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  • Sullust

  • Rebel fleet

The movie

Sullust - flotte rebelle screenshot

Star Wars Episode VI
The Return of the Jedi

Le commando emmené par Han Solo et la princesse Leia vient d’arriver sur la lune forestière d’Endor. Ils se sont fait capter par le concierge à cause de leur vieux code d’identification moisi mais ils sont passés quand même sinon le film était fini. Comme les impériaux sont trop occupés à lustrer le sol de leur hangar d’atterrissage, ils n’ont pas pensé à vérifier où s’était posé leur navette.

Pendant ce temps, la flotte rebelle, rassemblée en orbite de Sullust, se prépare à passer en hyperespace vers Endor. C’est là que doit avoir lieu la bataille finale contre l’Empire. La mission est de détruire l’Etoile Noire -encore. Les pilotes rebelles à bord de leurs frêles chasseurs virevoltent avec aisance entre les vaisseaux capitaux de l’Alliance, certains gonflés d’espoir, beaucoup rongés par l’angoisse. Je suis assez fier de cette phrase, j’en ai bavé pour l’écrire, j’espère que ça se voit.

C’est vraiment l’une des scènes que je préfère. D’abord parce qu’on y revoit un de mes personnages préférés, Wedge Antilles mais aussi parce que c’est la première fois qu’on peut admirer la flotte rebelle dans son ensemble. Jusqu’à présent, les rebelles ressemblaient quand même à une bande de zadistes se trimballant dans des caisses à savon brinquebalantes. Là on voit qu’il y a toute une organisation, une flotte complète avec de gros croiseurs Mon Calamari bien armés et une tripotée de chasseurs. On y voit en particulier les nouveaux A-Wings et B-Wings. C’est fugace mais ces designs sont tellement réussis qu’ils vont marquer toute la saga.

En fait, on peut admirer dans cette scène tous les vaisseaux rebelles aux designs beaucoup plus riches et originaux que les vaisseaux impériaux tous plus ou moins identiques. Et puis il y a la musique de John Williams qui s’est vraiment surpassé sur cette scène. Je crois que c’est le meilleur morceau de toute la saga, on y sent vraiment à la fois toute la puissance de la flotte rebelle et la tension de la bataille à venir. J’adore, allez je ma la repasse.

C’est cette scène que j’ai souhaité reproduire dans le diorama en espérant y avoir réussi.

The diorama

Rebel fleet over Sullust - Battle of Endor
  • Length : : 3,20 m
  • Width : : 55 cm
  • Height : : 55 cm
  • Materials : : Wood, plastic card
  • Scale : : 1/48 ; 1/72 ; 1/144 ; 1/350 ; 1/2256

This “Sullust” diorama has been in my mind for a long time. I often say that to introduce a subject because I find that very class. Like I was a “tortured artist” or somehing like that… Sullust, so, why this title ? I like very well mysterious titles. For example, my ther big diorama, the “Trench run” was first called “Year zero”. But try to make google understand such a subtle title ! So I had to choose a more SEO compatible to get some people on the website.

Sullust, such a mysterious title mmhh…

Sullust, because it’s the planet name around which the rebel fleet gathers just before jumping into hyperspace to Endor. And because search engines find it easily. This diorama took two years of my beautiful youth to be made. I had to make almost 30 models, at multiple scales. Some were made very fast but some of theme took over two months like the Blockade Runner. Here is a complete list od the models (click on a model name to go to the relevant page) :

  1. B-Wing “cruciform fighter” from BlueMoon 1:48
  2. A-Wing fighter from MPC 1:48
  3. X-Wing fighter from Finemolds 1:72 (x2)
  4. Y-Wing fighter from Finemolds 1:72
  5. GR-75 Medium Transport from Anigrand 1:144
  6. Y-Wing from F-Toys 1:144 (x3)
  7. X-Wing from F-Toys 1:144
  8. B-Wing from F-Toys 1:144
  9. Blockade Runner “Rebel Runner” de Bluemoon 1:350
  10. X-Wing Fantasy Flight 1:350 (x3)
  11. B-Wing Fantasy Flight 1:350 (x2)
  12. Y-Wing Fantasy Flight 1:350
  13. A-Wing Fantasy Flight 1:350
  14. Croiseur Mon Calamari from Anigrand 1:2256
  15. Frégate Nebulon-B from Angrand (x2)
  16. GR-75 Medium Transport from Anigrand 1/2256 (x4)
  17. Blockade Runner from Anigrand 1/2256 (x2)

You can count 28 models in this diorama. Not to mention the dozens of tiny 1:2256 starfighters included in the hangar of the Liberty. It’s a personnal record.

Sullust, a perspective matter

This diorama presents a particular feature which won’t escape your notice, it’s made at 5 different scales. I could’nt do otherwise to get a complete fleet. How to represent small 10 meters in length starfighters beside 1 km in length cruisers ? Of course I could have scratched 5 mm X-Wings (I did it by the way) but this would not have been fair, given the beauty of the X-Wing ships. The idea was to make several blocks at small scale (1/48, 1/72) and others at big to huge scale (1/2256). Then I aligned the blocks in such a way that an observer watching the diorama from behind would see a perspective effect, as it was made in the movie. I hope I have succeeded.

The decor : stars, stars and more stars

I wanted a stary sky for my fleet. I could have sprayed some white painting on a black surface with a tooth brush for example. It may have worked but the luminosity wouldn’t have been high enough. I chose the fiber optic slution, a very well known technique. I had to put thousands of fibers in 0.5 mm holes everywhere. I think this was the most time-eater in this diorama.

To do that, I begin to tape a harness of fibers on a LED and I glue them one by one in the holes using white glue. I wanted a colored, not sad diorama like an imperial one would have been. That’s why I used warm white, cool white and gold white DELs for the stars and not the same white for all the stars.

Finding models in unexpected places

To do the 1:350 block, I used many starfighters miniatures from the “X-Wing miniature game” edited by Fantasy Flight. This game (very good by the way) provides almost every ships seen in the Star Wars movies at 1:350 scale. Of course I repainted them. However, the real challenge was the light up. For the Y-Wing, no problem, the LEDs fit in the thrusters pretty well. Others like the X-Wing have been drilled and optical fibers been put in. The LED is fited at the base of the support rod.


This diorama has been exposed entirely only two times :

However, as its assembly took two years, I had the opportunity to show the first three blocks 3 or 4 times before I completed the entire scene. I intend to make a “nemesis” to this diorama : an entire imperial fleet based on the same concept. I will make an imperial stardestroyer, the superstardestroyer Executor, the Death Star II and a lot of Tie fighters. But that is another matter which will take a few years of my life…

by petersteven