Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Star Wars Snowspeeder [WIP - Upper and Lower Hull]

After detailed work on snowspeeder pilots Wedge Antilles and Wes Janson, it was time to move on to the vehicle's bare upper and lower hulls. Before any weathering effects are attempted, however, my plan is to first give the entire snowspeeder a simple off-white basecoat, orange stripes and black-grey panel lining. All the separate pieces will then be assembled together for the final weathering process. First things first though. It's always important to get the basics right first. And for the Rebel Alliance snowspeeder this meant getting the proper hues for its entire hull.    

Bandai Star Wars 1/48 scale Snowspeeder, work-in-progress on the upper and lower hulls
Orange hues on the Snowspeeder hull are much redder than the pilots' flight suits
Effect of chipping fluids on brush-on acrylic paints, after either a 30 minutes or 18 hours drying time

Each modeller will have his or her interpretation of what is considered a movie-accurate hue for a particular Star Wars vehicle. This is complicated somewhat by the fact that colours behave differently at different scales. While there are after market paints which claim to have recipes closely resembling actual mixes used in the movies, I simply chose paint colours that I judge to be close enough. In this case, I used the Tamiya AS-20 Insignia White (US Navy) for the primary hue on the hull. As for the orange stripes, I used a 8:2 ratio of Vallejo Model Color Clear Orange and Carmine Red.

Bandai's plastic was given a primer, basecoat and clear coat to protect it from subsequent enamel-based weathering
Lower hull after a basecoat of Tamiya AS-20 Insignia White (US Navy) and a layer of Gloss Clear Coat
Bandai plastic is susceptible to cracking when coming in contact with enamel-based products so tread lightly
Lower hull after panel lining with a 2:1 mixture of black and grey Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color
Upper hull after panel lining with a 2:1 mixture of black and grey Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color

Prior to applying panel lining, a clear coat (Tamiya TS-13) was sprayed on to protect the underlying paint as well as the notoriously weak Bandai plastic. Based on previous experience, any form of oil/enamel solvents will likely cause its plastic to become brittle and crack. It was only once the clear coat had dried overnight before I proceeded to apply a 2:1 mixture of the Tamiya Panel Line Accent Colors Black and Grey. Even then care should be taken not to over expose the plastic to enamel thinners which are used primarily to clean up excess panel lining.   

Tamiya Masking Tape is a great product which is gentle on the underlying paint layers
Masking tape was used to delineate the orange areas
Reddish orange will be painted within the area masked off by the tape
Even on the smallest areas, masking tape was used to ensure a clean edge

Subsequently, the reddish orange stripes were painted onto the upper and lower hulls. Even though I was hand-painting it with a brush, it still helped to first mask out the areas so that the stripes would look clean and straight. After a series of tests (see third photo above), I settled on using a combination of AK Interactive Worn Effects and 

Vallejo Model Color acrylic paints are used in combination with AK Worn Effects for a chipped paint effect
Snowspeeder orange is an 8:2 mixture of Vallejo Model Color Clear Orange and Carmine Red
 The acrylic paint was painted over a layer of AK Worn Effects which had dried over a period of about 30 minutes 
After the paint had dried overnight, a chipped paint effect was created using wet, hard brushes and a toothpick

Things are slowly taking shape but it's early days yet. What struck me about the snowspeeder so far is how different the work flow has been from the Tamiya T-55A I'm building. In the Bandai kit's case, I've largely painted the separate pieces before assembling while for the Tamiya kit it has been practically the reverse i.e. assemble before paint. Interesting to say the least. I'll have to have a couple of more AFV model kits under my belt before I can say for sure if this is the work flow norm. 

Snowspeeder's bare upper/lower hulls with with an off-white basecoat, reddish orange stripes and dark grey panel lining
Closeup of the chipped paint effect achieved using Vallejo Model Color paints and the AK Worn Effect solution

Right at the end I couldn't resist painting the foot pedals on the pilot's side of the cockpit area (see immediate photo below). It is highly likely that the pedals will be hidden from view once the entire cockpit area and canopy are assembled. But the obsessive-compulsiveness in me took hold and I painted them anyway. In for a penny, in for a pound as they are wont to say.

I couldn't resist painting the foot pedals although they'll most probably be hidden from view

Up next for the snowspeeder will be its power generator (back engine), cooling fins and yet another hidden from view part i.e. the canopy roof. Until then, I should finish assembling the Tamiya T-55A tank and get some research reading done for a future project (it's a King Tiger if you must know). This week has reached it's mid-point so here's wishing you the best for what remains of the week.


  1. Perfect wotk on these speeder! You're really great!

    1. Thank you Michał. There is still a long way to go though.

  2. Great work ! Look forward to see more !

    1. Thanks Mario ... there is more to come for sure.

  3. Very interesting tuto about painting ^^

    It reminds me that I must buy some maskol ^^'

    But I think your blog misses some Infinity models XD (I've answered you in my Temple)


    1. You are so right. One day I will get me an Infinity model. One day :)

  4. I keep on learning everyday from this blog. Seriously, I love it.

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you Moiterei ... it's missing some weathering but that can only be done after everything is put together.


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