MPC Incom T-65 X-Wing Fighter

by Steve Eggers




A long time ago……in a galaxy far far away…..  

"Time to retire those old Z-95s! These X-wings can handle anything the Empire can throw at us!"

―Raymus Antilles after the victory at Fresia 

The X-wing was originally designed by Incom Corporation for the Empire by Vors Voorhorian, but the entire engineering team defected to the Rebel Alliance with the prototypes hidden on Fresia. It was directly descended from the old Z-95 Headhunter, built by Incom and Subpro, with lessons learned from the ARC-170 starfighter. After four prototypes were extracted from Fresia during the Battle of Fresia, it first encountered Imperial forces in the Battle of Turkana. Many more of the ships were liberated from an Incom facility prior to the Battle of Yavin.  

The X-wing was continually updated throughout its design lifetime. The original T-65AC1 fielded by the Rebel Alliance was a competent strike fighter for its time, but was soon supplanted by the T-65AC2, boasting improved acceleration. The T-65AC3 had improved avionics, shields, and sensors; the T-65AC4 was primarily another engine upgrade, which made it nearly the equal of the RZ-1 A-wing interceptor. One notable design, the T-65D-A1, replaced the astromech droid with an internal computer core for hyperdrive jump calculations but was considered a failure (partially due to ease of sabotage). The TX-65 was the X-wing trainer variant. There was also a T-65B X-wing starfighter in the works during the Galactic Civil War, which was being developed on Dac by Rebels and Incom technicians. The traitor Ral Shawgrim nearly managed to transfer the plans to the Empire-aligned Sienar Fleet Systems, but was thwarted by Rebel operatives.  

Famous uses included the Battle of Yavin, where an X-wing piloted by Luke Skywalker destroyed the Empire's first Death Star, although nearly all the other X-wings that participated in the battle were destroyed. An X-wing piloted by Wedge Antilles also helped destroy the second Death Star's reactor at the Battle of Endor, in concert with Millennium Falcon, starting off a chain reaction that completely destroyed the battlestation.  (Wookiepedia)

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The Kit  

The MPC kit dates back to 1977 when the original Star Wars movie was released and was subsequently re-released throughout the years by AMT. The kit contains approximately 76 pieces and is molded in white plastic, detail on the kit itself is pretty good with engraved panel lines and some raised detail here and there. The clear parts are a little thick, but very clear none the less.  


My inspiration to build this model actually came in 1997 while on a trip to Las Vegas.  I made a stop at a Sharper Image store.  While there, a Star Wars 20th Anniversary campaign was going on.  On display was a diorama of an X-Wing flying over the Death Star.  I really wanted that model, but the $1200.00 price tag kept me from buying it.  I studied it, took some photos of it and decided that I could build on of my own.  

Overall the construction of this X-Wing was less difficult that previous attempts. I think that this is due to the fact that this kit is an original release and not one of the various re-pops over the years and the problems that are encountered when injection molds get worn out.  

The fit was pretty good. There is very little filler on the model. Most of the construction was done with CA and any mismatches in the kit were sanded until the surfaces were flush. As I recall, those areas requiring filler were the nose and main landing gear doors and the holes that is in the bottom of the S-foils to hold them to the upper wing post if the builder decided have the S-foils working. I fixed the S-Foils in the attack or open position since this was going to be an in-flight pose.  

The only big modification to the kit was drilling a 3/8 inch hole in the aft section on the bottom of the fuselage to insert a 3/8 inch piece of Evergreen styrene tube for the clear acrylic rod to pose the spaceship in flight. The styrene tube was cut to the appropriate length and “capped” off and glued into place prior to gluing the top and bottom fuselage halves together. The tube was sanded until it was flush and followed the contours of the bottom of the fuselage.  

Painting & Decals  

What color is an X-Wing fighter? After watching the Battle of Yavin IV sequences over and over again, a visit to Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination at the Ft. Worth Museum of Science and History, and a few consultations on the Sci-Fi message forums, it was decided that Model Master Camouflage Gray is the closest “correct” color for an X-Wing.  

I painted the cockpit Dark Gull Gray and highlighted the “instruments” with a black fine tip Sharpie.  

I painted the entire model in Camouflage Gray. The engines where painted gunmetal metalizer and sealed with dull coat and then over sprayed with camouflage gray on the forward part of the engine. Two of the rings behind the laser cannons where painted yellow zinc chromate and the canopy framing was painted dark ghost gray. The aft area where R2 is positioned and the “tail” of the X-wing was painted gunship gray, as well as the inside, recessed areas of the S-foils. There is a separate fan piece inside of the engine exhaust nozzles. I painted those red to give the engine an operating “look”. I also painted panels other shades of gray to give the appearance of replaced or repainted panels.  

The “pilot” figure included in the kit actually isn’t a pilot at all; it’s a race car driver. Instead of going through the hassle of finding a helicopter pilot and modifying him, I decided to make do with what I had and add little bits to him to make him look more like an X-Wing pilot. I added a ridge down the center of his helmet and the chest piece. I painted him in the Rebellion standard orange flight suit, dirty white helmet, etc….  

R2-D2 was painted overall white with a silver dome. I used a .005 blue artist marker to fill in all the blue areas that give R2 his distinctive look.  

The kit decals in this kit are vintage 1977 and where not used. I used the kit decals as a guide to paint the markings. The markings on the model where masked and sprayed with an airbrush using Insignia Red, Testors Yellow Zinc Chromate, and Dark Ghost Gray (in front of the canopy). It was a tedious process, but the end result turned out better than I expected.  


The entire model was weathered using artist charcoals and pastels, light application in some places and heavy application in others. There really wasn’t a method as to which areas should be light or heavy; I was just going for an overall dirty look to the model. When I was satisfied with the look, I sprayed the entire model with dull coat to seal the weathering work.

The Death Star  

“That’s no moon; it’s a space station.”  - Obi-Wan Kenobi – Episode IV: A New Hope. 

Remember that Sharper Image store X-Wing that I mentioned earlier? Using the book, “The Star Wars Sketchbook”, I set out to model the surface of the Death Star. My representation of the surface doesn’t accurately depict any one portion of the surface. I took elements of many features and my imagination and made what I thought looked the best.  

I started by marking where I wanted my clear acrylic rod and drilled a 5/16 inch hole half way into the 12” x 12” wooden base. I then drew out how I wanted my Death Star surface to look and began cutting styrene. The design went through many preliminary design layouts before settling on a final design.  

The larger surfaces were made by laminating four to five sheets cut to shape and then filling and sanding the edges. Constructing the larger surfaces was actually the easy part. The finer details were very demanding. It was like cutting Tetris blocks out of sheet styrene. The exhaust tower is a piece of 2 inch PVC with styrene details glued to it.  

I think, overall, I spent about 30 hours on the Death Star surface base. The X-wing was quick and easy compared to the base.  

After construction, I painted the entire surface Gunship Gray and weathered it using the same method as the X-wing. Once I was satisfied, I sprayed dull coat over the entire base.

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This is something that I wanted to accomplish since 1997.  I completed this project in late summer of 2007.  I know that this is not an accurate representation of the Red 5 X-Wing model that was in the movie. The way I look at it is this: This is my representation of Red 5.  

I had a lot of fun building this and I hope that I can do another movie diorama of another Star Wars subject.  

The best part of this project was that this display took “Best of Class” in the Miscellaneous Class at a local model contest in September of 2007


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Photos and text © by Steve Eggers