Friday, 29 September 2017

Star Wars Snowspeeder [WIP - Power Generator, Cooling Fins and Insulators]

Prior to the first dry fitting using parts already painted, there was one further section of the snowspeeder to complete namely its power generator with cooling fins. But before I began work, something kept tugging at the edge of my mind and wouldn't let go. Then it hit me. Why were the snowspeeder's cooling fins painted in hues usually associated with insulating material? It didn't make sense to use insulators to cool the power generators. Although the Star Wars universe is all make-believe, the functioning of its vehicles should - at the very least - make rudimentary sense.        

Snowspeeder's technical data was used as a basis for color scheme selection of the cooling fins
Colour scheme for the power generator was also inspired by DK's Star Wars Complete Vehicles
Snowspeeder cooling fins are more or less complete; a mixture of metallic and insulating material colours

One of my biggest faults in this scale model hobby is the tendency to fuss over the smallest details to ensure everything is close to perfect. And this silly little conundrum was threatening to put a spanner in the works. So some research was in order. Luckily for me I found the answer quickly in a DK reference book titled Star Wars: Complete Vehicles. (If you are interested, the answer is in the very first photo.) In a two-for-one deal, the book also conveniently provided me with a colour scheme I liked and eventually used versus the mostly black-to-black grey versions adopted by other modellers. 

Power generator was given the same treatment as the hull i.e. black grey panel lining over an off-white basecoat

My starting off point was a power generator painted in a similar scheme (sans orange stripes) to the upper and lower hulls. This entailed using the Tamiya AS-20 Insignia White (US Navy) as the primary hue followed by a clear coat of Tamiya TS-13 which in turn served as a protective layer against a black grey Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color mixture (see immediate photo above). Following this, it was the turn of the enamel-based weathering paints/washes of which I used a combination of AK Interactive stuff like AK082 Engine Grime, AK025 Fuel Stains and AK046 Light Rust.  

AK Interactive enamel-based weathering washes, paints and solvent
Weathering products are sometimes used not as intended but purely for their colours

A fairly copius amount of Engine Grime was applied to the power generator followed subsequently by a lesser amount of Fuel Stains and lastly a selected placement of Light Rust. I chose these enamel paints/washes primarily for their hues which ranged from a Van Dyke brown-like shade to a Sienna brown hues and ending with a brownish orange highlight. So as you might've guessed by now I didn't use the enamel paints as they were intended for. I don't think the Rebel Alliance engineers - as poorly equipped as they were relative to the Imperial Navy - would've allowed the power generator to be coated with either fuel or rust. Even when taking into account Hoth's harsh winter climate.

Step 1: Apply AK Interactive Engine Grime
Layer of engine grime was fairly light in view of the subsequent weathering it was to receive

In the wake of time constraints, I hadn't allowed the enamel paints sufficient time to dry before the subsequent layer was applied. This I did even though I knew the earlier layer will likely be washed off by the solvent inherent in the subsequent enamel paint. For some reason I thought I could manage. Well long story short, to compensate for the rush-job I mixed half-tones of the enamel colours and applied it randomly as well as reapplied enamel colours that were cleaned off where appropriate.  

Step 2: Apply AK Interactive Fuel Stains
Sienna-like browns of fuel stain complement the van-dyke browns of the engine grime

Truth be told I'm tempted to darken the entire colour scheme with a dark brown wash. But I'm holding off on the expectation that everything will look darker anyway - by being partially hidden in shadows - once the cooling fins are attached onto the power generator.    

Step 4: Apply AK Interactive Light Rust Wash
Of all three enamel-based paints, the Light Rust Wash was used the least

Speaking of the cooling fins, I first painted it in Tamiya TS-82 Rubber Black which incidentally is an excellent hue to mimic insulating material. Then Tamiya XF-16 Flat Aluminum was dry brushed onto the edges of the fins to depict the insulators wearing off to reveal the fin's metallic nature underneath. 

Tamiya TS-82 Rubber Black was just the right hue for an insulating material
Tamiya XF-16 Flat Aluminum was dry brushed onto the cooling fins as the finishing touch

Meanwhile, I couldn't resist painting yet another unlikely-to-be-seen again part. This time it was the interior of the canopy roof. And because it will be largely hidden from view once assembled, I only did the bare essentials. Enough for a colour scheme (similar to the cockpit interior) to show through even if you caught just a glimpse of it. A case for the KISS principle ... keep-it-simple-stupid.

Roof interior of the snowspeeder canopy, which will largely be hidden from view once assembled

Okay, so it's all set now for an 'initial put together' or a dry-fitting of sorts to see how existing painted parts look when assembled. It's also the first chance for me to see if the colour scheme of the pilots combine well with that of the cockpit interior. After that, things should start moving quickly as I already know how I want to paint the snowspeeder's repulsor/laser/power system, air brakes, etc. That's the next step in this Star Wars 1/48 scale build. Until then, thanks for following my progress on this project and have yourself a great weekend ahead.


  1. Road to perfection :)
    Love to see your step by step painting :)

  2. Lovely looking work FourEyedMonster. :)

  3. Looking ace! I did use a fair amount of those AK enamels myself but have almost completely switched to oils as they‘re way cheaper and (at least in my humble opinion) even easier to manipulate. The AK stuff needs constant stirring to for the pigments not to separate from the carrier medium. A process I actually can‘t be bothered with when indulging in vehicle painting. That said I really like what you’re achieving with that stuff. Keep it coming!

    1. In the long term I agree that oils should be much cheaper to use. I got myself mid-range Windsor&Newton oil paints (Winton) and artist white spirit but have yet to use them. And I hear you. The constant shaking required can be a tad irritating but it's all still new to me so it's all good ... heh heh. And thanks so much for the kind words. :)

  4. The attention you pay to such details is what makes the difference. Absolutely great. But now I think you should consider adding snow & frost effects here and there! :D

    1. Good idea. I completely forgot about putting snow and frost effects on the snowspeeder. But since it's moving I think I can get away with some minor snow effects. I haven't seen snow in my entire life so anything I do snow effects-wise would be pure creative license ... lol ... :D And thanks Suber for the kind comments :)

  5. You're putting a lot of thought on this. The result is near perfect because of it.

  6. Great progress ! I love your tutorial style posts.

    1. Thank you Mario! I'm really glad you like them. :)


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