X-Wing Cardstock Model




About: Just a Mechanical Engineering major with a lot of free time to build. Hoping to one day see interstellar travel become a reality!

Along with Christmas time comes the gift of giving, but who says Christmas time is the only time to give a handmade, custom model? Give it as a birthday present, give it to a Star Wars fan on the first date (trust me it works ;)), or just because! Now onward rebel pilots to a galaxy far, far away!

NOTE: I do a lot of commenting on the pictures so watch out for those important things!

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Step 1: Materials

-Lots of poster board (depending on size of model)

-Hot glue (make sure to have backup hot glue sticks)

-Hot glue gun


-Exacto knife (for the small parts the scissor can't cut)



-4 mechanical pencils (of similar make)

-Wooden dowels (shish kabob sticks work)

-Foam board

-Acrylic paint

-Manga-Comic Pro Pens (or similar fine point, non-smudging pen)

-Wood Varnish


After building the model I realized that super glue would've been helpful in many cases but I ran out of super glue so just stuck with hot glue. If you have super glue it can make some parts a lot easier to glue.

Step 2: Reference Images

To make a model it's a good habit to stockpile many photos of the model from different angles and if you're lucky you can find a CAD model! All my photos were obtained from Google by searching "The Force Awakens X-wing".


I do not claim these reference images as my own.

Step 3: Drawing and Cutting the Body

For most of my models I don't tend to measure every single line and angle so this is more of a guide to design your own model and size. For the body I wanted to replicate the triangular feel of the x-wing so I made the front nose bend downward. All other details can be more easily seen in the photos.

Step 4: Assembling the Body

So this is the tricky part. If you have small fingers this may not be as tedious but a set of needle nose pliers definitely help. Starting with the back of the body you want to cut a small strip of poster board to keep that angled fold in place. Next connect the cockpit nose and the back body portion with poster board strips. Connect the back body to the hexagonal backing at a right angle. Ending with the nose you want to make sure you segment the nose to follow the curve of the side. Once you get it all lined up put a dab of hot glue and let it dry.

You now have the top portion of the X-Wing!

Step 5: Cutting and Assembling the Bottom

I forgot to take pictures of the sketching but basically all you do is draw a rectangle (matching the width of the body of the x-wing). Once you have cut the piece out use strips to glue it into shape. Also before gluing the bottom you want to cut out little rectangles to allow the wing of the ship to fold down.

NOTE: When sketching it is good practice to make duplicate sketches of pieces to have sketches to measure and compare to make other pieces, such as the bottom here.

Step 6: Test the Two Halves

This step can easily be ignored as later adjustments had to be made, but if you are confident you have the placement and sizing of everything right you can line up the two halves and see if you need to trim or add strips.

Step 7: The Wing Mechanism

To allow this model x-wing to open and close its wings I used the mechanism inside a Papermate mechanical pencil (correct me if I'm wrong). I cut it down to a manageable size and sanded the end to level it out. Then cut a slit in it using an exacto knife to slide the wing into.

Step 8: Test the Wings

To test the wings you can cut two pieces of poster board that fit in the slit of the wing mechanism. Also it's important to test the wing to determine how far down you want it to bend. Cut or hot glue to adjust.

Step 9: Cutting the Wings

Warning please exercise patience at this step. For this step you want to design the top and the bottom wings (unless you want to go simplistic Episode 4 and make the wings the same). Now you can either design and sketch a bottom and a top wing separately or a conjoined wing. The conjoined wing allows you to split the wing and trace bottom or top wings.

It is also important that you probably keep the original wing template in case you make more wings. Once you trace top and bottom wings from the template proceed the long, arduous journey of cutting each wing out carefully.

Step 10: Placing the Bottom Wings

Test that the bottom wings fit in properly and are lined up. You can either place hot glue in the rotating rod (pencil mechanism) and stick the wing in or you can try super glue. Once the wings are firmly in place you can glue the non-rotating part of the rods to the bottom part of the x-wing.

Step 11: Placing the Top Wings and Attaching Body

Glue the top wings into the top-wing mechanism and glue it into the top body portion of the x-wing. When gluing the top mechanism make sure you line the top mechanism parallel to bottom mechanism so that the wings are parallel.

Also if you need to cut the top wing guard now is the time to do it before you glue the wing mechanism. Finally glue a strip of poster board connecting the upper and lower body pieces on a hinge.

If you want to put the plastic window piece now would be the time to do it! Once you are satisfied with everything and it's all lined up glue the upper and lower mechanisms.

Step 12: Hull Maintenance for Your Starship

So I miscalculated the height of the pencil rods for the wings and ended up having to cover the holes with poster board. To avoid this my advice is to leave the upper and lower nose triangles a little longer than mine and trim down as necessary; however, this little screw up did allow my model to have that hexagonal nose which is a little more movie accurate.

Step 13: Engine Components

For the Force Awakens X-wing the engine components on each wing are half-cylinders. For each half-cylinder match the length of the rectangle (reference picture) to the diameter of the circle. For each half-cylinder I used three half circles so total circles to cut is 6. The length of the engine component is arbitrary but try to make it more than half the wing length just to give the wing some volume.

Step 14: Admire Your Progress

A good habit is to sit back and look at your progress to keep you motivated. This may also be the time to fly it around and go pew-pew.

Step 15: Thickening the Wings

You may have noticed in the previous picture of the x-wing that, while closed, the wings didn't sit exactly parallel. For this step you can add another layer (for a total of 3 layers on each wing) by, again, cutting out extra wings from your original wing template you saved. This step not only makes the wings more sturdy but also helps the closed wings sit parallel.

Step 16: Adding the Blasters

Using the plastic rods from the mechanical pencil bits earlier cut 4 of these to desired length (I cut them to hang a bit behind and in front of the wing tip). Then get some skewers (pointed end) and place a glob of hot glue on the point and slide it into the plastic rod. If there is no sharp point simply whittle a point using your Exacto knife. Once secured, line up your blasters and trim to desired length. I trimmed them to lie a bit in front of the cockpit.

Step 17: Glue Blasters

Line up your blasters and apply hot glue to the bottom of the bottom wing or top of top wing and place blaster. Make sure you try to make the blasters parallel to the nose and perpendicular to the wings.

Step 18: Reinforce Blasters

Just to make sure the blasters stay in place cut some paper strips and segment them to wrap around the wind and blaster. Cut to desired length and glue and fold the secure the blaster.

Step 19: Thrusters

Cut out four little circles (I tried to get their diameters to match the radius of the half circles) and a rectangle. I ended up using only four instead of eight in the picture because I had the engine component empty in the back. Using the circle, wrap the segmented rectangle and cut it to fit a cylinder with the same diameter as the small circle then use a strip of poster board and hot glue to keep the cylindrical shape.

The height of the cylinder is the length of the thruster and is personal preference (for me I wanted half of the thruster to hang off the end of the ship). To top it all off (pun intended) hot glue the circle to the top of one side of the hollow cylinder.

Step 20: Glue the Thrusters

Glue the thrusters behind the half-circle components careful to place the cut of the segmented rectangle facing the wing to cover it up and hide it as much as possible.

Step 21: Make a Stand (for What Is Right)

Or just make a display stand... I mean both are pretty good. Anyways, this step doesn't have many pictures because I rushed through this part but basically standard display bases are made using black foam board (cardboard top and bottom with foam inside) to add stability and surrounded with poster board to complete the box look. I used skewers poked and glued into the foam board along with a \__/ piece for front nose of the x-wing and a L piece to hold the back end.

Step 22: Wing Cooling Systems

So the wing cooling er systems... I really don't know what these parts do honestly, but they're in the pictures. Basically I start with a rectangle as long as the half-circle component and wide enough so half of the rectangle hangs off the edge of the wing. From there I get a similar rectangle (wider though) and fold it at the half point of the wing-rectangle (see picture). Then glue a strip of poster board (make sure you remember the height) to the folded rectangle. Then glue the folded rectangle and the original rectangle into a weird polygon. Trim the folded rectangle and glue the front and back with poster board and trim similarly.

Step 23: Final Gluing and Additional Decorations

Glue the "wing cooling system" polygons making sure to line them up with the half-circle components.

Additionally, in this step you can add any other decorations to give your x-wing volume and make it pop! I just used those four unused circles from the thrusters step to add detail.

This step is also a suitable time to fly your starship and go pew-pew. Very important.

Step 24: The Rebel Alliance Symbol

If you want to fancy up your plain stand you can add a Rebel symbol by either printing one, printing and tracing onto poster board, or free-handing the symbol. Just make sure you use an Exacto knife for the small cuts (in order to avoid creasing and folding the poster board too much) and paint it before you glue it to the base.

Step 25: Paint and Detailing!

For the paint I used acrylic paint with a light gray for the body and blue highlights (use a very thin brush and careful strokes). After the paint is dry you can use Manga-Comic Pro Pens (http://www.usartsupply.com/SAK-50201.html?gclid=Cj...) or a similar thin pen that dries quickly and does NOT smear. The base was colored with black with the symbol being painted red. You will need multiple coats so do the gray body many times before starting with the blue highlights.

NOTE: A majority of the details are creative marks and not necessarily movie accurate so be creative and have some fun designing!

Step 26: Wax Your Starship

Just to protect the paint and give the model a nice shine I covered the entire model and base in wood varnish. Be careful when doing this to not let the varnish pool in one spot or it will dry brownish. I leave it to dry out for a day and the gloss is set.

NOTE: When leaving out to dry do NOT place flat surfaces on the table to dry or it will stick to the table. Try propping it so that there is maximum surface area exposed to the air to dry.

Step 27: A 360 View

I just decided to make a GIF of the model for fun. Here is the result!

If you liked this instructable please favorite and share pictures of your own model! Ask any questions and I'll be happy to answer. Please vote for this instructable in the sci-fi contest! Thank you and keep DIY-ing!

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    6 Discussions


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks! Try it out yourself it's quite fun to build and showcase

    joeschmidt97Mas Adam

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks! Please vote for it in the sci-fi contest :)