Hollywood modelmaker Greg Jein created miniatures for the Star Trek franchise. However, Jein was a fan of sci-fi all around, and the artisan—whose career spanned from 1974 until his death last year—amassed an insanely deep collection of movie props over the years. According to NPR, Jein "traded, bought or outright salvaged" props and raided "studio's dumpsters" for sci-fi gold.
It's hard to believe anything in Jein's impressive collection—which is being auctioned off next month by Heritage Auctions as The Greg Jein Collection—was ever laid in a dumpster. Particularly this rare "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" model.
One of just four 1:24-scale models used for filming, the model's level of detail is incredible, with battle damage and the kind of wear-and-tear you expect to see on a 1970s Oldsmobile. Because it was used for filming, this model actually contains a servo motor to open the wings into attack position and features onboard lights.
In the model description, the auction house includes this interesting bit of design trivia regarding early Star Wars spacecraft:
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.
Starting with a small sketch on a yellow notepad, he enlisted model concept artist Collin Cantwell to construct a physical model that would help communicate to the other artists what the X-wing would look like. Working in parallel with Cantwell was concept artist Ralph McQuarrie. As Cantwell would refine his models, McQuarrie would incorporate those revisions into his paintings. While Cantwell and McQuarrie had a head start on the design work, the artists at Industrial Light and Magic would soon be brought into the design discussion for storyboards and construction of the actual filming models.
The auction house also mentions there were two types of X-wing models made for the film: Hero models, like the one being sold, and Pyro models, which were built purely to be blown up on film. Needless to say, no Pyro models have survived.
Starting bid for this X-wing is $400,000.
For scale, it costs $250,000 to refurbish a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster between launches.
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