Lee Ralph’s (Johnston/Rodis-Jamero SKETCHBOOK & Cantwell/McQuarrie Inspired) Concept Y-Wing – COMPLETED!!

Here is my Joe Johnston Star Wars Sketchbook Concept Y wing.

I’d been toying with the idea of building this some two years back or so now. Always did love the sketches by Joe and Nilo, along with the work of Ralph McQuarrie and Colin Cantwell.
So on this, I decided once a few bits were cleared from my bench, id set out to build her, entirely from scratch, in a hypothetical “what if” aspect.

Using the various sketches, the first port of call, was the rather sleek and aggressive cockpit module. This was built entirely from sheet styrene, and took quite some time to adjust to my liking, while staying with the sketch Joe Johnston so lovingly crafted.

Once the cockpit was pretty much finished, it was time to fashion a suitable armature from alloy, that I could begin to build the hull upon.

The hull proved quite a challenge, taking key angles and details, I did manage to create a hull that, on the whole, wasn’t too over complicated, not so much as the filming miniature we know and love.

The engines, are fashioned from ABS tube, capped off with L’eggs for the domes. Once these areas were created, this gave me a profile to work upon.
One of the biggest challenges on this Y wing, was creating the internal booster vane struts. These took some figuring as they proved to be a very delicate affair, these are tapped into the Saturn V booster with 1mm self tapping screws, and then welded for a strong support, it took a few attempts to get to my liking, but worked out very well, and, in all, gave my concept, a very clean looking, sleek set of engines.

It soon became time to start adorning this model, with donor parts. This took the longest time, finding key kits, that many would know, but, also utilizing parts from those kits, that wouldn’t, be too familiar.
My model room soon became a complete maze of sprues, while i chose key nods to the filming miniature, and the aforementioned more, non familiar parts.
I had to get this part at least believable, and in using actual donor parts, made it all the more satisfying, as i really wanted this to be built as if it i was back in the ’70’s, as no software packages or 3D printers existed in this era, it was all trial and error, and hard work.

—View MORE PHOTOS Below—

Here is just a selection of some of the donor kits I used, some, were chosen from a slightly later period in the OT, purely, because i liked them and they fitted in with the overall look.


  • 1/12 Ferrari 312T
  • 1/12 Ferrari 312B
  • 1/12 Ferrari 312T4
  • 1/12 Matra MS11
  • 1/12 Tyrrell P34
  • 1/12 Renault RE20
  • 1/35 Quad Gun Tractor
  • 1/35 25 PDR Field Gun
  • 1/35 Churchill
  • 1/35 T34
  • 1/35 8rad
  • 1/35 Leichter
  • 1/35 Semovente
  • 1/25 Centurion
  • 1/35 88mm Gun
  • 1/700 Shinano
  • 1/700 Prince of Wales
  • 1/35 Flak 51
  • 1/35 Flak 52


  • 1/48 Hetzer
  • 1/48 jagdtiger
  • 1/48 Panther G
  • 1/24 Shiden


  • 1/72 Leopold
  • 1/32 F16


  • 1/35 155mm Gun


  • 1/144 Saturn V Rocket
  • 1/24 ME 109
  • 1/24 Stuka
  • 1/76 Harrow Locomotive
  • 1/24 Harrier


  • 1/43 Peterbilt
  • 1/25 Ford C600


  • 1/700 New Jersey


  • 1/48 Kate
  • 1/35 Tiger II

So as you can see, I had quite a task, and in the end had to limit myself down some, just to pure sprue overload.

—View MORE PHOTOS Below—

Once I was happy with the overall look in donor application, and, its profile in primer, the paint work was very much on my mind. I has decided way back, that the McQuarrie X wing painting, would shape my overall goal, in its hues and very art deco application.

A base coat of Archive-X Reefer White was applied to all components, from there, some panels were toned with Archive-X Antique White, before the insane job of masking off very stylised panels.

The model is painted entirely in Archive-X enamels, which are a joy to use, and match the vintage hues so well, it made mixing anything custom, a lot more time consuming and rather pointless.

So a small selection of very Star Wars hues were chosen, Boxcar Red, Caboose Red, Reefer Orange, Reefer Greys both dark and light, SP Dark Lark Grey, GN Big Sky Blue, Foundation, just to name a few, many of these hues also married up wonderfully, to the tones McQuarrie used in many of his paintings and are used on so many of the original filming miniatures.

Then, on to the weathering. This also was a very odd one. I needed the main basic panels to emulate McQuarrie patterns and tones, but the hull, how as I going to get that effect on the very complex levels of kit parts without it looking far too like a cartoon show?

The only answer, was to weather the hull, in a very topical way, using extremely thinned SP Dark Lark Grey, in the style ILM used to weather the actual filming miniatures, using the airbrush to spatter and wash this thin mix around, but just enough, as not to darken its very white tones too much. Some details were very boldly painted with Caboose Red, a very big nod to the works of Colin Cantwell.

Overall, it was a super fun project, and with so many concept art ideas around now, has opened a very liberating and refreshing choice of models to create, from one or two images, just like the model shop had to, all that time ago, so thanks for reading,and the support, and look out for many more concept builds to come.

Lee Ralph


To view EARLIER Updates of this Work In Progress, click the VIEW MORE Button Link below…



Lee Ralph



FX Model Miniatures


Director/Producer/Writer/Design Illustrator



Nilo Rodis-Jamero

Art Director & Visual Effects








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