Every once in a while, one embarks on an epic project. Most of the time these tend to fall to the wayside, but occasionally one of them gets finished. This is one such project! Years ago, Jason Eaton challenged me to work on an up-scaled version of one of the classic Kenner Star Wars Minirig toys. I chose my favorite one from my childhood, the INT-4. This small ship supposedly was stored in and launched from the AT-AT, hence the folding wings and similar design aesthetic. I loved this little ship and it got a lot of play, however with all of my other Star Wars toys growing up was lost to the donation bin or trash collector.
I ended up ordering another one on eBay and it was as cool as I remembered. A little switch on the back slides the wings up and down, the hatch is large enough that I was able to make use of the Emperor’s Royal Guard figure as a pilot since he would otherwise just stand there with one barely functional arm.
Anyway… onto the project details. The goal was not only making a larger version of the toy, but to make it look like an actual filming model that the toy would had been based on. So this meant lots of deciphering the sticker and other soft details into the various greeblies and details. After acquiring one for cheap on eBay, I started redesigning the main body parts in Illustrator. Once I was happy with how everything looked, Jason laser-cut the initial parts for me. Essentially it’s a wedge-shaped box, and most of the body was able to be laser-cut, but others like the curved front and window needed to be done with good old fashioned rulers, cutting, and bending.
Once the main body was rough-built, I started on the cockpit area. Since the original toy was just hollow and detail-less inside, I was able to go nuts with my own interpretation using reference images from just about every SW ship’s cockpit I could find. The best part was being able to light not only small little blinking lights, but thanks to laser-cutting and etching, I was able to do light-up screen displays as well using classing displays from the movies. (I know it’s not a Death Star Laser monitor! Still looks cool!) Even did real leather seats. Not Bantha leather, but the next best Earth-available thing.
Since much of the detail on the exterior was soft or used stickers, I did my best to make it look like an actual canon ship design with my detailing. Again, I based it off of every reference I could find. Interior wing engine details are based on the open-panel Snowspeeder, details along the wing edges are based on the Imperial Shuttle and X-Wings wing edges. The gun was very very loosely based on the E-Web cannon and the rear slotted panel was based on the Snowspeeder as well.
Now what fun would a larger version of a small toy be without recreating the gimmick? I designed the wings with a long screw shaft so that using a drill with a bolt socket, the hinged wings can be raised and lowered.
Thanks to another friend of mine, Chow Fook Cheong made an engine lighting set for me based on my size specifications. The lights pulse to imitate actual fiery engine burn which is awesome!
Best of all, the INT-4 can accommodate a 1/6 scale figure! The original box are depicts an AT-AT Driver, but I thought a TIE Pilot was more appropriate. Plus I didn’t have that figure. >_< Looks great though as a mini-scene with the Snowtrooper!
In-Progress images of the build: