The process we’ve been using on this X-Wing (and the Falcon) allows us to really fine-tune the forms to get as close as possible to the original model(s) as we probably could without laying a ruler on the darn thing. We have enough data just through photography these days to determine subtle irregularities and asymmetries.
The X-Wings were all different. They were cast off the same masters, but then hand finished. The scribed panel lines are obviously (and intentionally) asymmetrical, but also different from Red Two, to Red Three, Four, and Five and so on. In addition, the Pyro models are fabricated completely differently than the Hero models. We made sure not to reference them too closely.
Along the way we needed to make some decisions about how to handle asymmetries.
I shared the above image in a previous post, but if we look at the other side…
… a couple things become apparent. We can see how much further back the torpedo tube is on the starboard side. The torpedo tubes are all over the place from ship to ship. They are in the CAD as shown, but we left them out of the castings so they can be fabricated with brass inserts like the originals and positioned to Jason’s liking.
When it came to detailing the canopy frames, the port side and starboard sides are quite different as well.
We liked how the starboard side forms were resolved, so that became our gold standard for both sides.
There are other minor discrepancies in the form, but these were most egregious. It’s sometimes hard to tell what was in the original master, what happened during sanding and finishing, and what is just a result of age. Across every reference we had, we saw a distinct curve along the belt line from nose to tail. Is this just age? The fuselage drooping after years of being suspended under one G of load? Or was this something that was in the master pattern? Regardless, this nuance is in ours.
The noses are very different from model to model. Some are truncated, like Red Three. Others have a more swept back look, like Red Five. We chose to make ours swept back – but with enough material for the future castings to remove material to accurately represent either. This is similar to what was done originally in ’76 we think. I really love this bit of sculpture.
Willfully ignoring the asymmetries of the originals models probably disqualifies these models as replicas (at least in 1/24th) scale. I struggle with the same decisions on the Falcon – to idealize or not is a challenging question. At then end of the day, it’ll never be perfectly imperfect – at best, we’ll introduce our own imperfections and character.