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The movie

Sullust - flotte rebelle screenshot

Star Wars Episode VI
The Return of the Jedi

The commando lead by Han Solo and the princess Leia has just landed on the surface of the Endor moon. They have been caught by the housekeeper because of their moldy identification code but they made it anyway, otherwise the movie would have been over. Imperial guys were too busy polishing their hangar floor , so they didn’t think to check where the shuttle landed.

Meanwhile, the rebel fleet gathers in orbit of Sullust. Rebels prepare for an hyperspace jump to Endor. That’s where the final battle against the Empire will take place. The mission consists of destroying the Death Star – again. Rebel pilots on board their small starfighters are easily scooting around the capital ships of the fleet, some filled with hope, many oppressed by anxiety. I’m so proud of this sentence, it took me tough time to write it, I hope it’s visible.

This scene is one of my favourite. First we can see one of my favourite character, Wedge Antilles. Second, it’s the first time the entire rebel fleet can be seen. Until now, rebels looked like a beatniks band travelling in food cans. Here, we can see the all organisation, a complete fleet with big Mon Calamari Cruisers well armed and many starfighters. In particular, the new A-Wings and B-Wings. It’s fleeting but those ships are so well designed that they will leave their mark on the all saga.

In fact, the all rebels starships can be admired in this only scene. And do not forget the John Williams score who surpassed himself here. For me it’s the best music piece of the all saga, you can feel the fleet power and the tension of the battle to come.

I intended to feature this scene in this diorama, I hope I succeeded.

The diorama

Sullust - flotte rebelle vue arrière
  • Length : : 3,20 m
  • Width : : 55 cm
  • Height : : 55 cm
  • Materials : : Wood, plastic cards
  • 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