Question about kit-bashing

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Sr Member
I am familiar with the term, but there are a few things I don't understand.

For example, let's say first they built the 5 ft Millenium Falcon for ANH. So, they kit bash all these kits for use as detail all over the ship.

So my first question is, do they use the actual plastic parts from these models, or do they cast these pieces in some other form and then use them?

Second question--so they decide to do a 32 incher for Empire--if they used pieces from all these particular models for the 5 footer, how do they shrink down all these pieces so they have the same exact detailing for the smaller version of the ship?

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Sr Member
For the 32 inch I remember reading in Sculpting a Galaxy that they found a lot of the same kits they used on the five footer in a smaller scale that worked almost perfectly for the scale down. The ones they didn't they either found something close, or probably scratch built them

As far as I know, they used the actual kit parts on the models

Jedi Dade

Sr Member
Real parts vs plastic kit parts...
The answer is they do both. If they had an abundance of part X they just used them up. if they only had a few and wanted to use it a lot the made molds and cast them up. Usually though they were real parts and then when they were nearly done they'd make a mold of the nearly completed model - the X-wings for example. they needed a few of them and a few to actually blow they had a nearly finished x-wing that they molded and cast... then added more detail and paint from there. that's why no two x-wings or y-wings are exactly the same - but they are "basically" the same model.

32" from the 5 footer
The Answer to this is that the 32" and the 5 footer have drastically different details. What they did is build a smaller version of falcon that had the same basic shape and same basic proportions (there are differences here too). Then they went through the process of detailing it up - IF there was an easily available kit at 1/2 scale of the one they used on the 5 footer they used it -- if not they used whatever they had. The Tiger tank parts aft of the 6 engine vents, are an example of using a kit approximately 1/2 scale of the original. The 5 footer used a 1/35 scale tank while the 32" used a 1/72 scale version of the same tank. That did not happen often... if you look at all the sidewalls and parts closely you can see that they are "similar" in shape and position but are actually completely different.

They knew that once they were filmed zipping across the screen that the audience would not be able to process the image fast enough to determine that the models were different. which for the most part is true. with the advent of home versions of the movies and freeze frame its pretty easy to spot which model was used for which shot... although motion blur can make that challenging too.

Jedi Dade
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Well-Known Member
Definitely used actual kit parts. Though, now, when guys are trying to faithfully recreate studio-scale models, often those old kits from the 70s are no longer around so they have to get ahold of castings.

And when you compare the two Falcon models you refer to, you'll find a whole lot of details aren't the same at all. While it's true that they found a lot of matching kits in the smaller scale, a lot of the subjects weren't available and other details got used. But there are so many differences that it is actually really quite easy to tell the two models apart once you know where the differences are.

So, really, there is no exact matching of details. The ILM greebling was very much an impressionistic affair.


Edit: Ninja'd. Jedi Dade beat me to it.


Sr Member
In short, the 32" model was an "homage" instead of an "exact replica" build of the 5-footer! :p

Probably best to stay away from whether the 'full size' set pieces came first or the 5-footer did...

Regards, Robert

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Master Member
'The Second Pirate Ship', 5 foot Millennium Falcon was designed & built first, then its details were translated to the Full-Size prop

The 32" model was needed because the 5 Footer was too large & hard to film for the acrobatic moves needed for the Star Destroyer chase & Asteroid scene in ESB,.....and as Dade said, the 32" wasn't meant to stand still long enough on screen for you to realise you were looking at the stunt model

I made a thread a wile back showing the main differences between the 5 foot & 32',.....( I still have to get back to point out the other smaller models & CG)
My Very Easy Method for Spotting Millennium Falcon Differences

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Sr Member
People don't realize how much the advent of home VCRs & disc players changed filmmmaking & TV. Before that stuff there was no expectation that the audience would be able to pick anything apart. If the audience didn't catch some detail on the very first viewing, in the midst of all the drama, then that was "good enough." Filmmakers used this fact to save money on the productions. The editing and props could all be rougher & sloppier than they can get away with today.

We get much more perfect-looking shows now. But we also get movies that cost $200 million dollars. That means we get nonstop sequels & prequels instead of riskier new stuff.

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