X-Wing Research: Differences Between the Hero and Pyro Models

Keiko

Sr Member
That is a possibility, and would explain its absence from the pics that showed several models together. But early models had a set of reference pics taken and labeled Blue 12, Blue 3 Biggs, and Blue 4 John D; so if Red 6 predated them why is there no set of Blue 6 reference pics?
Just because we, the public at large, have not seen Blue/Red 6 reference photos does not mean they don't exist.
 

Blue 5

Member
Just because we, the public at large, have not seen Blue/Red 6 reference photos does not mean they don't exist.
It doesn't mean they do exist either. We can imagine all kinds of things that could possibly be hidden away somewhere, but ultimately we can only work with the evidence we have, and we don't have blue 6 pics. If they come to light someday, that's a definite confirmation of Red 6 being an early model. Right now we only know that it is absent from both sets of group model pics, and we know it exists from a handful of pics showing its construction, pics of it on a wood block in front of a blue screen, and one pic after it was blown up (unless there are other pics of it I don't have, my collection is not compete). Red 3 hero and blue/gray (Gold 2) Y-Wing are in the same boat. These three models are conspicuous by their absence in the two sets of group pics. It was even postulated on another thread for blue/gray (Gold 2) that it was built early and then blown up before the table of models pics, but later evidence that its was actually a hero model and so likely is the one gifted to Alan Ladd Jr, which shot down that theory. The only other models missing are Blue Leader/Red 2 and Red Jammer Y, which we know were in the UK early on and would be expected to be absent. Since there are three models missing, 1 X-pyro, 1 X-hero, and 1 Y-hero; they might be missing for the same reason. If they were all built first and were then in use when they set up the groups, it would explain why they were all missing, and we just haven't seen pictures that would date them earlier. The simplest explanation is that they were all built last and that's why there are know early pics or why they are missing in group shots. Or maybe some mixture of those two explanations is possible.
 

Blue 5

Member
I was giving the order of models some more thought and realized if Red 12 appears in the two pics of models on stands; Red Leader hero, Red Leader pyro, Red 10 pyro, triangles (Gold 5) and MOM (Gold 3). In that pic, Red Leader is obviously fully painted but not weathered yet, and Red 12 is still in the process of being painted. Red 10 pyro is not fully visible, but since it is on the table with a finished Red 12 in the table pics, we can presume it is mostly unfinished behind Red 12. Now I have a pic of Red 4 pyro labeled "John D Blue 4" and I have a pic of computer screen displaying small pics of Red 3 pyro labeled "Biggs Blue 3", while I have no pics of Red Leader pyro or hero labeled "Blue Leader", I do have two pics of Red 12 pyro labeled "Blue 12". So it does appear that there are missing blue reference pics of Red Leader, unless I just haven't run across them posted yet. My assumption has always been that the blue reference pics were all taken at the same time given their similarity, and if that is the case then they were shot after the two pics of the 6 models in various states of finish sitting on their stands and perhaps before the table of models was set up. Hmmm...if Blue 10 pics surfaced, that would maybe indicate that the blue reference pics were post table of models shots, otherwise they could have been before or after.
 

Nwerke

Master Member
Seeing all the care and effort that went in ...
That is a possibility
We've discussed already the similarity between Red 6 and Red 3 hero, however.

Given the variations between the hero models, which hero was used to form the pyro master?
Um, none of them. A new set of moulds was made from a master which still exists. The "Edlund master" as referenced above. It was built up from a cast upper fuselage and vacformed lower as per a hero; then cut in half vertically and moulded.

The only other models missing are Blue Leader/Red 2 and Red Jammer Y, which we know were in the UK early on and would be expected to be absent.
These models are not missing.
 

Blue 5

Member
We've discussed already the similarity between Red 6 and Red 3 hero, however.



Um, none of them. A new set of moulds was made from a master which still exists. The "Edlund master" as referenced above. It was built up from a cast upper fuselage and vacformed lower as per a hero; then cut in half vertically and moulded.



These models are not missing.
That sentence about Red Jammer and Blue Leader/Red 2 was in a paragraph discussing the models present on the table full of models for the pictures and video taken. Red Jammer Y and Blue Leader/Red 2 were missing on that table, which is to be expected because we knew that they were in the UK early on and would be expected to be absent. What was on that table was:

Red Leader pyro (also present in the group pic on stands in the corner)
Red Leader hero (also present in the group pic on stands)
Red 3 pyro
Red 4 pyro
Red 5 hero
Red 10 pyro (also present in the group pic on stands)
Red 12 pyro (also present in the group pic on stands)
MOM Y pyro (Gold 3) (also present in the group pic on stands)
TIE Killer (Gold Leader)
triangles (Gold 5) (also present in the group pic on stands)
Y-Wing cockpit (maybe blue/gray or Gold 2)

Besides Red Jammer and Blue Leader/Red 2 not on that list; Red 6 pyro, Red 3 hero, and blue/gray (Gold 2) are also missing from the table. Some people have argued that one or more of those three ships were actually built before the rest and then either blown up or otherwise unavailable at the time the table was set up. The less complicated explanation is that they had not be finished yet, which is what I tend to lean toward, that these 3 were the last of the nicer ships (not including ILMwanabe's proposed second nice Red 6 pyro from the B&W photo, and the fifth hero model which was rumored to be stolen from the shop).


As for the moulds, so as I understand it now the 4 known heros have variations from each other like the torpedo tube placement, as well as all varying from the pyro master which was made off a different hero fuselage that was used only in making the pyro mould?
 

Nwerke

Master Member
Oh, right. Torp tubes were cut into vacced lower hulls for heros hence variations. Pyro master included the chipping pattern that was already moulded into the upper fuse and additional (thinner) chips added from selfadhesive vinyl etc. It was a hero fuse only in the sense it was made from the parts used to make those but in itself was never intended to become a complete model.
 

kk1

Member
(not including ILMwanabe's proposed second nice Red 6 pyro from the B&W photo, and the fifth hero model which was rumored to be stolen from the shop).
That red 6 is the same imo, and the stolen model was taken Easter of 77 so that would be after all of these photos were taken.
 

Blue 5

Member
Oh, right. Torp tubes were cut into vacced lower hulls for heros hence variations. Pyro master included the chipping pattern that was already moulded into the upper fuse and additional (thinner) chips added from selfadhesive vinyl etc. It was a hero fuse only in the sense it was made from the parts used to make those but in itself was never intended to become a complete model.
That's what I was wondering, thanks for clarifying. So the pyro mould can't be dated to when it was created by looking at which known hero it was made from, since the hero fuselage was just made for making the mould with and never assembled into a ship.
 

Blue 5

Member
That red 6 is the same imo, and the stolen model was taken Easter of 77 so that would be after all of these photos were taken.
Interesting, I've never seen a date for that story. I've asked but no body has ever answered, what source (documents, person, article, book) does the rumor of the stolen model come from? I've seen it repeated on several threads, but I've never seen the original source for it. My pic of the chart on model construction ends on New Years Day, do we have more model construction charts for the next year? Do we have a date on when the shots of the table of models and proud modelmakers were taken? Since there are 4 documented known heros, and the Famous Spaceships article lists 5 hero models, my assumption has been that the 5th hero ship is the stolen model which would explain its lack of documentation. Is there anyone who argues the stolen ship might have been Red Leader hero or Red 5 hero, since those two are not seen in the archives today? It seems unlikely either was stolen, as Red 5 is in a picture for ESB and there is so much footage shot of both models in the film itself. It seems more likely the stolen hero just never went before any camera before walking off.
 

Blue 5

Member
Cool, thanks. It's always nice to have the original reference.

But I'm confused, the article says that the theft occurred in April of 1977, but Star Wars was released on 25 May. All the models should have been built and shot long before then. It looks like the theft would have been of a model that should have already been photo documented or appeared in the film (or models as the article suggest there may have been more than one stolen). The ILM chart showing the schedule for building the models between 8 December to 24 December 1975, and shipping them to UK after Christmas. My assumption was that the rest of the models were built during the first few months of 1976 and the table of models pics and video were shot sometime during the spring of '76 before, or just after, beginning of filming of the models against blue screen. Is my timeline off?
 

Blue 5

Member
BTW, can anyone who has copies of the "Biggs Blue 3" pics crop a clearer picture of the droid from Red 3 pyro for the guy who runs the astromech site? He's been working to try and get all the astromech droids from the models posted on the site and tie them into the full scale droids if possible. The only image I have of it is the grainy shot of Red 3 pyro from the table full of models pics. Posting it here is fine or you could email it to him at greenalfonzo@yahoo.com Thanks.
 

ILMwannabe

Active Member
Seeing all the care and effort that went in to making Red 6, that says to me it was one of the first X-wings made, and destroyed. Considering we have photos at every stage of its creation, filming and destruction, thats something they would have wanted to do to document their early work (and not something they would have time to do later when they were rushed) and would also explain why it's not on the table. It had already been destroyed and the red canon reused for red 10 (which is why it's the only thing painted on the model in the table shot).
Killer observation kk1! Makes perfect sense and is entirely within the realm of possibility. One of the First pyro X-Wings built. Also, if one wanted to re-use an X-wing laser cannon, it would have to go in the same place, or diagonally opposed so that the previous glue marks and residue would not be seen (The red cannon went from the lower right on Red 6 to the upper left on Red 10). If you put it anywhere else, you'll have to remove dried glue and repaint. You are also right in that they did document the destruction of the first Red 6 very thoroughly, not just in photos but on film (its set-up and destruction is seen on the bonus DVD of the Trilogy, and also in David Berry's "5757" ILM documentary).

The first Red 6 model appears to have been blown-up by ILM's main crew (not Joe Visckocil's) because it dissappears very quickly with no fireball, and therefore did not make the final cut of the film (Porkin's demise in the film was a "stick" laser cannon model, and appears to have a missing red fuselage stripe, more typical of the later attempts with simpler models but more elaborate pyrotechnics).
 

Blue 5

Member
Killer observation kk1! Makes perfect sense and is entirely within the realm of possibility. One of the First pyro X-Wings built. Also, if one wanted to re-use an X-wing laser cannon, it would have to go in the same place, or diagonally opposed so that the previous glue marks and residue would not be seen (The red cannon went from the lower right on Red 6 to the upper left on Red 10). If you put it anywhere else, you'll have to remove dried glue and repaint. You are also right in that they did document the destruction of the first Red 6 very thoroughly, not just in photos but on film (its set-up and destruction is seen on the bonus DVD of the Trilogy, and also in David Berry's "5757" ILM documentary).

The first Red 6 model appears to have been blown-up by ILM's main crew (not Joe Visckocil's) because it dissappears very quickly with no fireball, and therefore did not make the final cut of the film (Porkin's demise in the film was a "stick" laser cannon model, and appears to have a missing red fuselage stripe, more typical of the later attempts with simpler models but more elaborate pyrotechnics).
Nice Red 6 collage, there's a couple shots I don't have in there. I was thinking about posting those two pics on the wooden stand and asking what people thought that shot was all about? Why do they have it on that platform? It's not covered up to composite it out, it would show up in any footage. All the other birds are on monofilament or stands mounted to the armature in pics.
 

Blue 5

Member
I think they were building the models a LOT longer than you think.
I was wondering how long. I'll repost the December 1975 schedule for the X-Wing, Y-Wing, and TIE fighter for reference and in case others don't have this saved and are trying to follow along:



I have to make some assumptions on what the notations on the chart mean. There are numbers in some bars that are circled, and I'm assuming that the number means how many models were being worked on. I'm also assuming that the models were all hero models, and that the pyros were a separate project, or at least started in January of 1976. So the timeline as I understand it:

September 1975 - ILM begins work on effects (Lucas stated that by September 1976 ILM had been working a year)

week of December 8-12 1975 - looks like armatures were finished on Monday, Grant spent 4 days working on mountings for X & Ys, Lorne was working on 2 sets of wings, while Besley (Beasly?) was completing 2 X-Wing bodies while starting 2 more, and Mallasch was working on bodies to 2 or 3 Y-Wings.

week of December 15-19 1975 - Grant put electronics in one X-Wing for 4 days while Besley put electronics in two Y-Wings, Lorne and then Steve worked on assembly and detailing two X-Wings while Mallasch, Besley and Grell assembled and detailed the Ys (one Y each?). Also during this week Lorne was working on wings for a day and some change, while John and then Besley worked on X-Wing bodies with them ready to assemble by Friday.

week of December 22-24 1975 - Joe & Steve doing paint & finish, while another day on Y assembly before 2 days of paint & finish by Mallasch. Now we know they painted Blue Leader, took pictures or test shots of it and discovered the blue turned black with blue screen, and since it was on a plan on Friday, it had to be during these three days that they shot it.

December 25 1975 - off for Christmas Day

Friday December 26 1975 - one X-Wing (Blue Leader) and one Y-Wing (Red Jammer) get on a plane for Britain as carry on luggage.

week of December 29-31 1975 - this week has a block for paint & finish but no one assigned, but the week ends with 2 models each camera ready. I'm not sure if this is two models in addition to the one shipped off to the UK, but assuming it is and they were all heros, that would be Red Leader, Red 5, TIE Killer (Gold Leader) and blue/gray (Gold 2). Maybe these days were set aside in case they ran behind to give them some extra time to make the New Years Eve deadline.

January 1 1976 - off for New Years Day

unknown date 1976 - pyro mould created, Red 3 and Red 4 pyros first made (assumes that is why they are not in the paint area but are on the table of models)

unknown date 1976? - six models photographed on stands in a corner of the shop that looks like a paint area; Red Leader hero (appears finished), Red Leader pyro (pre weathering), Red 12 pyro (pre detailing), Red 10 pyro (barely visible), MOM Y (appears finished), triangles Y (appears finished).

unknown date 1976? - reference pictures of "Biggs Blue 3", "John D Blue 4", and "Blue 12" shot. (assumes they were all done at the same time when Red 12 was finished)

unknown date 1976? - Models are all lined up on a table for video and pictures with the model makers.

unknown date - Red 3 hero, blue/gray Y, and Red 6 pyro completed. Blue Leader returned and painted as Red 2 hero. (may have taken place at different times)

September 1976 - George Lucas says he has little ILM footage he can use at this point, asks for more money to complete film and gets half what he asked for.

weekend 9-10 April 1977 - Easter weekend break-in at ILM, at least one model stolen maybe more.

30 April 1977 - early screening of Star Wars

25 May 1977 - premiere


That's my rough timeline. I realize that the ILM schedule was just a plan, and like all plans it probably didn't survive first contact with the enemy, so it's doubtful the models were done on time. This is the only schedule I've seen from ILM, I don't know if anyone has a January or February one. From this it looks like most of the heros were finished by the end of December 1975 at early January 1976 at the latest. I know they had a lot of TIE fighters, Millennium Falcons, Star Destroyer, Blockade Runner and a bi-zillion Death Star panels to make as well. Assuming they had already blown up the 6 nice pyro models by September when Lucas was disappointed, they must have been built sometime from January to August 1976.

Since we have the Famous Spaceships article saying 5 X-heros, and the picture of Red Leader hero along with 3 partially finished heros, there must have been a fifth hero. My theory was the 5th hero was the stolen model, that was swiped before it could be photographed during the break-in which explains the lack of pics. But there's over a year between when it was probably finished and the break-in is so close to the finished film, that I really doubt that explanation.

I do love a good puzzle. Any thoughts?
 

Junk Pilot

Sr Member
With all this information about colours and markings when is anyone going to do some colour renderings of all 6 views for all the "birds"?
 

jedimaster

Sr Member
Mallasch was actually sick with a head cold for two weeks before Xmas. That's why he is absent from the Xmas party pix.
 

Blue 5

Member
Mallasch was actually sick with a head cold for two weeks before Xmas. That's why he is absent from the Xmas party pix.
Good info, thanks. That makes sense when you look at Blue Leader and Red Jammer at the time they took a plane ride. Blue Leader was relatively complete, while Red Jammer was only finished on one side. Mallasch was the on the schedule for the Ys for each stage. Since he was sick, he probably wasn't working as efficiently as the guys on the X-Wings, or may have taken days off. It could be possible that the 2 Ys were not camera ready by New Years Eve as scheduled.
 
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