Darth Vader to spoil the day: Incom T-65B X-Wing
To write something new about the Incom T-65 X-Wing would probably mean carrying Dactillions to Galactic City, because one thing can be said for sure: the X-Wing has not only proven to be one of the most successful space fighter concepts ever conceived, but with its role in the fight of the Rebel Alliance against the Galactic Empire is still considered a well-known symbol of resistance and hard-fought freedom.
Nevertheless, and perhaps for this very reason, it is interesting to shed some light on the T-65’s roots and to look at some of the technical features that made this fighter such a powerful tool in the fight against the threat of tyranny.
Little is known, for example, that the impetus for the development was inspired by the newly formed Imperial Navy. Incom Corporation, already one of the major manufacturers at the time of the Clone Wars, was included in the call for tenders and asked to carry out project studies for a single-seat space superiority fighter.
Incom’s excellent reputation was based on the designs of the Z-95 “Headhunter” series, which were intensively used in the Clone Wars, and the ARC-170 series, which was developed shortly afterwards. Both fighters had a nose section equipped with sensor systems and wings suitable for atmospheric flight. These features should be found in the future T-65.
While the “headhunter” was still a single-seater short-range interceptor, the heavier ARC-170 scored points with its hyper jump capability and correspondingly high range. Beyond this, this was the first time that the technology of divided and in combat opened single wings was implemented. This not only optimized the heat radiation of the engines but also achieved a much more efficient and above all more stable design of the shield deflectors.
The roots of the ARC-170 can also be seen in the use of Astromech droids, which here for the first time took over the tasks of astronavigation, hyperspace jump calculation and, in combat, electronic combat control. While the ARC-170 was still designed for three crew members, the T-65 was to manage with only one biological pilot. The development of a new generation of performance-enhanced Astromechs promised to meet the requirement of being limited to one crew member while still being capable of complex hyperspace jumps.
The Imperial authorities, although initially quite interested in the X-Wing and impressed by the announced achievements, were under the impression of a new fighter mission doctrine, which placed value on high numbers, constructive simplicity and rapid replaceability. The scepticism was nourished by doubts about the political loyalty of the Incom leadership; a supposition that later proved to be quite justified. Against the background of Incom’s fading star, the rise of rivals such as Sienar or Jaemus became apparent.
The space tests of the T-65 were also plagued by numerous teething troubles, which were probably mostly due to the fact that too much was to be achieved at once. The combination of atmospheric and space flight capability, a newly developed life-support system and a Guldenhauser ejection seat, which was also supposed to make it possible to survive a ejection in hyperspace, caused never-ending difficulties and consumed the available time and the patience of the Imperial Navy.
Just the accomplishment of the complex hyperjump with only one pilot remained risky at the development stage of the Astromechs at that time. A solution – and with it a breakthrough in the development of the X-Wing – was only found when Incom and Astromech started the development of suitable artificial intelligence together and developed the new standard of R2D2 units. Under the designation T-65B, Incom was finally able to offer the Empire a weapon system that excelled in all classes.
The imperial interest, however, had already ceased at this point: “Sienar Fleet Systems”, rival and competitor of Incom Corpration since the days of the old Republic, had meanwhile presented a quickly realizable design, which with all its features corresponded to the specifications of the Imperial Navy: the TIE Fighter not only cost just under half of an X-Wing, but was easy to manufacture and maintain due to its lack of hyper jump capability and without shield deflectors, and was to be available in gigantic numbers quickly.
At that time it seemed that the development of the T65 by Incom Corporation would be expensive. Outflanked by its rival, politically in a precarious, even dangerous situation and without orders, rescue could only come from the unexpected. The fact that the rise of the rebellion and the repositioning of the Rebel Alliance’s armed forces coincided with the availability of this superior, now fully developed space fighter was not only for Incom luck and a new hope. The rest is in the history books.
My model shows the Red Five of Red Squadron at the time of the Endor Battles. The fighter was assigned to Grizz Frix, a human from Devaron who was one of the aces of the group with 16 confirmed kills.
The open access to the life support systems on the starboard side with Astromech already on board shows that the calculations for navigation and space jump are already running, but the pre-flight checks are not yet completed.
The “nose art” on the port side is worth a special look. Although individual markings and “ornaments” were prohibited in the units of the Alliance, there are still documents proving their widespread use. As an expression of ambitious individuality and motivated spirit of resistance, they will have been allowed to pass, even if this was not welcome.
To the model
Revell’s kit includes molds that were first introduced to the market by FineMolds in 2007. For the rather hefty price that Revell suggests for this 48x reduction of a T-65B, you get a high quality product from the model making point of view.
The parts are with cleanly cast details and high accuracy of fit and can be processed comfortably and without effort, while the character of a “snap kit” is maintained. In order to obtain a really precise and durable fit, however, it is recommended to use an adhesive and – to a small extent – putty and sandpaper.
The cockpit has been ” realistically” upgraded with numerous etched and plastic parts from the spare parts box, and the landing gear bays and landing legs themselves have not been spared from my detailed attempts. The drilling of the muzzles of the laser cannons is also part of the detailing.
With little effort, also the configuration of the maintenance area on the starboard side – according to the technical manuals the access to the life support systems of the T-65- was provided. A well filled stock of etched and other parts from the spare parts box allows for jolly details here.
By the way, the “nose art” is done by me, it was realized with cut decals and a brush held in my shaky hands.
When looking at the decals enclosed by Revell, which by the way are also to be used to design the canopy frame, I quickly began to doubt their usability. Although they are printed precisely, they seem to me to be printed on much too stiff film to be able to fit them into the numerous detailed structures of the surfaces. In the end I only used a few “stencils”, all other markings were applied with paint.
The thematic excursion into the vastness of the galaxy as well as of my own cinematic memories can of course not remain without consequences: I’m already looking forward to the next Star Wars episode on my workbench!
20 additional images. Click to enlarge.