Full Scale X-Wing Fighter Models… But Where’s the ‘Real One’?

full-scale-x-wing-fighter-star-wars (Image: Bluedharma, reproduced with permission)

Interest in the famous Star Wars Rebel Alliance starfighter hit fever pitch recently as this full scale X-Wing fighter (the largest LEGO model ever made) hit Times Square in NYC. And it turns out this isn’t the only full size replica X-Wing to be found – there are actually quite a few of them, from homebuilt efforts to professionally constructed promotional tools.

We’ll look at three of them in this article, but the question still remains: Whatever happened to the ‘real one’? That is, the prop constructed for the original 1977 Star Wars film and, presumably, also used in The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi?

x-wing-full-scale-model (Image: PeterPanFan (website: Disney Character Central), reproduced with permission)

Historical Record

During the filming of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, budget constraints dictated that, in addition to miniatures, only one full scale X-Wing and a partial Y-Wing fuselage would be constructed for the rebel base scene on Yavin IV. Cardboard cutouts and clever editing then created the illusion of a busy hangar.

The same X-Wing prop was presumably used during the filming of The Empire Strikes Back. Some scenes – those showing the fighter lying in the swamp – used a rig resembling the X-Wing, giving the illusion that the craft was submerged in a lake that was, in reality, only three feet deep. But others showed the prop standing on its undercarriage with a clearly functional electrical system. The question is, where is that prop now?

Wings Over the Rockies, Denver, Colorado

x-wing-full-scale-model-2

x-wing-full-scale-model-3 (Images: Bluedharma, reproduced with permission)

This X-Wing is displayed at Wings Over the Rockies in Denver, CO. In a museum full of historic aircraft, it’s highly unusual for a mock-up to command so much attention. But this replica has become one of the most popular exhibits on show.

x-wing-full-scale-model-4

x-wing-full-scale-model-5 (Images: Bluedharma, reproduced with permission)

The X-Wing (a three quarter scale model) was built in 1996 by a German prop company on behalf of Lucasfilm, in a bid to promote the Star Wars Trilogy – Special Edition Theatrical Release. The model was one of seven built by the company, and was moved to Denver in 1999 to mark the release of The Phantom Menace.

x-wing-full-scale-model-6

x-wing-full-scale-model-7 (Images: Bluedharma, reproduced with permission)

The ship was part of the first Star Wars Celebration hosted by Wings Over the Rockies before being loaned to the museum. In 2004, when it looked set to be removed, a group of fans appealed to Lucasfilm, promising to refurbish the disheveled starship should it remain in Denver. Lucasfilm agreed and the X-Wing Restoration & Maintenance Project set to work restoring the life-sized craft to represent the original Red 5 flown by Luke Skywalker in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

Disneyland Paris, France

full-scale-x-wing-fighter-star-wars-2

full-scale-x-wing-fighter-star-wars-3 (Images: PeterPanFan (website: Disney Character Central), reproduced with permission)

This full scale X-Wing replica is dramatically displayed on a plinth at Disneyland Paris, wings set to attack mode as if poised to destroy some invisible Death Star.

full-scale-x-wing-fighter-star-wars-4

full-scale-x-wing-fighter-star-wars-5 (Image: PeterPanFan (website: Disney Character Central), reproduced with permission)

The model is believed to have been built on site or at another Disney facility, and lacks the finer details of the more authentic Denver example. Nevertheless, it makes for a great scene within the park and a popular attraction with Star Wars fans.

LEGO X-Wing at Legoland, California

lego-x-wing

lego-x-wing-2 (Image: Andrew Dallos, cc-nc-nd-3.0vynsane, cc-sa-3.0)

Weighing in at 45,000 pounds and built from over five million bricks, this amazing X-Wing replica is the largest LEGO model in the world. Becoming something of an internet sensation when it appeared in New York’s Times Square earlier this year, the craft can now be seen at Legoland in California.

lego-x-wing-3

lego-x-wing-5 (Images: Brian McConnell, cc-sa-3.0Andrew Dallos, cc-nc-nd-3.0)

Assembled in the Czech Republic, the LEGO X-Wing is 43 feet long, 11 feet high and has a wing span of 44 feet. Build time was 17,336 hours (about four months) using the same bricks sold at retail.

These models are undoubtedly very cool and represent only a small number of life-sized X-Wing replicas around the world. But they still don’t account for what happened to the 1970s original (seen throughout this article). If you know of its whereabouts or ultimate fate and, better still, have pictures, please be sure to leave us a comment below!

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