Unnamed Rebel Tanker "Bussard"

Custom (1/350)

Original design inspired by TESB end scene, with many liberties taken

♦ Removable tanks (2)

♦ Slide-out refueling rod

The Build

See Build Log for additional pictures.

This is one of the vehicles seen at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. You only get 2 shots of it: one below the Falcon, and one from the rear showing the engines. I first thought it was tanker, but it could also be a transport for two B-wing cockpits. There’s really no way to scale it, so I have no idea. I just went with the tanker idea.

Construction centered around 4 medicine cups and a 1/72 scale Sd.kfz 251 body flipped around and turned over. A lot of the parts came from that 251 kit, but I added a lot of styrene and photo-etch pieces as well. Howitzer tires were used for the front of the tanks. Heavily chopped phoenix missiles form the 6 tubes at the back.

Painting was a real pain. I tried several paints, but none would stick really well to the medicine cup plastic (it would lift up with masking tape). I ended up using Tamiya’s Lacquer Primer, which still pulled up a little, but worked better than anything else. Then I just painted it as normal.

I added a few decals, including two “bussard” decals from the Sd.kfz 251 kit (it’s German for “buzzard”). I thought it was a neat name, and looked cool on the side of it.

My wife later commissioned artist AdamKop to create a digital painting of The Shrike, with this model in the background.


Commissioned artwork of my models


There’s not much history I can write without knowing what the vehicle was in TESB.

As for my idea of the Bussard-class Tanker, I assumed that after leaving Hoth, the rebels needed various transports for liquids and gases. The Bussard is modular, housing 2 large tanks and several smaller tanks and filtration systems on board. The tanks can all be interconnected, and the front of the ship houses a small refueling rod than can connect to ships in space.

The Bussard primarily carried liquid fuels, but could be converted to carry water or Tibanna gas if needed. It features a door right below the canopy, and a ladder along the side.


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