I wanted to be Mat Irvine

Noel Fielding lookalike Mat Irvine holding a small model spaceship he's made

When I was growing up, I wanted to be Mat Irvine. I watched a lot of sci-fi like Dr Who and Blakes 7, and it was Mat who made the spaceship models, and sometimes blew them up. His actual job title was actually a 'Visual Effects Designer' but as far as I was concerned, 'Spaceship builder' was my future vocation. I lapped up his every TV documentary appearance, and finally I managed to see him live once in the early 90s. He was giving a talk as part of the Minehead Space Age Festival, along with the legendary Arthur C Clarke.

I loved building model kits of the spaceship variety in my youth, but I hadn't made one in well over 30 years. So to occupy the long dark wintry evenings earlier this year, I picked up one of Revell's Razor Crest kits. After watching The Mandalorian, the Razor Crest gave me that same urge to build as the Millenium Falcon and X Wing did back in the very early 80s.

A stanley knife in front of one of the kit sprues.
And so it begins. The detailing on the kit was really well done

With hindsight, I should've built it in 'flying' mode, because everything that went wrong in the process, stems from my decision to make a full-on diorama. I wanted to reconstruct a scene of the Mandalorian arriving at in Peli Motto's hangar in Mos Eisley. The landing gear would be down and the inside visible, so I worked out how to add interior lighting. Jennifer Maddox at Small Scale Lights was really helpful with this.

The interior parts of the ship, with LED wires leading to a battery box
Assembling the cockpit to the lower cabin, and testing the LEDs before they get sealed inside the outer shell.

It took up a month and a half of evenings, and I broke and fixed all the fragile landing gear and ramp struts several times. This ended up with one side higher than the other, so it had to be 'subtly' build up the base to compensate. I also attempted to customise the seated Mandalorian figure that came with the kit, into a walking pose. I spent way too long trying to get this right, and eventually bought a 3D printed one (with a tiny, tiny Grogu), which looked so much better. The sandy base was made with wall filler mixed with paint onto a piece of circular MDF. A key mistake here was glueing the accessories to the base before applying the this. I thought this would help give the impression of sand drifting against them, but it just made it messy.

A close up of the Mandalorian and Grogu figures at the foot of the landing ramp. The pointy ends of Grogu's ears are missing
Grogu was so small and delicate that I broke the ends of his ears off.

Overall, I'm kind of pleased with it. It doesn't have the high standard of finish I had in my head, and the diorama ended up looking a little sparse. I really enjoyed the process though, in particular the scratchbuilding - making new parts to fill in the background of the hangar scene.

Two tall torpedo shaped fuel tanks and a portable machine  - hwo knows what it does!
'Kitbashing' the bits and pieces around the edge of the hangar, using some parts from a Lancaster Bomber, and scratchbuilding the rest.
The finished model from the back
A view of the ship from the back, with the landing ramp down and lighting inside.
Looking straight into the lit up toilet at the end
Finished model from the front
Finished model from above