought one of those (overkill for this project, I know, but I can see if getting lots of use on other builds as well. Keep your eyes here for a Merlin Models Tantive IV build soooooooooon!) I added a longer threaded rod, and then added some 1/4-20 nuts inside my model.

The first mounting point was a natural one: the kit screws together through the bottom of the fuselage, so a nice recessed hole is already there. I cut off the top of the hole and then glued in a nut:

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Turns out gorilla glue isn't the best for stuff like this, so I went out and got a two-part epoxy for the next one.

And speaking of the next one... The back is where the one of the mounting points on the SS models were, so I thought that would be a good idea as well. I thought that the little toilet-seat hatch thingy was a separate piece, but it turns out that that's only on the Bandai X-Wings. On this one, everything is molded right on.

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I dremeled off the detail on the back, leaving it really gnarly looking. Then I added some sheet styrene as a backer, and then put a hole through that, into which I glued the nut:

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Not pretty, I know. But 3D printing comes to the rescue! I have a 3D model from Thingiverse that I chopped up, and then printed the replacement hatch on my Mars:

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It's not perfect, and I think it cracked slightly during curing, but it works. I had to scale it slightly larger than it should be so that it would hide my dremel sins. It's held on by magnets. Here it is painted:

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I also scraped off some of the molded on detail on the guns and replaced them with styrene rods (probably too big. Oh well):

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And speaking of paint, here's everything ready for a base color:

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I am still experimenting with finding the "right" base color for an X-Wing. I've tried white, I've done Camo Gray (RIP), and now I'm onto something else. It's XF-80 Royal Gray mixed with XF-2 flat white and then a dash of XF-55 deck tan thrown in. That's what I used for my B-Wing recently, and I really liked it. So I'm giving it a whirl here. You can see my mixed bottle of paint in that pic above. Shameless plug for my B-Wing: (again if you like this sorta thing, check out my IG)

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The next color I masked off was the gray on the wings and fuselage stripes. I initially used XF-19 sky gray, but only after peeling the masking off did I realize that I made it too light. I will need to go back and repaint those areas darker. I'm thinking XF-53 neutral gray. The next item of business was to mask off for all of the dark green color. There's a few shades of green on this bird, and I'm actually having a hard time figuring how how to represent them all.

Masking hell:

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I have three of the four wings masked for the dark green. It's a bugger. Just time consuming. So that's where I have left it at. I'm hoping to have this one wrapped up before Christmas, so lots more bench time is in my future this week!

Thanks for looking!

SB
 

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Madhatter

Well-Known Member
great choice in camo markings and colours! I really like that mix - it just works
I'll be checking this one out as it comes along- great work so far Steven
 

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StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks for the comments, everyone. Squadrons is fun in that it gives us modelers more paint schemes to choose from! :D

Some progress from the weekend: Finally got all of the wings and fuselage masked for the darker green color. Man that took forever for such a small amount of painting! About 4 hours of masking for 10 minutes of painting with the airbrush. I guess that's how it goes though! I took a few liberties with the paint job. I added more green in a few spots, such as the top back of the fuselage as well as on the bottom.

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The green color was pretty tricky, and I don't think I got it quite right. I think mine is too dark, but I'm just going to live with it. I ended up starting with JN Green and adding a bit of white to lighten it up and some blue to get it closer to what I see in the pictures. Still didn't quite get there, but that's okay.

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All unmasked and hit lightly with some steel wool:

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Like I said, the contrast with the base color makes the green look pretty dark. Next, I mixed up a custom mix for the lighter green color, which would go on the fuselage and the canopy. Like I said, I think I got close, but not quite right. Also used some liquid mask, and went a bit overboard with it, sadly. I think I'm going to go back and paint in a few of the chips, as it looks a bit busy as-is.

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Next, I masked the gray areas again, this time for XF-53 Neutral gray, which is darker than the XF-19 Sky gray which I used previously:

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I used the chipping fluid again on the gray, but was a bit more restrained this time. I think it turned out well. And I like the darker color more.

While I was thinking about the ILM X-Wings, I realized that many shots were accomplished with the mounting points on the sides. I wasn't initially going to do those, as I thought two was enough, but I had a few extra minutes, and so I slapped some epoxy and some 1/4-20 nuts into both sides.

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I did an initial fit-check with the wing mechanism inside with all of the nuts in there as well, and I'm pretty sure there is enough clearance in there for everything to fit correctly. If not, that's what the xacto blade is for!

So that's pretty much were it is as of right now. I need to spray some more green on the cannons, so I'll mask and spray those either tonight or tomorrow. Other than that, there's still just lots of detail painting and weathering to get done!

Thanks for watching.

SB
 

StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Another small update for today. Got the guns and cannon stripes painted. I only did two of the four cannon stripes as an homage to Red 5 only having the barber poles on two of the guns.

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Did a bit more painting on the bottom of the fuselage as well as under the cockpit area (kind of like Red 2, but definitely not as cool):

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Then I started poking around my decal collection for something that could look interesting on this ship.

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I landed on some Academy P-47 decals as well as some decals I didn't put onto my PG Falcon. These are small enough where they'll look interesting, but hopefully not call too much attention to any individual detail. Here's the fuselage as it is now:

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I think tomorrow is decal time, which, unfortunately, means this won't be done before Christmas. Oh well. I have all next week off of work to tinker away on this build.

One thing that I'm still trying to figure out how to do is the Rebel insignia on the wings. I don't have a silhouette or a cricket cutting machine, so I really have no idea how I'd make paint masks for those. Any ideas there?

Stay tuned for more!

Thanks for looking.

SB
 

Bauble

Member
Looking excellent, SB. I have a silhouette but I dont think it has the resolution you need. It gets squirrely if you try anything better than 0.5 mm. Probably a printable decal sheet is your best option. Or a photoetch! I wish someone would make good photoetch set with all the SW symbols across a good size range.
 

StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Oh photoetch! I didn't even think of that! You know what, that got me thinking. I have access to a glowforge laser cutter. I might be able to make a styrene mask on it, or just set the power really low and have it only go through the masking tape layer on top, and then transfer that tape to the model. I just don't know how the edges would look with that. Maybe I could do an experiment and post back.

Thanks for the tip!

SB
 

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Analyzer

Sr Member
Another small update for today. Got the guns and cannon stripes painted. I only did two of the four cannon stripes as an homage to Red 5 only having the barber poles on two of the guns.

View attachment 1381601

View attachment 1381602

Did a bit more painting on the bottom of the fuselage as well as under the cockpit area (kind of like Red 2, but definitely not as cool):

View attachment 1381603

View attachment 1381604

Then I started poking around my decal collection for something that could look interesting on this ship.

View attachment 1381605

I landed on some Academy P-47 decals as well as some decals I didn't put onto my PG Falcon. These are small enough where they'll look interesting, but hopefully not call too much attention to any individual detail. Here's the fuselage as it is now:

View attachment 1381606

I think tomorrow is decal time, which, unfortunately, means this won't be done before Christmas. Oh well. I have all next week off of work to tinker away on this build.

One thing that I'm still trying to figure out how to do is the Rebel insignia on the wings. I don't have a silhouette or a cricket cutting machine, so I really have no idea how I'd make paint masks for those. Any ideas there?

Stay tuned for more!

Thanks for looking.

SB

I might have some extra rebel insignia decals. How big diameter wise are you looking for?
 

StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Analyzer no worries, I got the laser to do the work for me!

So I went and did some tests with the laser. The insignia is 1/2" in diameter, so quite small. I just used standard blue tape, but I think that might have been a mistake (more on that later). You can see the edges of the logo quite fuzzy in this photo:

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I thought that it'd work okay, so I went home and got distracted with 3D printing R2 and BB-8 cookie cutters. After all, Santa needs SOMETHING when he comes tonight...

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We'll decorate them tonight with the kids after dinner. Anyway. On to the build.

I masked it all up with my blue-tape masks. I wonder if I had used 18mm Tamiya tape, the edges would have been sharper? I don't know. It might have been a factor with the power/speed of the laser as well. Who knows...

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The insignias are pretty setback on the wings. It looks a bit off to me, as I like things to be nice and centered and symmetrical, but that's how it is, so... Also, I just used a simplified Rebellion logo, rather than try to work with all of those tiny stars that are in the Vanguard Squadron logo.

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And here's how they turned out:

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As you can see above and below, the edges are a bit fuzzy. But you know what? With some steel wool treatment and a bit of weathering, they should look alright. Not too bent outta shape.

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Then I started on some decals. I didn't do a gloss coat here, but I'm wondering if I should have. I can see a bit of silvering where the transfer film is. I mostly used spares from my PG Falcon, as well as an old P-47 kit. It's hard to strike a balance between looking too busy, but also having something that looks like it belongs, you know? Some of them even add a bit of color!

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And I couldn't resist, earlier this morning before the paint and decals, to just shove the wings into the back to see how it was looking:

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I'm going to need a longer 1/4-20 rod for shots where it's mounted from the side! But overall I think it's getting there.

Now I take a short break for tomorrow while the decals set/cure/harden/whateveryouwanttocallit and then I'll probably do a matte coat on Saturday in preparation for some oil weathering!

Thanks for watching.

SB
 

StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks, DanielB . Not much to report today. Just gave everything a healthy coat of Testors Dullcote earlier this evening to seal in the decals. I'll let that dry overnight and then I'll probably do an overspray of the base color to knock down the colors a bit. Also on my to-do list is to shoot the inside of the canopy with a bit of Tamiya smoke. I want to tint the canopy ever so slightly. Not sure the juice is worth the squeeze on that one, but we'll see.

SB
 

StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Little update today. I did an overspray of the base color over the whole model to knock down the contrast between the green and the gray. I wanted it to look faded, but not too faded, you know?

I thought I had enough room in the fuselage to add all of these mounting points, but I forgot to factor in the wing-box mechanism that keeps the X in an X. That takes up a lot of room on the inside, and I was about a 1/4" short:

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The two nuts on the sides were in the way. So I thought, well, I guess I'll have to remove those two nuts on the sides. Sad day, that is, if I used all of the mechanism hardware. So I did some thinking, and thought that I could remove some plastic just in those two spots, then slide the wings forward to where they needed to be. So I outlined those spots and sharpie, and ALMOST had the dremel plugged in...

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...but then I did some more thinking. And I thought: What do I even need all of this stuff inside? There are two plates on the front, and I don't need any on the top and bottom, either. So I popped off the one on the front and lost the two top and bottom pieces, and I was able to make everything work. It's snug, but it fits. I know, I know, super clean and professional looking...

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Then I carefully glued the fuselage together, starting at the back end. The butt-plate gave me some fits, but it went together okay in the end:

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So that's where I ended up before dinner: I did some additional bit of weathering with some acrylic paints on the bottom (some scratches and such), and now the fuselage is together.

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After I took the above photos I gave it an oil wash with Starship Filth. Didn't take any photos of that, but I will probably on Monday. The thing looks beat. Maybe a bit too weathered, but since they're oils I can always go back and take it back a bit.

And that's pretty much where it's at as of right now. How long do oils take to dry? I've seen anywhere from two days to two weeks.

Anyway, thanks for looking!

SB
 

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StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks Bauble. I am planning on doing more weathering. I have a Tamiya weathering set that I'll attack it with once the oils have dried up a bit.

SB
 

StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Well, this is the second to last update on this build.

I finished it up today with some Tamiya weathering powders, and decaling R2. I wish I had some green decals for the droid, because I wasn't going to risk painting something that small and messing it up. I'm no good at that. I used some Tamiya Smoke on the inside of the canopy to tint it a bit, and that seemed to work okay. I used some rust and soot powder on the droid strip, but that doesn't come through all that well. Oh well.

So here she is all wrapped up. I took some photos in my light box:

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The next post will hopefully be a recreation of this image (maybe minus the Coruscant and all the debris. Oh, and the TIE Reaper. I don't have a model of that one yet):

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So stay tuned!

Thanks for looking.

SB
 

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