Monday, April 1, 2013

Shortly after the last blog about the 4th Corellian freighter I got caught up in other things and my interest waned over the months.  Even after a few attempts to return to it the freighter didn't get advanced much, and now it sits on a shelf, patiently awaiting its turn again.  A few months ago, however, my wife encouraged me to get back to modelling.  (How many of you can claim to having a spouse this understanding?  Congratulations to those who can.)  After some serious consideration of my skills and interests, I decided to duplicate another of the iconic Star Wars craft, the Executor-class super star destroyer.  The research alone took a couple of weeks.

First things first; I needed a set of reliable plans with the dorsal and ventral angles and measurements.  I was able to get a little useful info from official SW websites, but as with the Foray, most of the info came from generous folks who had photographed the real model when it was found on display.  I compared the photos with sketches, scratch-built efforts and a few commercially available models, and found that the commercial models were the least accurate.
So, anyway, I drew out several sets of plans until I came up with these...

On one website the modeler showed how he was building his model (I'm guessing it was about 7 feet long,) using a pair of tables / doors joined together at a slight angle to give the upper hull the needed support during the build.  I used his idea to build a table of my own.  I've looked for the website again but haven't been able to find it to give him credit.  When I do, I will.  It was a simple idea, and effective.
The rod down the center is to serve as a base for the open side of the hinge.  You can see some of the adjusting screws on each of the 4 main arms.  That's because some of the drawings I've seen of the Executor-class show the ventral and dorsal hull angles at midline to be a little different, with the ventral angle being more flat.  I'll keep checking that as I build, and if I decide that's accurate, I can adjust the screws to flatten the table when needed.

The completed table is below.  Notice that the dorsal angle isn't that sharp to begin with.

The upper hull cut out and flat.  It will be about 41.5 inches, which will give it a scale of 1:18,000

The upper hull in position, with a few of the waist panels in place.  Those black arrows indicate where I intend to have the support rods for suspending the model, much as I did with the Foray.

Here are the waist panels under construction.  I laid them out on a sheet of .02" styrene, 12" long, with each panel 7mm wide. They are scored to snap apart easily when this stage was done.  This also allowed me the option for drilling fiber optic holes before they would be glued to the hull itself.

A close-up of one end of the panels.  The scribed lines are visible.  The difficulty was in trying to establish a high enough level of detail in a limited area.  More on this later...

Another view of the upper hull and waist panels.

Here I've built a lattice structure to be used to ensure the base of the upper 'city' superstructure is perfectly level with the waist.

View from above

The superstructure foundation in place.  I didn't know it yet, but I'd already committed my second goof.  At least it wasn't as time-consuming to correct as the first one.  More details on those goofs in the next post.