The Outer Hull Assembly Cont'd.

        The metal framework for the upper and lower hull has been completed with a modest number of the outer plates left to be installed.  In this segment, we will be focusing our attention on the installation of several engine recesses in the outer hull as well as the assembly of the ship's "mandibles" and radar dish.  There are also plenty of greeblies that must be secured to the outer hull, the mandibles and to the sides of the MF.
          The upper hull features several recess compartments that were visible during the original filming of the movie.  The recess was given a primer coat of flat black and then dry brushed with flat aluminum.  There were a number of  greeblies to add which were painted in a contrasting metallic grey.

        The antenna array is next and did not take long to complete as seen in the pictures on the right.  We considered upgrading this feature with one produced on the Shapeways website but felt that the level of detail offered by the stock antenna was just fine.

     Pictured above left is the cover to the main hold cutaway as descibed in Issue 71.  This predominant feature extends beyond the upper hull in between the two "mandibles" of the Millennium Falcon.  There is a modest amount of greeblies to be installed on this piece along with a number of magnets that are used to secure the  component in place.  The idea is to be able to remove the main hold cutaway to reveal the details found in the main hold section (see right).  Fitment of the completed piece was initially not good whereby we had to grind down two of the magnets in order to get the cutaway to sit flush with the outhull plates. 

     With the completion of this component along with the engine cover plating, all of the upper hull plating has now been installed.  We will start on the assembly of the mandibles along with more surface details.

       Issues 77-80 focuses on the assembly of the righthand mandible which features a metal internal framework, plastic hull plates and quite a bit of surface "greeblies".  The finished component is actually quite heavy too.

       We started with the assembly of the top and bottom sections of the righthand mandible as pictured on the far left.  We painted the recesses a flat black with Vallejo steel dry brushed on for greater detail.  In the second picture we added surface conduit and other bits and pieces.   Issue 89 focuses on the completion of the left mandible and then the installation of both.  The LED wiring harnesses must be routed underneath the cargo hold which will be permanently installed in the next two or three steps.

The Sublight Drive Housings....   

        Issues 88 & 89 begin with the assembly of the sublight drive housings which are sandwiched in between the upper and lower hulls.  Inside the two housings rests LED strips which simulate engagement of the sublight engine.  We have purchased an aftermarket grill and backlight panel that will recreate the blueish glow from the sublight drive as the LEDs light up.  We have also added strips of chrome tape which will enhance or reflect the light even more.

               The photoetched lattice with the blue diffuser mounted to the acrylic strip looks terrific.
 ​       The original kit supplies a prebent light diffuser strip made from acrylic with a lattice decal already installed.  The decal is pretty lame and we decided to try the upgrade kit from Paragrafix.  The upgrade kit has a photoetched brass lattice which is nice but the plastic backing tape was way too flimsy and very difficult to install.  We decided to remove the decal from the original acrylic diffuser, glue on the flimsy backing tape with blue highlights, and then add the photoetched grill.  Viola!  The finished sublight engine looks awesome!
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