These are a selection of MPC Star Wars kits I built in 1980s. All have been modified to some extent.

shuttle tydirium

For this kit I added several forms of lighting. I built a compartment to house two flashlight bulbs to illuminate the engines. These bulbs also lit the fiber optics I ran to the cockpit. I added running lights to the wingtips and underside of the shuttle, driven by a 555 blinker circuit. I housed that circuit board and batteries in a plastic watch box. Power and the blinking pattern was fed into the model via a 1/4″ stereo plug that plugged into a jack I installed on the underside of the model.

I added some additional detail to the edges of the wings with various scrap model parts and stock plastic.

slave I

I built this kit pretty much straight out of the box, adding some interior detail that would be visible behind the cockpit door. The main challenge of this kit was replicating paint job. The Art of the Empire Strikes Back had some good photos of the filming miniature, but my quandary was the matte painting of the ship at Cloud City was a mirror of the miniature. I opted to replicate the matte painting as it was more clearly on screen in that configuration. I airbrushed the model silver, stippled on rubber cement as a frisket, then masked and airbrushed the panels.


Again, The Art of the Empire Strikes Back provided valuable references for painting this model. I masked the grey markings for airbrushing and airbrushed the weathering.

I reworked the poses of the figures and added detail to their helmets and equipment. I stripped parts off of an old Tamiya German 88mm gun to create additional detail on the sides of the cockpit.

Millennium Falcon

I didn’t make many additions to my Millennium Falcon. I scratch-built a little instrument panel for the main cockpit and added some walls to the gun turret interiors (which are pretty much impossible to see).

The box photo and 1979’s Famous Spaceships of Fact and Fantasy were my primary references for the paint job. The weathering is airbrushed and pastels.

I modified some HO scale German soldiers to create some teensy-weensy stormtroopers to jeopardize our heroes.


With the goal being to create some stop-motion animation with this kit I made extensive modifications to the joints so it could hold its pose from frame to frame. While the front legs are jointed the rear aren’t, so I cut those apart and fabricated new pieces to create a joint. I added small rubber gaskets in each joint to create sufficient friction to hold the pose. I replaced the rubber band that held on the neck and head with a spring. I airbrushed the model, using small stencils to mask the oil streaks.