There is a lot of confusion regarding the Y-wing fighters. The many photos that have been published do not clarify which is which. So, I decided to research all the different models that were built at ILM, explain the differences, and compare them to the two 72nd scale kits by Fine Molds and Bandai – only because they are readily available. This information is not to be confused with the ‘pyro’ models that were destroyed during the making of Star Wars episode IV.
Please note this is research, and I do not claim this is 100% accurate, and only observations made in the course of this. I publish this to share with all modelers and hope this will help avoid confusion between the variants!
A very large model seen in ‘Star Wars: Where science meets imagination’ exhibit was built for Return of the Jedi. Surface details are substantially different than the models built for Star Wars episode IV. The proportions of the cockpit ‘head’ is also slightly different. The original ILM drawing matches the filming miniatures and the Bandai kit very closely. The exception is that the fuselage extends further back, and the engines are slightly closer to the fuselage.
The large ‘Return of the Jedi’ miniature has the upper cockpit guns placed back further on the ‘head’ [A] and the back of the ‘head’ [B] has a different shape. Also, surface details throughout are substantially different. Many photos of this miniature have been taken by visitors to the ‘Star Wars: Where Science meets imagination’ exhibit and are available throughout the internet.
The Fine Molds kit is based on ‘Gold 2’ (sometimes known as ‘Gold 5’). However, it has some inaccuracies. The cockpit windows are too narrow [1}, the angle at the back of the ‘head’ is too steep . The U-shaped hooks at the rear of the fuselage need to be removed . The exhaust nozzles are too far back . The main body is quite accurate, but the engine details should be altered on the right engine. It is considerable work to make it similar to ‘Gold 3’ or ‘Gold leader’ or ‘Red Jammer’. I am impressed that the instruction sheet color schemes are well researched.
The Bandai kit is based on ‘Gold 3’ and ‘Gold Leader’. The main fuselage does not match ‘Gold 2’. The engine ‘braces’ at the rear are correctly shorter on this kit (compared to Gold 2 or the Fine Molds kit). The engine surface details DO match Gold 2 though. The U-shaped hooks at the rear of the fuselage need to be removed for ‘Gold 3’, as well as the ‘arcs’ at the very rear of the engine assembly. The nose cannons are rather large, but appear to match the very large miniature seen in the ‘Star Wars: Where science meets imagination’ exhibit.
After comparing the two kits with the Studio miniatures, the Bandai kit is the best choice by far. To model ‘Gold 2’ however, one will need to remove the fuselage of the Bandai kit and replace it with the Fine Molds kit.
* Look at images very carefully to note differences*
All Images are the intellectual copyright of Lucasfilm & Disney.
Images digitally modeled by Adam K. Johnson from official photographs by the kit makers and studio photos of the filming miniatures.
Sources for images:
Famous Spaceships of Fact and Fantasy, page 31, Both photos – Red Jammer.
Star Wars Chronicles, page 110, Gold 2. Page 111, Gold leader (upper photos), Gold 3 (lower right photos).
Star Wars Technical Journal (of the Rebel forces) -Starlog, pages 34-37, Gold 2.
From Star Wars to Indiana Jones: The Best of the Lucasfilm Archives – Chronicle Books, page 32, Gold 3(large photo) & Red Jammer(upper left).
The Art of Star Wars, page 99, Gold 2.
The Art of Return of the Jedi, page 129. Blueprint (Most likely of full-scale set).
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