Converting the 1:48 FM X-Wing into ILM hero Red 2 (Blue 1)


Well-Known Member
Hey folks!

After years of ignoring the X-Wings, I have gotten back into the topic.
Inspired by my good friend "ChrisGFX" and his amazing X-Wing CGI-model, I was recently caught by the X-Wing-feaver...
Due to limited display space here AND my passion for smaller scales I decided to build a 1/2 SS X-Wing in ILM Hero-Style.

The FineMolds X-Wing is WAY off, so I'll have to so some major modifications, parts built from scratch and have some parts 3D-printed, like the droid-strip, backplate, ...
As a side-effect, I’ll hopefully be able to offer some replacement parts for the FineMolds kit for more authenticity.

Long story short - after some research I decided to go for Blue one / Red two.
Things have to get worse before they can get better...
So I cut the lower fuselage and added 2 stripes of 1.5mm styrene:

Red 2 has the torpedo-launcher installed offset compared to the other X-Wings.

The side covers of the FM kit don't match shape and position, hence the filled areas.
Here's another crucial point: The width of the upper fuselage.
First, I bent the upper areas carefully and then I glued these styrene retainers to stay in shape:

Don't let me discuss the backplate... the FM version it totally off. I simply cut the sidewalls tried to save as much of the remaining rests as possible.
Unfortunately, the kit parts here are about 15 percent too small... I guess this will be perfect to have 3D-printed and added to the model later.

Added a 0.5mm styrene stripe for additional height and a smooth shape:
The width of back part of the lower fuselage has been corrected, but this area was also lacking depth, so two layers of styrene were added.
1 mm + 0.5 mm which also forms the new rim for the back plate:

This pictures illustrates the differences in width between the FM parts and my modified version:

The back-bottom of the fuselage has dried, and now roughly cut in shape.

Upper and lower fuselage glued together + new back from scratch.
This already looks much more like the ILM fuselage than the FM, doesn't it?

Here's a shot that shows the new back. The FM fuselage was too short, so I had to add 2 mm length to the main fuselage + build the new rim.
Note that the triangular wedge of Red 2 has a different shape on the other X-Wing models.
Added some extra styrene stripes for correct shape and wall width.
A little putty, a little bit of sanding:

I added some side-covers and started working on the canopy frame.
You can see I added 1 mm triangular shaped styrene for the back side windows, who are positioned a bit higher than the main side windows. In spite of all controversy - Red 2 has those raised back sidewindow, too! It may look different due to the paint scheme...

I started scribing the new panel lines to the bottom. The bottom cover plate will be added later.

In the meantime I did some work to the thruster nozzles. Red 2 had the short ones on all 4 engines. Plus, I cut the turkey-feather-contour to the shortened end.

And here's my test-run with the nose-modification. Some putty, some sanding, all-in-all re-shaping the nose - plastic surgery...
If I am right, the Red 2 nose is shorter than on all the other Heros... Can someone please verify or prove me wrong?
Great job on making this kit more accurate! I believe the nose length was the same for Red 1, 2 and 5 - they actually look like they have the same profile to me.
Thanks guys!

I know that my approach can never end in 100 per cent accuracy, but I am trying to get as close as possible.
For some areas, like the cockpit for instance, I decided against copying the filming miniature and build it the way I like it...


I spent some time on the wings and engines.
Apparently, I haven't been gifted with patience - so I started the inner engine without the 3D-Printed Saturn V-parts.

First, I cut the Sealab-tube-part from the wing.


I decided to NOT build the wings from scratch and try to modify them as good as possible instead. The FM wings are missing 2-3 mm in length and have a slightly wrong angle. The engine housing is 2mm too long, so I decided to reduce 1mm from the sealab-halftube. As a result, the all-in-all apperance looks more authentic.

Next, I cut all the inner pins and glue-points from the Saturn V-half.
The Pyro X-wings who had casted engines had the upper Saturn thruster nozzle cut in line with the lower part, while the Hero X-Wings had the full part installed.


As mentioned before I didn't want to wait for the 3D-printed parts so I modified the engine intakes myself.

On the left you see the FM part out of the box, then the cut upper and lower part plus some tubes that I needed for modification:


On the left - the upper Saturn V truster nozzle part with a rounded cone end and lengthened tube

On the right - the lower Saturn V part with added detail


To give you and idea of how that parts looks in place. Note the new "back" of the upper engine intake.

A little update:
1.5 mm styrene was added to the wings: (pre-sanding)


I did some modification to the lasers - tried to catch the look of the heat sink that was used:


And - ta-ta!
The Engines are almost complete.
It's difficult to tell by the photo, but the upper part reaches far into the engine
PLUS the vertical rod is placed up front by almost 2 mm:

the Lasers...

If I had known before how time-consuming it would be to re-work the lasers...

Not only that the FM lasers are too long - they needed to be cut at THREE different areas.

So, I finally reduced the lenght of the "middle"-tube by 3mm, the heat-sink-part by about 1mm and the end of the "middle"-tube by another mm.
Further, I cut the Mathilda-part which was at the center of the lasertube and two lines that were cast-on. These will be replaced by some guitar string later...


Here you see the new designed wing-end with the new Mathilda part and some other mods.

Sometimes it is the tiny work that takes forever...
I focussed on the lasers and did some small mods.

To emulate the look of multiple layers of brass rod (like the SS X-Wings) I sanded sharp edges.
Next, I drilled a 0.4mm hole into the tips of the lasers.
The "C" at the very front was too big and shaped slightly wrong - done!


I was not satisfied with the engines nozzles so I decided to thin the walls by 1.5 mm to give it a more fragile look.

Next, the middle part will be cut out and replaced by the 3D-printed heat-sink part.


Some modifications to the fuselage:

a) the area for the droidstrip is sanded to approx. 12.3 mm - cause the new droidstrip will be 69.5 x 12.3 mm

b) I began the cockpit. As mentioned before my goal is a mix between the SS cockpit-style and the cockpit of the BIG X-wing. Let's see how that looks when finished...

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