DEATH STAR II
Step 000: The Restart!
Here Goes Nothing... Epic Scratch-Bash
ROJ Death Star II Port (1-144)
I restarted this beauty/beast in Jan 2023... after sitting in a corner for a decade! It is 4'L x 3.5' W x ~3'D. I am taking a shot to have the removable surface portion mostly completed for Wonderfest 2023 / ROJ 40th Anniversary. This old pic is where I left off a decade ago... lots of placeholder "tiles" and general layout. The first step is to reset the layout and then do a next pass of actual layout from limited reference and screen-grabs. Careful dusting ensues... stay tuned!
Status: Completed (Click Here for Historical Build)
Step 001: Parts Out
Time to Parts-y
Tupperware Party, That is...
Re-inventorying the parts... the parts and placeholder parts all look good. The were stored in containers, so those are all good.
Step 002: Port-able
Hard to Port
Takes a Steady Hand...
The structure had plastic loosely over, but is still had ten years of of dust on it. There was even a drone landing pad and drone sitting on top of it for the decade, and mostly supported it all of those years. The port was never pinned, so surprisingly the temporary connectors were only damaged the most. Possibilities... stay tuned!
Step 003: Decisions...
Get out the Magnifying Glass...
The port had several different configurations, depending on the shot at-hand. The approach of the Falcon most closely matches the overhead reference set shot on the left side, along with "filling in" the lower left portion. Also using the rear partial large tower from the Falcon shot, since it really fills out the upper right part. The Wedge "exit" shot closely matches the right side, except for the bottom right, and has more robust structures, so going with that as well. Pretty much a hybrid of the two core shots from the movie. The Wedge approach shot has a lot of interesting far back structures, but they are mostly just out of the range of this build space. All good. Onward...
Step 004: Layout II
Return of the Layout II
More than Meets the Eye
Worked through dozens of replacement parts for the original placeholder. Also got it all "sectioned-off", so I can finish each area individually. At this stage, most of the layout is matched to reference, blurry or otherwise. Just a few custom parts left to go. A 1-144 Falcon is shown, for size. The large "partial" red tower (upper right) will be clad with grey scribed plating There were lots of custom or modified parts on the right side. The towers on the left are "special" copies/replicas of REAL towers used in ROJ!
Step 006: Go Deep
It ALL Fits (Vertically, too)
From "Another" Point of View...
The section, as well as another will have channels embedded beneath the surface. In this case, it will give some depth below the open area inside the structure, that also extends into and under the larger curved tile... just like the zoomed-in, blurry reference shows. This section was multi-layered goodness, but also all lined up and fit as designed.
Step 007: Custom Tiles
Sometimes it is ALL about the Greeblies
There were actually lots of modified standard tiles on this... this is one of the most "greeblied" custom tile "parts" as it was nearing completion.
Step 008: Towering
Towers of Power
I have the toweeeeeerrr...s
The towers are all ready for paint, panels, primping, and "pew-pew".
Step 009: Tape Fest
Taping in Progress
Taping, Taping, and more... Taping...
Towers are done! "Lots of Bothan Tamiya Tape died... to bring us this information..." Turret barrels are mostly done and positioned (not glued in, yet). The two "red-oxide" (partial) towers are scratch-built, and the other four are from actual ROJ-lineages. The medium two of those will be used in this diorama build... how cool is that?!
Step 010: Shaping Up
Meanwhile, Back on the Surface...
Another phase completed. Laid the towers back out on the surface. Glad I took the time to rebuild the medium partial red-oxide tower to match the sizing of the other two medium towers. Pleased with that. Now that almost all of the surface parts are done, will spend the next phase finishing up all of those "moduled" areas. Then will move onto restoring the big red "latticed" port over the end of May.
Step 005: In Customs
It ALL Fits
From a "Certain" Point of View...
Lots of custom parts made up the upper right reference, including some sunken and multi-layered sections. In the end, it ALL fit back together in ALL directions. The far back little "partial" tower was build using the top and bottom from a 1959 windmill kit. Love including stuff like that in the builds. I had to extrapolate that section using shadows as to where structures were built. Think it came out pretty cool!
Step 011: Surf-ace Up
It all fits now...
Finally wrapped up both lower corner layouts to match the MF approach (left) and Wedge exit (right). Washed, primed, and painted up the darker back tile row and down the left side. Built out all of the final module panels around the outside. Wrapped and finished up all of the red oxide surface parts. The surface parts all are in position now. On to finishing up all of the washing, priming, and painting of the surface parts. Then on to restoring and attaching the main port.
Step 012: Greyed Out
I am on so many panels...
Big moment... the surface parts and panels/platforms... are [mostly] done! The weather has not been cooperating to prime and base-coat up the larger parts, but got it done. All of the core sets of panels are done, except for final washes and oversprays/mists.
Step 013: Washed Up
Onward... and Upward
Time to Revisit that... Red Thingy...
Big moment... the surface parts and panels/platforms... are done (except for attaching ALL of the parts to the panels)! In the past 48 hours, EVERY part has been hit with a darker wash of some sort, then individual and/or whole sections oversprayed or misted over to blend all together. Now... finally... time to restore the port itself (that 'big red thingy'). This... IS... where the fun begins!
Step 014: Portly
That Red Thingy...
Finally have a stretch of warm weather... got the port out to the garage, fixed/restored, and repainted. Found and fixed an old issue with one inner port structure, where a shorter front bottom was inserted into where a [longer] rear bottom should have been. It was twisting and pulling on the parts around it. The port stayed hanging freely with a drone/platform sitting on it for a decade... and the bottom ring of the structure was only held together by metal tape strips!
Step 015: Look Down
Tunnel of Love
Aaaaand... it fits... whew!
Dropped the port into the surface hole and over the base/shaft. Nice [almost] exact fit. So exciting. Now to attach all of the surface parts and the port for transport.
Step 016: Mod Squad
The Big Glue
All surface parts glued to their modules/panels... that was fun, since there was regional hobby glue shortage in my area. But... all is good, and reworked the swappable modules in the lower right corner.
Step 017: On the Road
Takes a Steady Hand...
The removable port section juuuuust fits in the rear of my current vehicle, which works out great, since the port was built for my old truck from a decade ago. The rear seat belt connectors act like a sling. Made it through the WI-IL-IN-KY traffic and crazy construction... both ways... to Wonderfest 2023!
Step 018: WF 2023
What a Show!
This was a bookend for the Wonderfest 2023 special Return of the Jedi 40th Anniversary exhibition! What a show! The context room itself had over 1000+ entries across ALL genres of sci-fi.
Step 019: WF 2023+
The BIG Show!
Signed, Sealed, Delivered...
Our exhibition group hung out with some of the original ILMers that were at the show for various panel discussions and presentations. Three of the core model-shop ILM guys signed the back of my large partial custom-tower. How cool is that?! I will forever know it is there...