Shuttle Tydirium

10.07.2014 (OK, I am re-writing this page as the English and notes were so out of whack, I can’t even understand what I was thinking at that time.)

Finally, I bit the bullet and got a copy of the AMT Tydirium Shuttle off eBay. Most of the Ships in Star Wars does not have any sequential lighting as the models were just fitted with bright lights. However, the Tydirium Shuttle was the first ship which I noticed, had blinking lights. It was not until I re-watched ‘Return of the Jedi’ did the fire start. I mean, this is the vehicle for Lord Badness and The Old Geezer. When it was silently landing ala VTOL style with the flashing lights I was captivated.

If I eventually do get to complete this model, I would like to pose it on a tall platform, similarly to what was shown in the Return of the Jedi but it might be Endor since I have no experience with foliage in dioramas.

AMT Tydirium 001
Although the box was crumpled, as fast as I can see without opening the sealed bags (with a hole or two), things looks OK.
AMT Tydirium 002
This is the first time I see the molding quality from AMT…. 😮
And I am thankful that the canopy glass is still intact.
AMT Tydirium 003
OK, so now I am at one of HobbyHQ’s Night session and guess what I am going to work on? Its the AMT Tydirium Shuttle which I am going to explore and also take my mind off a lot of things happening around me and the World, just for a few hours. To me, this is the equivalent of being drunk or getting high… yeah, plastic crack.
AMT Tydirium 004
This is how the cockpit looks like, attached to the runners and during test-fit. It does look nice with some choice lighting and all but bear in mind, the Shuttle’s canopy is black as shown in the Movie. Shiny Black.
But I will try to give it a lighter shade so that more or less, you can see some details inside the cockpit.
AMT Tydirium 005
The passenger view from the neck of the cockpit. There will definitely be some lighting, both inside the cockpit and also, the interior of the shuttle.
Don’t want the Emperor trip or get his cloak snagged on the un-sanded landing ramp.
AMT Tydirium 006
This is the rear view of the shuttle and the part of interest would be this oval shaped engine. The details were never shown in the movie, just like the Millenium Falcon. The actual filming miniature shows the opening being lit by bright neon lights. Based on the technology at that time, all Star Wars ship’s engines were lit with either neon lights or tungstens. And the Tydirium is no exception.

The challenge lies in the model because when it has parked on the landing pad, the Engines would have cooled down and its details would be seen. This is where artistic license comes in and was inspired by the details in the pre-CGI Special Editions Finemolds 1/72 Millenium Falcon. My choice would be to either laser print out a design in draft paper and backlight it, or, scratch-build an some engine details and then have it cast in clear resin.
Hmmm…. decisions, decisions…..
AMT Tydirium 007
Screenshot of the Shuttle Tydirum from The Return of the Jedi
AMT Tydirium 008
Screenshot of the Shuttle Tydirum from The Return of the Jedi
AMT Tydirium 009: Carving out for the Engine 01
OK, throwing caution into the wind, I decided to scribe the engines out instead of drilling countless of holes and then file it. I used the acrylic scriber for the straight lines and also, gave it a few scratches to ‘guide’ the John Vojtech SCR-02 since the pencil scriber was not effective.

The plastic is soft but a real pain in the ass where the rounded areas are concerned. So, I had to carefully scribe out the hole.
AMT Tydirium 010: Carving out for the Engine 02
Using the back of the scalpel helped to complete the scribe. The SCR-02 was taking out too much plastic at the rounded areas. But then, its all good and I only mis-scratched once.
Unfortunately, I do not have a curved blade and so, this is the only solution for me. And at 2AM in the morning, drilling like a Zombie would definitely kill the whole project.
AMT Tydirium 011: Carving out for the Engine 03
OK, I am going to call it a day. On the second hole, I used the SCR-01 on an inward angle and so, the cut is much better since it did not shave the wall away. You can tell I am sleepy as I concentrated on the curve near to the middle and snapped off the curve at the edge which resulted in a bit of plastic chunk coming off with it.
AMT Tydirium 012: The Engine Details 01
I picked these up at ICW last night while waiting for a friend. I have the round ovals (right) but they’re enough for one side of the Shuttle’s Engines. I suppose I can compromise and have it cast in two pieces but this would mean a double job. The ones I bought were on the left and I think, I might be able to do the complete part.

Just maybe. Because I bought all the remaining three packs…
AMT Tydirium 013: THe Engine Details 02
I decided not to make anything so elaborate since the Shuttle has a big bluish white glow. If I put more parts, then this would defeat the purpose. In the end, this is most probably how it would look like. 8 big sharp rectangular vents plus a smaller vent at each side. I supposed I could use the vents with rounded edges as seeing the design of the shuttle, it might make sense. Let’s see tomorrow if I can look for them. I might have enough afterall….
AMT Tydirium 014: The Engine Details 03
Took me the better part of the evening to do this. I have mis-counted on the larger vents; each side needs 8 big vents and I only had 12. So, I had to double up with some smaller vents. So now, the sequence is:


What took me so long to so this was the alignment of the vents. It’s frustrating to put them onto the double-sided tape before sticking them to the plastic base.

Update 2022: If I know how to re-create this detail with some 3D software, I’d do so but right now, I don’t think SketchUp can do this properly.
AMT Tydirium 015
I used some parts from an Academy Merkava III which is now un-buildable, thanks to the termites and the subsequent unfortunate events such as the vinyl rubber reacting to the styrene plastic…

Anyway, I can’t detail it too much although I want to go further with wiring and piping but then again, when you want this to be cast, it might be a problem as what I can see with the four suspension thingy which is 3D. Any details which has a vertical hole will have issue with the mold.
Not only that, you won’t see the details once its inside the model kit
AMT Tydirium 016
When I looked into the cockpit area, I noticed that the cockpit door and the passenger door are very different. To do the doors justice, its beyond my skill. My aim here is to light up the ‘neck’ section.
AMT Tydirium 017
Just in case someone has a fibre-optic camera, I have cut the cabin door out, traced and cut out a flat 1mm styrene sheet (shaded yellow) and glued the door on the other side.

Later on, I will dress it up with some panels and greeblies. Since no one has seen this side of the Shuttle in the movie, I am safe.
AMT Tydirium 018
This is the neck upside down. I am very happy that there is a small trench or tunnel (yellow) which I can use for the LEDs. Think of it as something similar to your car’s cabin courtesy light. Hee hee hee.

Anyway, with these ‘tunnels’ I do not have to worry about scribing lines for the wires to pass through. But the trench is a problem as its only big enough for SMD leds and not your common 3mm LEDs. Why is this a problem?

Let’s go to the next picture….
AMT Tydirium 019
On the left is a lighting effect from a single SMD LED (the 3528) . This type of LED does not have any lens and so, the interior walls will be flooded with light. But the shape of the rectangle hot-spot thrown on the paper floor is faint.

On the right is the 3mm while LED which throws a very strong spot downwards. But he interior walls are not as uniformly lit.

Why it this important? If Vader were to walk down the ramp, his long shadows cast down the ramp might be a cool effect… or maybe not as I have not looked into the ramps yet.

Update: 2022: Years later, I have discovered some Wide-angled LEDs which will solve this issue and still give me that Vader shadow I seek.
AMT Tydirium 020
I still cannot find the 1/87 or HO scale service figures in styrene for this project. They must be all wearing overalls and have caps. Something which is not easy to find even with Preiser models.

While looking for a 1/48 figure, I came across some 1/100 figures which I bought long ago. I think these are Preiser recasts which is so common for the Architecture market. Anyway, when I placed it next to Lord Badass, it made him look taller. Which, I think is good enough.
AMT Tydirium 021
The AMT is really a horrible fit model. Then again, I am pampered by TAMIYA,Inc., and other models which goes on like a dream. Gluing the cockpit took longer than expected as I had to use my hands to grip them until the cement glue sets.

Once its done, I can show you this. The hot spot of a 3mm white LED really does make a lot of difference where the Shuttle’s ramps are concerned. So, this means I need to have one 3mm LED in there and as for the SMDs, I might consider them. This is because they will light up the whole ‘neck’ which is something I might not want because I need to light up the pair or blue triangles too. Too bright a room, the effect will be lost.
AMT Tydirium 022
To create the neck’s ceiling lights, I took some single strand wire and formed them into basic shapes which is right for the ceiling’s upper trench. You need to pre-tin the soldering area for these wires and so, please coat them with solder paste and the soldering would be very fast.

Next, coat the metal parts of the 3528 SMD LEDs before applying the solder. This will make the solder flow very fast onto the metal contacts without heating up the LED too much. Solder the one end of the LEDs to one wire. You do this by gripping the LED with a heatsink tweezer (that is all I have for today) and just a small touch from the soldering iron, the solder from both ends will melt. Let it (tweezer and LED) succumb to Gravity. Once that is done, perform the same with the second pre-tinned wire and make sure both the LED’s polarities are the same.

Soldering for this type of LED is tedious as the 3528 series are very sensitive to heat. I have read some datasheets which reccomends a soldering time of up to 3 seconds before it is destroyed.

Update 2022: I have other SMD LEDs which have much better light spread and also, is forgiving on soldering times.
AMT Tydirium 023
Finally, cut short the legs of the 3mm LED and bend them in the opposite way. Please note its polarity. You must always have an analogue multi-tester ready for this.

And this is how the ceiling lights would look like. Shape the wires to follow the small tunnels of the plastic. You can putty this later.

Update 2022: If I have the time to visit this project, I will want to reqire the LEDs correctly, each with their own current limiting resistors. Plus, the 3MM LED might be inserted into a pre-drilled hole located above the door and the ceiling. This would allow me to align the hot-spot onto the ramp
AMT Tydirium 024
This is how the lights look like now. The whole neck area is lit up. But if you look at the picture on the right, the triangles are still too bright and so, I will have to make some kind of bulkhead to block the light of the SMD LEDs.
AMT Tydirium 025
In picture 021, you can see from the light test, there is a spot which is great for the ramp. But now, you need to be aware of one fact. During the test, the 3mm LED was at the neck joint and today, the 3mm is now moved further up to the cockpit direction by 8mm. To us, it is not much of a difference but in terms of modeling scale, the difference is very much noticeable. You can see what I mean by picture 026.
AMT Tydirium 026
Here are the picture comparisons BEFORE and AFTER the movement of the 3mm LED. The spot is still there, although it is now not too prominent, which maybe is outshone by the twin 3528 SMD LEDs or partially bloacked by the cockpit’s part. I’ll have to think about this but I might want to move the 3mm LED back to its original place…

I’m taking a break on this one as there is too much going on. Here is a link to a very nicely done Shuttle Tydirium from theRPF.


I was contacted by a potential client to do a lighting project after seeing Saravana Kumar Subramaniam’s Shuttle Tydirium. At first, I though it was a simple matter since in Star Wars, there were not many lights and if they have, it usually does not blink.

So, the potential Client mentioned that he wanted the Tydirium lighting to be from Return of the Jedi, and so, after a quick view of the movie, here are my thoughts.

[Update 26.05.2014]
OK, the deal is off as the model in question is not the AMT/ERTL but that huge Collector’s Item that comes with a serial number. Its too risky to take that expensive model apart as I do not have such experience. Moreover, it would be a great waste of money and time for the Client to ship it over for me to ‘take a look’ and then ship it back.

If I had my own Tyrdirium Shuttle…. well, maybe.
Anyway, the timing of the lights is about 150ms on, and about 1.3~1.5 seconds break.

ROTJ Tyderium 001
When it first left the Allied Command ship, please be aware of the wing tips. What you see here are definitely not the position for the lights.
ROTJ Tyderium 002
The argument is that although you can see the light pair from each wing, the next shot dispels the theory.
ROTJ Tyderium 003
When the Shuttle is facing you, in some scenes, you can only see one light and not the ones behind. If they were in the same sides and not at the edge of each wing, you would see two lights instead
ROTJ Tyderium 004
Also, the flashing pattern is very simple. When its turned on, the lights at each wing tip plus the bottom comes on simultaneously.
ROTJ Tyderium 005
And yeah, I think this is the part where the two lights are placed.
ROTJ Tyderium 006
So, I guess, this confirms the placement of the pair of lights but will the potential client’s model have the same detail?
ROTJ Tyderium 007
Note that the lighting colour is white but not those normal LED white. Personally, I think this is a mistake done by many people. My theory is that during the time ROTJ was made, the light source were still bulbs and not LEDs. Moreover, the LED technology at that time was unable to create white LEDs until the late 90’s.
ROTJ Tyderium 008
So, I would like to tell that Potential Client that the LEDs used would be warm white which has a slight yellowish tint as it it’s essentially a light bulb. But it is not easy to get those shade since warm-white veered too much to the yellow tint. Best solution would be to use white and maybe smear some clear yellows at the edges.

And if she agrees, I would need to mail order some.
ROTJ Tyderium 009
Here is the shot of the ramp when the Emperor walks down. Notice the four pure white lights that is used to light the ramp. But notice the dark blue lighting inside the shuttle.
ROTJ Tyderium 010
Also, note the two orange lights at the side of the frame, which I think is located just behind the Shuttle’s lasers.