I try now to build the infamous Khetanna – Jabba’s Sailbarge. Most of these that were already build are made in the actual size compared to the figures, what means they are about 1,80 -2,00 meters long. My project is to make a “toy like” Khetanna, but also a “real” looking model. That means:
I will try to add some “toy features” to the ship. It will have several hatches and doors to open. A cockpit, a Jabba throne and some room for the figures inside. I will also try to add a landing gear mechanism and a “handle” to hold the ship while “flying” with it. Not sure if I have the skills to make everything I want to. Of course “breaking off” railways and shooting canons would also be a great add to this. Let’s see how much energy I will have for all those features.
That brings us to the main problem: If it is handled like a toy I have to consider two main aspects: the size and the weight. I will try to save weight everwhere I can and it will be about 1 meter long in total. Hasbro has already built ships about that size (i.e. Royal Naboo Starship), so I guess this can be still handled well.
The main problem will be the dimensions. If it is only one meter long not all dimensions can be 100% adequate. Jabba wouldnt fit inside and figures on the deck will look ridiculous. So changes will be made and I hope it still looks good and people can forgive me that it will not be 100% correct.
I thought long about giving this a “vintage” look (compared to the original Tatooine Skiff made by Kenner), because I am a vintage collector. But I think a ship this big will look boring in the three-color sheme with stickers applied. Then I thought about making it look like a modern Hasbro toy, but if I go that near I can also go the full distance and add some real looking weathering.
I am not sure how this will look when it is finished. It is a huge project because I will build the whole thing from the scratch. The combination of it beeing a toy and a “real” looking model will lead to cuts here and there. The building process will also be more complictaed because I plan a ship that can be put apart anytime (screws) to maybe repair or modify stuff, especially the cabins and cockpits. So I cannot start with building a roughly molded hull and go from there. I will build the “nose”, middle ship and the rear in seperate steps.
A CUSTOM TOY / MODELL IN THE BUILDING
The “nose” of the Khetanna will be build first. There will be a hatch with a cockit in it (although I know this is probably nonsense, because the Khetanna was surely steered from behind).
17 MAY 2013
18 MAY 2013
20 MAY 2013
21 MAY 2013
22 MAY 2013
23 MAY 2013
Building the rear will be by farest the most difficult part of the hull. With Jabba’s throne room inside and the demand for it beeing demountable afterwards makes this very complicated.
I first build a rough construction for the different levels which will be removed afterwards. I then glued some cardboard in to give this some stability. It was then coated with a styrene board. The whole hull from the rear is (like on the nose) made out of one board, which makes it perfect round…no gaps, no crossing. But after paneling and making the windows this will be cut horizontal. Afterwards there will be four parts which can be demounted any time. The front, the middle part (hull), Jabba’s throne room (which is half in the middle part and half in the rear) and the lower part of the rear hull. Difficult to explain, but I guess you will recognize it when its done.
27 MAY 2013
04 JUNE 2013
Some various pictures from the process.
The rear was cut into two parts.
The door was cut
The boarders were covered with Styrene (not finished yet) and the final shape of the rear was made
I started making the engines now waiting for the lights.
The ceiling was planned as well as the problematic (problem with the space) part with: Hatch, cannon, mast and the middle hatch.
Some parts were made (not finished yet): walls for the bridge, a pillar, the round part for the rear and the middle hatch.
05 JUNE 2013
14 JUNE 2013
The making of the ceiling. (Paneling of the walls will follow as soon as the windows are made)
I now started to make all kind of different parts of the rear that mostly needed to be done simultaneously because of several reasons. So here is some pcitures from the making of:
– the stairway to the hatch on the deck
– the throne
– the floor of the throne room
– the two pillars of the throne room (sorry there is not more space left to make more)
– the windows from the first floor. There is 28 windows in total. 24 of those will be movable individually.
All work in progress. A lot of sanding and a lot to putty.
I tried sth totally new for me last night: Sculpting with “Fimo” for the artwork on the barge. There is two items I want to place in the barge: The Rancor statue and the Jabba sculpture/relief.
The Rancor is not finished yet (WIP), but the Jabba artwork is finished (sculpting)….pitty I forgot to mold the bag of money in his hands.
The Interieur in the making. I really underestimated this time eating job. Gargoyles there, a Rancor statue here, paneling all over, pillows for the throne and carvings on Jabba’s “armthing”….etc
Problems all over:
-The armthing was already glued to the throne when I decided to give it some cravings and the “Hutt symbol”. I tried to remove it and it broke into several pieces. Now I have to carve the symbols while it is glued to the throne. Not so easy and the material is not really ideal.
– The pillows were finsihed and the glued to the throne. I the noticed that Jabba doesnt fit in there anymore because of the ceiling. So I had to sculpt those again while they are glued to the throne. Same material…not really ideal.
– The Rancor got several cracks because I obviously had him too often in the oven. Not sure if I try to go on or stop at this point before it is getting dust ?!?!?!
Here are some WIP pictures:
First time all three parts (actually it is five parts) are screwed together. It doesnt fit 100% yet but I guess these smaller problems can be solved easily. And happy me: The windows are nearly done now! Only seven windows left from 42 in total (I am talking from the windows with the slits only).
I decided to give the ship more lenght. In my opinion it looked way too stubby even for a toy. So I added 7,5 centimeters to the middle part and I think it looks way better now. Measurements are off I agree but without some changes Jabba wouldn’t have fit inside.
Finally all windows are done…finally. I can not tell you how happy I am right now because making all those windows was pure pain. Some facts (because I had fun counting those today):
It is 5 windows on the deck, 14 on the upper level and 28 on the level below, makes 47 windows with slits in total. 24 are fully movable.
To make those I needed to drill 938 holes, making 938 cuts and the needed to file and sand….and file and sand 469 slits…..it was really hard work.
I even found a way to improve the stability: high-grade steel wires glued to the windows. It is small enough to be not that distracting and it helps the windows not to bend while opening….or even worse: break into pieces. The construction of the windows is very thin (1,5 mm thick on the outside and the frame is about 1,5-2mm wide) and all the slits make it very instable.
I added the paneling of the hull over the weekend. The paneling and railing of the upper level has to wait. Next up is building the undersurface. Therefore I need to rotated the whole ship to work on it and want to preserve the deck from damage, thats why the whole deck has to wait.
Finally finished the “engines” I started long ago (see above)
I needed to buy a model kit (Tank) for the details first. I also added some light. A few “cables” and “wires” will follow later.
Now on with the undersurface…..
Wow…nearly a year since the last update. Well, time to go on. I worked on the wings from time to time. Not yet finsihed, but here is some work in progress pictures. The last pictures shows the unfinished hanging together with the beginning mechanical solution to make them movable.
The undersurface as I call it will be the last part of the hull. This stage of construction will give the ship its final shape and form. I decided to build it more like one of the models used in the movie although everyone will be more familiar with the CGI undersurface.
As I do not build other models I have no “fodder box”. As you can see on the picture above a lot of stuff will be needed to build the undersurface. I in example searched quite a while for a material to build those grills. Now I have finally found somrthing that can be used perfectly.
After that the rough construction of the undersurface is built in one piece. It will be cut in three pieces as soon as its mounted to the top part.
I needed to disassemble the whole ship again. The three main parts needed refixing and I had to change the way some of the transition parts work and look. It is quite a lot of filling, sanding and smoothing.
Time to get one of the features done. I started to built the landing gear mechanism. First up was a rough design of the landing gear. I tried to build them a bit like the ones from Kenner’s Tatooine Skiff.
I thought long about how to build the mechanism to get it work. I studied the landing gear mechnaism of Kenner’s Tatooine Skiff and B-Wing Fighter (thanks for the help on TIG btw). All have three feet and the front foot ist retracted the other way. I was near quitting the whole mechanism thing but then I remembered playing with Lego-Technik as a child and I was able to find a box with parts in my parents house. I came to a simple solution where one move retracts the front and the back feet oppositional.
I finally got the hull of the undersurface finsihed. Some filling and sanding still left but I couldn’t wait to see if the mechanism works. So the construction was glued to the ship. Then it was cut into three pieces so that the hull is still detachable (pics will follow). Two pieces as cover were build, also detachable.
So this is it: The ship has its final shape and form, the mechanism works and it carries the weight.
Next up will be the mechanism of the wings and the electronic parts. Then on with the deatils to the landing gear and the undersurface.
I am now trying to give the undersurface some details. Here is some pictures of the progress:
I also installed the electronics. The switch and the battery box were built in:
I also finally made the wings work. Complicated (maybe too complicated??) mechanism, but hey it works!
The mechanism itself was built out of brass tubes: sawed, drilled, crumbed and sanded.
The back of the wings was built after the look of the ILM model, whereas the front was built more like the full size movie set. Simply because the front is designed more complicated and I got the detail pictures of the model too late. It was then just more easy to go with the ILM model on the backside….safes a lot of time and nobody will ever see it anyway….
Before I can go on with the details to the undersurface I will need to finish the landing gear. The three landing feet must be finished to get the slots done in their final shape. I have collected stuff for month and now its time to get them all together. Remember it was only a wooden landing feet before:
I cannot remeber to whom I talked, but I did. Some standard cables get tacky when primed…it never stops, probably because of the flexibilzers in the plastic hull. So why not simply dismantle them???…finer structure and better look anyway. But I needed very small cable straps to make it look more real:
Finally I could test the guitar strings I bought nearly a year ago. They work perfectly:
I cannot wait to get them all done and get them primed.
Did some more work to the landing gear front foot.
…and got it finally primed…although I missed some smoothing I am pretty happy with the result.
The hole for retracting the front leg was improved. Also Klaatu is finally back supervising the built. He seems to be happy with the front landing gear.
The two legs to the rear in the making:
And these are all materials the legs are built of:
“LEGO Technic” parts, various wood bandings, various round bandings made of plastic, PS-sheets (polystyrene, 0,75mm), cables and guitar strings. In the second picture you can see two model kits (one is a German tank from Academy and one is an electrical tower from Kibri).I also used some cable straps.
There was loads of things that didn’t work well or need to be improved the last days! Before all that trouble, the landing gear back legs were finished:
The details for the surface were prepared. Then they were integrated and glued to the surface.
Also the slots for the landing gear were lined and the floor in each of those three slots was made. The mechanism around the pins moving the wings and the landing gear was created as well.
The problems that occured were following:
– The landing gear didn’t stay in place while the ship was turned around. The front leg just falls out a few centimeters. I installed a magnet to keep it up (–> guitar strings), but it is always too hard to push them out, or to weak to hold it in place. I need find out that special position.
– I created a hole for a stand. The ship has a landing gear you might say. Well I think it would be nice to have the ship “flying” without the landing gear always beeing lowered. I also think the landing gear is not solid enough to stay over years. I tried my best, including metal contact points but the Lego snaps of sometimes. I could glue it but then I would be never able again to change or improve something.
I tried to give the Khetanna a hole to the balance point. There a detail can be stuck on (with a magnet) or a stand can be inserted (or in future also a hand grip for playing). The problem is that the whole ship deforms just a tiny little bit and the whole mechanism thing doesn’t work anymore.
There was way more problems with the instability of the whole thing, the undersurface and so on. Everything was improved also not everything is finished yet. I hope to go on with the details very soon.
The last picture is a very rough comparison of how I try to copy the undersurface and somehow integrate the ILM model.