A long-lost model of an X-wing fighter plane used in the original Star Wars film (1977) is being auctioned with a starting price of $400,000.
The model was used in the filming of the final battle of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, in which the Rebel Alliance battles the Empire on the Death Star, and represents the pinnacle of Star Wars artifacts never seen before were seen to market,” according to Dallas-based auction house Heritage Auctions.
The fighter’s upper two wings are painted with a single red stripe, identifying it as the Red Leader of the squadron.
The model is part of a collection that belonged to the late Greg Jein, an Oscar- and Emmy-nominated miniatures maker known for his work on “Star Trek” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” and will be available on April 14th and 15th Auctioned in October.
Long known as “the missing man.”
“This model has not been displayed or modified since it left ILM (visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic),” Kozicki said. “For those of us who grew up in the ’70s or ’80s and those of us who work in visual effects, this model is as significant a find as the ruby slippers or the Maltese Falcon.”
The 1:24 scale miniature was one of four “hero” models built to film close-up footage of key moments in the space battle, including footage during the trench ride as the Rebel fleet attempts to destroy the Death Star.
Several “pyrotechnic” models were also built with a much simpler design which could then be flown, while the four “hero” models featured elaborate paintwork, wings that opened in “attack position”, a miniature pilot and internal wiring for power of lights inside the spacecraft as well as tiny details such as explosion marks and heat burns around the exhaust nozzles.
They were designed by Academy Award-winning team Industrial Light & Magic based on director George Lucas’s brief, who wanted to create distinct shapes for the climactic battle so audiences could distinguish between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire.
Kozicki told The Hollywood Reporter that it was unclear how Jein came into possession of this model and suspected that he sometimes received items to later exchange for something else.