An original 20-inch model of an X-wing fighter used in the climactic Star Wars: A New Hope battle scene will hit the auction block next month. It is part of the collection of the late Oscar-nominated modelmaker Greg Jein. The opening bid for the X-wing — thought lost for decades — begins at $400,000.
“This model has not been displayed or modified since it left ILM,” says VFX historian Gene Kozicki to The Hollywood Reporter. “For those of us that grew up in the ’70s or ’80s, and those of us that work in visual effects, this model is as significant a find as the ruby red slippers or the Maltese Falcon.”
Kozicki says he discovered the X-wing in a box. “I knew something was probably in the box, so I started to carefully scoop out the packaging peanuts when the nose of the X-wing showed itself. [We] knew immediately that it was the actual filming model and then the magnitude of the discovery started to set in.”
The X-wing Will Sell for More Than $400,000
The official title of the X-wing listed on the Heritage Auction site is a mouthful: “Screen Matched Hero ‘Red Leader’ (Red One) X-wing Starfighter Filming Miniature with Articulating Servo-Controlled Wings and Lights from Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope (TCF, 1977).”
The description continues, “Built by the team at Industrial Light & Magic which won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for Star Wars, this 1:24 scale filming miniature is one of only four hero filming miniatures created with servo-controlled wings that spread open into ‘Attack Position.’ Constructed of resin, vacuum-formed styrene, acrylic, and metal components over an aluminum internal armature, expertly painted and finished as a battle-distressed spacecraft, replete with service wear, blast marks and heat-scorching around exhaust nozzles.”
Heritage Auction also provides some background info about the X-wing design: “The basic design of the X-wing and TIE fighters came from George Lucas himself. He felt the need to create distinct shapes so that the audience could immediately tell whether a ship was a ‘good guy’ or a ‘bad guy.’ The X-wing featured a slender fuselage with thin wings that could split open to form and ‘X’ and the TIE fighter’s fuselage was a ball shape to which were attached large vertically oriented ‘wings.’ These two basic shapes were distinct from any angle and once it was established who was who, the audience would be able to follow the space battle instinctually.”
Bidding for the Heritage Auction X-wing miniature takes place on October 14-15 in Dallas, Texas. The opening bid is set at $400,000.