Z-95 Headhunters, Part I

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February 26, 2013 by catomighty

The X-Wing game has a superb, but small and growing slowly, line of official miniatures. It also only currently has two factions – Rebel & Imperial. Aarrr, Pirate ships be needed!

First onto the modelling bench for the pirates is a squadron of Z-95 Headhunters. The old AMT/ERTL Rebel Base Diorama model kit included some pretty poor X-Wings, some really bad Y-Wings, and a semi decent GR-75 Transport. These are all reasonable sizes to use in the X-Wing game.

The Y-Wings are hopelessly bad models for game use compared to the official Y-Wing miniatures.  The Transport actually scales out to about the right game size for the smaller GR-45 Transport — these will eventually see use in a big scenario game.  The X-Wings are salvagable pieces.

Way back when, I had thrown together 6 (out of 12) of them for use in general sci-fi games.  Being rather unimpressed by the quality of the models though, I didn’t put a lot of work into trying to fix them up.  Just slapped some Contour Putty into the big gaps, and didn’t even get around to painting them.  Because the models were designed to be placed parked on the Rebel Base, the wings are not split into the X mode.  WIth a little bit of conversion work, they turn out to be the perfect scale size for Z-95s.

There is a very handy list of many ships and their games scales over on BoardGameGeek!  More searching on Wookieepedia turned up side and top views of the Headhunters.

In this photo, the center 2 models (shown top and bottom view) have not yet been modified, other than drilling a hole in the bottom where it sits on a flight peg.  These have not yet been fitted to stands specifically for the X-WIng game.  The 2 models on the left are Z-95’s at the end of the first stage of conversion, building up the bubble canopy has not yet been done.  The 2 models on the right show various stage of slicing apart the originals to do the conversions.

ZPartsSzd

*  Remove a small length of the fuselage from the front of the engines to just behind the cockpit using an X-Acto knife.  Score and remove the front end from just behind the cockpit frame.  Score and remove the middle piece by laying the knife blade right along the front edge of the engines.

*  Take the removed piece from the bottom half of the fuselage, shape the edges a little bit with knife and file, and glue it onto the top of the fuselage, right behind where the section was removed.  This will form the basis of the raised engine cowling of the Z-95.  I haven’t decided yet if I will in fact build up a full cowling around this, or just leave it as is for a partial cowling reflecting a local modification done by the pirates who fly this squadron.

* The front of the pairs of engines are oval blobs.  Carve them to add some circular definition to separate the top and bottom engines.

* Slice the body of the laser cannons from the wingtips.  This leaves the correct wingspan.

*  Scrape down the top surface of the fuselage nose to give it the broader surface of the Z-95, it’s not as narrow looking as the X-Wing.  And slightly round the front corners of the cockpit frame.  I’ll build the cockpit canopy itself up into a larger bubble later when the whole squadron is ready to be done.

* Glue the front and rear of the fuselage back together, this gives the correct length.

*  Remove the laser cannon body which extends beyond one side of the barrel.  Carve a little definition into the front and back end of the remaining part of the body.

*  Remove about 2mm from the barrel tip, giving a whole weapon length of 24mm, this matches the length of the lasers on the game’s X-Wings.

* Glue the lasers onto the tops of the wingtips.

Here’s a progress photo with an official X-Wing on the left, a Z-95 in progress in the center, and the original unmodified X-Wing on the right.  The conversions won’t win any finescale modelling awards, but they will be nice enough for my gaming table!

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