Kylo Ren's Command Shuttle model kit lacks the cool foldable wings, but a conversion kit now available to fix it. So, there's no better time to get building.
Secrecy is always a problem when it comes to movies, especially with big films that people don't want to be spoiled. However, marketing and merchandising aren’t always on the same page. For example, the Avengers: Endgame toys gave away key plot points, even though they were released during the official #DontSpoiltheEndgame spoiler ban that the directors and cast had been promoting.
But some movies manage to preserve its mystery right up until the almost the last minute. Just look at director J.J. Abrams and the secrecy around Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Marketing was so tight around the film that not even merchandisers knew who the real hero was, leading to the delay Rey-themed toys hitting shelves. But thanks to the early trailers, everyone knew who the villain Kylo Ren was, along with his iconic helmet, special crossguard lightsaber, and incredibly cool shuttle.
Breaking Down Kylo Ren's Shuttle
One of the first ships you see in The Force Awakens is Kylo's Upsilon-class Command Shuttle, and it’s a menacing one at that. The first thing you notice are those gigantic wings with the whole ship kitted out in dark durasteel plating. The armament on the shuttle isn't massive, with a pair of heavy laser cannons on each wing, but the ship is full of sensor arrays and jamming equipment. It also has a fairly large cockpit section, which is at least big enough to throw a disobedient General Hux across. The ship is propelled by two sublight ion engines along with a hyperdrive. Its speed is shown when the First Order made a quick retreat from Takodana after abducting Rey in The Force Awakens.
The shuttle appears again in The Last Jedi when Kylo used his to lead the front line on the battlefield, although it was backed up by a line of AT-M6 walkers.
Star Wars Toys With Annoying Wings
As usual with Star Wars merchandise, you can pick up Kylo's shuttle from a variety of makers. Dozens of replicas were produced, from little Hot Wheels to Disney store toys and Lego sets. But while they all looked the part, there was one thing missing from these miniature versions of the master of the Knights of Ren's ride: their wings didn't open. In the film, the shuttle bears down on the Jakku village with gigantic swooping wings like a prehistoric dinosaur, which folded up when the ship landed. All of the toys had the wings fixed in a vertical position as if it had just landed. Even the boxes showed the ship ludicrously flying with them in the landed position.
This was not limited to toys, since it also included detailed models of the shuttle. As with many other ships in the film, Revell released a model kit of the craft as “Kylo Ren's Command Shuttle,” but the wings were stuck in the landed position like with the toys. But thankfully, Spanish modelling company Mig Productions recently released an “open wings conversion” kit for Revell's model, allowing you to build the ship with its wings open as intended, as well as providing a replacement ramp section to allow you to put it on a stand. So, I picked up a cheap Revell kit and put the conversion kit to the test by assembling a more authentic shuttle model.
Assembling Kylo Ren’s Upsilon-class Command Shuttle
I started with the bones of the Revell kit. There are two main sprues along with another four wing sections – the wings and the main body are molded in black, the smaller parts in a very dark green. This is one of Revell's “easykits,” denoted as a level 2 difficulty. It's basically a snap-kit for younger modelers, but I opted to glue it for safety. It was easy fitting the kit together, even though some of it required some sanding and adjusting. I treated it as a speedy build, but I would have done more filling if I wanted to spend more time with it.
The only color part in the kit is the cockpit window, which turned out to be a disappointing component. In the films, the cockpit canopy is a dark red. Revell tried to approximate this by using a molded clear part that was painted red, rendering it basically useless. So, I decided to glue this on with some extra sanding and fitting so that I could paint it later. The whole ship went together fairly easily, except it took further care and patience when it came to the conversion kit.
Applying the Wing Conversion Kit to Kylo’s Shuttle
Mig's conversion kit is made of resin, so it was necessary to sand and fit before gluing. It was a simple swap-out, but for the wings to get to the open position, I needed to modify the wing connectors and glue the resin parts on top. This mostly went okay until one of the four connectors on the right wing broke, so I had to fix it on with only three connectors. Not the best idea, but not a disaster. I sealed it all together with super glue and once it was dry, started priming using The Army Painter matt black.
Disaster struck after a couple of coats, as some of the resin parts began to come away, notably the part with the missing connector. Thankfully, super glue managed to fix it and I continued spraying until I was happy with the finish. I didn't want to go crazy with the finish, so I just added some lights on the wings after looking at video from The Force Awakens and repainted the cockpit window with a single coat of Vallejo silver before Tamiya clear red.
It's disappointing that there are only two options to get this ship in its correct configuration, either from this model and kit or the much smaller Fantasy Flight X-Wing game miniature. While the Revell kit is irritating at times, it's not bad. In fact, it’s surprisingly large and can be had for a relatively cheap price. The kit and conversion is the best choice for those who want a proper working model of Kylo Ren’s Upsilon-class Command Shuttle… at least until Bandai gets around to making one.