ION CANNON (SS)
Step 001: Snowball!
ESB Hoth Ion Cannon!
This was a long-time sought-after studio-scale kit. One was finally made in 2021. The cool part is the "exposed" area is mostly left to artist-interpretation, based on long-range screen-grabs from the whole two seconds it appears on-screen at the Battle of Hoth. The ball itself is about a foot in diameter.
Step 002: Pew...
The "Big Gun"
Elegant, for a Gun-Barrell...
The main gun was basically two main parts, along with various repeated greeblies and plastic channel cut-to-size. The main gun length was also cut-to-size, at artists discretion, since the gun recoils and fires through most of the on-screen shot.
Step 003: ... Pew
Alignment in 3D
The outer gun cowling is the base for the gun-sights. The sights are made up of several little parts, many cut in pieces and rearranged into different assemblies. A bit of home-made bent brass completes the ensemble. The fun of this step was keeping the parts aligned in both the assemblies, and aligned in multiple mounting planes.
Step 004: Guntastic
Testing the "Fitment"
There's that Fitment Word (again)...
Enough said! So Cool!
Step 005: Zooming in
Scratching and Bashing...
Started scratching and kit-bashing the layout of the "exposed" area on the hero-side of the ball. This was left to artist's interpretation from zoomed-in screen-grabs. Made a template to lay all my own parts out on the bench first, to get an idea of fitment. The only rule I made was, "close, but not too lumpy".
Step 006: Tweaked!
Time to Rest my Eyes...
Scratching and Bashing...
Revisiting an earlier module and started fleshing out fitment of surface gun turret mounts. Had to adjust this area for the narrowness of the backend versus the one in the picture, but all general modules appear to still all fit, with some "special modifications myself". The math worked out, as the angles of the cross-section hull supports all align fairly closely to key attachment points in the picture.
Step 007: Baller!
Having a Ball!
Almost Ready for "Priiiiiime Tiiiime!"
Starting to look like something! Cleaned up a few mold-marks and a weird mold-seam... Nothing unusual for resin. (Actually, way better than a lot of the old-school resin kits...) She's ready for primer!
Step 008: Mountain Man
Not a Molehill!
Expanding to Great New Heights...
Primed the ball and decided to build out the full mountain-shot from the movie, and hopefully take to Wonderfest 2022. Got it all designed to fit in 2'D x 3'L x 2'H. The rear and left side will have painted acrylic sheets, representing the sky and horizon murals.
Step 009: Up We Go!
Nooks and Crannies I
Roughed out most of the nooks and crannies up the rear-right portion of the mountain, to match the reference shots from the movie. Also adjusted the cut-off point for the right-edge to flow nicely inside the diorama space that will meet the rear acrylic.
Step 010: Sky High
The Sky's the Limit!
Bend a large piece of acrylic with a heat gun and painted up a sky similar to that in the core screenshot from ESB. The sky stands for itself and does not require attachment to the mountain, which makes transport at least a little easier.
Step 011: Gray or Grey?
Just Pick One
Oh that blue-ish Hoth lighting...
Painted the ball in a custom-mix of whitish creamy gray using Tamiya acrylics. Did some pre-shading before doing an oil wash and detailed streaking. Should shift the color to a bit of a tannish tone.
Step 012: The Ballroom
Dirty Deeds I
Started weathering up the ball. Went back to rebase a panel towards the end, and promptly bumped the table and knocked the ball off the painting stand. Took two long days of fixing the turret and a big scratch/dent. Could have been worse. Two more panels left to rebase, where the edges weren't quite smooth enough, and came out too dark. Also need to dry-brush to lighten up some of the darker areas. Stay tuned.
Step 013: Crannies
All them nooks and crannies...
Dirty Deeds II
Painted up the exposed mountain areas. Then resealed the whole thing with a thick "silky" matte sealer (for now). Tested several "goops"... but they were just too kludgy to work with at this level of detail and scale. Going to use tiny microballoons next over all of the detail and exposed areas.
Step 014: An Invitation
Make it Fit!
A fragile patient...
Got an invite to bring and display the work-in-progress at Wonderfest 2022, in a special ESB 40th (+2) area, so I whipped out a transport sled, and a foldable gurnee-style rolling setup.
Step 015: WF'22
The first transport is away...
Got to display the work-in-progress at Wonderfest 2022, in a special ESB 40th (+2) area, since we did not get to exhibit a tribute the 40th anniversary of ESB in 2020 or 2021. I realized I couldn't see (as well) for an eight-hour drive with the large L-shaped background, so I whipped out a second "traveling version". Many thanks to all for inviting me to "participate" for the first time at one of these shows. Photo by Bill George... how cool is THAT! Awesome time!
Step 016: Let it Snow!
Down the Stretch They Come...
Got the final snow coats on. This was a mix of acrylic gel/paste/white and AKI microballoons... at ALL times wearing a full respirator. Also did those in the garage for better ventilation overall. Was pretty cool watching it all come together.
Step 017: Money Shot
A mere couple of seconds on film...
Stand By Ion Control... FIRE!
Calling it done! Might add a plaque.