Y-Wing (Gold Leader) Build - Nice-N Model Designs


Sr Member
In order to keep working on the entire model, I machined an aluminum rod to act as a mount. The trick was to machine down the rod to 9/16 diameter to fit the hole in the fuselage:


The next step with the engines is to fit the bottom halves. Here's a "before" shot:


The half won't "sit" properly on the wing. The reason is due to some extra material near the edge of the bottom of the wing.
Here's a corner that had to be cut down a bit:


The small "panels" on the wing had to be cut down a bit as well:


According to the directions, there should be a gap between the two engine halves, so I'm going to double check some reference photos just in case. I'm scratching my head at this point because I'm not getting a gap between the engines so I'm not sure if this is correct or not. Stay tuned. :)
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Sr Member
Due in part to some recent bad, winter weather, I decided to take a two week break, but I'm back. Funny thing about these models is that some times it's difficult to get back into the swing of things but once you pick it back up, it's difficult to put it down. :)

I double checked the Red Y-Wing instructions and discovered that the key to putting the engines together is making sure that the forward caps fit properly, so I check them and they fit just right.



Whatever problem there was with the Red Y-Wing engines, they were resolved with the Gold Leader kit, so we're good and I move on to the second engine (Port or Left side). Please keep in mind that the model is upside down while we're doing this.
So at this point, I've carved out a semi-circle for the wires to go through. I need the bottom half of the engine to fit behind the tap on the upper engine half and in front of the wing:


As with the other engine, I need to remove the "ribbing" so that the engine fits flush with the wing.
Now we're good:


I need the same thing with the other side of the engine:


Although both engine, bottom halves are mostly flat, I sand them down a little with some 220 on a flat surface just to be sure and to prep them for gluing, later. Also, I used a small x-acto knife to remove some extra resin at the corners, within the indentations, which are blocking the forward caps from sitting properly. I also do some clean up on the inside of the rear of the engines and along the edges of the thrusters so that they will go in smoothly. I also discovered that there are some tabs near the inside corners of the tops of the engines which can be removed:


I don't see them in any of the reference photos, but I think they may have been placed to help mark the placement of the fins on the thrusters. Unfortunately, they might impede the insertion of the thrusters, but I'm going to wait and see at this point.

Next up, finishing the engine thrusters with some aluminum tubing and LEDs, which "is when the fun begins". :)


Sr Member
The last page of the Gold Leader instructions discusses the assembly of the engine thrusters and it recommends purchasing some tubing from Plastruct. Unfortunately, when I ordered some pipping and "T" rail from them months ago, I forgot about this tubing and didn't order. The cost to order this plastic tubing and have it shipped is just not economical. In fact, ordering the same size in aluminum from eBay turned out to be lower priced, so that's what I did. Also, aluminum is much more reflective for use with LEDs, so it may just work out better than plastic.

The instructions don't specify a length. I checked the reference photos and I came up with 2.5" in length for the tubing:


I used my mini lathe to cut off two sections and clean them up. Here's one of them installed:

I tried machining the small, acrylic rings to get the tubing centered inside the thruster, but they turned out to be too small and kept cracking,
so I decided to go with some metalic tape, just wrapped around the end:


The rear end of the thruster, installed:

Oddly enough, there's something about the final appearance of this part that reminds me of a NASA rocket, so we may be in good shape. :)
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Sr Member
The next step is to add the "innards" to the thrusters. This includes some clear, acrylic disks and heat sinks:


I'm using some 1" and 3/4" disks I found at a local plastics place.
The instructions recommend drilling a holes through the small disks, probably so more lights comes through the heat sinks. No size is specified, so I'm going to use a standard size 1/4" drill bit which looks good:


I'm still not 100% sure what kind of LED to go with, but I noticed that another builder - Dan - used a jumbo LED. I happen to have a couple of red ones left over from a HIC Hero panel, so I'm going to give these a try. The LEDs are an odd size, but a standard drill bit size works for the hole in the larger disks:


The heat sinks get painted with some primer and eventually with satin black. While waiting on these parts to dry, I'll move on to the cockpit or forward section.


Sr Member
Unfortunately, none of the directions cover the "blaster" installation and one of the "blasters" is shorter than the other one.
I'm pondering the thought of machining these out of aluminum, rather than using modeler's putty to fix the shorter blaster part:


There are indentations for the holes for the blasters, so I use a 3/16" drill bit to get these made:


They're too small, so I move on to 9/32" which is the diameter of the thickest part of the blasters. Using a reference photo, the blasters just barely go into the holes. I'd say, about 1/8" or less so they stick out just enough like the original model:



Sr Member
We finally had some really good weather last week, which meant that I was able to get some painting done. The "innards" are ready for assembly. I'm going to start with a tiny amount of contact cement for the heat sink attachments and then I'll finish off with some silicon for the holes.


Adding the silicon was a little easier than I had expected. Like filling filling the inside of a glass with whipped cream, the end of the nozzle just fits inside the heat sink. Gorilla Glue now sells some clear silicon with a good size nozzle for this. I used a tooth pick to smooth out the surface:


Finding the right, red paint took some research. I used "Clear Red" from Tamiya. The clear acrylic disks were sprayed (about 3 coats) and then I used small brush to paint the silicon. An old trick I've used over the years is to lightly, spray the inside of the spray paint cap in order to use the paint with a brush. Here are the parts with the first coat of red paint. I'll probably do at least one or two more coats:


As usual, I'm really impressed with the paints from Tamiya. They typically leave a smooth surface without drying problems.
Up next, "jump starting" the entire paint process, wiring and assembling the engines.
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Sr Member
Finally, we're able to go "where no man has gone before" and get this baby wired up. :)
I write that because the instructions don't include information about wiring.

Here's the main body, flipped upside down:


Here's all the "thruster" related parts. In the back ground I have some optional LEDs with spare resistors:


Here's a shot of one thruster with a red LED:


And another with a white LED:

I really like the look of the red LEDs, but after watching an original version of ANH it does appear as if white bulbs or LEDs were used behind a clear plastic disk painted with red translucent paint. In fact, depending on the angle of the model, it does appear white in at least a couple of shots. Also, the lights are generally bright, appearing almost white in the middle and red around the edges. So to sum it up, I'm going with the white LEDs, although these will be the Jumbo (10mm) size.

Also, on a side note, if you're using the Jumbo LEDs, be sure to use a 3v to 12v battery. These won't work with standard AA or AAA batteries.
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Sr Member
As a distraction from all the electronics work, I thought I would get started on some "arms" for the pilot, which is a little project I have been sitting on for a while, so I took out the Magic-Sculpt and some tools to get started, but ran into a small problem:

The arms won't fit because the instrument panel is too close to the pilot:

I looked through the references, but unfortunately, they are practically non-existent, with the exception of this rarity, which looks like the reference that was used for the master. I think part of the problem is that the seat backing (which I could care less about) is too thick and positioned at an angle:


...and the forward panel is still a little too close to the pilot, but I can't modify it, so I will try modifying the seat backing.


Sr Member
Getting back to the electronics:
I was able to find some Jumbo (10mm), white LEDs at a local surplus store. Originally, I was going to use some plastic disks as holders for the LEDs, but they fell apart when I tried to machine them, so I'm using some aluminum disks left over from a blaster project. The idea is to create some reflection from the LEDs.
To diffuse the light coming from the LEDs, I'm using some clear acrylic disks that have been lightly sanded down on either side.
To prepare the LEDS for attachment to the wires, I've added a little solder to the ends along with some heat shrink:


I did the same with wires. The positive wire has a resistor added to it to prevent the LED from drawing too much power from the battery:


The LED is soldered to the wires and then I use a heat gun to shrink the wire wrap:


I do the same with the other LED and then test them:

They look good. The next step will be to get the components installed inside of the thruster tubes and test the lighting.


Sr Member
I decided to take a break from the engines and get back to the pilot's "missing" arms, now that the seat has been modified for more room in the cockpit.
I looked over the reference photos of the arms that were originally included with the kit and unfortunately, they don't look like the originals and considering how difficult it was to find the body, let alone the original arms I decide that the best solution is to sculpt them using Magic-Sculpt. The right side has the most detail:


The left side seems to only show off the shoulder. Something interesting I noticed was that there appears to be a pocket and/or pocket flap similar to the original costume:


Magic-sculpt has a texture that is very close to clay, although it's not as hard. It will have to be left overnight to completely harden.


Sr Member
While finishing up the pilot figure, I decided to go back and take another look at the Astromech figure since it will be easier to paint and detail them at the same time.

The last time I worked on him, I did all of the major modifications and clean up, but I think I kind of scratched my head while looking at the spacing between the shoulders and the body:


The original didn't have any space between these parts. In fact, there's some detail that was added to the shoulders (probably the booster covers - it helps to be an R2 Builder :) ).
So I decided to cut the shoulders off, clean them and then glue them back on:


To make sure that the shoulders were positioned properly, I put the Astromech back into his cockpit:


While letting the glue to dry, I moved on to the bottom of the forward cockpit. I had been putting off this section because the toggle switch requires some drilling through one of the parts and I was hoping that it wouldn't turn into a major problem.
So here's all the parts. I don't think I have the correct, rectangular piece, but it's the closest I could find and since it's going on the bottom, I doubt any one will notice:


I start by cleaning up each part and then fitting them. So far, so good:


To get the switch to fit, I drilled a 3/16" hole, through the center of the largest part and then partially threaded the back end of it with a 6mm tap.
The switch can not be screwed into the hole. I used an X-acto knife to widen the hole a bit for some clearance:


I found the switch at Allelectronics.com or send me a pm. I have plenty of these in stock.

Up next, finishing up the switch install and finishing/painting the figures.
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Sr Member
After a good amount of clean up, I put a final coat of Tamiya German Grey on the pilot figure because it is just slightly lighter than the shade of grey used on the TIE fighter pilot and interior:


I suppose next time, I'll grab my digital camera and use it's flash, but here's what it looks like with the canopy:


Here's the other side with the reference photo:


And with the canopy:


Something I noticed about the canopy is that there are two "sheets" of plastic hanging from the roof that appear to divide the cockpit area from the "gunnery" section. It doesn't appear in Gold 2. I checked the reference photos for Gold Leader, but I can't make out this detail, so I can only assume that the parts are accurate.

Up next, the "custom" black and white Astromech figure.
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Sr Member
I just finished the custom R2 today. I needed a reference for some of the panel placements, so I grabbed a handy R2 figure to help me out which is why he is in the back ground:


Side view (left):

Another reference photo:

This little guy is a true mystery with some very interesting characteristics, but I'm going to hold off on any theories and start with the painting. So from a paint perspective, I discovered that at least the top of the dome was originally a "rust" or brown color, possibly because of the original color of the resin or fiberglass that was used. It's also possibly that light brown primer was used or that the actual color of the R2 was changed.

In any case, I used some "rusty" metal primer from Rustoleum as a base. Once dry, I applied some very small pieces of painter's tape on the sides of the shoulders before applying some satin black (also Rustoleum). I used a little sandpaper to help remove the black layer of paint, exposing the "rust" color before painting the white panels on the dome.

Only the top of the shoulders was painted white, as per the first reference photo. In one of the left side (R2's left) photos (color) it's fairly clear that there are two, rust colored squares on a black surface, so I kept these details. It's very rare to see just the tops of the shoulders painted a different color. My first thought was that this was an R2 seen in the briefing room just before the battle of Yavin, but that one is black with silver details (C2-B5?). It's possible that they ran out of silver or that the original R2 was black with white details. It definitely would have been fitting for a B&W movie. :)
Another interesting note is that the same R2 was seen in the Red Leader (Red 1) model in one reference photo and it appears to be the same one. It may have been swapped out at some point for a red R2 (R5-K6) since this is what was seen in close up shots with the actor.

Since I was working with white paint, I thought it would be wise to paint the pilot at the same time:


I duplicated the features of the original, including the "mistakes", but then I realized that I was using the Gold 2 reference photo, so more than likely the Gold Leader pilot wasn't exactly the same. Unfortunately, I didn't find any close up shots of the Gold Leader pilot, so this will have to do it. For the orange color, I mixed 10 drops of flat white with 2 drops of yellow. It's the same mixture I've used in the past for the orange bump on the ESB ID badges.

Left side:


After giving it some more thought and seeing similar detail on the screen cap, I decided to paint the bottom of the R2 white with silver and blue metallic details. Again, the R2 figure came in handy for painting the arms and panels.

Here are some final photos of the figures:


Rear view:

Up next, finishing up the switch installation.
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Master Member
I dont even think mine came with the front blasters. I was looking at some extra brass stock from K&S that I had for my Xwing and was thinking I could probably quickly make front blasters from that. Might be easier for you to take a look at that than machining them. Just a thought.

Great progress on this project.


Sr Member
Getting back to the switch install involved modifying the forward or cockpit section.

The "ramp" area needed to be hollowed out to make room for the switch with it's wires, so I drilled three holes and then used some X-Acto knives with a file to create a rectangular area:


I used the same technique to create a "punch out" for the wires to go through:


I noticed that the bottom section didn't really fit the top section due to some extra material on the right/starboard, interior side:


I used some X-acto knives and some sandpaper to remove the excess material:


Here's a finished shot of the bottom with the switch installed. I'm not sure yet if I will bolt it in place and then cover the bolt with a model part or just leave it as is since the part fits snugly:


Up next, more work on the forward fuselage and then back to the engine thrusters for final installation involving some painting.


Sr Member
Now that the forward fuselage fits together properly, it's time to attach it to the "neck" section of the main fuselage.
Here's a bottom view with the wires pulled through the area where the switch will be installed:


And a side view:


One big problem I ran into was angle of the bottom of the forward fuselage. Just after the switch area, it starts to angle up.
In order to provide support, the aluminum rod continues down the center of the forward fuselage, but of course in a straight line,
so this causes the entire forward fuselage to point downward.
To fix this, I started to file away at it, but realized that it would take more than just a little filing, so I used my mill to remove a small angle of material, starting from the switch area, moving forward:


This did the trick. Another problem with attachment was the extra material from an inner part of the neck area:


I just trimmed this off with my mill and an X-acto knife. Here's a shot of the forward section, right side up:


Here's a top view with a reference photo:

Up next, making room for the wires and detailing the forward fuselage.


Sr Member
One of my favorite lines from Animal House is "...I just got back from the Jewish house and the guys there told me that all of our answers to the Pysch test were wrong!"

Like the guys at Delta, I thought I was in the home stretch, but when I went back and checked the Gold Leader reference photos against the Forward Fuselage parts, I realized that the small details on the hull were basically all wrong and had to be removed. Just out of curiosity, I checked the Red Leader reference photos and they matched the details, so what I have is a left over hull from the Red Leader kits. So after studying the reference photos, I carefully marked all of the "patch panels" that needed to be removed:


While removing the "patch panels", I came to the realization that Red Leader was made up to look far more "worn" than Gold Leader because I hardly found any patch panels on that hull.
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Sr Member
I used a straight X-Acto knife to remove the patch panels and then some 600 grit to smooth down the surfaces.
There were a few patch panels here and there that were good, so those were left. A couple of them had to be modified slightly:


The next step will be to use some .02" thick styrene I picked up a local hobby store to add the missing patch panels that are found on Gold Leader.

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