Salzo V4 X-Wing Build


Active Member
Hello all, I decided to start my own build thread instead of continuously hijacking Mike's Official V4 Info thread.

Progress will be slow since I'm working on other projects and X-wing research occupies about 3/4 of my build time right now.
This is my first X-wing AND my first resin kit, so I suspect this will be more of a learning experience than anything else.
My hope is to complete a nice looking Red 5 with functional wings and fiber optic lighting that I can pose on an armature and admire.

I've read many of the X-wing threads on the RPF and other modeling sites and collected a great deal of reference material.
Thanks to all the veteran builders for sharing your knowledge and pictures!
With all the research, I'm beginning to understand the phrase "X-wing nutter" with regards to paint color debates, photographic perspective and minutia detail.
I'd like my build to be as screen accurate as possible without sacrificing fun in the process.
I'll likely be making mistakes, so comments and advice are welcome.

Here goes! First, I unboxed and laid out all the V4 parts. Staring at the contents, I have to wonder if I'm in over my head?
I count 146 parts (including landing gear). Since I've never built a resin kit, I can't make any comparisons, but my understanding is this is a very nice kit.
The details are crisp and the resin is nice. Air bubbles are virtually non-existent. I usually work with metal, but I'm finding resin is a lot more relaxing.


Beyond the kit, I've been collecting building materials and asking questions. I decided a good way to get more comfortable with this project was to start by removing the flashing from all the pieces. By starting here, I figure I can get familiar with all the parts and maybe the build will seem less daunting. For the most part, it's obvious where flashing needs to be removed. I learned flashing can be removed with nail clippers (I wouldn't have thought of that on my own!). I've also used an exacto knife, needle files and fine sandpaper. Some parts are molded on thick bases. I was advised to use a razor saw, but I feared cutting into the part. Instead, I used a small pair of diagonal cutters to nip away at the resin "bases" until close to the part, then used a benchtop belt sander with a 120 grit belt to CAREFULLY sand each part to the correct shape and thickness. Then I cleaned up any remaining flashing and finish sanded each part with 400 to 1000 grit sandpaper. Here's an example:

"Bases" on engine exhaust details (next to a US nickle for size reference).


In the process of nipping and sanding.


Completed part next to an untouched kit part.


To keep my V4 build going, I decided to work on one part each night. Towards the end of the day, I clean up other projects, choose a V4 part, look through reference material and do any required detailing. I don't feel like I'm ready to glue anything yet, but figured I could start piecing together smaller assemblies. The engines/cans/intakes seem a little complicated, so I decided to start with the laser cannons. The V4 lasers are a nice resin/brass hybrid, but after reading about how the originals were built, I wanted to have a go at making brass lasers. If it doesn't work out, I can always go back to the V4 pieces. I bought 3 foot pieces of all the required brass tubing for about $40. I also want to try a little experiment with making the C-shape "flashback suppressors" from brass tubing and silver soldering them to the tube before attaching resin parts.

The C-shapes near the tips of the lasers seem like a fairly prominent feature for an X-wing, so I'd like them to be as consistent as possible with regards to thickness and shape. With some reference measurements, I made two prototype brass flash suppressors from a piece of 7/8" brass tubing (0.875" OD x 0.065" wall). To do this, I cut a ring about 1/4" wide, then sliced that in half to make two C-shapes. Then I drilled a 3/32 hole in the part and deburred everything. I sanded the edges until the width was very close to the V4 parts. Here's the V4 C-shapes along with my brass replicas.


Next up are the brass tubes for the lasers. I fitted all the telescoping tubes together, then mocked them up with resin parts to see what they look like.


I could just make the lengths the same as the V4 parts, but I also need to know how far to insert them into the cannon bodies.
I have a brass tubing reference I found in an older build thread (thank you to whoever posted this!).


Beyond the tubing reference, I scaled several cannon body pictures to match the size of the V4 cannon bodies, pasted them into a single drawing and took measurements. There's a bit of variation, but that might be caused by focal length of the pictures or photographic perspective. I figure I might be able to average the variations together and come pretty close to the actual measurement. So far, most measurements are also close to the tubing reference. Hopefully, this doesn't mean I'm becoming a nutter...

Maybe the laser tubing length varied a little between all the X-wings? Does anyone have accurate measurements for a Red 5?

Once I'm satisfied that I've given the measurements due diligence and the lasers are the correct length, I'll set the tubing and silver solder the pieces together near the inner ends to prevent movement.

Thanks for reading! I'll post more updates as I get further into this! Aaron
Brass flash suppressors, they look sharp. Hmm, I may have to steal that from you as it is one of the last remaining details to be built on my V4. :D

Brass flash suppressors, they look sharp. Hmm, I may have to steal that from you as it is one of the last remaining details to be built on my V4.

Thanks Avanaut!

Well, almost 300 views and no comments with laser cannon measurements. I'm Beginning to think I'm making too much of this detail...
I'm going to take my averages and silver solder the tubes together tomorrow.
I have no idea what I'm doing, so just be forewarned that I'm making this up as I go...
After deciding on "good" numbers for building brass laser cannons, I cut all the tubes and prepped them for assembly.
I cut the tubes with a mini-tubing cutter like found at the hardware store, usually near the plumbing stuff.
The alternative is using a saw, but then you have to "square" the ends. I like the tubing cutter better.
The problem with the tubing cutter is it compresses the the tubing slightly at the cut.
After cutting, the tubing won't telescope/slide together because of the compression at the ends.
I grabbed several different size steel punches and tapped them lightly into the ends of the tubing to expand it.
Go easy when doing this. If you expand the end too much, the inner tube will be loose and the outer tube won't fit.
If you go too far, you can lightly tap the edge of the tubing to compress it again.

I made a little chart to help cut the tubing.
I have a tendency to over-engineer things and I wanted the laser cannons to be strong so they would be less likely to get bent.
For my first attempt, I cut all the tubes long enough that I would have 5-10mm excess at the rear for soldering.
This way I could do all the soldering at the rear and keep the visible ends super clean.
It worked just fine, but the laser cannons are HEAVY when cut this way.
To resolve the weight issue, I made a second drawing and kept each tube as short as possible.
The weight is much better. I left little "stick outs" for aligning/mounting resin parts.
I also ran the 3/16" tubing through the round part, flush with the front edge.
This "backs up" the flash supressor so the back edge doesn't drop inside of the round part.
I don't know if this is right, but I think it looks cleaner this way.
The drawing kind of explains it all.

Next, I prepped the cannon bodies by drilling a 5/16" hole all the way through. To ensure the hole was centered, I used the part with the cooling fins.
First, I carefully ran a 5/16" drill bit through the finned part. Next, I centered the part on the cannon body, then used the drill bit to make a starter hole.
The resin is soft enough that I didn't use a drill for this step - I just spun the drill bit between my fingers to make a mark.
Then I used a drill press to slowly drill all the way through. I also used a 1/2" forestner bit to clean up the hole at the rear of the cannon body.
After all the drilling, I installed a 70mm brass tube in the cannon body.


After the cannon body, I assembled the rest of the tubing and soldered it with Harris Staybrite silver solder and flux.

Then I started assembling resin parts. See how the tubing protrudes flush with the front edge of the round part? The flash suppressor piece telescopes in and rests against that tubing. The seam in the 5/16" tubes is hidden by the finned part. The tubing is snug enough that I won't need glue and can remove the laser cannons for shipping, etc.

Resin parts assembled.

The final step is to slide the whole assembly into the cannon body.

Next, I'll be gluing the parts on the side of the cannon body and cutting the 1/32" brass rods. More to come! Aaron


  • Brass Tubing Spacing.JPG
    Brass Tubing Spacing.JPG
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I intended to stop for the night, but, I couldn't...I wanted to get the rest of the cannons figured out.
So, I shaped the little pieces that go on the sides of the cannons.
I wanted the contour of the pieces to follow the shape of the raised "panel" lines a little better.
To contour the bottom of the pieces, I wrapped fine sandpaper around the aluminum tube that comes with the Salzo X-wing bracket.
Then I just set the piece on the sandpaper and slid it back and forth.
The aluminum tube is almost exactly the same diameter as the cannon bodies, so the contour comes out perfect.

I noticed in a lot of pictures of the ILM models, the 1/32" brass rods are missing...I'm assuming they were glued on and fell off at some point.
I wanted a more secure way to attach the rods so mine don't come up missing years from now.
I used a #66 (0.033") drill bit in a pin vise to drill holes in all the pieces.
Then I cut the brass rods about 10mm longer than necessary.
The rods go about 5mm into the holes in each piece.

As far as alignment, I don't know what model kit the "finned" pieces came from, but they all have little "hooks".
I decided to align the brass rods with each hook.
When I glue the pieces together, I'll also align the hooks between the front and rear finned pieces.




And one final question...this is going to sound REALLY dumb, but what kind of glue should I use with this kit?
I'm assuming cyanoacrylate glue will work, but I thought I'd ask before I start slathering it all over these parts...
Is there a better glue for this type of resin?

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That is a very nice and clean set of wing cannons! Looks really great! Those "finned pieces" are not from a model kit, they're heatsinks still manufactured by Aavid. I found one from their website, I am not 100% sure if the part is available in different heights.

I have used CA glue on mine, some thin liquid ZAP CA, some regular 3M gel. I have also used 2 component epoxy for securing big parts together, like the fuselage halves. I also used epoxy for the cannons, which took some trial and error to get aligned correctly.

I would, however, like to hear comments about glue from the more experienced builders. I'm sure there are things to avoid and things to go for with this.
I'm humbled, Steven! I had no idea anyone was paying attention to my first-time build.
I finished the laser cannons, then set things aside to collect supplies to finish the model...
I have three problems to solve before picking back up on this:

1) Paint color - I've read multiple X-wing paint threads...hours worth of debate with no clear answer. While the history is interesting, I can't justify trying to find or buy obsolete, unobtanium lacquers - I just want a nice looking, reasonably accurate model to hang in my shop. I'm considering going way off the beaten path and mixing a custom shade from the airbrush paints available from a local hobby shop. These are paints like Createx or Iwata. I don't need production department accuracy - I just want it to look like what I saw on the screen when I was 7 years old. My imagination is OK with the colors being off by a shade or two.

2) Fiber optics - I think I found everything I need, including variable rate dual-color blinkers at Fiber Optic Products, Inc in their "Model Lighting" section. I would very much like to have blinking cockpit and droid lights powered by a hidden 9V battery. I'm waiting for a response to an email I sent yesterday. If they answer my questions, I'll be pulling the trigger on this.

3) Pilot - I think the pyro models had some kind of helmeted motorcycle guy for a pilot, but that's NOT what I saw in the movie. I'd like to buy an X-Wing pilot with the proper shape helmet, etc. Before I attempt to buy this, I probably need to know the scale... Does anyone sell a resin X-Wing pilot that fits in the Salzo cockpit? What about using a hacked up action figure?

I appreciate all the detail and fanaticism on the RPF, but sometimes looking for an answer is like shooting yourself in the foot to see if it really hurts. I guess if this were easy, everybody would be doing it. Can anybody offer help or links for any of the 3 items above? THANKS!
1.Paint color... you have the right idea. It's the color that matters not the brand or type. Just use your favorite brand and mix colors to match.
3.Pilot... 1/24 scale. The "motorcycle rider" is what was in the studio models, but I have seen figures made to match the actors costume, though I couldn't say where to get them. An airplane pilot or race driver figure could be modified for the look you want, Fujimi makes a set of race figures that are ideal.
for flashers and such, is another great source.

your doing a fantastic job on those cannons, works of art really !! I did the same thing on my flash suppressors but I used aluminum tube, cuz that's what I had

I look forward to seeing more.......
3) Pilot - I think the pyro models had some kind of helmeted motorcycle guy for a pilot, but that's NOT what I saw in the movie. I'd like to buy an X-Wing pilot with the proper shape helmet, etc. Before I attempt to buy this, I probably need to know the scale... Does anyone sell a resin X-Wing pilot that fits in the Salzo cockpit? What about using a hacked up action figure?


I cant find a pic but will do one when I get home of my X-wing with the figure in the cockpit. I just bought a Star Wars POTJ LUKE SKYWALKER X-Wing Pilot Figure MOC! from ebay or your local store might have one. They fit in great with a few mods to his legs (I think I had to cut them off). They look great and have a helmet with the visor and everything and the best part is no painting required.
Thanks for the comments everyone.
There's a local hobby shop that stocks a full line of Tamiya paints, so I think I might try the mixtures shared in Gunpowder's MR MF repaint.
And I'll begin the hunt for an X-wing pilot figure tomorrow. There's a local comic book store with a good stock of older action figures, so I might get lucky.
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