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  • tranchee deathe star, fond
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  • Trench run

  • Death Star - Star Wars

The movie

Star Wars A new Hope bataille Yavin

Star Wars - Episode IV
A New hope

When Grand moff Tarkin deceives everyone by making them believe stormtroopers can’t shoot while he actually lets the rebels escape, the Death Star comes into the Yavin planet’s orbit. The Rebels then lauch all their strenghts composed of aproximately thirty X-Wings and Y-Wings fighters, onto a suicide mission, (going on suicide missions, rebels will soon have workforce difficulties) in order to bomb the imperial space station.

After being joyfully slaughtered, rebels finally decide to attack the target : an exhaust port leading straight to the main reactor. Using the “sitting duck strategy”, the rebel pilotes move into a trench leading to the exhaust port three by three. As expected, they are shot like mynocks while the others are probably cross stitching.

In my opinion this is the best Star Wars scene ever, it is emotionnally unsurpassable. Rebel pilots “mugs” knowing they go to their death for sure, stress in the rebel base of Yavin (especially when Luke turns his collimator off)… I am almost in tears every time I watch this scene. We find the David vs Goliath myth for the first time in it. This myth will be found in all the other original trilogy movies again.

The diorama represents the final assault on the Death Star trench (known as “the trench run”) led by a kid you wouldn’t even entrust your office photocopier to : Luke Skywalker and his two wingmen, Biggs Darklighter and Wedge Antilles pursued by Darth Vader’s Black squadron (imperials have always the way with words). They just have moved into the trench and have only a few seconds to reach the target (movies seconds, hey, let me remind you that the official conversion rate is : 1 movie second = 1.3 min in the real world)


The diorama

Death Star Trench Run from A New Hope
  • Length : : 1,20 m
  • Width : : 1,10 m
  • Height : : 1,00 m
  • Materials : : Bois, carte plastique
  • Scale : : 1/72

This diorama named “trench run” represents a Death Star cross-section, as if we had extracted a slice. The scene takes place a few seconds before Han Solo onboard the Millenium Falcon hits a Vader’s wingman, leaving Luke free to blow up the station.

The “Trench run” genesis

I was thirteen when the idea of this diorama emerged to me. I can still remember myself collecting all sorts of wrapping in order to recreate a Death Star trench wall. Nonetheless I had to reach adulthood to make this idea become real, mainly for financial and size reasons. I chose the 1/72 scale which allows to get all the necessary kits and a reasonnable-sized scene at the same time.

diorama trench run, structure

So, I first built a wooden structure of an imposing size. The casing is mainly made of cut and glued plastic sheets but also of recycled materials such as toys (I can remember a jetpack from an astronaut action man), whipped cream siphon gas cylinders, old (and not so old…) kitchen tools… Of course I drew my inspiration from screenshots and pictures found on the web to catch the essence of this incredible set created by ILM modelers and illustrators in 1977.

 Do you want another slice ?

Stay on target…

Commander Garven Dreis

The front of the diorama was a problem. How to get a trench with its three faces without spoiling the front view ? On sides, no problem, we immediately identify the U shaped structure but if I contented myself with the external structure, the front view would have been a hideous wooden plank. The solution was to create a significant portion of the inside of de Death Star. Nevertheless, I had to think about setting a big hole up to allow to see the chase taking place outside. Thus I decided to build a complete hangar bay. In addition, the construction of a hangar bay allowed me to show Tie fighters in their racks. Thereby, the front view shows a cross-section of the Death Star, like a slice.

Model kits used for the Trench Run

The 9 kits used are :

x wing finemolds, boxart
  • three X-Wings from Finemolds upgraded to receive a cockpit and trusters light-up.
  • four Tie Fighters from Finemolds (2 in flight, 2 in racks) upgraded as well for thrusters light-up.
  • a Tie Interceptor from Finemolds
  • un mix between a Finemolds Tie Fighter and a Tie X-1 (Vader) from Revell


On 7 occasions I presented this diorama :

I know, I know, I’m recycling but when you have spent more than 2000 hours on doing something, repetitions are permitted. Today, the diorama is exposed in my personnal collection and is no longer transportable after so many assemblies and disassemblies.

by petersteven