With the new Star Wars movies coming up, I’ve been waiting to see a glimpse or two of the new and old designs we’d eventually see in the movies. This is mostly because Star Wars’ designs make little to no sense when it comes to progression, as we’ve seen with the Prequel Trilogy. I hope that the upcoming Sequel Trilogy will do better in this regards, but it can be argued that it is easier to take an existing product and refine it further to meet the modern standard.
Just recently we got a full body view of the new X-Wing Starfighter, and it’s an interesting piece by all means. Let’s put it against the good ol’ Incom T-95 X-Wing Starfighter.
First of all, the overall size of the new X-Wing is smaller. The dimensions compared to the pilot and the director are more compact than what the original legends had. However, compact is not the right word to describe the overall look of the new fighter. It’s smaller, more sporty but also sleeker, and in some regards, more tactically aggressive and nimbler. It’s not as long as its predecessor and has more slopes and curves, which gives an impression of a smaller bird of prey, but just as deadly as its older brother.
The smallness also brings in some in-universe problems, as it loses space to hold more proton torpedoes and luggage as well as other things. It could be that this fighter has been made to rely on carriers more, but it’s still a good sized ship to have a hyperdrive. Of course, a lot of things could have been miniaturised further, thus leaving more space for other things. Because of the length being shorter, the proton torpedo chutes are directly under the cockpit rather than starting directly under where the original’s cockpit glass ended.
I’m glad to see the aforementioned slopes and curves, to be honest. The Original Trilogy had a very industrial feel to its designs with daily grit etched to them. This spirit is carried by the ship designs as well, where the Y-Wing is most likely the most prominent example with exposed parts everywhere. This new X-Wing carries a familiar taste, but because of the more softer shapes applied to the design, it gives off a bit more younger, fresher breath. Something like stepping outside the workshop after a long day, where you still have that smell of steel and snoot, but with the fresh air. The wingtips actually have a curved design, where they curl up to the laser cannons.
The curves have been applied to make the overall silhouette of the fighter smaller, as the aft of the fighter curves inside to the centre. The nose has that familiar X-Wing design, and you can even see the same extra tidbits alongside the fuselage. The intakes are the largest step away from the original X-Wing, but are true to Ralp McQuarrie’s concept design. You could say that the new fighter is a cross-bred between the original movie fighter and McQuarrie’s concept. The engine nozzles at the back don’t seem to be completely well thought out; they’re just sticking out in an able from the main construction. It would have been nice to see them grow from the form naturally, but they do give that slight industrial taste to an extent.
The wings are the most different from the original or the concept. At first I thought that the wings wouldn’t separate, which would have meant that this fighter would have continued to follow Z-95 Headhunter’s way of thinking. This is because the wings themselves are thin and do not hold any seam that two separate wings would make. It would have been an interesting twist, but luckily my old friend informed me that the wings do indeed open, but in a different manner. Rather than splitting alongside the wings’ length, the wings open in from the middle, splitting the wings’ depth. If you look closely to the left wing’s top, you can see a line going in the middle. Another point is the curled wingtips, as you can see the back wing going behind the front wing and leaving a distinct seam. This is the seam where the wings split. The front part of the wing turns downwards and the aft turns up.
Speaking of the laser cannons, they have a slight redesign as well. The new X-Wing share’s the same basic design with the original. In the new fighter the half-pipe shaped protectors (or something like that) are slightly thinner and have a blob design in the middle to conform with the barrel of the cannon. The overall design is the same otherwise with similar minor adjustments or additions.
I’m not all that good with colours, but the X-Wing line has always had subdued colours, from the original’s earthly red to some Expanded Universe ships. The choice of blue is a safe bet and the applied decals look as they should. The overall image of the colouring is very controlled. Giving this X-Wing a new, attacking colour scheme could make it look more eye catching as well as far more threatening. I hope this is one of the things that looks small, but packs a punch. I’m already expecting to see one in outrageous yellow with falcon design, or a royal paintjob of reds and gold.
There’s also one possibly positive side on this X-Wing; it seems to be easier to draw. This is because the design is simpler and doesn’t require the drawer to align four different spherical engines properly with each other and maintain their relation to each other and to the main body. However, when the wings open this might go out of the window depending on the geometry they introduce with it. From what we’ve seen, the changes don’t seem to mass to anything worth noting, but it wouldn’t be the first time something with variable form capability could surprise everybody.
I’m eager to see this one the big screen, or more of its builds. Concept illustrations would be a great thing to see in the near future. Perhaps they’ll release a lot of concept illustrations before the release of the movie, like they did with Phantom Menace.