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.
There is a build log by Dana on SciFiFantasy (link broken) and one by a Japanese modeler that I am taking some inspiration from.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.