Lee Ralph – STAR WARS: Return of the Jedi – “Hyperspace” Imperial Shuttle

Here is my recent build completion. This is a replica, of the smaller, more simple Imperial Shuttle model built by ILM/Bill George for Return of the Jedi.

This model was apparently made by ILM purely for one specific VFX shot, where the craft is depicted jumping into Hyperspace. I cant fathom as to the why it was required at this smaller scale, but that’s the magic of seldom seen ILM filming miniatures that keeps us hungry to see more.

She was built pretty much on a whim, as id already seen one image that I liked, but nothing that would allow me to ID the donor parts used, to even begin to draw up up the model, with accurate dimensions.
A few images found online, got my creative juices flowing, as once I could see clearer images, I had now managed to ID the model fully in a matter of a day or so.
These finds, and also being lucky to have many of them at hand, then allowed me to begin sizing up the model, and ordering the mediums I required to build it.
It is built fully in the old traditional ways, so no 3d printing, just good old fashioned styrene and ABS, alongside those much needed Hasegawa and Tamiya model kit parts.
The main hull, is a mixture of ABS tube, and Plastruct Hemispheres to create those lovely rounded rear corners, while the upper hull, is my own and very first toe dipped into creating vac form bucks and pulling them myself, a lot of rewarding fun.
The gear details in the hull, were a great find I already had sitting around me, being the same Evergreen slat pattern, used on the ROTJ miniature Death Star turrets. At least, they matched up very well when counting the “teeth” based on my dimensions.
The engine pattern was just drilled and slotted by hand, the only lights on the ILM model are in these engines according to Mr. George, but id already committed to no lighting, so this is just ABS tube to create a recessed area.

The wings are laminated ABS sheet, that really works well and once joined, becomes very rigid, all wings are pinned into the hull for a strong join.
The lower wings were a huge challenge in being so thin, angled and it was also quite a task to size them correctly, I think mine came out a little longer, but nothing ill lose sleep over.
The cockpit, is a simple method of thin sheet styrene, heat formed by hand and then joined up to its corresponding side panels.

The finishing is fully Archive-X enamels, and I get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I get to use these wonderful tools. The base coat was a custom mix of these hues, as a neat Reefer White was way too stark, so a small addition of Concrete was added. The tan panels are intact Light Earth, and seem to match the reference very well.
Panel lines, as per the prop are only penned on, a task I do admit I found a bit of a struggle and somewhat daunting, but I did my best and tried not to overthink the task at hand.

Overall, it was a great little project, and really fun to take on, and I believe another first as I don’t think its ever been replicated before, it would certainly make a great companion piece to the larger filming miniature, but don’t expect one of those from me anytime soon.

Best Regards,..
Lee Ralph
FX Model Miniatures


Lee Ralph



FX Model Miniatures


Bill George





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