Revell Kylo Ren's Shuttle review & build
kit review, build log, modifications, painting, weathering, lighting
Build Log links
This is the build log for the Revell Kylo Ren's Shuttle, Command Shuttle, or Upsilon-class shuttle...your choice. The kit has very nice detail for a Revell snap kit. But it does have a few issues like the lack of detail in the upper wing sidewalls, the canopy, and the overuse of octagons to simulate circles. No really, Revell uses at least 11 octagons on various parts of the ship instead of circles. And yet they DO use some circles in other areas. I don't get it. The other issue is that Revell molded the kit with wings in the vertical-only position. So I'll have to make some adjustments there.
First off, I bought 2 kits for roughly $14 a piece from Hobby Lobby with my coupons. I'm glad I did because I messed up on the first one. And I also noticed that some of the wings were badly warped. Even after gluing them together, I think the warping is too bad. So, CHECK YOUR KIT as soon as you get it.
Here are the hulls. I already removed the big ugly octagon from the front of the upper hull. However, you can see the detail is quite excellent.
And here's a look at the unmodified shuttle. You can see there's the ugly octagon and an odd tab over the canopy that needs removal. The raised plate over the canopy is also very soft in detail, which I will replace with styrene.
Modified upper hull. Check out the painted octagons mid-picture, as well as the larger octagons at the top of the picture....all should have been circles. They even have circles molded on the lower parts of the hull, why not the upper section?
Initially, I wanted to use the kit canopy but needed to strip the paint off first. I used Testors ELO paint remover, and the factory paint came off nicely. But, the so-called "clear" canopy wasn't. More than that, it was a little too thin along the front, and it had some bad sink marks.
Also, the sidewalls, cockpit, guns, and landing gear all come pre-painted. The paint is kinda thick, so I used Testors ELO again to remove the paint. Notice how the paint obscures some great detail in the lower part compared to the stripped upper piece. BTW: I just poured a little ELO in a plastic bag, let the parts sit for an hour, and rubbed the paint off. ELO doesn't smell that bad but worked nicely without damaging the parts.
This is the inner trough/channel of the inner wing that the sidewall bits are supposed to slide into. Since the inner area of all wings are pre-painted, the fit isn't great for the sidewalls. So, I just clipped the raised edge off of the sidewalls (the edge designed to fit the trough). Instead of paint stripping the giant wings, I just sanded the inner areas that had paint on them. But again, I can't get to the trough, so removing that lip on the sidewalls helped.
The first arrow is pointing to a raised injection point that kept the wings from fitting together nicely. I also shaved the "snap" points a little so I could attach and detach the wings as needed. Also, notice that the wings are numbered for identification (second arrow).
Finally, I glued the sidewalls to the inner wings. Then I shaved off the upper wing sidewalls that I will be replacing and detailing later. YES, there is room for fiber optics here. However, you will need to decide whether it's worth putting LEDs in the wings or carefully running the fiber to the hull.
I spent a lot of time adding detail to the hulls. Yeah, the armor plates aren't movie accurate, but I like the look. I also rebuilt or kit-bashed the circular parts. Finally, I added a few more panels and greeblies just to create a little more visual interest.
Here's the lower hull as it stands now. I glued the ramp in place. And yes, the rear of the ramp IS supposed to have the gap there as an air intake or something.
After a long and arduous process, I built my own canopy master that will be cast in clear resin. It is more screen accurate and even has the 3 recessed panel lines.
Here's a view next to the foggy kit piece. I will think I can mount some pouring pins to the square areas at the bottom of the canopy. These will not be seen on the kit, but are perfect for adding pour lines.
Added the sidewalls for the upper wings using Evergreen #144 1mm x 2mm strips. These seem to fit best without leaving a gap when the wings fit together. I'm also providing some rough measurements in case you wish to copy mine (as well as the order I glued them in). However, there are some gaps underneath #1 that may bleed light, so I'll have to test that and probably fill it with something.
Here's a look at the Kylo Ren Hasbro Micro Machines figure. I extended the ramp as far as the built-in feature would allow (this is on the second kit). The figure is a bit too big, but could work in a pinch for a diorama if the figures were far enough away from the ship.
I wanted to use 1/8 brass tubing to attach the wings. The holes in the wings are about that size, and I need to run wires through them. So, after a little searching, I found the Du-Bro brass tube bender, designed for 1/8 tubes. It doesn't crimp the tube, but gently bends it. And it allowed me to replicate 8 tubes at the same angle. Then I just used the KS tube cutter to slice them off.
I tried several glues, but JB Weld epoxy worked the best at attaching the brass to plastic. I roughed up the brass ends a good bit, but so far everything is holding. I drilled out the hull by a little more than 1/8 inch, so I could dry-fit the wings.
Here's a photo with the wings test-fit to the hull. The shuttle can barely fit in my photo booth, but I like the angle of the wings. It looks menacing.
For the adapter and stand, I wanted to make something secure that can hold the weight. If I mounted the adapter to the ramp, it wouldn't be quite secure enough (and the ramp is sloped slightly). So, I built up the inside and glued the adapter there. The stand actually passes up through the ramp and over the adapter, making it very secure. I also scratch-built the port-side floodlight area. There are 2 lights here, though it looks like 4 sometimes in the movie due to the reflection.
You might recognize the black thing as the end of an IDE cable. I found this trick online for making a breadboard. In this case, I'm going to plug all the wires into it, then connect two wires to the adapter. This will make things a little easier if I have to disconnect the wings at any time.
While not in any references I found, I wanted to build up some detail over the brass tubes. Using some strip styrene, I fashioned some angled pieces that add a little interest to the area. In my mind, these slide into the hull when the wings retract.
On to the greeblies! Here's a shot of the back wings (not glued together) with the greeblies in the trenches. I'd say they are about 90% symmetrical with some differences in certain areas. After all, looking at photos shows different light arrangements on either side, so the details must be somewhat different. If you look closely, you will see periscopes, tank tracks, landing gear, grab-handles, antennae, and an assortment of other pieces.
And here's the front of the wings. I haven't yet added the little antennae at the top of the wings yet, but I have pilot holes drilled out. Also, the red arrow points to a small cut-out I made in the wings halves to match the images. Other than that, all looks good.
I finally finished the fiber optics in the wings using mostly .5 and .75 fiber. I had to get a little creative with placement of the LEDs, but it worked out so far. Lastly, I just taped everything down to make it more secure. If you're doing this, test fit everything. The other wing halves had alignment tabs that hit the fiber, so I had to do some creative cutting to get everything to fit.
I used watch parts to replicate the delicate antennae at the tips of each wing. Watch parts are relatively cheap, and I found a seller in Florida that sold just a bunch of watch winding arms. These were perfect and more detailed than anything I could scratch-build at that size.
Finally, I finished up the wing cannons. I ended up cutting the cannon section off, working on them independently, and then gluing them back on. It was more work, especially hollowing out the cannon tips, but I like the result. The cowling is made from half-cutting a styrene rod. I also drilled out little dimples on either side of the cannon mounts as seen in the images. And yes, I have broken and repaired two cannons since installing them. They are very brittle.
Here is a shot of the last details I added. Firstly, I added the front plate with cutouts for the canopy. Then I cut out the little notches underneath and added a little photoetch detail. From the pictures, there's little that you can see, but at least this give it a little more character. Also note that I mounted some 1mm fiber (for the big floodlights) in the model. Since I often found that thicker fiber splinters when cut with sprue nippers, I pre-cut and smoothed these before attaching flush to the hull. I used a punch set to cut out 1mm circles in Tamyia tape to mask the fiber.
Finally, I got a good day to go outside and prime this beast. I used the usual Tamiya Grey Primer. Looking back though, I think I would have preferred just using a black primer. However, check out the details that pop out after applying the grey.
More details on the outer wing. You can see rivets, recessed lines, and some angled edges.
Lastly, here's the inner wing detail. I particularly like how deep some panel lines are and how well-defined the grill areas are.
I started painting by using AK Interactive Black and Grey Primers. The Primers spray easily and cover well. Plus, I could mix different consistencies to create various dark grey tones. I used some reference pics to darken certain panels. However, I painted nothing in TRUE black, but just a dark grey.
So after letting it dry, I noticed the paint was very grainy (often caused by too high PSI or low thinner). Therefore, I decided to strip the paint using Windex. It only removed the surface acrylics, no the grey lacquer. Strangely, it didn't do much to the black AK acrylic primer, so I had to sand a little, then re-prime with Tamiya. Taking cues from other modelers, I slowly re-painted the ship over 2 nights adding more thinner and some Future to the mix. I used shades of grey (not 50, only 4) to modulate the black. The end effect is far from finished, but it looks much better and more visually interesting. Fortunately, I don't think I lost any detail re-painting it. Everything still looks well defined.
So, in my perfectionism, I decided to strip and repaint the wings again. I found that Testors ELO shattered the fiber optics in the main hull. Luckily, I tried something less harsh on the wings, and nothing was damaged. I primed in Mr. Surfacer black, and painted with Tamiya & Mr. Leveling Thinner. There was still a dusty look, but I polished it down. I then used Lifecolor to paint the highlights/panels. It's not perfect, but I'm trying to be OK with that.
Attached the wings with JB Weld. You can also see the fiber and wires going everywhere. I'll have to glue some more down before I attach the upper hull.
Here's the underside of one of the wings. I did this before attaching them to the hull. I used Vallejo Cold Grey for the chipping. I then used various enamels and oils for streaks, mud, and additional highlighting of panels. I'm trying to mirror the pictures in the Incredible Cross-Sections book.
So, this is why I can't finish this thing. During moving to a new house, the wings broke, which took half of the side fuselage with them. I guess on the bright side, this shows how strong JB Weld is.
Luckily, I had that 2nd kit still in my stash. So, I carefully sawed off the outer wing-mounts. It will take some careful gluing and putty to fix my Oops.