Monday, January 4, 2021

Miniature Showcase: Luke Skywalker's Crashed Snowspeeder

Ever since the Airspeeder was released for Star Wars Legion, I have had an idea for a diorama featuring Luke Skywalker and his crashed snowspeeder from the Battle of Hoth which was featured in The Empire Strikes Back. 

Unfortunately, I could never find a model I liked to represent Luke in his Hoth pilot gear. Fortunately, Fantasy Flight Games released a limited edition Luke Skywalker miniature featuring him in that outfit and I was lucky enough to score one from my FLGS.

With models in hand, it was time to get to go wild and finally bring this idea to life.

Burying the Airspeeder

In the film, Luke crashes his snowspeeder after being hit by incoming enemy fire. The wedge shape of the vehicle easily buries itself in the snows of Hoth with Luke managing to escape just before an Imperial AT-AT unceremoniously stomps atop the ruined speeder shortly after. 

I knew that if I were to do a base inspired by this scene, I would need to follow suit and would have to come how bury the model airspeeder as well.

To achieve this effect I started by building up layers of cork sheeting on the base and around the front end of the speeder. The goal was to have the speeder on an angle so that it looked like the right side was buried deeper than the left. The cork layers ended up being 3-4 layers high in some places. 

Once I was pleased with the cork, it was Milliput time! 

The entire base was covered in Milliput before I added the snowspeeder to it and buried it under even more of the stuff. This gave a very nice impression of the crashed vehicle being submerged into the snowy surface. As I worked on adding the layers of Milliput, I had the Luke miniature on hand so I could sink his feet into the surface as well. 

The plan was to use magnets to attach Luke, so he could be used in games in the future. In the end, that idea didn't really work out, because the magnets were to small and wouldn't really hold him to his original base well enough for gameplay handling.

I haven't glued him to the base though, I figure its best to leave him detachable in case I need to pack the model away in the future.

Painting the Airspeeder

Painting the airspeeder was an interesting challenge, because I didn't remember that Luke's snowspeeder was marked differently from the other Rebel snowspeeders. This meant that I also couldn't follow the box art for the miniature, it also meant that I had to do a deep dive into Empire Strikes Back screenshots and toys.

It all worked out in the end though, as I was able to get really close accuracy wise thanks to a few different Hasbro toys.

To get that nice smooth finish on the armor plating I had to use the airbrush with and sprayed the vehicle after it had been primed black. 

This actually worked in my favor in a future step, as the off white I used for the body translated to a zenithal highlight on the groundwork. Which in turn allowed for a nice variation in brightness of the snowy ground. Later on the base was painted with Kantor Blue, Teclis Blue and White to get a nice base for the crush glass that would be added once everything was finished. 

Anyway back to the body of the speeder. I had sprayed it with Ulthuan Grey to give it a nice off white color. For a quick and dirty layer of grime I hit the entire thing with a wash of Nuln Oil and let it pool up in areas to get a nice variation of grudge on the surface. This was then drybrushed again with Ulthuan Grey and White to bring out the details.

Since I couldn't open the canopy on this model I knew I needed to give the impression that it was damaged in the crash somehow. for this I decided to break out a painting trick from the Kastelan Robots and added spider-web cracking to the panels (I'll have a tutorial for this later on).

All of the markings were painted on the ship before I started weathering it up with chipping and battle damage. Most of the battle damage was applied by using a sponge and brush to randomly dot the surface with white speckles. I then used a few different greys inside those dots to give the effect of them being deeper gouges and such (I'll also have a tutorial for this coming in the future).

Once I was pleased with the base and speeder it was time to paint up the man of the hour, Luke Skywalker himself.

Painting the Son of Skywalker

Now for the fun part!

The goal was to try to stay as film accurate as possible, which is always the part I enjoy most about painting these miniatures. 

For the most part, his jumpsuit and uniform were fairly simple. The struggle being to keep the orange as bright as possible and not muddying it up too much. The biggest challenge and pay off was painting the helmet. 

For the helmet I wanted to challenge myself to squeeze as many details on to it as possible, something that I feel I was able to accomplish. As with the speeder, the helmet required digging deep into film, toy and replica images and then micro sizing them to represent those details on a tiny scale.   

Things like the Vs on the sides had to be omitted, but the colored dots are there. The front of the helmet still has hazard stripes, but they are more broad to represent them. The ear area doesn't have actual slots in it, and those are painted on. That kind of thing.

In general, I think it is pretty spot on. Younger me would have been very proud to have been able to pull it off at all. 

I want to say that the hardest part was the Rebel insignia and trying to keep them equal size and recognizable. 

No Business Like Snow Business

The final touch was adding that sweet, sweet snow.

There were a few ways I could go about it for the snow, such as flocking, baking soda or the like. In the end I decided to try out something new and went with Secret Weapon Miniatures crushed glass

This stuff is really neat, but it is dangerous to use. As it is actually very fine glass powder a lot of precautions must be taken while using it. I definitely recommend using latex gloves, a mask and goggles of some kind whenever you have the jar open. Also, work on top of a paper plate or a food storage container, so tiny glass particles don't get everywhere on your desk surface.

It's mixed with water effects to make a paste and then you have to apply it with an old brush. After it is placed how you want, you can leave it be or sprinkle some more glass on top of it. This is what I did on this one, but you can play with the ratio of glass to water effect as well to simulate different wetnesses of snow.

I believe that's about it! This was a great project and it was fun to try out new things with it. I am very lucky to have gotten my hands on this Luke miniature in the first place, as he's very limited and apparently not even available outside the US. 

This project has been in my brain for a long time, so I'm glad Fantasy Flight Games made an official Hoth Luke miniature so I didn't have to try and convert/sculpt my own (it wouldn't have turned out well). 

As I mentioned on Twitter, I'm working on writing more this year, so stay tuned. Until then, catch me on Twitter and Instagram. I'm always around and showing off projects that I'm currently working on, there you can see all kinds of things I'm working on as they happen. Hit me up and talk shop!

If you like what I do and want to support the site and my painting endeavors,  you can do so a couple of ways. First, you can toss a couple bucks my way on Ko-fi. All it takes is $3 and it's much appreciated.

Also, you can buy The Brush Wizard shirts and such over on my Teespring shop, where you'll find a selection of shirts and other goodies including a new series of Stickers featuring other miniatures I've painted!

Thanks for reading!