Star Wars model spacecraft could fetch $400,000 at auction

The model was discovered in a cardboard box after being thought lost for decades.
Sejal Sharma
The X-wing Starfighter up for auction
The X-wing Starfighter up for auction

Heritage Auctions 

Originally believed to be lost, the model of a spacecraft used in 1977 ‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope’ is now going to be sold at an auction, the bidding for which will start at $400,000.

One can probably buy a small 2-4 seater plane at that cost.

The 20-inch miniature of the X-wing starfighter was designed by late American-Chinese model designer Greg Jein, who has also been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for his previous work. The model was used in the climatic space battle in the Star Wars film and was found in Jein’s collection.

“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”,” said the website for Heritage Auctions, which will organize the auction in Dallas from October 14 to 15.

Will the spacecraft fetch $400,000?

Jein was part of the team at the visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) which won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for Star Wars. The design of the X-wing came from George Lucas, who created the Star Wars franchise and also owns ILM.

According to the description of the miniature fighter jet, Lucas wanted the audience to immediately tell whether a ship was a "good guy" or "a bad guy," which is why the top two wings of the model have been painted with a single red stripe.

“This model has not been displayed or modified since it left ILM,” VFX historian Gene Kozicki told 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.”

“We don’t exactly know the circumstances by which he came into possession of this model. And as an active collector/trader, he (Jein) also obtained items simply because he figured that he could trade them for something more in line with what he wanted for himself,” added Kozicki.

How did they find the lost model?

Kozicki revealed that he, along with ILM VFX supervisor Bill George, Jein, and his friends discovered the model spacecraft in a cardboard 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,” said Kozicki. “The four of us knew immediately that it was the actual filming model and then the magnitude of the discovery started to set in.”

The spacecraft has been constructed using resin, vacuum-formed styrene, acrylic, and metal components. The outer body of the spacecraft has been created to look like it’s been part of several intense battles, complete with wear and tear, blast marks, and heat-scorching around exhaust nozzles.

The cockpit has a miniature pilot inside of it. The wiring inside the miniature powers the lights on the laser cannons atop each of the four wings.