The Millenium Falcon build started…

The one thing about working on this kit is it forcing me to buy a cordless Dremel called a Micro. All I can say is Wow and Wow! Why didn’t I get this earlier? The tool is light, easy to use and the variable speeds are a godsend for working on styrene.

Micro Dremel

Alright. Now I am armed with my new toy, I set to work on grinding back the remainder of thick edges and then continued to address some of the models other issues.

I made the conscious decision from the onset to replace as much of the poorly molded piping detail as I could. Especially going to the exposed inset sections on the mandibles and back section of the hull; those I had already addressed in my previous post. I also reshaped the out of scale verticle flat things on the top of each inner section of the mandibles and replaced the piping along the outer edges.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Then when I was reasonably satisfied with those efforts I tweaked the top of the walkway areas to fix the three circular vents. This meant drilling and grinding out the molded areas and replacing those with some brass photo-etch grills. I also scratch built the tops of the vet housings because I felt those molded on the model were again a little large and out of scale. I then used ca glue to add some black vinyl behind the see-through mesh.

The next thing I wanted to address was the battle and impact damage over the top hull. So with engraving bits, sanding drums, files, an exacto knife and sections of styrene sheet, I set to work using the reference pictures I have as a guide. To achieve the punctured hull look I needed to grind away the plastic from the inside of the model until it was paper thin. For the four bigger holes, I used a thin marker to draw the holes before I dialed back the Dremel’s speed, and carved them away with the engraving bit. Then I glued in some thin plasticard behind them and repeated the process with smaller holes and then glued in the final backing piece. The area above the starboard mandible I literally attack with the engraving bit to replicate the torn and shattered pipes and hull. The big concave dent was done using a semi-pointed grinding bit. All the smaller holes were achieved with a tiny drill bit and the tip of my exacto knife.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The next part was adding the 3D printed fuel towers and thruster veins. Did I mention how fragile printed plastic is? No. Well, they are. I discovered this while washing the parts to remove excess oils and residues from handling and printing.

.Once the parts were clean and dry I reboxed them. Carefully. Then, I started adding the pieces over the areas I previously ground away. Unfortunately what you don’t get with the parts is an instruction sheet on what glues to use… Thank god for the world wide web and professor Google. I also found out that though the printed parts are exquisite in detail they are not an exact plug n play. It is just as well I have a little bit of model assembly and building experience…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Millenium Falcon build… What to do? Where to start?

Two questions in the header above and both are loaded. Eventually, I decided to start on the engine and exhaust vent area as this is the part I think has the softest detail. Now, I already received the new thruster veins. So I bit the blaster and gathered my little grinder, files, sanding sticks and attacked the plastic. to remove all the thruster veins and fuel towers; which are still in transit.

When that nerve shattering process was done I started removing some of the detail on the back quarter to replace with extra greeblies and brass wire. One goal here is to where ever possible, get a look similar to the five-foot model used for Star Wars ‘A New Hope.’ This is where more of the 3d parts from Tony at 308 bits come in.


The clear piece is 3d printed and comes pretty damn close to the filming hero. The resin piece on the right is part of the older accurizing kit.  Another area to sand away are the two small vent things above the resin piece. I think the molders at MPC used parts from the R2D2 kits; what were they thinking?

So after more grinding and sanding, along with my tongue pinched between my teeth for added concentration, I set about adding additional detail using more things from the bits box and donated parts from a couple of 1/72 German WWII tank kits. and resin parts from the original MMI kit. The PE grill still needs to be added over the vents. However, that will happen after I have painted the inside of them. I may yet add more detail to this area, but as it stands I happy with the look when compared to an image of the original filming miniature.


Next on the list is grinding away some of the pipework on the exposed sections of the hull which had little definition. As well as grinding down the thick plastic on the hulls edges to better replicate the thin plated look.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bear in mind this is only the top hull and the back half at that. Which means I’m in for a long project…

The next project… An old MPC Millenium Falcon



Many years back I did this kit after the first Star Wars films merchandise was released to the world. this was the second generation of kits released after Lukes X-Wing, C3-P0, R2D2, the latter two I still have standing in my shelves, and Vaders Tie fighter. Unfortunately back then this was the only representation of Han Solo’s iconic ship. Since then though, there has been the AMC Re-Release, the Finemolds 1/72 Falcon, a 144th scale version, a magazine week by week kit and Bandai’s latest 1/72 scale Perfect Grade kit. Sadly, all of these latter iterations prove how inaccurate the original MPC kits were. However, in some fairness to the original MPC sculptors of almost forty years ago. They didn’t have the all the fandom and abundant resource material available to them as we do in our digital world. Hence the kits soft detail and abundant inaccuracies, e.g the oversized side walls and the flatter shape of the hull.

Still, over the years’ many modelers and fans have built this kit straight from the box, as I once did, with excellent paint jobs; mine not so back then. And over time there have been many aftermarket parts to help assemble a model which resembles what we saw on the big screen.

However, since my initial purchase of the kit from eBay and the aftermarket resin and photo-etch parts from Blue Moon and Millenium Models almost eight years back,

the science of 3d printing has helped change what modelers can achieve. Something I only realized after pulling the old box and extras while procrastinating over whether or not I should start on the model. Yep, you guessed it. Out with the old and in with the new. Well not completely out. Some of the old pre-purchased parts I will still use. The rest, will either be recycled or stored in the bits box for later. the parts below I smuggled in via UPS from

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The above pictures are not mine, they are from his site.

A sense of relief…

I know the general consensus states to write the first draft, no matter how bad it may be. Well, the minute part of my psyche containing a hint of OCD occasionally acts as a sea anchor, which stalls me until I get things in a better shape. But this morning I have, after getting things back on course with chapters 15,16 and 17. I decided to haul in the anchor and crack on to finish last nights session with over 70k words on Bread & Circuses. OH Yeah… Oh Yeah…

31″ Nautilus W.I.P build part Seven. Painting the model

And we are in the final quarter… Painting to model.

Painting a large model sounds easy uh? grab some rattle cans from the hardware, auto or model shop. Apply a bit of masking tape and spray away!  Which if you want a clean one-dimensional finish much like you would find in a museum case, then that’s what you could do, but not me.

This may be a model of a fictional sub from a science fiction novel published 1874 century and then adapted to a Walt Disney film in 1954. By the way, the Harper Goff Nautilus from the movie bears little resemblance to Jules Verne’s submarine. Yet the later version is by far the most recognizable and iconic adaption. But I digress.

Both versions are from the era of the ironclad ships used in the later quarter of the 19th century. So, this was my starting resource for designing a paint scheme. I say designing because there is no actual boat to use a resource. Oh out there in the wild old internet, there is copious amounts of information, pictures, ideas and theories about what and how the filming miniatures were painted. However which one do you use. The hero model was finished with painted sheet copper and brass. Many of the live deck sets were made of wood and let us not forget about the age of any celluloid images which change through time.

Is my finished models color scheme correct? I like to think so.

Now, of course, it is not just about the paint. There is the weathering process to add to the realism, and as an added challenge paint and weathering changes with scale. Ahh, model making is such fun.

The previous posts show the model covered in the grey primer to help find the defects and give a sound surface to lay down the top coats. Now, while grey undercoats are common, it is not always the best color for a base coat. Why? because certain different primer colors can have an influence on the top coats. Whites are ideal for most bright colors such as red, green, yellow or blues. However, if you want to make those colors richer you could use a buff-toned undercoat. If you want them to look dull or dirty then darker undercoats are used. This principle is no different for metallic based paints, which is what I used as the primary colors.

I say colors because there are, from memory, three different metallics I made for this model. For most of my paint, I tend to use Tamiya acrylics, but I also use Gunze, the Games Workshop range, Humbrol, and Life Colour. This time I used the Tamiya bronzes, copper and dark iron. The first image is a test shot of the base color with a rust wash. The one on the left is taken with a flash the other one is with natural light.Colour test

You can see in the picture below I had already masked off the lights with blobs of blue-tack and covered the open window in tissue and masking tape. The Wheelhouse lights and windows I coated in a latex masking solution. Now because I wanted a dirty darker look for my top coats I used several light coats of flat black. P1000691

Before going to town on the main model I used the skiff to continue testing my color scheme. I’m not sure I mentioned it in an earlier piece, but the rudder, tiller arms and tiller cables are pieces I added. To give you an idea on the scale the diameter of the paint pot is about thirty millimeters. The top picture is the base coat and the bottom is the basic rust washes and light dry brushingP1000687P1000693

This is a shot of the model after the primary base colors were airbrushed on.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I then left the whole thing to dry for a couple of days so the paint would fully cure prior to applying the weathering effects as per these YouTube videos.

here are some stills of the painting stages and some of the finished model. For those with a keen eye, you will notice the coloring on the top half of the sub is different. This is the area above the waterline where the metals would have oxidized at a different rate to the rest of the hull constantly under the water. In one picture you can see the bottom hatch wheel. I had to scratch built that piece after the original fell off. the last couple shows the interior lights for the saloon and wheelhouse. To reach the finished piece the project took eleven weeks with an average of five hours a day. because I was recovering from a broken vertebra and tailbone I could only manage five hours broken up through the day rather than my usual manic five hours in one sitting.  I also airbrushed a clear flat called Dullcote on the light covers to help hide the led’s, which also helps to diffuse their light.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

31″ Nautilus W.I.P build part Six.

My God, how many leagues have past since the last update?

After completing the saloon and adding some HO scale miniature figures to represent Nemo, Arronax, and Ned Land. I did another test fit. One can never have too many test fits.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By this stage, I had completed the lights and internal wiring. So, I put the model aside and worked on the base. Which in itself was fairly easy to do. All I needed was a picture frame with a themed insert, an MDF collage picture frame from a craft store along with some balsa wood and dressmaking pins to help with the steampunk look.

Then I took the back piece of the collage frame and added the push buttons for the interior and exterior lights as well as the motor for turning the propeller. The 9v battery clips are an additional stands alone power supply for when I took the finished model somewhere to display without mains power

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Once I had the wiring and power sorted I  added the models stand via hidden screws. I also modified the stand to run the wires from the sub to the base. you can see the deep groove I cut into the back right support. The only thing left to do was fill, paint and weather the base. the channel was filled and painted to match the stand. The colours I used for the base came from my own blend of metallics, which were part of the base colours for the actual model. Of course, painting and aging the base was much simpler than painting the model itself. But I’ll cover that in part seven.