Thursday, May 13, 2010


Report by David Jefferis

Star Wars was only the second sci-fi movie I saw in which the special effects (SFX) were thoroughly believable - no jerkiness to the action, no visible wires holding up the spacecraft, no rubbish alien makeup to chortle at. And the actors romped along in their roles, and could truly act! Since then of course, there has been a never-ending cascade of collectibles for fans to drool over or purchase, and the franchise is still going strong, with new TV series for a younger audience.

Star Wars Y-Wing tactical strike starfighter
New stuff aside, one of our all-time faves here at SMN is the handsome Rebel Alliance Y-Wing, designed by Colin Cantwell of the SFX company Industrial Light & Magic, and first introduced in 1977’s Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The design was fresh then, and remains so today. There are various kits and collectibles available, ranging from pocket-sized up to a substantial 1:48 scale. But the one shown here sits nicely in the middle of the size range, and is the Revell Easykit version. No scale is mentioned on the box, but taking the length of the full-size (though fictional) spacecraft as being 16m (52.5 ft), then Revell’s neat little model scales out to approximately 1:76 scale.

British 00 gauge spacecraft
Now 1:76 is a slightly odd size, common only to the world of British 00 gauge model trains, itself a weirdness on a planet in which every other country has H0 or 1:87 as its most popular model rail scale. However that’s another story, and if the Brits like being out of step with everyone else, so be it. The good thing is that - allowing for a bit of artistic license - the Revell Y-Wing sits pretty well with another standard, the more logical (albeit non-Metric) 1:72 international model aircraft scale.

Easykit fit and finish
Is this Easykit kit any good? Well, yes actually - in fact, it’s one of the best of its kind, with no major fit problems to slow construction. The rear-mounted ion engine vane supports were a little warped straight from the box, but responded reasonably well to some tender loving care. The only real downer is the pre-painted finish - maybe it’s just this reviewer, but pale-gold fuel lines outlined against off-white body panels somehow manage to look a bit feeble. This Y-Wing aches for a repaint, with extra detailing and weathering to give it the battle-weary look of a well-worn fighting machine.

Incidentally, the photos above are missing one small item, the R2 maintenance droid that should slot into the upper surface. Mea culpa folks - the tiny R2 fell into a dark corner of the SMN Construction Shack, never to be seen again.

The verdict on the Revell Y-Wing? For sci-fi fans, it’s well worth a look, especially as it can sit reasonably well with standard model scales. Note though that Revell supply no undercarriage legs - if you want your Y-Wing sitting on the ground, you will have to scratch-build a set.
ps. In case you’re wondering, my very first Believable Movie was the classic 2001 A Space Odyssey, directed by Stanley Kubrick.

There’s lots more information on Star Wars here.

There are Y-Wings of various kinds including later designs here.