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Corellian Engineering Corporation YT-1300 LF

Sponsored By:

DaVeK Ventures

by Robert Merrill

Scale: 1/78

When the Corellian Engineering Corporation was contracted by a small, but up and coming shipping firm to build them a small, fast, reliable freighter to run high priced cargo they jumped on the job, producing a compact ship with massive engines and maneuvering systems. Unfortunately before the contract was fulfilled, the company was bought out and the contract canceled. The Corellian Engineering Corporation tho, had already completed several hulls and not wanting to lose any more money they downgraded the specs and completed the finished hulls.

Little did they know how popular the ship was to become. Due to the oversized engine conduits and larger power handling capabilities it became known as an easy hop-up. Soon ship owners where pushing the YT-1300 to its limits. When the Corellian Engineering Corporation saw the popularity of their YT-1300, they came up with some improvements of their own by adding in some of the common improvements that technicians were doing to the small freighter: improved engines, upgraded sensors, a heavy load version with additional landing gear to handle dense freight, and an optional larger crew quarters.

Long after the Corellian Engineering Corporation stopped producing the YT-1300, ship-owner's have continued to push the limits of what the little YT-1300 could do, creating everything from super fast/small cargo models to stealth, & passenger versions. Nowadays, no two YT-1300 looks exactly alike, every one of them having at least minor variances. There has even been rumors of a pirate ship mounting a Star Destroyer's heavy blaster as a spinal weapon. When the Corellian Engineering Corporation ceased production of the popular craft, there were marked differences from the original model of ship, enlarged cargo hold, more powerful engines & powerplant, even a larger crew section.

Shown here is a LF model of the YT-1300 from the Spaceley's Shipping Company with the optional sensor packages. You can also see that the YT-1300, while easy to modify and upgrade, was never a finely built craft, suffering poor paint jobs, sporadic maintenance, as well as rushed modifications by private ship owners.

Puttin' it together...or take'n it apart

How does one back date a ship with no references to what the ship may have originally looked like? Combing the internet and reference books didn't help, there are no references to what a YT-1300 looked like. So I was on my own, digging through my Star Wars books seeing what has been written about the Falcon. What I found was that while the Falcon had been heavily modified by it's owners, it looked "just the same as any other YT-1300". Figuring that there was no way somebody would design a ship with conduit routed on the exterior of the hull, or exposed machinery or missing hull plating, I decided that over the 50 to 200 years the YT has been in existence, there were numerous variants and multiple modifications available. I wanted to build the first model, with little or no mods.

I starting with the Millennium kit I built as a kid, using a modified exacto chisel to peel off just about all the detail, from pipes to bumps, you name it. I decided wanted to drop the rear engine deck down for a sleeker look and build up new detail. This meant a lot of cutting, filling, sanding, more, filling, etc. Used a set of engine vents off a 1/25 tank, built up the 5 smaller vents with tube & formed mesh. Rest of the detail came from several Star Wars kits, aircraft, and even pen parts. Made a template on the computer to make new plates for the rear deck.

The odd shaped hole in the front was filled & built up new plates. I then built a new sensor disk out of part of a juice can, some sheet plastic and the usual greeblies. The dish base was made from scratch out of sheet plastic & some scale gas can parts.

On the sides I removed most the detail and replaced it with more plating. I built up some vents for the rear sections using plastic sheet and some scale siding for the vents. The engine exhaust gave me some fits, trying three different versions till I got one that looked good. Ended up using a bunch of keys from an old keyboard, greebled out and arced to match the curve of the rear of the ship. It looked good, and matched the flaps on the back, which I had cut apart.

I decided the YT-1300 was standardly a 2 person craft, so I built up a new cockpit. Moving the rear wall forward some 3/8ths of an inch to make the cockpit smaller and removing the extra chairs. Of course the original model cockpit was not only lacking in detail but was just plain wrong. So I fixed the chairs, mounted them on rails and built a new set of consoles. The rear wall was rebuilt with more detail and a better door, while the cockpit walls were altered & built up . I used my lathe to remove the escape pod hatches from the sides & remounted them on the lowered laser mounts. Made new docking/cargo hatches for the side pods.

Some of the hardest part of this was trying to come up with a reason for everything, or even what some things were. I decided that the front loading arms were for a cargo loading system of some sort, perhaps using presser fields to lift and load the cargo, so I just removed a bit of the detail on the top & bottom parts. The two blobs on the outside of the arms looked like a form of sensor pod so I simply smoothed them out to give them more of a pod look.

Not wanting to invest the cash into a new set of landing gear pods, I decided that there were several variants of the YT, including a version with additional landing gear. So I took the two equipment holes in the bottom and made them atmospheric intakes of some sort. I decided to do this gear up, just to avoid the massive job of fixing & detailing the landing gear. With everything else I had to do, I wasn't sure of my ability to make the landing gear look good. I did though, fill in the massive gaps around the gear bay doors.

The red paint job came about due to the large amount of random red panels on the Millennium Falcon, and preferring not to have a white or gray ship. I shaded all the panel edges, gloss coated it and then gave it a good wash. The decals came from several kits, from sci-fi to aircraft to armor, some 195 decals. I used white pastel chalk for highlighting the edges & wear weathering, then used grey, brown, & black pastels for grease stains and soot stains.

Image: Rear view

Image: Underneath

Image: Cockpit detail

Image: Engine detail

Image: Port side

Image: Head-on

Image: Top/front view

Image: Right/rear view

Image: Topside

Image: Floor plan

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This page was first posted 5 January 2004.