Missing Panels (Part A of replaced/missing)

by: Jay Pennington

 Before you Begin:

NOTE: Both of these techniques should be done before/during weathering your custom ship. One fun thing to do is to simulate a repair that took place after major damage. If you look at photos of ANH X-Wing models, you’ll see many of them suggest a repair after a nasty hit to the forward fuselage. A similar effect is achieved in an A-Wing model that seems to show up in photos more than any other.

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Supplies

  • Testor’s Model Cement
  • Masking tape
  • Ultra-flat black paint
  • Paint (color of choice)

Step 1

Most SW ship hulls are made up of panels–select one panel and mask it off before you do any weathering.

Step 2

Add extra “carbon scoring” around the edges of this panel, letting it overlap onto your masking tape. (Remember to let it “trail” toward aft.)

Step 3

After all is done, remove this bit of masking tape to reveal one “clean” panel among the dirty ones, with the outline of a rather nasty hit emanating from it. This suggests this is a new panel, replacing one that took major damage.

Step 4

(Optional) This panel might also be painted a different color, such as primer red or light grey, like some hull plates are in many SW vehicles (suggesting the repair crews grabbed the first chunk of scrap plating they could find and cut it to shape, even if it was already painted a different color).

Missing Panels (Part B of replaced/missing)

by: Doug Schroeder

Before you Begin:

Besides replaced panels, Star Wars ships often have panels totally missing. This can most easily be seen on Luke’s snowspeeder. Creating this efffect on a modiifed Hasbro or a scratch-bulit ship takes a bit of extra work… but the result s really cool!

The main thing you’ll need to pull this off is an old styrene toy/vehicle that has a flat surface with lots of “bumps”, “machinery”, “pipes”, and other gizmos molded into the plastic. I’ll call this piece an “engine” for simplicity’s sake. Most thrift stores will have old GI-Joe, TMNT, Power Ranger, Batman, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, etc vehicles with surfaces that make good “engines”. These vehicles should cost very little.

**NOTE** This technique involves a lot of cutting pastic. As these fumes are hazardous, always cut/grind styrene in a well ventilated area.

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Supplies

  • Styrene “engine”
  • Scrap styrene strips
  • PVC cement
  • Dremel with cutting wheel
  • X-acto
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

Step 1

First, decide where you want a panel missing. For asthetic reasons you should pick a moderately small panel. And for practical reasons you should choose a panel that’s away from an major internal structures. For example, if you are going to make a missing panel on an X-Wing don’t try one right below the canopy. Remove a panel closer to the nose… You can also decide to remove parts of panels, or make holes in panels, like the Millenium Falcon has. In any case, you will have to access the area BEHIND the panel, so choose an area you can get to.

Step 2

If this is a custom ship, odds are you don’t necessarily have a panel marked where you want the damage to be. If you need to make a panel, draw a rectangle of appropriate shape on your hull using a pencil and ruler. Make sure the lines are perpendicular.

Step 3

Use the cutting wheel to cut out the panel or partial panel(s). Or use a drill bit to make large holes in the panels. If you are removing an entire panel make every effort to keep the cut even. Cutting wheels tend to make sloppy gouges. Sand the hole to an even rectangular shape if necessary.

Step 4

Disassemble the vehicle to the point where you can comfortably access the area behind the panel.

Step 5

Now use the cutting wheel to cut the “engine” to the right size. If the area behind the panel is cramped you may want to cut the engine to fill the entire area. For example, if you are making the hole in the side of an X-wing fuselage, you will want the “engine” to run from the top to the bottom of the fuselage. If, on the other hand, you are removing the panel from a large, exposed area, then cut the “engine” so it is an inch longer each way than the missing panel. For example, if your panel is 1″X3″ you should cut the “engine” to 2″X4″. In either case the “engine” should overlap the panel.

Step 6

Use PVC cement to glue the “engine” in place behind the panel. There are 3 basic ways to glue it in. If the panel is small and the “engine” doesn’t have feature that stick out too far, you can just glue the edges of the “engine” right against the inside of the hull. If the area is cramped glue the “engine” to adjacent walls. To use the X-Wing example again, you can glue the “engine” to the bottom and/or the top of the fuselage if it is facing a side panel. Lastly, you can build a box for the “engine”. The “engine” will form the bottom of the box with its features sticking up. Use scrap styrene from the same toy you cut your “engine” from to make walls as high as the highest feature on your “engine”. Glue the box together with PVC cement the when ithe box is set glue it centerd into place behind the missing panel.

Step 7

That’s it! Just reassemble your ship! Since the panel is likely to be damaged because of battle, I suggest incorporating tips from Adding Battle Damage to your finished ship.